Friday, November 9, 2007

Detroit Sports Blog Roundtable: November

This is where we meet. The location? CLASSIFIED!

I spoke with a couple of my Detroit sports blog brethren and got together a little roundtable to discuss all of the issues of the day. We're going to try and do this every month, so here goes. We've got Big Al from The Wayne Fontes Experience and Bandy from Michigan Sports Spot as well as yours truly. Here we go...

Question 1 - The Lions are 6-2. Hold on let me type that again. The LIONS are 6-2 and near the top of the NFC. The next half of the season gets considerably tougher with Green Bay (twice), Dallas, New York and San Diego on the schedule. After it's all said and done what do you think the Lions record will be at the end of the year? Will they make the playoffs?

Big Al: Considering their fast start, They should win 10 games, but being the cynical Lions fan that I am, I'll say they go 9-7. That should still get them a playoff spot, but not a 1st round bye, let alone a home game. The schedule gets tougher in the 2nd half, so I could easily see them going 3-5, I see Detroit having a hard time in San Diego, Dallas is the obvious cream of the NFC, and a better team than the Lions, and the Lions NEVER beat Green Bay at Lambeau.

I see them beating the Packers on Thanksgiving, winning at Minnesota, and taking KC at home. The swing games are going to be the next 2, this weekend in Arizona, and the Giants at Ford Field. Win 1 of those 2, I think winning 10 games is within easy reach. Win both, and the sky's the limit. I'm not going to get my hopes up, as the Lions have often struggled in Arizona (Remember Bobby Ross going for 2?) and the Giants are a very good team fighting for a playoff spot themselves. In many ways, the Lions season may be defined in the next 2 games. The Lions go 2-0. or even 1-1, the fans will continue to believe. But 0-2? We'll hear the cries of "Same old Lions!" and "Fire Millen!" from a fanbase that hopes for the best, but always expects the worst.

Bandy: Sitting at 6-2 is quite a feat for the Lions considering their defense. I think everyone & their mother realized that the Lions finally have a top tier offense, after years of top offensive picks. The icing on the cake was the Calvin Johnson pick during the last NFL draft. The question mark for me is the defense. Don’t get me wrong, that was quite a defensive performance against Denver, but we really didn’t see the true Denver offense. They had to put second string QB Patrick Ramsey on the field after Jay Cutler took a hard hit from the entire D-Line of the Lions. Even if Denver had their full offensive product on the field, they’re not a top notch offense like they’ll see in the 2nd half of the season. That being said, there’s nothing wrong with facing inferior competition early in the year. It will give the Lions confidence moving forward into the 2nd half.

Another key point of the 1st half is that they’ve not had to endure many injuries on either side of the ball. If they can stay healthy & positive, it’s going to be a great year.

All things considered, I see the Lions supporting John Kitna’s 10 win prediction, but that’s it. My prediction at the end of the end of this season is a wildcard berth with a record of 10-6. The roar WILL be restored!

BAW: I'm actually pretty bullish on the Lions. I had them at 5-3 in my preseason game-by-game predictions (@ Chicago was the loss I had predicted for them) so this is pretty much where I thought they would be prior to the start of the season. I said they'd be 9-7 then (and was laughed at by anyone I told) and now I'm willing to say that they are going to go...12-4.

I know, I'm crazy but hear me out. I think they can take out the Cards this week in Arizona, even though historically it's not been a place where the Lions have played well. I then think they can beat both the Giants and Pack to go to 9-2. Then lose two of the next 5 games to finish a solid 12-4 which probably wins them the North and gets them a first round bye.

I just don't think the Packers, Giants, and Cowboys are as good as people think and I think the Lions can beat all three of them (especially at home). As long as the Lions front four play well they will have a chance to be in every game. The offense is much more balanced since the return of Kevin Jones, and the O-Line has also been better at keeping Jon Kitna off of the turf. I think the Lions could be a lot like last year's Saints, but maybe, just maybe, they could go least there's hope and that's something we haven't had in Detroit for awhile.

Question 2 - Michigan and Michigan State played another classic this weekend, but after it was over both sides seem to be talking a lot of trash. Do you think this is a healthy development for the rivalry and where do you see Michigan and Michigan State going the rest of the year? Will Sparty make a bowl? Can Michigan beat the Vest?

Big Al: First off, a rivalry needs both teams to be a threat to win, not a threat just every 5-6 years, as Sparty does currently. 8 years out of 10, the Wolverines to the Spartans are the equivalent of a hammer to a nail. But the trash talk, hurt feelings, and Dantonio's Tressel-like focus on Michigan will put a life into the series it sorely needs. As for this season, I'm not at all confident that Sparty will get to 6 wins. The talent just isn't there. They have to beat Purdue, as I don't see them beating Penn State. I'll go out on a limb, and say Sparty finishes 5-7, missing out on a bowl...Again. As for the Wolverines, I have no reason to believe that the end of the 2007 season will be any different than the last 4 seasons. Cheatypants McSweaterVest has Lloyd Carr's number, plus tOSU will be playing for a spot in the BCS title game. I hate to say it, but the bucknuts win...Again.

Then Michigan will go out and lose whatever runnerup bowl they end up being invited to play. Only 1 thing might change my prediction, if Lloyd announces he's stepping down before the tOSU game. Then all bests are off. Otherwise, it's a 9 win season. They've had a nice recovery from the debacles that were the Appy St and Oregon games, but it's still been a VERY disappointing season overall. If there is a program in DIRE need of new blood, it's Michigan.

Bandy: There is no doubt in my mind that this is a healthy development for both teams & also, for the Big Ten. This rivalry has always been a ‘Michigan’ rivalry, not a Big Ten rivalry. It shouldn’t be that way. The trash talking will get both teams more exposure & hopefully, attract more attention (& hopefully recruits) to both teams. This is especially good for MSU, but they need to back up the trash talking.

As for the rest of this year, I believe that the outcome & extracurricular activities of the MSU/Michigan game will help MSU. They will play the rest of the year with something to prove & with good effort, will perform well both against Purdue & Penn St. Even though they will perform well, I still don’t see them winning both games (which is what they’ll need to make a bowl this year). I believe MSU will lose to Purdue in a close game & beat Penn St. at home. The Penn St. win will drive them into the off-season on a positive note.

As for Michigan, the road is tough without a doubt. Games against Wisconsin & THE Ohio State are about as tough as it gets in the conference right now. I believe Michigan will beat Wisconsin in an ugly game as both teams are hobbling right now. In the Michigan/Ohio St. finale, Michigan will bow down to the Buckeyes tough defense and lose in a close game. The only reason I think it will be close is because this game is always a good matchup, regardless of the team’s talent or injury situations. From there, Michigan will make it into a New Year’s Day bowl.

BAW: I think the trash talk is a good thing for the a point. I think MSU needs to keep things a little quieter until they actually win a game. Michigan didn't start any sort of trash talking until they took care of business on the field, and I think Sparty would be well served to take that kind of approach. That being said I think the bad blood that's developed can only be a good thing.

As far as MSU's season is concerned I think the telling thing this week was the fact that they were still dwelling on the Michigan game two days after the fact. They put SO much on this game that I think losing it the way they did could be a big letdown. I think they CAN win both of these games, but I don't think they'll actually win either of them. There is a big potential that they could get blown out at Purdue if they're not focused and if that happens I don't see a rebound against Penn State. If they really want to prove they're not the "Same Old Sparty" they'll show up at Purdue this week and get the win. Then they can finally start talking bowl against Penn State.

And that brings me to my Wolverines. Am I the only one who thinks they can beat the Buckeyes? Seriously? This week's game doesn't mean much on the Big Ten side of things, but I can tell you that a 10-2 season looks better than a 9-3 season in the end. With PJ Hill probably out for the game, I think Michigan wins by a couple of touchdowns. Wisco's pass defense isn't good at all and with Henne and a (healthy) Hart I think Michigan will take the win, and with that out of the way the focus goes to the Buckeyes....

I think Michigan wins that game. First of all they are at home, and second OSU hasn't played a tough close game all year long and I think that's going to catch up to them. Michigan has shown (both at Illinois and at State) that they can come back and win in the clutch in hostile environments. OSU, on the other hand, hasn't been challenged all year and it will be interesting to see how they react to a close game situation. Plus after the first two games of the season, all the players know their only road to redemption goes through the Buckeyes and I think they will rise to the challenge.

Question 3 - The Pistons are off to a 3-1 start and two of those wins were without Richard Hamilton. Are you happy with what the Pistons did in the off season and what do you think they are going to do this year?

Big Al: Despite Joe Dumar's threats to make a major change in the team's makeup, they did deserve 1 more chance to make a title run. Plus Rasheed Wallace will a much more enticing player to trade once he's into the final year of his contract, which is next season. My magic 8 ball sees a replay of '06-'07. I see another 50 win season, Flip Saunders leaning on the starters too much), not developing the bench despite the cries from the fans, media, and Dumars (I have to see it, to believe it, as the call for developing their youth/bench has been the Pistons' stated goal for the last 4 seasons, yet it never happens), leading to the team running out of gas in the conference finals.

Much like Michigan needs fresh ideas, I think the same is happening to the Pistons. If we see another flameout like the one against the Cavaliers in the ECF? It'll be time for a big shake up of the roster, with Billups and Stuckey the untouchables, and we say "Thanks for the memories" to 'Sheed.

Bandy: I was ecstatic with the way the Pistons handled their offseason moves. Chauncey Billups is the heart of this team & bringing him back was a must. That was the first great move. The second great move was sending Chris Webber packing. Webber is way past his prime & doesn’t fit the blue collar work ethic that the Pistons thrive on. They made a couple good draft picks, mainly Rodney Stuckey, which will sure up their backcourt in the future. Joe Dumars has done a fantastic job with the talent he’s acquired & is now showing his plans for the future. Jason Maxiell was a force in the pre-season & can challenge for the starting spot at power forward.

Overall, the Pistons again are contenders in the East & also in the run for the NBA championship. The main challengers in the east will be Boston of course, with their additions of Kevin Garnett & Ray Allen. Boston has started to build a team similar to the Piston’s foundation & the city of Boston is yearning for a run back to the NBA finals. They haven’t had a team this talented since the days of Kevin McHale, Larry Bird, Dennis Johnson, & Robert Parish. I believe that Boston is the only other team in the east that can match-up with the Pistons & challenge for the east crown.

My prediction is the Pistons will make the NBA finals again….but will have to face the superior opponent in the San Antonio Spurs. I really want to give the Pistons the nod in this match-up, but I can’t. The Spurs are too strong across the board. Spurs win….again, in 6 games.

BAW: I'm pretty happy with the way the Pistons handled the offseason (and that's not just because Rasheed is on my fantasy team). I think they addressed their biggest problem and that was finding a bench scorer who could drive and make his own shot. Stuckey looks like he's going to be that guy when he heals from his injury. I also really like the addition of Afflalo as a defensive stopper and the subtraction of Chris Webber's sorry ass. He seriously had my vertical leap (which is not good) during the playoffs last year.

That being said there are still some problems. They aren't deep as far as big men are concerned and if Sheed or McDyess go down with any significant injury they could be in trouble. That being said I don't think it's going to matter what happens in the regular season with the Pistons as they could be seeded between 1-4 and be okay.

I think the Pistons are the favorites in the East. Even after the first few games I still don't believe the Boston hype. I think that team has flaws (DEFENSE) and I think they will be exposed come playoff time. The Bulls haven't gotten any better (unless you count getting that freak Joakim Noah as improvement) and the Cavs have gotten worse. I just don't see any of these teams challenging the Pistons, especially a Pistons team that can play the "disrespect" card.

So I see the Pistons winning the East Finals and playing a close tough series with the West Champs (Spurs). Can they beat the Spurs? Sure. Will they? Um...I already predicted a 12-4 season for the what the hell. I think the Pistons beat the Spurs in 7 in San Antonio. Yeah, I said it.

Question 4 - The Wings are also off to a hot start this season. Can they return the Stanley Cup to Detroit? Do you think Hasek will be durable enough for another run? If not do you think Osgood is the goalie to take them there?

Big Al: Much like the Pistons, the regular season means little to the Red Wings, it's all about the playoffs. Till then, the fans will bitch and moan about the crappy schedule, the lack of playing "Original 6" teams (Save for the Blackhawks, of course) on a regular basis, the Red Wings bring an eastern time zone team in the Western conference, and Gary Bettman. In other words, it's just like any other NHL season.

I'm bullish on Osgood, as he's off to a 8-0-0 start while Hasek's been laid up, so the crazy ass Czech hasn't been missed. I'm fine with the 2 goalies splitting time between the pipes, anything to keep the decrepit Hasek, and his gimpy hip and groin, healthy for the playoffs. Hasek is in Detroit for 1 thing, a long playoff run, period. Osgood is in Detroit for 1 thing, to be Hasek's affordable insurance policy, period. As good as Ozzie has played, any playoff success will hinge on Hasek. The Wings will go as far as his craziness and groin will take them.

The Red Wings will win the Central easily, win 2 hard fought playoff rounds while the fans lose copious amounts of sleep, and lose in the WCF to the Sharks.

Bandy: The Wings are as good as any other team in the West, no doubt. The issue this year is that there really isn’t a clear cut best team in the West. I think the title is up for grabs as much as any other year. That being said, the Wings have a great chance to make a run at the cup. Dominik Hasek will be a key part of that run though. He’s getting up there in age & durability is definitely a concern. Even though Hasek is a concern, there is an excellent backup in the mix being Chris Osgood. He can definitely carry the load if necessary & has shown that so far this year.

Keeping Henrik Zetteberg & Pavel Datsuyk healthy are keys to a successful offensive season. They will carry the load on on the scoring side of things for the Wings. Tomas Holmstrom will also play a key role. Keeping all three of these guys healthy is a key to making a run.

All things considered, I think the Wings will make a run into the playoffs, but probably will not make it to the Stanley Cup Finals. The reason I say this is that this team is not as dominant a team as there have been in the past. Also, they are lacking some leadership in my opinion. I think they’ll make the playoffs, but not make it to the finals. The team looks good so far, but it’s still early in the season.

BAW: The regular season means nothing to the Red Wings. They play in a terrible division and will rack up win after win after win, and probably challenge for the President's Cup again. YAWN, wake me up when it's playoff time.

That being said I think Zetterberg has turned the corner and is a full on bad ass. The man is unstoppable so far this season, and that can only mean good things for the Wings.

Osgood worries me a little. I know he's won a Cup before and he's on a hot streak right now, but Hasek played out of his mind during the playoffs last year and that wasn't enough and I still think he's better than Osgood. I think they need Hasek back in order to challenge for the Cup.

In the end I see the Wings making another run to the conference finals at least. The NHL playoffs are such a crap shoot and I'm sure the Wings will run into another hot goalie (they always do) that can easily end their season. They'll challenge for the West crown, but I think somewhere along the line they'll fall short.

Question 5 - Last but not least the Tigers head into what could be called a very pivotal off season. They have already acquired Edgar Renteria and Joel Zumaya has been lost to either a box or a dirt bike (don't know about the dirt bike...heard that rumor from McCosky who apparently reported it off some blog...nice responsibility...) What do you think should be the number one priority this offseason for the Tigers? Do you think they should go after A-Rod, Schilling or Mariano? If you were Dombrowski what are the moves you make? How much more are Hot and Ready Pizza's going to be if we sign A-Rod?

Big Al: We found out this week that Shilling is off the market, so he's not in the mix. As nice as his 50 HR's and 150 RBI's would look in the lineup, A-Rod is a luxury the Tigers don't need, and probably couldn't afford. I'd target Mariano Rivera, as the pen is the Tigers most glaring need, thanks to that rouge box that attacked Zumaya.

No matter what, the bullpen should be Dombrowski's 1st priority. with the finding (At the very least) 1 starting pitcher a close 2nd. I can live happily with the current lineup, but a LH bat would be a nice addition, but not absolutely necessary.

If I were in Dave Dombrowski's shoes, I'd do the following...

A. Right now the Tigers are short both a closer, and a set up man at the back end of the pen. So that's why, out of the 3 FA's you mention, I want Rivera. Without question. No doubt about it. Get out the checkbook, and make it happen! My 2nd choice would be former Tigers property Francisco Cordero, 3rd is Eric Gagne, with Todd Jones as my FA closer of last resort. In a prefect world, I'd sign both Jones and one of the above. No matter what, they HAVE to sign one of those 4 closers, (t looks as if The Rollercoaster is the Tigers' 1st choice), then dig up a set up man as well. Say Scott Linebrink? David Riske? Take a flyer on Kerry Wood?

B. Starting pitching, preferably 2 starters. Though the Tigers are claiming that they only need 1 starter, I'm leery of automatically giving the 5th rotation spot to 1 of the group of Miller/Tata/Trahern/Vasquez/Spring training phenom. Despite Scott Boras' posturing, I think the Tigers sign Kenny Rogers. I'd like them to also go for Carlos Silva, he won't come cheap. It would take a Gil Meche style contract to get him.

C. A left had hitting corner outfielder. Personally, I like Luis Gonzalez as a 1 year stop gap, as part of a platoon with Marcus Thames. Basically, anyone other than Timo Perez would be a solid upgrade.

Bandy: First of all, let me make a comment on the Edgar Renteria signing…..PHENOMENAL! This was a great pick-up for the Tigers. I realize there are a lot of people out there who are against sending some prime talent away, but let me tell you….the Tigers change to win the World Series is NOW. They have a great core group of players that can take them all the way next year. There are, however, some areas they’ll need to address during the rest of the off-season, but finding someone to play shortstop in place of Carlos Guillen was a #1 priority. Now that that issue has been resolved, they can address one other area….pitching.

The pitching staff has a good core of youngsters, but they’re one starter away from being solid again. As much as I love Nate Robertson as a person & team mascot, we need to sure up the #5 in the starting rotation. Verlander & Rogers are solid. Bonderman has shown Cy Young potential, but appears to fall off towards the end of the year. Andrew Miller will be a stud in the next couple years. That leaves one spot open. Nate Robertson is a great guy like I said, but he doesn’t have the power or the movement needed to be a shutdown starter. I think he’d be effective coming out of the pen.

Now, the question is who to go after? If there’s a year for free-agent pitching, this is it. I would love to see the Tigers make a run at Tom Glavine, as another left-handed starter. As of now, he’s a desirable free agent for many teams, including his old team the Atlanta Braves. He’s heading towards the end of his career, but if I were him, I would want to be playing for a contender as my career was coming to an end. This would sure up the starting rotation & also fit the Tigers current roster….as an older, experienced player. I’m sure there are many people though who would not like Glavine, but I stick with my feelings about the Tigers’ situation…they need to win now!

As for A-Rod, I really don’t see that happening. I would really love to see A-Rod at 3rd base in Detroit, but is it really necessary? You can argue either way, but my feeling is no. That’s a hefty investment on one player to make & I don’t think Mike Illich will do it. That money can be spent in other places, like pitching, & get a better overall outcome. Additionally, Jim Leyland loves Brandon Inge as a fielder. He might not be the best hitter for average, but he’s got good pop in his bat for someone hitting 9th in the line-up.

In summary, looking at their current situation, they need to address a starting pitcher & possibly another long reliever. They could also move Robertson to the pen & just address the 5th starter. Bottom line is that they have some options. Other than that, I believe the Tigs are contenders…..again.

BAW: I think the key to this entire offseason is what the Tigers do at closer. With Zumaya out, this is going to be their most important offseason move. I don't see any reason you don't get out the checkbook and get Mariano Rivera. He's the best closer out there and he's what the Tigers need. I like Todd Jones, but I don't think my heart can take another season of him closing. Plus, Rivera is the best one out there. GO GET HIM! I also think they need a set up man as well, I would have to agree with Al as to getting Cordero, although his American League stats scare the crap out of me.

I also think they need to resolve this Kenny Rogers situation now that Curt Schilling is no longer a possibility. The Tigers have Bonderman, Verlander and Robertson in the rotation right now and they really need Rogers for a fourth spot. I also think they should sign another veteran pitcher to fill the fifth spot and let Andrew Miller develop more in the minors. Miller could be brought up in the event of injury but I think he'll be better served with a stint in Toledo.

Now for the position players. I think getting Renteria was a great move, but I think they need to at least extend him for another year. He's not worth a one year rental for what was given up. While I would LOVE to see A-Rod here I don't think it's going to happen. I think he's priced himself out of the Tigers market and they'll use their money elsewhere. Leftfield continues to be a problem and I think they need to find a left hand hitter to platoon with Marcus Thames. Corey Patterson comes to mind but I don't know if he'll go for a short term deal (the Tigers won't sign anyone long term with Maybin waiting in the wings) but he's a guy who likes to strikeout and that could be a problem. Luis Gonzalez is an idea as well, and he seems like a guy who may take a short deal to return to the Tigers.

Well there you have it. The first of what will (hopefully) be many monthly roundtables between some of Detroit's sports bloggers. Hopefully you enjoyed it. If you have a blog and you would be interested in joining us just drop me a line. Until next time....

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Spartans Need to Shut Up and Win Something

Yeah...soak it in again....

This is my first chance to write anything since the events of this past weekend and my original plan was to write a big piece talking about the Lions turning the Broncos into Barbaro (too soon?) and Michigan beating Michigan State. But then this stuff came out and it needs to be addressed all on its own.

Sparty is all up in arms about Mike Hart's post game press conference where he said the following about MSU taking a 10 point lead halfway through the fourth quarter of Saturday's game...

"I thought it was funny. They got excited. Sometimes you get your little brother excited when you're playing basketball, and you let him get the lead, and then you come back and take it back."

Not the most intelligent comment in the world, but after hearing reports that MSU upperclassmen were telling the underclassmen to "savor the moment you beat Michigan," on the sidelines after the Caulcrick TD you can see where he's coming from at least. Well today MSU head coach Mark Dantonio decided to take the "high road" with Hart and said the following...

"Does Hart have a little brother? Or is he the little brother?" (and then makes a gesture to show that Hart is short.)

Seriously? The HEAD COACH of a major college football team is trading jabs in the media with a 21 year old kid and resorts to calling him SHORT?!?! This is the comeback? Who's the kid and who's the adult here? Hart said something that was in the heat of the moment and probably stupid, but he's a young kid and it was moments after an emotional victory. Dantonio is saying this TWO DAYS after the fact, and he resorts to petty short jokes. But did he stop there? Nope. In reference to Michigan staging a "moment of silence" for Michigan State on the field after the game, Dantonio said this...

"If they want to mock us, I'm telling them, it's not over. They can print all that crap they want all over their locker room. It's not over. It'll never be over here. It's just starting. You don't have to disrespect people. If they want to make a mockery of it, so be it. Their time will come."

I find it funny that he gets so pist off about this. Mostly because HE BROUGHT IT ON HIMSELF! After Michigan lost to App State, Dantonio was doing a post game interview on WJR and said that maybe they should have a "moment of silence" for the University of Michigan. Don't talk trash if you can't deal with the aftermath. It's just so funny that he jokingly mocks Michigan in a radio interview and then when it comes back to bite him in the ass he plays the "disrespect" card. He stoked the flames of this rivalry since the moment he got on campus (the BEAT MICHIGAN clock being one of the examples) and can't deal with what he has wrought.

Moving on, Jehuu Caulcrick and Brian Hoyer also voiced their displeasure over how Michigan handled the victory. Let's start with Caulcrick. For a bit of a refresher let's see what Jehuu said after Michigan lost to App State....

"It's like two wins. We watched the game and were cheering and singing the fight song. It was great."

Funny. How many wins does it feel like now? If that does count as two wins are you suddenly bowl eligible? Anyway, today he spoke about how he was "disrespected" after the game by Michigan's Terrance Taylor.

"I was walking off the field and he came up to me. I don't want to talk to you. You guys just won, go celebrate with your team. You don't need to talk to me.'Then it went on from there. Then we started talking back and forth saying words I'm not going to say right now. It just goes back to winning with class."

Winning with class huh? Hmmm....why does this strike me as odd coming from Caulcrick. I can't quite put my finger on it....

(HT to mgoblog for video) Oh yeah. That whole thing. Caulcrick (#30) was one of the ringleaders of the MSU flag planting incident at Notre Dame. And now he's lecturing someone ELSE on winning with class? He needs to just shut the hell up.

And that brings us to Brian Hoyer. I find Hoyer's comments to be the funniest so I left them for last. Here goes....

"Let's put it this way, if anybody hadn't taken this personal up until this point, it's personal now. It just shows what kind of class (Hart) has. We don't feel they really deserved to win that game. I'm sure they walked away feeling a little bit lucky coming out of it, too. I can guarantee you come next year, that (Hart's quote) will be sitting up on our bulletin board."

I put a little bold in there to show you the really stupid part. Michigan didn't deserve to win? Why is that Hoyer? One would argue that blowing a 10 point lead with 7:40 to go on your own field an indictment on why YOU didn't deserve to win. Generally speaking the team that scores the most points wins and that's what Michigan did Saturday. Losers talk about who "deserves" to win. Winners just go out there and win. Here's the deal, how about you go out there and, you know, WIN SOMETHING! I don't think you're really scaring anyone with these "now it's personal" comments. All we heard this year was how Michigan State was focusing on this game, and how the rivalry was taken up a notch. And what happened? Sparty lost again. Now it's supposed to be different because it's "personal?" Please.

Michigan State players talked a lot of crap after Michigan lost to App State, and now that's coming back to them. Deal with it. The Spartans should keep their mouths shut until they actually do something of note on the football field. This is a team that's won two Big Ten games over the past two seasons (worst record in the conference by the way), hasn't beat Michigan since 2001 and hasn't been to a bowl since 2003. Why don't you worry about trying to scrape two wins together just to get to the Motor City Bowl instead of worrying about Michigan players "disrespecting" you after you blew a 10 point fourth quarter lead on your own field.

In the end Hart was stupid for saying what he said. Does it make me happy as a Michigan fan to hear some of that stuff? Of course. It still doesn't change the fact that it was a stupid comment to make, but the difference between Hart trash talking and Spartans trash talking? Scoreboard folks. Hart is 4-0 against MSU, so while he's stupid for saying what he said, at least he's backed it up on the field.

The Spartans need to shut the hell up until they do something on the field to back it up.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Scoreboard, Bitches!!

This is what pure joy looks like...

I'll have much more specific things to say in the next couple of days, but as for right now the title of this post is all I have to say to those Spartans who piled on after the App State loss....and the ones who sent me messages after going up 10 in the 4th.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Joel Zumaya is Starcrossed

Nothing surprises me anymore

Bad news for the Tigers 2008 season, and the 2007 season has only been over for a month. Joel Zumaya is out until midseason after undergoing shoulder surgery. Now did he get this injury throwing? Nope. He got it....moving furniture. That's right. The Tigers lost their potential closer for half a year because he was moving furniture.

Here's the thing. Freak injuries happen, but they seem to happen to Joel at an alarming rate. Last year he tears a tendon in his pitching hand in what is called a very "weird" injury at the time, and now we get a furniture moving injury. I think I speak for every Tigers fan when I say this, Joel. HIRE MOVERS! Hell, I'll pitch in. I'm sure if we took up a drive among Tigers fans they'd all chip in to help you move your stuff. I understand that this was during the wildfires, and that's tragic to deal with, but if your shoulders are part of what makes you money you should probably do what's necessary to protect them instead of moving a few pieces of furniture that can likely be replaced.

The only good news in all of this is that free agency hasn't heated up yet and the Tigers have some options to go after to fill the void left by this injury. Obviously the first option is to resign Todd Jones. I didn't think this would happen going into the offseason as Jones is probably looking for a two year deal (the Tigers only want to give a one year deal more than likely) but this injury certainly helps those odds. And of course there's always one other option....

Mariano Rivera

He's on the market and said he wouldn't go back to the Yankees if Torre was gone. Well Torre's gone so maybe he'd give a long look at Detroit. Mariano's still one of the top five closers in baseball and if you can get him for a 2-3 year deal you go and do it. Best case scenario if the Tigers sign him is that when Joel comes back we can have him set up for Mariano in the ninth. How good would that be? I would love to see the Tigers make this move. I'd also love to see A-Rod at 3B and Brandon Inge playing somewhere else as well, and I'm willing to pay $8 for a Little Caesars Hot and Ready Pizza to make it happen. It'll definitely be an interesting off season, that's for sure.

Oh and Joel, take it easy during rehab okay?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Drew Sharp Needs a Sense of Humor

See Drew, even this cat knows what a joke is.

After the Lions big win in Chicago, Free Press Columnist Drew Sharp had no real choice but to write a positive column about the Lions. I'm sure the idea made his skin crawl, but to give him credit, he did, but yours truly was just waiting for him to find a way to come back with something negative. It only took two days....

First let me give you some background. As most NFL fans know, Joe Cullen, a defensive coach for the Lions, was busted for pulling up to a Wendy's drive-thru naked. This lead to him seeking counsel for some personal issues. A laugh was had from around the NFL at expense of the Lions, Cullen kept his job, and that was that. At least until this week.

Oh the NERVE of Jon Kitna. I AM SO ANGRY!!!!!

Jon Kitna and his wife dressed up as Cullen and the Wendy's employee for the Lions Halloween party this week and Drew seized upon the opportunity to make a big deal out of nothing. Drew decides that apparently it's his place to speak for Cullen and his feelings. He thinks Kitna owes him an apology. Now did he talk to Joe and ask him how he felt about it? No. He just assumed.

Here's the deal. Kitna was making a joke, and since he's a, you know, MEMBER OF THE LIONS, I'm sure he knows what Cullen's thoughts are on the issue. He may have even asked him about it prior to showing up. Did you think to ask these questions of Kitna or Cullen before assuming you know all the details? No. It was just a perfect time for another shot at the Lions.

Making jokes is the way guys interact, and when someone does something embarrassing it eventually becomes fodder for these jokes. Comedy equals tragedy plus time. I just figured such an enlightened guy like Drew Sharp (remember....he knows more than all of us and the only reason people hate him is because he has the "courage" to tell it like it is) would know what a joke is.

Then again if he did, he wouldn't have anything negative to say about the Lions. Sometimes even the "great" writers have to stretch to get back to their A-Game.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Apparently the Lions are Good

I don't know exactly what I'm supposed to do now...

It's been seven years (!) since the last time the Lions were three games above .500. Seven years. In that time Matt Millen was brought in and turned this team into the laughingstock of the NFL. Multiple wide receivers were drafted, horrible quarterbacks were brought in and a lot of losing occured. Normally at this time of year the Lions' season is already over and I'm looking for the team to sandbag for a high draft pick. Now all of a sudden the Lions are apparently a good team again, and I don't really know how I'm supposed to react.

Part of me wants to be excited that there is a good football team to root for again. The other part of me is waiting for the shoe to drop and the bottom to fall out. I think I'm going to go with tepid enthusiasm. Before the season I thought this team would go 9-7 (though I had them at 4-3 at this point) and I'm not going to change that. Yesterday's win showed that the Lions can beat a bad team (and don't kid yourselves, the Bears are a BAD team) on the road when they needed a big win. That is something that the Lions of yore haven't been able to do. They had a solid run game and didn't turn the ball over. A great overall effort. Are the Lions going to the Super Bowl? No. But if they don't make the playoffs I'll be very disappointed at this point.

So while I'm not ready to start planning the parade down Woodward, I am ready to get excited about this football team taking the next step and getting to the playoffs. It's much nicer than looking ahead to the draft after week 8. GO LIONS!