Friday, December 23, 2005

Odds And Ends

Here are some random things I've taken note of recently. Without trying to provide more introduction than necessary, let's get right into it.

* Colorado is going to award it's football players iPods. I guess they found some of the money ex-coach Gary Barnett didn't get receipts for after all. I love just how ridiculous big time college athletics can be.

* I will rarely say anything nice about most people in the entertainment industry. In fact, you may notice a dearth of information about them on this blog in general, nice or not. However, I was saddened to hear about the death of John Spencer of The West Wing. I enjoyed his work.

* I still cannot believe the Boston Bruins traded Joe Thornton.

* Candles have become very popular in recent years. I know lots of people, ok, women, who love them. Therein lies my problem. I have gotten candles as Christmas gifts the last few years. Now, I understand these candles are coming from those who don't know me very well, again, women, but I'm a forty something male who watches endless hours of sports. I studied history in college. Does that sound like someone who covets candles?

Yes, I'm married, but Mrs. B.B. isn't into the candle craze, either. Sure, candles are great when the power goes out and my flashlight batteries go belly-up, but aroma laden candles? Thank you. Really. Thank you. But, please stop.

* Michael Andretti is returning to Indy Car racing presumably to attempt to win the Indianapolis 500 which has eluded him. I'm not sure whether to wish him luck or wonder if he needs mental help.

* All Detroit Pistons fans, really all basketball fans, should start cramming the NBA All-Star ballot boxes (virtual or not) with the names of the Pistons starting five. You can only vote once every twenty-four hours, but get out there and vote for the best starting five in the league--Ben Wallace, Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace, Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton.

* If you can't legitimately vote for all five, at least give Billups and Hamilton your vote. Yes, Allen Iverson and Dwyane Wade are spectacular, but better?

* We hear so much about customer service these days, but am I the only one who thinks for all the talk customer service is far worse than it has ever been?

* Let me see if I got this straight. The Treasury Department stopped Cuba from competing in the upcoming World Baseball Classic? First, Al Capone, now Fiedel Castro. The spirit of Elliot Ness is alive and well.

* On a slightly more serious note, the U.S. government should relent and allow Cuba to play. We played a bunch of communist countries for years in the Olympics and have all kinds of trade deals with communist China, let Castro's boys come up and play a little of our national pastime.

* After losing Johnny Damon to hated rival New York, something tells me that the Red Sox off-season is just beginning. Here is my guess as to what the Sox will do to counter the Yanks and their depleted lineup. First, they spend the winter convincing Roger Clemens to do a farewell tour in his original uniform. The Sox peddle a starter (Matt Clement is my guess) to Seattle in a deal that brings them centerfielder Jeremy Reed. The Sox will move David Wells for some bullpen help or middle infielder. They sign free agent shortstop Alex Gonzalez. Boston will probably look for a lefthanded bat for firstbase as well.

* Did you see where the Chicago Cubs might be offering Mark Prior to Baltimore in a package for Miguel Tejada? The Cubs situation is one that scares me as a Tigers fan. Not that long ago, the Cubs had the young starting rotation in the game--Kerry Wood, Mark Prior and Carlos Zambrano. Now, Wood may be a closer due to ongoing arm problems. Prior, once the most coveted prospect in the game, has battled arm problems each year and is tradeable. Zambrano is now the ace of the staff.

It doesn't take much for young pitchers to fall. That's why you need so many to succeed--because so many never live up to expectations. That's why betting the farm on Jeremy Bonderman, Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya is a risky proposition. The odds are two of three will never come close to what you believe they will be. There needs to be more quality arms in the system ready to go, if they fail. (Please, don't fail, boys.)

* That's another reason why I had hoped the Tigers would have added another solid veteran arm for 2006. You can't get too much pitching. If nothing else, you can always trade some later, as the demand always exceeds the supply.

* Oh, no. Not the Twins. Anyone else worried about how badly Rondell White is going to beat on the Tigers in '06?

Hey, you made it all the way through the entire post. Congratulations. Sorry, no prizes are available, but I thank you for stopping by and actually reading this. Have a happy holiday.


Ian C. said...

I'm probably picking the strangest point to zero in on, Brian, but as someone who used to work in retail, your comment about customer service piqued my interest.

I agree that customer service is probably as bad as it's ever been. So much so that whenever any establishment demonstrates the slightest of courtesy, I'm likely more impressed than I should be.

However, I wonder if it's a chicken-vs-egg argument? Because I think some people treat workers worse than they ever have. I saw quite a few examples of that this Christmas shopping season, which reminded me of some of the encounters I had while working retail. Some customers have entirely unreasonable expectations and feel they can treat anyone with a nametag or uniform like shit because "they're the customer." They say things to employees that they would never say to a stranger in public. They'd get smacked in the face.

But since a job and future business is at stake, the worker bites his or her tongue, and the customer is empowered by that lack of retribution.

Granted, such people are probably the exception, rather than the norm, but I think they end up ruining it for everyone else.

Brian said...

I could not agree more, Ian. I've spent a fair amount of time on the other side of the counter and it isn't pretty.

I guess I was taking aim more directly at the employers marketing of customer service than the employees display of it.

The current trend seems to be forget quality, quantity or price of our product(s), we treat you better than the guy down the street.

This line of silliness usually comes from companies not willing to invest in their product(s). It's much cheaper to sell service than product.

Perhaps, I should have lamented the loss of common courtesy that is the heart of the problem. That, however, is a really big post and probably far too deep for my simple mind.

Lee Panas said...

Losing White's bat will hurt the Tigers even when they aren't playing the Twins. I know he's old and hurt and will spend time on the DL again next year but he was one of their most productive hitters last year. I'm not really upset about him leaving because I see 2006 as another re-building year but the production won't be that easy to replace.