Saturday, January 28, 2006

Martz Mania is reporting that Mike Martz is contemplating joining the Detroit Lions as offensive coordinator. My reaction? Fear. Surprise. Hope. Mostly fear, though.

Martz is by most accounts an offensive genius. However, like many with the "genius" label, Martz is also considered a mad genius. He falls in love with his own offensive schemes no matter how wild they may be. (Double reverse on the goal line? No problem for Martz. Sure, it has almost no chance of working, but it was a surprising call.)

Now, before I get too whacky thinking about why Martz is running a four receiver set on fourth and goal on the one, I'm going to take a deep breath and wonder if Martz is really coming. This guy was just a head coach. Does he really want to play second fiddle to a rookie head coach? Even though the talk radio would be outstanding and the press would be able to mail in the '06 season if Martz arrived, the stories would write themselves, does an offensive genius really want to take direction from a man that's never even be a head coach before?

On the positive side, you do have to wonder what Martz could to with Joey Harrington and the cadre of receiving potential now on the Lions payroll. Could Detroit become The Greatest Show on Turf, Part II? Look at the numbers Martz' offense compiled in St. Louis. If he was given a Buddy Ryan-like pass by Marinelli (you do your thing, I'll do mine), could Martz actually make the Lions offense entertaining? Dare I say "Productive"?

This whole idea frightens me. It could be an absolute disaster. Typical Lions. Or it could be a stroke of genius. Mad genius.

XL Photo Blogging

I ventured downtown this afternoon to get a look at the Super Bowl set-up. Things appear to be going well. There is certainly plenty of construction, renovation and demolition going on.

As I have yet to master the art of inserting multiple photos in one post and wrapping the text around the pictures, I'm going to have to just post one at a time. Annoying? Yes, but I think we will both be fine.

Me and Mrs. B.B., the official photographer of this blog, had a nice time strolling around town. We may head back for Winter Blast at the end of next week. If so, there may be more photos. Please don't let the anticipation keep you from sleeping, working, eating and the like.

XL Photo Blogging

I found this to be interesting. Amongst all the set-up vehicles what do I find? These two trailers with the logo of the Baltimore Ravens on them? I have no idea what they house or why on Earth they both featured the Ravens logo, but there they were.

XL Photo Blogging

Yes, it's your intrepid blogger. This rather pro-Pittsburgh sign was affixed at the end of a long sting of barricades in the Comerica Park parking lot between the stadium and Woodward. I'm guessing the rental company is from Pittsburgh. Anyway, as I'm rooting for the Steelers on this one, this shot seemed appropriate. (And, yes, that's a Steelers logo on my cap. Sorry, Sam. Hey, I love the Sox, spot me that.)

The bag? Yes, I spurred the local economy a bit. A Super Bowl XL cap and t-shirt have found their way to my house. A word of advice, as well.

My intial stop was at the Comerica Park retail shop which is one of the official sites for SBXL merchandise. I spotted a cap I liked, but it was $36. It was a basic adjustable cap with the official logo on it plus a Detroit February 5, 2006 tag line. That seemed a bit pricey. Sure enough, a walk about a block south of the park yielded the identical cap for $22. Everything in the store had much lower prices than the Comerica Park stop. Not surprising, but the price difference was rather significant. It was literally worth the block or two walk.

XL Photo Blogging

Obviously, a pair of street signs for the game. The corporate logos on the bottom vary from sign to sign. These featured a product very popular in the B.B. household.

I was somewhat surprised to see that some All-Star Game signs remained. I suspect the city wants to remind tourists that lots of things have been happening in The D.

XL Photo Blogging

Here is a shot of the RenCen complete with the Super Bowl XL logo and a Cadillac logo, of course. Hey, General Motors owns the place, I'll spot them their self-indulgence on this one.

Is The Turnaround Underway?

I have been leery to get all warm and fuzzy about Michigan basketball. During Tommy Amaker's tenure in Ann Arbor, every time it appears the program is about to turn the corner, it doesn't. So, when everyone starts to jump upon the Michigan basketball bandwagon, I wait to see if it's even moving. However, today's triumph over Wisconsin is noteworthy. Dropping the Badgers means the Wolverines have now defeated two ranked programs in a week. According to the university's game report, it's the first time in twelve seasons that Michigan has been able to accomplish that.

The victory over Wisconsin, fresh on the heels of beating Michigan State, will certainly have Michigan ranked in the Top 25. It's not a Big Ten title, regular season or tournament variety, nor does it measure up to winning games in the NCAA Tournament, but it does give Amaker's squad something to build upon. It gives them some credibility. It should give them a degree of confidence. Most importantly, it gives them a better chance of skipping the annual NIT invite and playing with the big boys come March.

Progress under Amaker's watch has been slow for Michigan basketball. Painfully slow at times. Yet, perhaps, today's win will finally signal the beginning of a change of fortune in Ann Arbor. Only will time will tell if the back-to-back wins over ranked opponents can translate into the foundation of the turnaround or be just another false start.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Numbers Game

Since I last typed, a couple of numbers in the sports world caught my attention. The first is 81. By now, everyone that probably cares, and a large percentage of folks that don't, have heard that Kobe Bryant went nuts on the Toronto Raptors. Even though I'm late to the party, as I've been away from the PC for a couple of days, I wanted to toss in my two cents.

My blogging brethren have shared their thoughts on Bryant's prodigious output. Most aren't warming up to Bryant's performance. I think it's easy to pile on Kobe for one simple reason. He's made it easy. Kobe's been portrayed selfish. If we are to believe the rumors, he's the primary reason the Lakers' most recent dynasty crumbled. Bryant wanted to be king of Los Angeles and couldn't assume that position until the guy with the crown--Shaquille O'Neal--was out of town. As the owner likes Kobe, the Big Guy now works in Florida.

In addition, Bryant has always been perceived as an old school ball hog. His critics suggest Bryant takes far too many shots and passes far too little. A night when you drop 81 on somebody ain't going to make that perception go away.

His legal issues, which taint his PR stature, also fuel the critics fire and cloud the judgment of many. However, let's forget about everything that Kobe is or isn't for a minute. He scored 81 points in a NBA game. I'm sorry, but that still leaves me shaking my head.

It's three days later and I still find myself mumbling "81?!?! 81 points? 81 stinking points? Are you kidding me?" The critics point out the fact Bryant torched the hapless Raptors. They say it's only a regular season game. Well, that's all fine and good, but in the history of this league how many guys playing against crappy teams have canned 81 or more? Hint: It's a small list. Real small.

I've been watching the NBA since the mid-1970's and I've seen a number of big-time scorers apply their trade. Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Dominique Wilkins, George Gervin, David Thompson, Rick Barry, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, Bernard King, Moses Malone, the list goes on and on, but not one has nailed 81 in a game. They all got to face some terrible competition at one point or another, but only Thompson's 73 came close to Bryant's Sunday night explosion.

In the interest of full disclosure, I think Bryant is everything people claim he is--selfish, a ball hog, intent on being the center of attention, a wondrous talent, perhaps, the finest player in the league. My perceptions aside, Bryant's 81 points are remarkable. The critics will still claim he took to many shots, didn't involve his teammates enough and was plain selfish. Probably so, but how many other selfish players in this league's history didn't pass to teammates and hoisted up tons of shots without coming remotely close to 81? That list is considerably longer than the list of guys with 81 or more points in a game.

Mammas Let Your Kids Grow Up To Be Golfers
$250,000. That's the second number that gave me pause while reading my Monday sports section. Any idea where that number came from? Kobe's per point salary? Nope. Amount each NFL player got for winning a conference title? Guess again. Amount of money I would need to watch Skating with the Stars? Sorry, incorrect. (Although, if you are offering, you know where to email me, right?)

No, the $250,000 was the amount of money won by Loren Roberts. Don't recognize Mr. Roberts' name? That's ok. That's what I'm here for. Loren Roberts is a professional golfer. A good one. He's won some on the PGA Tour and played in the Ryder Cup. Roberts is regarded as one of the better putters on tour in recent years. Why did his weekend earnings merit my attention? Because Roberts won it on the Seniors Tour.

The Senior Tour? Oops. Sorry, Mr. Finchem, Roberts won the initial foray in '06 on The Champions Tour. Whatever they call it, it's the golf tour exclusively for the over fifty crowd. Now, think about that amount, again. $250,000. Am I way off base or doesn't that seem like a darn large chunk of change for winning a senior golf event?

A career of hitting a little white ball all over lush green fields while following the warm weather wherever it goes and cashing checks is followed by a retirement of the same? Forget annuities and Roth IRA's, somebody hand me a driver.

There are two lessons here, I think. First, teach your children golf. It's a great game. Even if your wonderkid doesn't become Tiger Woods, you can make a great living and a spectacular retirement without winning ($250,000 was only good enough for fourth place on the regular tour event). Second, I need to head to the driving range. I'm nine years from my potential Champions Tour debut.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Out Of Town Football News

As per usual in mid-January, football action does occur, it's just far beyond metro Detroit. Starting on the other side of the pond, Everton beat Arsenal, 1-0. I'm sort of surprised. Ok, I'm thrilled to see the Toffees upend the Gunners. Didn't Arsenal just win a match 7-1 not long ago? Have Everton even scored seven goals since the new year began? Regardless, Everton is sneaking up the Premiership. I'd discuss Nottingham Forest's disappointing draw, but frankly you didn't care about the Everton match, so.....

Onto football you probably do care about. I rarely make picks around here, but I'm feeling adventurous so here is my take on the conference championship games. If you ask anyone who knows me reasonably well they will tell you I support two NFL teams--Detroit and Pittsburgh. While this means I clearly want the Steelers to triumph tomorrow, I'm getting the feeling Denver is going to emerge victorious. Why? Well, even though the Broncos are the betting favorite and they are at home, the Steelers are getting all the love.

If you've watched the coverage of the AFC title game, you'd get the feeling Pittsburgh was the favorite. Knocking off Indianapolis, everyone's Super Bowl favorite, coupled with two road playoff wins has made the Steelers the trendy pick. However, the Broncos have quietly dispatched nearly everyone this year including sending the champion Patriots home early. I'm going to hope the Steelers get the job done, but if I am going to guess a winner, I'm guessing Denver. (Please, please, Steelers, get two more wins. Please and thank you.)

In the NFC, I've got no gut feeling. Seattle would seem like the team to beat. However, a part of me just can't get past the fact they are still the Seahawks. The Panthers have a bit more post-season success, including a Super Bowl appearance. (I still can't get over the Panthers have been in a Super Bowl and the Lions haven't.) I like Jake Delhomme just a bit better than Matt Hasselbeck. So, I'll take Carolina in a close game.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Color Me Gray

It's been said you are one of two types of people. You are either the type that believes the proverbial glass is half full or you're the kind of person that sees the glass as half empty. When it comes to being a fan of the Detroit Lions, I think it's safe to say that many occupy the latter segment. Nearly fifty years of futility doesn't engender positive thought. Yet, when it comes to our beloved Honolulu Blue and Silver, I no longer see the glass as half empty or half full. It's just the same old stinking glass I've been staring at forever.

I want to be optimistic about Rod Marinelli as Detroit Lions coach. I, obviously, want him to lead the Lions to the success they haven't had since 1957. I want to be all fired up about the 2006 season. I want to be ready for training camp today. I'm not. I'm not even close.

It's not Marinelli's fault. I have no idea if he's the right guy or not. I admit that I tend to doubt he's the long term solution, but as I wish to be positive, I'll give the new guy a chance. It's just haven't we all been here, done that, before?

Marinelli's a tough guy. A military guy. A no nonsense guy. A guy the polar opposite of former coach Steve Mariucci. That's just the thing the Lions need, right? Well, maybe. Wasn't Bobby Ross a tough guy? Wasn't he a task master? How did that work out? Unlike Marinelli, Ross was not only a head coach before arriving in the Motor City, but he led San Diego to the Super Bowl. However, Ross failed here just like all the others since '57. So forgive me if Marinelli's direct, stern approach doesn't have me doing cartwheels.

I've sat through offensive gurus, defense first guys, college coaches, first time coaches, re-treads, old guys, young guys, soft guys, tough guys and everything in between. All have crashed and burned attempting to right the ship that is the Detroit Lions Football Club. Maybe Marinelli changes that pattern. Maybe he doesn't. Regardless, I just can't get myself excited about his arrival.

I'm sure Marinelli's age doesn't help. The fact he's never been a head coach anywhere bothers me as does the fact he's never been elevated to a coordinator's role. I'm sure my desire to see Tim Lewis get the job colors my opinion, too. And realizing Marinelli sounded quite a bit like Matt Millen did on his first day (lots of football rhetoric, not much idea what he was getting into) doesn't make me feel very good. Yet, with all that said, could Marinelli turn this team into a playoff team next season? Yes, I think he can.

Marinelli's enthusiasm and desire to teach are evident. If Matt Millen can help his new hire by filling a few roster holes and Marinelli's motivation can stir some of his players out of their malaise, then the playoff are possible in short order. However, an occasional playoff appearance isn't what I am hoping for. If Marinelli comes in and goes 8-8, their will be a party in his honor next year. 9-7 and people will be talking about Canton. I'll still be waiting for more substantial results.

What I wanted out of this hire, and what Marinelli may yet provide, is a long term answer to the Lions problems. I'd like to see the losing mentality around this franchise disappear. I'd like to see the Lions have a streak of four or five consecutive years in the playoffs. I'd like to see the Lions not only make the playoffs consistently, but advance deep into them. I'd like fans in other cities to think that for their team to win the Super Bowl, they've got to worry about beating Detroit. I want the Lions to win the Super Bowl not just host it.

Is Rod Marinelli the type of coach to guide the Lions to that kind of success? I honestly don't know. My heart hopes so, my mind has doubts. Thus, I'm left where I always am as a Lions fan--looking at the same philosophic half glass of water.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Breaking News: It's Marinelli

ESPNEWS and the Detroit Free Press are reporting the Detroit Lions are going to name Rod Marinelli as head coach. Check out this post from Ian at Sweaty Men Endeavors for some outside perspective on Marinelli.

Update: Fox Sports' Jay Glazer is reporting that Marinelli didn't make his flight out of Metro tonight. Isn't that how the Lions landed Marty Morninweg?

It's got to be a done deal. via the Associated Press is reporting this, too. Looks like we have a new sheriff in town.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

That's One Down, But Who Is Left?

For those of you playing along at home, scratch Mike Singletary off your list of potential Detroit Lions head coaches. is reporting that Singletary has been told he's been voted off Lions' Island.

I hate to say this, but with Singletary out and Maurice Carthon and Tim Lewis getting zero buzz around town, I'm beginning to wonder about "token interviews". To date, there's not been a single sign indicating any man of color was (or is) seriously in the running for the Lions gig. Now, there could be very legitimate reasons for that, but you have to wonder what the Lions' brass is looking for?

Do they want a guy with credentials? Lewis is a coordinator, not a position coach. He's coached solid units under Bill Cowher and Tom Coughlin. He's been to the playoffs. How much more experience do you need to have? Yet, in spite of this, Lewis has gotten almost no play around town. Either he's not in the running at all or Matt Millen has done a masterful job decoying every writer in the land.

I'll give the Lions and Millen the benefit of the doubt that they haven't earned. I'll just assume Lewis just isn't their cup of tea. Fine. Then why are the white position coaches still in the running, but Singletary is bounced at the first opportunity?

Russ Grimm and Rod Marinelli are far more suited to run the Lions than Singletary? Forgive me, but I'll take Singletary over both. Maybe that's just my remembering his playing career so fondly, but I just envision Singletary as an organized workaholic. If Singletary is a reach because this is so early in his coaching career then should I assume he never had a chance at the job anyway? Wouldn't that define "token interview"?

Each day that passes, this process just gets uglier and uglier. There are rumors that Jim Haslett will be the Lions new coach by tomorrow. It's about the third such rumor in the last ten days. Each time, however, a different coach was named. I'm hoping this is just smoke being blown about and that Lewis, my favorite from the outset, is still a viable candidate. Somehow, though, I just don't get the feeling that's very likely.

Monday, January 16, 2006

That's Why We Watch

I'm not a reality TV fan. Reality TV is an oxymoron if there ever was one. Like jumbo shrimp or MTV News. I also don't know why anyone needs scripted reality when the actual stuff is far more interesting. The entire spectrum--from the mundane to the amazing to the absurd in life--plays itself out in non-fiction form on a regular basis. That's, in part, why I think I still find sports so compelling. Just about anything imaginable can happen and eventually will. We need look no further than the last six minutes of yesterday's NFL Playoff tilt between Pittsburgh and Indianapolis to see that in vivid color.

Most of you know the backdrop of the game. The Colts were the number one seed in the conference and the Steelers barely made the playoffs. Uber-QB Peyton Manning and company were penciled into Super Bowl XL by many pundits and fans alike. The Steelers were already after thoughts.

When the run-happy Steelers used their aerial attack to jump out to a 14-0 lead over the pass-happy Colts, the drama had begun. However, neither a half or three-quarters do a game make. It's what happened in the last half dozen minutes that reminds us why we watch sports to begin with.

When the game clock dropped below six minutes left, the contest's momentum took the first of many dramatic turns. Pittsburgh's Troy Polamalu intercepted a Manning pass. Up 21-10, it appeared the Steelers were in control of the game. Sure, there was a review underway to confirm that the Steelers safety had made the pick, but everyone could see that Polamalu had intercepted the pass. You knew it. I knew it. The announcers (eventually) knew it. The Colts knew it. Their fans most certainly knew it. Anyone who had seen any amount of football in their lives could make this call. Except one guy wearing a striped shirt.

The official decided it was an incomplete pass due to something he referred to as a failure to complete "a football act". What?!?!? A football act? Who has ever heard of such a thing? Suddenly the NFL's interception rule was turned into interpretative dance. Did the Russian judge nail Pittsburgh? Apparently, catching the ball and rolling over a couple of times, with possession, does not constitute a catch in the mind of this whistle-blower. After several minutes of reviewing replay angles, the guy still managed to botch the call. It was unbelievable. Instead of wondering if the Steelers were going to run out the clock, the Colts were given another chance. They didn't fail.

Manning promptly marched Indianapolis down the field. The Colts scored a touchdown and made a two point conversion. The game that just a few minutes prior seemed to be over was now anything but complete. The fans were re-ignited. Momentum, if you believe in such things, was clearly the Colts' ally. Indy now only needed a field goal to tie. A touchdown on their home turf would probably secure a victory. With that high octane offense and the emotional boost, surely Indianapolis would score again, right?

Conversely, the Steelers and most football observers were debating the merits of replay and wondering if an official's call would shake Pittsburgh's upset chance? What's the point of stalling the game for another five or ten minutes so an official can make such a glaring error? Wasn't replay designed to eliminate just this type of thing?

Yet, the Colts never mustered much offense the rest of the way. The Steelers defense, which was the story of the game, did not yield. In fact, on a fourth down and long play with 1:20 to go, Manning got sacked by linebacker Joey Porter and the Steelers had the ball on the doorstep of the Colts endzone.

Finally, the Steelers triumph had been secured. At worst, the Steelers would take a knee four times and force the Colts to march the length of the field with little time left. They could also kick a field goad and eat up most of the time remaining in the process. The best case scenario for Pittsburgh would be to score another touchdown and seal an impressive road victory. Any of those three options would advance the Steelers to the AFC Championship Game. None of them occurred.

On the very next play, Jerome Bettis fumbled the ball. Bettis, who hadn't fumbled in a forever, coughed up the rock. You could feel the game hang in the balance as the ball floated away from The Bus. The Steelers remarkable day was about to be ruined by a fumble from a future Hall of Famer on the brink of retirement. It couldn't happen this way, Bettis' last play being a game changing fumble, but it was going to be.

Colts DB Nick Harper scooped the ball and began downfield. The game was over. It had to be. A defensive back was racing towards the opponents goal line with only the Steelers quarterback between him and playoff immortality. Harper even had a couple of teammates around to help lead the way. With each yard Harper gained, the Colts moved closer to a date with Denver. Indianapolis was about to stage the most improbable comeback in the most dramatic fashion in recent memory. Or not.

Somehow, Ben Roethlisberger tackled Harper by his shoe. While the Steelers were still alive, things didn't look good. The last time old Mr. Momentum tapped the Colts on the shoulder, Manning marched Indy into the endzone. This time, even a field goal would keep the Colts Super Bowl dreams alive. You had to think the Colts were going to get at least three points. The game was either going to be headed for overtime or Indy would pull of this miraculous comeback in regulation. They did neither.

Indianapolis moved the ball from their 42 yard line to Pittsburgh's 27. That left Mike Vanderjagt to kick a game tying field goal. Vanderjagt rarely misses. Ever. He was at home. On turf. Indoors. This game was destined for overtime. How much more could either team have left emotionally to play OT? Could there be even more of this stuff? How could Pittsburgh lose this game sitting on Indy's two yard line up three with about one minute left? They didn't.

Vanderjagt's attempt to send this game into another stanza went wide right. Way wide. It was never close. It would be amazing if you hadn't watched the previous six minutes. It was a fitting end to this bizzaro game. You had running team passing to gain a lead. You had the high powered offense fizzle. You had an official redefine an interception. The road team jumped to an early lead, the home team mounted a comeback. You had the guy who never fumbles, fumble. You had the guy who doesn't tackle, make a game saving tackle. You had the kicker who doesn't miss, miss.

Let's face it, if you wrote a screenplay with this stuff it would be so unbelievable I doubt anyone would buy the idea. It's just too implausible to happen let alone occur in a six minute span. Yet, it's why we watch sports. The gigantic emotional swings. Seeing the unimaginable become reality. Knowing that underdogs can triumph. You keep can keep your reality TV, I'll stick to mine.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

This, That And The Hall

Yes, boys and girls, it's another round of my legendary random observations. Sit back, grab a drink and let's see where this goes.

* In looking over the Detroit Lions list of would-be coaching choices, I'm not overly excited about any of them. Yes, we are all aware that I like Tim Lewis, the Giants defensive coordinator. (Much to my pleasant surprise, he is on Matt Millen's "To Be Interviewed" list. In fact, he may be chatting with Millen right now.) I like Mike Singletary and Russ Grimm, as well, just a bit less than Lewis. But, overall, this group of candidates just doesn't have much zest, for lack of a better word at this moment. There just isn't a sure-fire, gotta have 'em coach in the lot.

Actually, there probably is one of those type of coaches in the lot making the interview rounds currently. The odds are one of these guys on the interview carousel is probably going to turn out to be a great coach. The problem is we don't know which one it is. The disturbing question, especially for those of us who remain loyal to the Lions, is can Millen pick out the right candidate?

* A note to my fellow Michigan residents. I saw three robins on Saturday. Reminder, it's still January. Now, here is the query. Are the robins plain crazy and should be bolting town immediately or do they know something the weather forecasters don't?

* Lots of folks are up in arms over Joe Paterno's latest insensitive comments. As Michael Rosenberg points out in the Fox Sports piece, the list of JoePa's ill advised statements gets longer each year. Now, I'm not quite sure I'd can the guy over his latest ramblings, but let's get something very clear--they are ramblings.

Coach Paterno is, well, old. Old enough that, like others in his age group, he says things that are either painfully honest or just plain painful. Is that an excuse? No, just a fact of life. Once some reach a certain age, they are either unwilling or unable to edit their comments. They aren't interested in political correctness. They've been around longer than you and they feel they know what's best.

Unfortunately, that means this sort of thing is going to happen again. Which isn't really acceptable from your football coach even if he's a living legend. What Paterno's family needs to do is convince Paterno to walk away on a high note. This was a tremendous season for Penn State. PSU surely does not want to fire their most famous face after such a triumphant year. Yet, leaving him to continue his duties will only guarantee further and, perhaps, even more deeply regrettable statements that will only taint his status.

Here's hoping Paterno has enough sense left to step down. Not because of one statement, but because it's been more than one statement. Not because I want him fired, but because I don't want the university to have to fire him a la Bobby Knight. Not because he's a bad guy, but because I don't want Paterno to follow in Woody Hayes' footsteps and have his last coaching image be a negative one.

* Even with more television coverage than ever before, I still find tennis' Australian Open to be lost down-under. It's tennis' version of golf's PGA Championship--the forgotten major. I expect both golf fans who stop by here to decry this comparison. Sorry.

* So, I'm still curling. And, yes, I have found out that I do have some Canadian blood way back in the family lineage. I attempted to play last evening for the first time in about five weeks. I say attempted as I was so bad words fail to describe my futility. I openly apologize to those on my team.

The step between an adult recreation class and a weekly league gathering is very large. Like the difference between high school and college sports. Premise is the same. Pace of play and skill level are entirely different. No need to worry about me, though. I have plenty of Tylenol.

* The normal thing for a Detroit sports blogger to do is complain about Alan Trammell's and Jack Morris' latest exclusion from Baseball's Hall of Fame. I'm going to skirt the issue just a bit. (Besides, I'm confident others will take up this cause much more effectively.) I think a case can be made for either man to be enshrined. I think a case can be made to exclude either man from Cooperstown's hallowed halls. However, what I cannot quite get my tiny brain around is the incredibly small vote totals each man continues to receive.

How Trammell gets on only 17.7% of the ballots astounds me. So, too, does Morris getting only 41.2% of the vote. I just don't see how the numbers for these two guys can be so incredibly low.

* I can't quibble about Bruce Sutter's election. I would have voted for him, too. Probably years ago. However, I don't quite see how the voters justified Sutter, but bypassed Rich "Goose" Gossage? I agree with's Buster Olney on Gossage.

When I was but a wee lad, Gossage was THE closer in the game. He was the prototype flame thrower. When he was with the Yankees, I disliked him as much as any kid who rooted for the Red Sox did. However, the guy was dominant in his prime. Yes, he pitched far past his peak, but he help set the standard all others closers have aimed for. His exclusion is unfortunate.

It's getting late and I've got things to do, so that's it for this edition of my own elderly ramblings. Thanks, as always, for stopping by.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Tejada To Tigers?

I'm not quite sure what to make of this? The Boston Herald is reporting that the Detroit Tigers have recently gotten involved in the Miguel Tejada trade rumors. Yes, that's our Detroit Tigers they are talking about. What happened to the "our lineup is set" talk? Why would Tejada, who is unhappy about the Orioles plight, be any more content with the perpetually below .500 Tigers? Why would Tejada, who is questioning why the Orioles haven't made more moves, opt for Detroit who have almost stood still this winter adding only aging arms Kenny Rogers and Todd Jones to a fourth place ballclub? It just doesn't jive.

Can the Tigers be legitimate players in a deal to land Tejada? Wouldn't Jeremy Bonderman be the first player they request? Sure, Pudge Rodriguez would seem like a likely candidate to be shipped Baltimore's way, but the O's just signed Ramon Hernandez to catch and still have Javy Lopez. Wouldn't Tejada prefer Rodriguez as a teammate? How many players, in total, would the Tigers have to part with to get Miggy? Four for one? Five for one?

Maybe Lee has it right. The Tigers may just be calling to help facilitate a multi-team, multi-player deal. They would be involved, just not the ones landing the star shortstop. That's got to be it, doesn't it?

Trading Spaces?

There is some growing talk around town about whether the Detroit Lions should attempt to move up in the 2006 NFL Draft. Last night's Vince Young Show, live from Pasadena, did nothing but ignite the conversation further. Some would like the Lions to trade up to land the University of Texas star, thus giving Detroit the quarterback they are looking for. Coming off the performance of a lifetime, that's difficult to argue.

However, as it stands this second, there are only two players I would move up the board to land--D'Brickshaw Ferguson and A.J. Hawk. If Ferguson is as great as some would have us believe, he would answer the Lions' need for offensive line help immediately and secure the tackle spot for a very long time.

Hawk, who I haven't seen projected as much lower than the fourth overall choice, could be one of those very special linebackers. He is precisely what the Lions need--a playmaker. I don't care about any of the current linebackers on the roster, Hawk would be better than all of them instantly.

If the Lions cannot move up, as I think trading partners in such a venture would be difficult to find, I kind of like Chad Greenway, LB, Iowa at number nine. It's far too early to get any solid ideas about the draft, we aren't even sure if Young will bypass his final year of eligibility yet, but the draft always makes for interesting debate.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Let The Interviews Begin

The search for the next Detroit Lions head coach has begun. is reporting that fired Saints coach Jim Haslett is headed to Detroit for an interview. Over at, Don Banks is guessing the Lions search may come down to Ron Rivera and Russ Grimm. Also, Sports Illustrated is reporting the Lions have contacted Mike Singletary and are looking to get permission to speak with Kansas City's Al Saunders.

I think it's safe to assume that Matt Millen will opt for someone who appears to be a disciplinarian. A notion I approve of. I would also prefer a defensive guy at this point. I'm in complete agreement with the aforementioned Mr. Banks of who stated:

The sagest head coaching hires of late have been the guys with defensive coordinator experience (of which Edwards has none).

There's Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati, Lovie Smith in Chicago, Jack Del Rio in Jacksonville (playoff coaches all in 2005), John Fox in Carolina, Jim Mora in Atlanta, Mike Nolan in San Francisco, Romeo Crennel in Cleveland and Nick Saban in Miami. When you throw in former defensive coordinators like Tony Dungy, Bill Belichick, Bill Cowher, Jeff Fisher, Bill Parcells and Marty Schottenheimer, much of the league is led by that particular coaching sub-set.

I believe, that like a short game in golf, having a solid defensive performance week in and week out at least gives you the opportunity to compete. The offense, much like your success with a driver, may vary from week to week, but being able to play above average defense keeps you in games. That's, in part, why I am leaning towards a defensive guy.

Here's where I make today's plea for Tim Lewis. I think the Giants defensive coordinator merits an interview at minimum. He's been to the playoffs. He's a young guy.

Here is what Jeff Gordon, Fox Sports and STLTODAY writer, not the NASCAR champ, said about Lewis in his breakdown of would-be NFL head coaches (read the whole article, by the way):

He interviewed for the Falcons job that went to Jim Mora. He just turned 44, so he fits the mold of an up-and-comer. Michael Strahan and Co. rave about his efforts to restore their defensive roar.

"Tim is experienced, he's experienced success, he's an
articulate leader and he's a great-looking guy," agent Bob LaMonte told the Newark Star-Ledger. What more does a man need to get ahead?

Let's discount his agent's comments, but I can't see why Lewis would be any less viable than the more well known, but less experienced Singletary. I'm not saying that Lewis is clearly the right guy for Detroit, but he deserves an interview to find out.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Lions Off-Season News Begins

The Detroit Lions will pick ninth in the 2006 NFL Draft, if I have read this story from correctly. I have not wavered (since yesterday) that they need to select an offensive lineman. I hope there is one worthy of the ninth overall selection. Of course, if there isn't one available at nine, it's not like they can't use help elsewhere.

In light of today's wave of firings and the rumors that Oakland will can Norv Turner tomorrow, Matt Millen will be jockeying with about eight other NFL teams for a new head coach this off-season. Why does that not reassure me?

Anyone out there got an early favorite for the job? I kind of like Tim Lewis the defensive coordinator with the Giants, but it's early in the process and I'm quite confident that I'm unaware of at least half the candidates. I reserve the right to change my mind when I get a better idea of who is in the field.

Your Opinions On Satellite Radio

The radio in our automobile needs to be replaced and I've been debating acquiring a XM ready receiver. There are a number of things I need to consider before plunking down the cash. Do I get a XM ready receiver installed complete with a new CD player and traditional AM/FM options or, do I get a portable XM Radio, so I can get more use out of it? If so, which portable unit? What about reception? I've heard mixed reviews about dropouts and not getting much reception indoors.

This is where I could use your advice. If any of you have XM or Sirius, for that matter, would you be so kind as to share your thoughts on the service? Thank you.

Oh, and you may be wondering why XM over Sirius? I'm leaning XM's way for a single reason--Major League Baseball.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy 2006!

For those of you still a bit too groggy to recall, allow me to remind you that it's a new year. Yes, 2006 has arrived. No, that noise wasn't entirely in your head last night--there were actual fireworks. While you were busy doing things I probably do not want to know about, I made a few minor changes around the blog.

I've edited the links section. I've added a number of new blogs that I encourage you to read. I've found some good tennis blogs, added two Pistons blogs and I'm looking to add some golf links, if you know of any. They do have to pass my test, however. Unfortunately, much like gauging a hall of fame candidate, I'm not sure I can tell you what I'm looking for, but I know it when I see it.

Also, I figured I should post something. That is what I do around here. Well, most of the time. In the spirit of the season, and borrowing an oh-so-familiar format, I'd like to offer some hopes for the new year. I'm pretty sure most of these are going to be sports related, but I'm kind of making this up as I go, so let's see who or what I mention. Pay close attention, your name may pop up.

To Matt Millen, the coach of a lifetime. The Lions head honcho needs a small miracle to keep his job beyond '06. It begins and ends with whomever he hands the keys of Mr. Ford's team over to. Here's hoping he finds the Lions' version of Noll, Walsh or Shula--a guy who utterly transforms the performance and image of the organization.

To the Detroit Lions next quarterback, two offensive linemen in the draft, one a first rounder, and maybe one more via free agency.

To Kevin Jones, Lions runningback, see previous wish.

To Detroit Lions fans, I hope for a playoff team next year. Yeah, it's a big jump, but this is a wish list.

To Brett Favre, Jerome Bettis and Deion Sanders, future Hall of Famers, a fulfilling retirement.

To Detroit Super Bowl Host Committee, forget the weather and the city, the out-of-town press will hate both, just have one of the best games ever played. That will leave enough impression for the millions of television viewers.

To the Detroit Pistons, a second championship in three years.

To Chauncey Billups, Piston point guard, the All-Star Game selection he covets and deserves. A top five MVP finish, too.

To BB reader and fellow blogger, Sridhar Raman, more visits here and the ability to watch the Pistons more.

To Amare Stoudamere, Phoenix Suns forward, a return to health.

To the Detroit Red Wings, a big time goalie at the trade deadline. Jimmy Howard may be the next great Wings netminder, but it doesn't look like that road will begin this year.

To Steve Yzerman, Wings legend, the ability to retire whenever he feels its appropriate. And a healthy, happy life away from the game when he does decide to leave.

To the city of Pittsburgh, a chance to keep the Penguins.

To the Ottawa Senators, the Finals appearance they've been aiming for.

To the NHL, better television ratings.

To Major League Baseball, an injury-free and fun World Cup.

To Rafael Palmeiro, a mirror.

To Manny Ramirez, Boston slugger, and Miguel Tejada, Baltimore masher, the trade both are looking for. Mostly, so we don't spend three more months wading through the rumors.

To the Detroit Tigers, a record above .500.

To Dave Dombrowski, the emergence of the Tigers young players as stars at all levels of the organization.

To David Chadd, Tigers' draft guru, another solid draft as the '05 version appears to be.

To Jeremy Bonderman, a twenty win season. (Ok, ok, nineteen wouldn't be bad, either.)

To Justin Verlander, the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

To Pudge Rodriguez, happiness. Last year was tough, I'll spot you that. However, it could be worse than making ten million playing baseball. Come on, Pudge. The town loves you. You love you. Just enjoy the game and hit the snot out of the ball, again.

To Magglio Ordonez, health. I'm going to be optimistic and assume you can still hit if you are well. Please, prove me right.

To the television cameramen covering the Tigers, helmetcam. Come on, you knew the obligatory shot at Kenny Rogers arrival was going to appear.

To Detroit Tigers fans, something to cheer about in '06 and give you realistic hope for '07.

To my fellow members of the Detroit Independent Baseball Scribes, DIBS, more hits at your sites and press credentials at Comerica Park.

To Bill, of Detroit Tigers Weblog fame, interviews with Jim Leyland and Mike Ilitch.

To Brian, of Tiger, more book opportunities. One with just your name on the spine.

To Rob, Bleacher Guy blogger, an offer to take Bleacher Guy Radio to the local airwaves.

To Sam, of Roar of the Tigers and other blogs too numerous to name, a chance encounter with Brandon Inge in Ann Arbor, national recognition of your blogging, and a couple of more blogs to devote your spare time to.

To Ian, of Sweaty Men Endeavors and Fried Rice Thoughts, the healing only time can provide and a date with Ms. Johansson.

To Iain, of The Baseball Desert, perfect baseball weather in Boston in May. Two Sox wins, as well.

To Greg at Out of Bounds, success as a sportswriter. I'd suggest a newspaper gig, but you may be better off right where you are--on the 'net and at Motor City Sports Magazine. Oh, and a fresh supply of the Out Of Bounds T-shirt you owe me.

To my friends at Detroit Tigers Central, forgiveness of my absence. You are doing fine without me.

To the Leelanau Sports Guy, blogger at, more snow or less, whichever you prefer.

To The Sports Dude over at Luke Walton's Forehead, perseverance at EMU and a Michigan win over Ohio State.

To Lee at Tiger Tales, a welcome addition to the Tigers' blogging community, more new numbers to crunch.

To Lloyd Carr, Michigan head football coach, here's hoping you make the right changes this off-season.

To John L. Smith, Michigan State head football coach, a bowl appearance. Something closer to January 1 would help.

To Greg Kampe, head basketball coach at Oakland University, a win over Valpo, a win over Oral Roberts, another post-season run and a solid recruiting class. (I'm not asking for much, am I?)

To Tom Izzo, basketball coach at MSU, another Final Four appearance.

To Tommy Amaker, hoops coach at Michigan, a good enough Big Ten campaign so your squad is not on the bubble on Selection Sunday.

To the Torino Olympic Organizing Committee, a safe and scandal free games.

To Ernie Els, golfer, a spectacular return from an injury filled '05.

To Tiger Woods, two major wins and some competition.

To Sergio Garcia, golfer, performances to match his talent and ego.

To the Buick Open, our local PGA Tour stop, an appearance from Mr. Woods.

To the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team, enough victories to advance to the second round of the World Cup.

To England, yes, the whole nation, a World Cup victory. If the Red Sox and White Sox can end the madness, why not England?

To the fans of Everton, English Premier side, a brooming out of the powers-that-be, an influx of cash and avoiding relegation.

To Reading, Championship level side, the promotion to the Premiership that gets closer each day.

To Nottingham Forest, Division I club, the beginning of a climb back up the English football ranks.

To the Indy Racing League and Champ Car, the much-needed merger. Enough already.

To all of you who stop by my little corner of interent space, either on a regular basis or only once in a while, my sincere desire that '06 brings you health and happiness.