Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Vent Time

As it appeared more and more likely that Bobby Higginson's last day as a Detroit Tiger was drawing near, I was thinking of how he would be remembered here. After all, the guy has suffered with a terrible baseball team for a long time. Why should we only remember his last several years of poor production? The expectations put on him were more hope on the part of Tigers' fans and, maybe, Mike Ilitch, but were not his doing, right? Basically, I was trying to take the high road. Then along comes today's article in The Oakland Press.

Higginson, who has gone from fan favorite to poster boy of today's overpaid, underproductive, whining ballplayer, managed to live up to the latter definition in the article by Jim Hawkins. In addition to making all too clear that he doesn't "have to go where I don't want to go", Higgy said:

"People don't understand, they say, 'You're making $8 million a year,' " Higginson said. "But I just want to play baseball and be treated with a little bit of respect."

I about fell out of my chair. No, Mr. Higginson, you do not just want to play baseball. If you just wanted to play baseball, you would void your no-trade clause to play elsewhere. Especially, in light of your potential imminent release from the Tigers. If you just wanted to play baseball, you would have re-negotiated your contract years ago to help the Tigers financially. Which, oh by the way, might have helped the team land you some more talented co-workers. Nope, you wanted the money and to play baseball, not just play baseball.

And the respect comment? Please. Did Higginson respect the front office when Jeff Weaver got dealt? Did he respect Juan Gonzalez, whose mere presence helped Higginson to his best year ever? Did he respect all the managers he had? Now, he wants respect?

When Hawkins suggests the Tigers, while unlikely, could designate Higginson for assignment while waiting to ship him out, the veteran Tiger outfielder said:

"If that was to happen, that would be very disappointing," said Higginson, a Tiger since 1995. "They've had plenty of time to possibly trade me. That would definitely not be the right thing to do."

This last statement may be more laughable than the first. We all know the ballclub has been trying to peddle Higgy for years. His combination of salary and diminishing production have made that impossible. He lowered those odds even further by refusing to waive his no trade clause and not taking a pay cut. Higginson now expects or thinks the team should do what he has been unwilling to do throughout the majority of his career-the right thing?

After all he has put the Tigers through in the public, why would they even consider doing the right thing by him?

So much for me taking the high road. After this article, it's safe to say I probably won't be able to remember Higginson's career quite so fondly.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Random Observations

First, a warning. As you can probably tell by now, I have changed the font. I've gone to Times New Roman. It's just a test. I have not yet made a commitment to it. As to other commitments, I haven't posted as much as I should lately as I've been busy at my other blog, Big Ten Hardball.

The college baseball season is well underway and keeping up over there is taking up quite a bit of time. Trying to keep up two blogs is tough, as I thought it would be, but I cannot find a way to incorporate that stuff over here.

That's more than enough of the "housekeeping"-type chores, let's move on to matters of sport.

Well, this is more sports related than actual sport. I had my first live fantasy baseball draft of the year last night. It's an AL only league with ten teams. I drafted fifth. Oh, by the way, I hate drafting right in the middle. I'm not sure why, but I just don't like it. As with 99% percent of my drafts, my first reaction is that my team stinks. However, my reaction generally changes after reviewing everyone else's club. Last night was no different.

A review of the other teams reveals that my twenty-three guys are not a whole lot worse than anyone else's. I ended up with Manny Ramirez, Mark Kotsay and Laynce Nix in the outfield. Aubrey Huff, Jorge Posada, Aaron Boone, Omar Infante and Bobby Crosby are my starting infielders. My DH is Justin Morneau.

My staff is Rich Harden, Jeremy Bonderman, Bronson Arroyo, Erik Bedard, Francisco Rodriguez, J.J. Putz, Tom Gordon, Alan Embree, Dewon Brazelton and another starter that I cannot recall. Needless to say, it isn't Randy Johnson.

The bench is heavy on prospects and Detroit Tigers. Nick Swisher, Grady Sizemore, Ruben Gotay, Carlos Pena and Kyle Farnsworth are all on my bench. I may have missed a bench player, as well, but you get the idea. My team is probably not the favorite to win the league, but unless all the wheels come off, I shouldn't finish in the cellar, either.

I intend to make a change or two before Opening Day, but I cannot reveal what those moves may be, as my fellow participants can all access this. I have several more drafts to go and I promise not to bore you with the results of all of those.

In my mailbox today, I got a friendly piece of spam offering me fantasy sports information for a low monthly fee. I plunk down far too much money on sports and sports related items as it is now, I hate to think just how far off the deep end I'll be if I start to pay a monthly fee for fantasy sports information.

If I was a Hall of Fame voter would I vote for Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire? It's just too early to tell. I expect more information to become available as the days and months pass.

I don't understand those who say that steroids were "legal" because MLB didn't ban them. MLB doesn't ban murder, either, but it's still illegal. If Bonds and McGwire were caught using steroids, it would have been a crime. You may not care about them using steroids, but you have to admit it's illegal no matter how you slice it.

NCAA hockey is having it's own March Madness. Complete your brackets and check out Inside College Hockey here.

That's all for now. I want to post this and see if I like the new font.

Lions Diary: Black Jerseys and Bubbles

The rumor has become fact. The Detroit Lions are going to wear black jerseys for two games in 2005. As I stated before, this idea is ridiculous. Why? First, because black, contrary to Matt Millen's opinion, is not one of the Lions' colors. Second, the Lions aren't some expansion club. They are one of the oldest teams in the NFL. They shouldn't even be forced into accepting an alternate jersey. If they must, then just wear the Throwback model which now seems to be standard attire on Thanksgiving.

Instead, the Lions are going to look like the Carolina Panthers. Or a USFL franchise. I realize fewer and fewer of us can remember a time when the Lions were an elite NFL franchise, but there is simply no reason to toss out a rich history because the recent past has been mediocre at best. A third (or fourth) jersey option won't make the Lions better nor does it embrace the franchise's tradition. I actually think it kind of detracts from the club's much more successful past.

While the city is somewhat divided on the black jersey, I'd guess it's about 70-30 against, it's the reaction to the Lions helmet logo that I am confounded about. It seems over 50% of Lions' fans don't like the logo we affectionately refer to as "Bubbles". The complaints range from the fact Bubbles either doesn't look much like a Lion or that he's simply not tough enough.

I'll admit the logo isn't the best rendering of the king of beasts, but it could be worse. Do you really want Millen and company selecting a new logo? If he did, I'll bet we would get a lion wearing an eye patch.

As for Bubbles not being tough enough, that's plain laughable. Is that cute little Dolphin on the side of Miami's helmet striking fear into anyone? How about that nasty Raven on Baltimore's helmet? Ugly? Without a doubt. Scary? Please. How about the lovely corporate logo for US Steel that Pittsburgh uses? Has the fear generated by the logo earned them four Super Bowl titles? Somehow, in spite of their less than intimidating logos, these three franchise have won a combined seven Super Bowls and appeared in ten NFL championship games.

Bubbles' perceived lack of toughness is hardly the reason the Lions haven't made the big game. Nor would a more ferocious lion design keep Charles Rogers in one piece or get Joey Harrington to increase his completion percentage, two things far more likely to lead to on-field success. Trust me, if the Lions became even a mini-dynasty Bubbles would be plenty tough enough for everyone.

In the end, what sells jerseys, hats and the like is winning. If the Lions win more, they will sell more merchandise. If they could go on a run like San Francisco of the 1980s, the Steelers of the 1970s, or our own Lions of the 1950s, Honolulu Blue and Silver (with or without black accented) jerseys would fly off store shelves in Detroit and around the nation. And Bubbles would be one of the most popular logos in all of sports.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Alomar Retires

Roberto Alomar's retirement today deserves some mention. While his last several seasons were far below his standard, Alomar leaves the game as one of the greatest secondbasemen ever. Alomar's name can rightly be tossed around with players like Joe Morgan and Rogers Hornsby as the elite at the position.

There were few things in baseball Alomar did not do well. The Alomar I will always remember was a middle infielder who could run, throw, hit for average, hit for power and oh, how he could field. I doubt anyone has ever played secondbase with the same flair and grace.

It may be a long time before we see another secondbaseman as good as Roberto Alomar.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Done Dancin'

We knew it was probably going to end up like this, didn't we? Oakland University got crushed by North Carolina, 96-68. It's hard not to be a tad disappointed, but it's even more difficult to not enjoy OU's first ever NCAA tournament appearance. The Dance may be over for the Golden Grizzlies, but the last week or so have been fun. Hopefully, there will be more dancing in OU's future.

Must See TV

I admit it. I watched. In fact, I watched for three hours. Instead of following March Madness, I watched the dog and pony show that was the Congressional inquiry into Major League Baseball's steroid problem. While it made for compelling television, it accomplished nothing. Which is precisely what most everyone suggested it would do.

The problem I've had since the beginning of the whole steroid mess is that there is little that can be done about it. The proverbial ship has already set sail. MLB cannot retro-actively impose drug testing back to 1998. Or 1988. All we can do is make assumptions about the players and the records set. We may get some more admissions of guilt beyond Jose Canseco's, eventually, but we will never know the scope of the problem or have any concrete evidence about all the parties involved.

Sure Congress, fans and some media folks can scream about tougher, Olympic-styled testing, but is there any sport more awash in the controversy over performance enhancers than the Olympics? Their "gold standard" testing methods have caught a number of athletes attempting to violate it's drug policy. I guess that means we can rule out the premise of tougher standards acting as a deterrent.

In addition, these wildly successful tests employed by the IOC, have yet to quell rumors about a number of their athletes suspected of being steroid/growth hormone abusers. If the rumors are correct, these must-have methods have failed as often as they have succeeded. Even with cutting edge testing, Marion Jones hasn't failed an IOC test that I am aware of. Yet, Ms. Jones finds herself as knee deep in the BALCO mess as anyone in MLB.

The IOC is hardly alone in this. Lance Armstrong gets tested by the Tour de France organizers about once an hour and they cannot find a single illegal drug. Not one. Maybe Armstrong and Jones are clean. Maybe they are ahead of the testing. Either way, the rumors won't go away and their records remain. This is better than MLB's current situation how?

I hate to say this, but making the drug policy broader, enacting stronger punishment and using the Olympic testing methods will not clean up baseball. It won't. It may make some people feel better. It may allow some members of Congress to say they've addressed an issue, but it won't come close to eliminating the problem. The new age of science and medicine is here and it's not going to go away regardless of what public policy is.

That's not to say that imposing new standards is wrong. I'm all in favor of sweeping changes to MLB's drug policy to make it difficult on those who opt to use performance enhancers. However, what everyone, Congress included, needs to remember is that we already have laws against steroids on the books. Did that stop a single MLB player from using them? From obtaining them? From distributing them?

Did any of the U.S. government's law enforcement officials, whose job it is to investigate and stop this sort of stuff, drop the hammer on a single MLB player in all those years they claim Bud Selig and company turned their backs on the problem? Who exactly should get charged with the error on that one?

The problem with baseball's steroid controversy is that there is more than enough blame for just about everyone. The government certainly failed to enforce it's own laws. MLB failed to foresee a problem and failed to keep up it's public perception, by banning steroids, the way other sports had. The Players Association's leadership was more concerned about cashing checks than the health of their constituency. The media, once the public watchdog, took a collective nap during what forever will be called the Steroid Era.

Forgive me, if I just don't have much faith in all the same parties that failed their initial responsibilities to the game, themselves and us when they suggest they now have answers. It's fairly obvious after yesterday's public debacle that none of the parties are an ounce smarter than they were in 1988.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

OU Wins!

Yeah, it's only a stinking play-in game, but Oakland University beat Alabama A & M tonight, 79-69. I think it's pretty cool. The national media coverage has been fun, too. I just watched the post-game wrap on ESPNEWS. Amazing to think of an OU game being that big a story nationwide. What's better is that they won.

Now, my school plays my all-time favorite college basketball program, North Carolina. I have little doubt the 'Heels will win and probably by a very large number, but it's a bit unpleasant for me to root against UNC. However, this is what I suspect those at OU dreamed of when jumping to Division I.

Regardless of the outcome of their next game, those of us who care have to hope that the Golden Grizzlies can take advantage of this attention and become the best hoops program in the Mid-Con. There is really no reason not to.

Sanchez Departs

The Detroit Tigers released Alex Sanchez today. This qualifies as a surprise. Most thought if an outfielder was going to get released it would have been Bobby Higginson. However, Sanchez finds himself unemployed as his inability to catch the ball or draw a walk probably did him in.

You have to believe that Craig Monroe will get plenty of early season at bats to see if he's an everyday player. I'm also sure Nook Logan, who is the better defensive player, will get an opportunity to become the Tigers centerfielder. However, Logan's ability to hit will determine just how often he gets regular playing time.

The X factor remains Curtis Granderson. He was sent to Toledo where he will get plenty of time to develop. All this guy does is hit. Granderson may be in the outfield at Comerica Park by the trade deadline, if not, he will definitely be in the Tigers outfield mix next year.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Lions Diary: It's Garcia

The big media boys are reporting the Lions have inked QB Jeff Garcia to a one year deal. Terms have not been released. The key to the whole signing, for me, will be the terms. Certainly, a one year deal is a good start. Let's hope Garcia is coming cheap.

I'm in the camp that says if the Lions need their second string quarterback for an extended period, things could be really bad. I also agree with the sentiment that the Lions simply have too many holes to pour large sums of money, on top of Joey Harrington's deal, into the quarterback position.

I'd much prefer the Lions sign a guard and a receiver via free agency than put large sums of money into a quarterback that: A) May not play or B) May play, but isn't really the long-term solution. Either way, it looks like wasted money. As such, the one year deal rumor is much more to my liking.

I'm also glad that the chase for another quarterback is over. The quarterback controversy can now revert to it's traditional state. One where Motown is divided over who the starter should be. Although, I guess you could argue that has been the question all along. Who should start? Joey or the free agent-yet-to-be-named?

Now, Mr. Millen, go sign an offensive lineman (or two) and get a receiver in here.

Oh, and one aside. I am starting to get fired up about drafting Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson. Move Teddy Lehman to the middle and have Boss Bailey and Johnson on the outside. Or switch to a 3-4 and have James Davis or Earl Holmes in the ILB slot with Lehman. Either way, it should give the Lions a fast, athletic linebacking unit.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Lions Diary: New Voices

As you all know by now, Mark Champion and Jim Brandstatter have been canned by Infinity Radio. Dan Miller, of FOX 2, has been given Champion's ex-job as play-by-play voice of the Leos. This, in short, stinks. I've got nothing against Miller, but I can't figure out why Champion was given the boot? It just doesn't make much sense.

Tom Lewand of the Lions praised Champion up and down during a radio interview this afternoon. If Champion is so wonderful, why did they get rid of him? Again, this is pretty much crap no matter how you serve it up.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Grizzlies Dance

(Disclaimer: I went to Oakland University. I am very happy to see them in the NCAA tournament. They should have been there last year, but that's another post. Go Grizzlies!)

Oakland University got plenty of media attention today. Fresh off their upset win over Oral Roberts, the Golden Grizzlies automatic berth into the NCAA tournament was the subject of nationwide coverage. As you probably guessed, it wasn't all positive.

Television, radio, internet and good old fashioned newsprint had Oakland's mini-miracle win plastered all over it. The win was cheered by some, but jeered by others. Making the tourney with a losing record, OU is 12-18, is going to cost a team from a stronger conference a berth in The Dance. It's unfair, but it happens nearly every year.

Yet the cries persist. Only teams with winning records should be in. Forget the conference tournaments. If a team like OU can get in, let every team into the field. The whining like this will last about a week. Then the tournament will begin and all will be forgotten.

Well, forgotten by all except fans of the school(s) left out. They will harbor ill will for Oakland, the NCAA selection committee and automatic berths to conference tournament winners forever or until their institution takes advanatage of the same system.

However, the rest of the nation, will move on quickly. We all realize that the schools left out of the field of 64 probably did not have a legitimate chance to win the tournament anyway. We also realize that Oakland will probably not make it past it's first encounter. That's assuming the Golden Grizzlies can get past the play-in game, which they appear destined for.

I really don't like conference tournament winners getting the automatic berths, but I have never been quite so pleased with the notion as I am today. My enjoyment may only last until Tuesday or possible next Friday at the latest, so complain if you must, but forgive me for embracing the moment. It's been a couple of pretty awful years for OU basketball and this day helps make up for quite a bit of that disappointment.

Steroids and Subpoenas

My view on the U.S. House of Representatives having a congressional investigation into baseball's steroid problem? It would be completely laughable, if it weren't true. The fact they are issuing subpoenas is bordering on ridiculous. I might even agree with Ken Rosenthal, of The Sporting News, who claims it's un-American.

This whole thing is little more than a political dog and pony show. It's grandstanding at the highest level. It's also so far beyond anything the government should be concerned about that committee chair, Tom Davis, R-VA, should be either impeached, recalled or forced to spend an entire month with Barry Bonds.

Davis chairs the House Government Reform Committee, which as its title seems to imply, should probably be looking at reforming the House not looking for ways to get more face time on CNN. Rep. Davis would be far better served, as would we, if the committee focused on lowering the cost of prescription medication, not worrying about steroid use amongst millionaire athletes.

He and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-CA, have claimed, in addition to shedding some light on steroid use in MLB, that the committee is trying to send a positive message to children. In the end, it's always about the kids, isn't it? I'm sure the nation's little ones will be huddle around the tv all day long riveted to C-Span to watch Davis and the committee set them straight on steroids.

This is so wrong, in so many ways, I could write for days. I won't, as I have other things to do. (Please note this this concept, Rep. Davis.) However, suffice to say, it does re-kindle my desire for term limits.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Lions Diary: Honolulu Black?

Tony Ortiz of AM1270, the sports station, reported today that the Lions will introduce a black jersey this coming fall. He said something along the lines of "the black will be where the blue is and the blue will go where the black is now". Black? Black? I don't think so.

First, the Lions have always been blue. Honolulu Blue and Silver, thank you. I can deal with the black accents, but black jerseys are not acceptable. I don't even care if they look good. (Ortiz said they did look good, but he also likes Mike McMahon as a NFL QB.)

Second, black alternate jerseys went out of style over a decade ago. As usual, the Lions are behind the trend.

Third, and finally, I know why black is creeping further and further into the Lions wardrobe. Yeah, to sell more souvenirs, but it's because of Matt Millen's obsession with the Raiders. Millen wants to model the Lions after the Raiders, sans the bad character guys. That's why training camp is now off-limits now. The Raiders never opened camp, why should the Lions?

Now, we see black going from accent color to primary color. Again, I don't care if its' a stinking alternate jersey. I don't like it. If Millen wants to be a Raider, go beg Al Davis for a job. Stop making this Raider Nation.

Lions Diary

The Lions got busy in free agency today. Detroit signed TE Marcus Pollard and S Kenoy Kennedy to free agent deals this afternoon. Neither of these guys is headed for Canton, but both are upgrades at their respective positions. The contracts to both are also fairly cap friendly. It's hard not to like a cost-effective upgrade at two positions.

It's looking more and more like the Lions want Brad Johnson as their second team quarterback. If the Lions wanted Jeff Garcia, I think he would already have been here by now. Unless a deal with Johnson cannot get done, Garcia would appear to be out of the Lions' plans.

The guy I am most interested in right now is WR Corey Bradford. I would love to see the Lions ink Bradford as a slot receiver and release Az-Zahir Hakim. If the Lions can add Johnson and Bradford (please) to Kennedy and Pollard, they will have upgrade four positions in a week. It will also allow them to just grab the best player on the board when their pick, number ten overall, comes on Draft Day.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Is A Trade Brewing?

Detroit News writer Lynn Henning suggests that the Tigers may be on the verge of making a trade. Maybe a rather significant one at that. I have to agree. The Tigers have a surplus of pitchers and outfielders. For a change, some of the Tigers spare parts might actually be coveted by another organization.

I'll let you review Henning's observations, but I fully expect the Tigers to swing a deal before Opening Day. I concur with Henning that the deal could even be a pretty big one. That would make the 2005 Tigers very, very fun to follow.

As an aside, I saw Peter Gammons on ESPNEWS this afternoon. When asked what four teams improved the most this winter, Gammons listed the Tigers at number three. The others? Mets, Orioles and Cardinals.

Lions Diary

Back-to-back editions of my blog within a blog, Lions Diary?!?!? And it's the off-season. I need help. I must have some strange Honolulu Blue addiction. Anyway, I assume most of you have heard or seen that Kurt Warner has opted for Arizona. Did anyone else breath a sigh of relief or was that just me?

I could be wrong for the two millionth time, but Warner is a shell of his MVP self. So many bad things happen when Warner fades back in the pocket now, that if Don Coryell were his coach, he would have run on every down.

Warner seems to get sacked or fumble or both on about 40% of his pass plays. That doesn't count for his inability to throw accurately anymore, either. The thought of him with Detroit just didn't sit well with me. It was so bad, that I actually preferred Jeff Garcia over Warner.

One of the remaining mediocre free agent quarterbacks is probably going to be our starter sometime next year. We can now eliminate Warner's name from that list. That bumps Garcia and Brad Johnson to the top of the list. It's got to be Garcia, doesn't it?

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Lions Diary

On the radio this morning, I heard one of my brethren, a fellow Lions fan, complain that the Lions will go nowhere as long as the Ford's own the team. This is a familiar refrain around town. The thought goes that the Lions are doomed because William Clay Ford: A) Has so much money he doesn't care if the Lions win. B) Makes so much money owning the Lions, he doesn't see any difference between winning and losing. C) Just plain doesn't care. D) Insert your reason the Lions have failed under Ford's tenure here. This thought is fine and good, but it's partly nonsense.

Ok, maybe it's not all nonsense. Maybe Mr. Ford really isn't all that concerned about the Lions on-field success. At least not in relation to people who paint their faces Honolulu Blue and Silver each Sunday. They care, perhaps, too much, but that's another topic altogether. However, in all fairness, the Lions parade of coaches, quarterbacks, mind-numbing personnel moves, shocking losses and missed opportunities are only partly Ford's fault.

He's hired some people who have made bad decisions. He's kept people he probably should have fired or, at least, fired sooner. In this day and age, loyalty is a lost treasure and Ford may have it, like wealth, to a fault. That's doesn't make Mr. Ford responsible for poor evaluation of talent or tossing the ball to the opposition in critical situations. No, that responsibility lies at the feet of his employees.

As such, I have trouble with the notion that the Lions simply will never win until the Ford's are no longer owning the franchise. I even reject the sentiment that Bill Ford, Jr. is the answer to the Lions woes. He may, indeed, be the Lions owner when they eventually win, but I refuse the believe that the Lions cannot win with William Clay Ford at the helm.

Why? You may ask. Why, would I think Ford can get past his own history and get handed the Vince Lombardi Trophy someday? I have one simple example-Art Rooney.

When Rooney bought the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1930's, the team wasn't exactly atop the NFL. Rooney's ownership didn't improve the situation one bit. For about the next forty years the black and gold were amongst the worst teams in pro football.

They stumbled through season after season. They had a string of unsuccessful coaches, some of whom weren't fired soon enough because Rooney liked them personally, and made some bad personnel decisions. Case in point-the Steelers cut a quarterback named Johnny Unitas in training camp. And you thought Matt Millen didn't know talent when he saw it.

Then came the Seventies. Rooney, looking for yet another coach, was given the name of a guy named Chuck Noll. The rest is history. Noll cleaned house. I mean he really cleaned house. When the Steelers captured their first of four Super Bowl titles, I believe only four players survived from Noll's first day on the job. The exact number of survivors doesn't matter, what matters is that Rooney got handed the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

Art Rooney didn't suddenly care more about winning in the 1970's than he did in the 1950's or 1930's. No, Rooney just managed to find the right guy to run the operation and Noll managed to evaluate talent and obtain the right players. Now, pessimists will argue that Ford hasn't found the right man in either Millen or Steve Mariucci. That may be true, but it doesn't mean he hasn't, either.

It also doesn't mean it's impossible for Ford to one day be standing next to Paul Taglibue with the Lombardi Trophy in hand. I know. The Lions have mustered only one playoff win under Ford's watch. Believe me, I know. That doesn't mean that the trend won't someday end. Art Rooney's prolonged streak of horrible football teams came to a crashing end. An end that made the Steelers of the 70's the greatest team in NFL history. The Steelers have gone on to become one of the league's premier franchises.

In spite of what any or all of us may think about Mr. Ford and his ownership tenure, his continuing reign simply does not make it impossible for the Lions to be NFL champions. Might it be harder? Sure. But impossible? No way. If you or I actually believed this train of thought, why are we bothering to watch each Sunday, follow each potential free agent acquisition with such energy and get all fired up for another draft day? If the Lions are truly doomed to failure under Ford's leadership, why are we wasting so much of our time, energy and money?

I know it seems impossible to not to put all the blame on the only constant in the organization throughout this incredible dry spell. Ford does merit some of the blame, but don't cave in to the idea that the Lions have absolutely no chance to win because Mr. Ford, or Bill, Jr., is in charge.

The next time you find yourself lamenting Ford's ownership of Detroit's NFL entry, I want you to stop and think of Art Rooney. Think of those forty terrible years of football followed by the greatest success in NFL history. Picture the Steelers owner holding the Lombardi Trophy and remember his path. Therein lies our hope.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Random Observations

Time for a Tuesday look around the sports world.

I found this link over at NBA Fan Blog. I'll bet nearly every fan of the Boston Celtics hopes this scenario comes true. Danny Ainge's moves as Celtics big cheese have been puzzling at best. Although, I suspect the return of Antoine Walker will give the C's some success. Maybe even a first round playoff win? Hey, it's the East. If Ainge doesn't depart on his own, C's fans may remove him forceably at season's end.

I've got to make an admission. I never like Tayshaun Prince. Not at Kentucky. Not when the Pistons drafted him. Not during that first regular season. However, when Rick Carlisle was forced to take the reigns off, as Detroit was losing a playoff series to Orlando (as I recall), we all got to see a glimmer of what Tayshaun was capable of. I became impressed.

When Larry Brown gave him more encouragement last year, Prince showed more ability and he became my favorite Piston. He could knockdown a three, play D on just about anybody and could pass the rock. Now, Prince is becoming a scorer. His emergence has been a major reason for the Pistons success since January 1. Prince's development has led to a significant decrease in the Carmelo Anthony talk around Motown. It may also make the Pistons back-to-back champions.

If I were the Temple A.D., I would be trying to convince basketball coach John Chaney to retire. I worry about Chaney. He appears headed down a Woody Hayes/Bobby Knight-like path. His actions this time were not a fit of rage, but premediated. If Chaney can't see his way clear to stepping down, the university will probably have to fire him.

Thursday is Tigers vs. Phillies in the Grapefruit League opener. Yes, snow covered fans, baseball and spring are coming. It just doesn't look like it right now.

Not that you care one hoot, but my lads at Everton continue to excel. The Blues topped Aston Villa 3-1 Saturday. A tremendous road win. Everton maintains the fourth spot in the Premiership. I know little about soccer, but I know this run was unexpected.

I jumped on the Everton bandwagon mostly because I knew a little about Wayne Rooney. However, when Rooney bailed and headed for Manchester United, I felt obligated to support the Toffees. Someone should, right? Now, the boys are in the midst of a semi-magical campaign. I suppose this is how one becomes a fan of a club, isn't it?

Prepping For A New Season

Lang Whitaker of gives advice on how to prepare for the upcoming MLB campaign.