Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Thank You Note

To Rich Aurilia and Adrian Beltre,

I want to take this time to thank the both of you for your dismissal of the Detroit Tigers when you were free agents. I know the Tigers offered you good money to play at Comerica Park, but you opted for greener fields elsewhere. Sure, many around town were disappointed that you turned up your nose at our baseball team, but clearly things have worked out fine.

Instead of burdening either of you with wearing the Olde English D, the Tigers were forced to acquire Carlos Guillen and ended up finding Brandon Inge a home at thirdbase. Neither move takes place if either of you signed here.

As we in Detroit enjoy this time leading up to our first baseball post-season in nineteen years, many kudos are being tossed about. I want to assure the both of you that your contribution to the 2006 Detroit Tigers has not gone unnoticed. Without your decision to play anywhere but Detroit, it's doubtful the Tigers would be in the playoffs.

Gentlemen, on behalf of a grateful baseball fandom, I thank you.


P.S.- If you run into Juan Gonzalez, thank him for us, too.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Initial Thoughts On The Lions Opener

It wasn't as bad as I expected. That's probably the most accurate way to describe my feelings after the Detroit Lions 9-6 defeat to Seattle.

Did I hope for more? Well, more offense, yes. No, not vintage Greatest Show on Turf offense, but a touchdown, perhaps. Did I hope for more defense? I don't know about you, but I was pleasantly surprised by the Honolulu Blue D today. They kept Shaun Alexander in check and kept the defending NFC champs out of the end zone. Could I really expect more? No way.

Did I expect a win? No, of course not. But, I think we all have to admit the Lions let one get away here. I don't care who the opponent was, the Lions D gave them a chance to win this game and they missed a great opportunity. At home, to boot.

Here are some other random thoughts on today's Lions game remembering I did not watch every second. (I cut my grass at halftime and went to Wendy's to get my wife a Frosty and I had the Big Bacon Classic--no pickle, no onion--around the middle of the first quarter.)

* I liked that Kevin Jones got into the passing game as much as he did

* Why did Ernie "I've Taken More Blows To The Head Than The Three Stooges" Sims hit Matt Hasselbeck in the noggin with his own cranium? Not only was it stupid for him to hit a sliding QB (and draw a flag), but when you've taken that many shots to the brain yourself, you are endangering your career with such a move.

* I'm not a football genius by any stretch, but didn't Dre Bly helped set up the winning Seattle field goal by playing so far off the Seahawks wideout that the kid had about ten yards of open space to run his route in? For a supposed "shut down corner", Bly gave the Seahawks rookie wide receiver way too much respect. I can't even recall the young man's name, but Bly gives him a cushion that large when field position is so vital at that stage? It makes no sense.

That or the Lions defensive coaches went to a zone and basically handed Seattle about seven-to-ten yards as a gift. Which, as Seattle was looking to get into field goal range, seems equally perplexing. Why is this Pro Bowl corner so far removed from a first year wide receiver with the game on the line?

* I'm still not sold on Jon Kitna as a starting NFL QB.

* You have to love the Lions defensive line play today. If Shaun Rogers played close to that each week he would be a Hall of Fame player. Cory Redding played far better than I expected, as well.

* Black Jerseys? I'd prefer they go away.

* If I'm a Seahawks fan, I really miss Steve Hutchinson. If I'm Shaun Alexander, I miss him more than the fans do.

* Is it just me or did NFL defenses seem to be far ahead of the league's offenses this week?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Bye-Bye, DY

Dmitri Young got the boot, huh? I'm sure there won't be any wild speculation about the timing of that move.

Soggy Bloggers, Fading Tigers

I realize there are any number of things you really don't want to see here. Slides of the family vacation would be one. The pictures of my last endoscopy are probabaly another. Tonight's WNBA Finals contest might make your list as well. A post about the Blogger Night at Comerica Park is most likely high on your list of "Please Don't", too. Lucky for you, I'm going to spare you of three of the four.

To prove that we all have a life, and to squash rumors of us living in our parent's basement, a handful of Detroit's sports bloggers got together at last night's Tigers-Mariners game. As is usually the case when the blogging gang assembles, it's was an entertaining evening. I can also say with complete sincerity that the folks I sat in the same row with last night are a talented lot.

Not only do each of them have multiple blogs, but honest-to-goodness jobs (or double majors in progress at Michigan, in Sam's case). Yes, shocking as it may be, it seems most bloggers are actually reasonably normal people with social skills. Yet, they each find time to crank out post after post after post. Their effort is laudable and darn difficult to keep up with, frankly. At least as the oldest, I can use age as an excuse. Really, I should be in bed at this hour.

Having mentioned all of these exceptional blogging efforts, let me shamelessly point out two new efforts. Rob, of Bleacher Guy fame, has begun posting Green and White observations at his latest creation, Obviously, I encourage you to visit his newly claimed piece of cyber-space even though he doesn't even link my Big Ten baseball blog at his site.

Motor City Sports Magazine helps the Metro Detroit area by keeping Greg and Ian off the streets. The mag has re-launched its website this week and, again, I would advise you to stop in and see what is going on.

I suspect Billfer might have added another to his cadre of blogs by now, but having to follow a baseball team that is in first place has cost him some free time this summer.

(Let's see, did anyone else slide me any cash in return for a mention? No? Then, the plugs are done.)

Another thing about the Detroit sports blogging contingent, they are a hearty lot. Umbrella? We don't need no stinkin' umbrella. Well, fine, an umbrella might have come in handy during an hour and a half rain delay. After allowing more than a tad of rain to fall on our collective noggins, we did finally seek shelter. Like there is actual shelter from the elements at Comerica Park.

Alas, while the soggy bloggers did manage to show up for a full nine innings, our ballclub went nighty-night a few innings earlier. As you probably know, after posting an uplifiting three run first inning, the Tiger bats fell silent and the M's caught and eventually passed the Tigers last night. Outside of Andrew Miller's first home appearance (nice call, Ian), it wasn't a terribly memorable game.

Now, combine last night's defeat with today's rain filled loss (three hour delay!?!?!) and allowing Anaheim/Los Angeles/California to take two of three and the Tigers have lost four of six to teams they were beating in July. Now, comes a four game set in Minnesota against a Twins team that may only be three games back before tomorrow morning. Yikes. This race is getting way too tight for my comfort.

Yeah, yeah, I know the stats still favor the Tigers making the post-season. I also know the Chicago isn't exactly tearing up the American League, either. However, would it be too much to ask to win the division by more than three or four games? Would a five game lead really be so bad?