Now THIS was a Cinco de Mayo party. Rare, expensive tequilas, authentic Mexican food, and 2-time Cy Young award winning pitchers in the house. Not my house, actually, a neighbor’s, but really, this is how I roll on a regular basis. Yeah. Johan is the one on the left, by the way.
The night is a blur, which, I think, is due to the tequila, but I’m not positive about that. Just a theory. All I know is evil MLB players forced, FORCED me to do do more shots and then made me do Spanish karaoke. Serious arm twisting was involved and my vehement requests to refrain from such conduct were overruled. I told DeAnne the same story and she has her doubts, which blows my mind.
Anyway, this is the obligatory “Johan is a very cool guy” part of the post. He really is. And he didn’t beat me up when I asked him to pose for the 125th picture. I appreciated that. He’s also about an inch shorter than me (not counting the sombrero), which really surprised me. Not sure why I mention this, just that I normally assume all professional athletes are 7 feet tall. Obviously, I’m not a good at estimating. Despite my height advantage, however, I have a hard time throwing a curve with a wiffle-ball while Johan has no such problems. He can do it with a baseball, too. Amazing.
 | posted 05/16/2007 11:07 PM
I’m late on this posting but man…what a depressing playoff season. I went into it with high hopes – both the Red Wings and the Pistons were top seeds with the best records in their respective leagues. Right on cue, however, the Red Wings lost in the first round (a disturbing trend) and the Pistons fell apart against Miami. Actually, the Pistons fell apart beginning with game 3 against Cleveland. I’d love to know what happened there. It’s like somebody flipped a switch or something.
With my teams out, it was time to start rooting against teams I don’t like. If I had to pick a team in each league that I’d really hate to win the championship, it would be the Carolina Hurricanes and the Miami Heat. So it figures that both went on to win the title.
Why root against these two? Well, Carolina is owned by Pete Karmanos, owner of my former company. I can’t stand the guy and I was rooting against him. I would have loved to have seen all of the Carolina suck-ups that come out of the woodwork at Compuware this time of year but I’ve moved on. [For the record, I think if I never worked for Karmanos I would love the guy. The things he’s done the last couple of years at Compuware, however, really drove me nuts and, eventually, drove me away.]
I wanted to see Miami lose for a couple of reasons. Number one, I like Dallas. I went to high school there and I wanted to see them win. Number two, I can’t stand Alonzo Mourning. Number three, I can’t stand Pat Riley. Number four, I hate the Dwayne Wade whiner face – it’s almost as bad as that face Labron James makes when he hits a big shot. (He looks like he’s trying to figure out who just ripped a big stinky one in his house or something. Trust me…watch the highlights.)
So I’m bitter, but things are ok. Thankfully the Tigers are winning at an unbelievable pace. Normally, if the Wings and Pistons lost in the playoffs, Detroit would start thinking about Lions training camp (to me, an even more depressing subject) because the Tigers were always so bad. Not this year.
| posted 06/28/2006 10:19 AM
It figures. I lived in Detroit for 15 years and the Tigers were horrible. I move to Minneapolis and they start out 5-0. It’s a long season but it’s nice to see them get off to a good start for once. Usually they drop 8 of their first 10 and start out the season behind the 8 ball.
It’s especially nice to see the pitching staff getting off to a good start. All 5 starters won their first starts of the season. Verlander and Bonderman looked especially strong. And what can I say about Chris Shelton? What a start! In 5 games he’s batting .700(!) with 5 homers and 9 rbi. With the Tigers luck, they’ll probably drop the next 10 games but I’ll try to stay positive.
 | posted 04/09/2006 03:31 PM
Ugh. I’m at a loss for words. Yesterday’s loss to Minnesota in the first round of the Big 10 tournament is the latest debacle in this late season collapse by the Michigan Wolverines. What started out as a promising season, even eight games into the Big 10 season, has become yet another in a string of disappointments.
You can blame injuries for some of this year’s problems, just as you could for last year’s lost season, but I’m not willing to let the team off that easily. Even when this year’s team was at full strength it just didn’t seem like they had it all together. You could also point the finger at the players, but I’m not willing to go that far. After a while, you have to start looking at the coach.
I like Tommy Amaker. I like what he stands for and I like how he represents the university. After the Ed Martin/Brian Ellerbee fiasco, the program was in shambles and Amaker has done an excellent job restoring the team and bringing pride to Crisler. But when I look at the job Thad Matta has done at Ohio State in a shorter amount of time with arguably less talent than Amaker has, you start to wonder how effective Amaker is as a head coach.
This leads me to share a thought I had while driving home listening to yesterday’s game on the radio – is Tommy Amaker the college basketball version of Steve Mariucci? Hear me out on this. When Mariucci was hired, everyone rejoiced in Lions nation. Mariucci was polished, presented a good image and came from a winning program. You could say the exact same things about Amaker. With both coaches there were grumblings in the background that they weren’t as great as they appeared on paper. Terrell Owens complained about Mariucci’s offense in SF while others pointed to Seton Hall’s collapse the last year of Amaker’s tenure there. These complaints were ignored, but at least in regard to Mariucci, they were found to be valid.
There have been rumblings around town that Amaker should be let go if the team does not make the NCAA tournament this year. I’m not quite there yet because even though it’s starting to sound like a broken record, you have to take the injuries into consideration. Having said that, I’m far less certain that Amaker is the right person to lead UM basketball toward future success than I was when he was hired. I hope I’m wrong.
 | posted 03/10/2006 01:30 PM
The Winter Olympics are going on right now. I couldn’t care less, but my wife is a total junkie. Since NBC is showing it in HDTV glory, I’ve been sucked into watching a few things – primarily events that judges can’t screw up.
I’m not sure when I turned on the Olympics…I used to enjoy them but lately I almost dread them. Why? I’m not sure, but I think it’s the endlessly hyped up controversy, scandals and whining that have turned me off. I think the best examples of what I’m talking about are the pairs figure skating debacle and the Ohno speed skating thing-a-ma-bob where all of South Korea went into an uproar. Whatever.
If a judge isn’t involved then I might watch the event – luge is neat, so is the downhill, bobsled and hockey. The one where they ski and shoot stuff. That’s neat, too. Watching cross-country skiers just makes me tired. Ski jump is fun to watch, but judging is involved so I stay away. Skating pixies that cry after each round? Not for me.
Anyway, the whole point of this rambling post is to determine where these events are being held. You see, I’m confused here. I thought they were in Torino. That’s what this official looking site tells me. But when I scroll down the page, the same site that welcomes me to Torino gives me a historical recap by telling me about how the games were awarded to Turin in 1999:
Even better, this paragraph can’t decide what to call the location:
I hopped on Google to try and solve this dilemma, but initially I didn’t have much luck. Dream of Italy tells me that “Torino” is Italian and “Turin” is…something else. They also tell me, by the way, that Turin (or Torino) “is hardly the Detroit of Italy.” Slammed from thousands of miles away! Damn!
Leave it to the good folks at National Geographic to put this issue to rest. It
turins turns out that “Turin” is what the English speaking world has called “Torino” for years. The IOC normally uses the English version of the city name, but this time they relented to Italian pressure and switched it to Torino. I think Torino sounds better. I also think Detroit should have promoted the actual Michigan pronunciation of the city during the Super Bowl and used “San Diego”. Sounds more exotic, no?
 | posted 02/14/2006 10:26 AM
Last night wrapped up a pretty exciting week of action here in Detroit as the Steelers obtained the “one for the thumb” by beating the Seattle Seahawks 21-10. From what I’ve read on various web sites and newspapers, Detroit did a great job as host. This pat on the back from the media will finally allow the area’s residents to relax and quit worrying about what could go wrong. Few will admit it now, but most of the people I know here were just waiting for the whole thing to fall apart. It didn’t happen and that’s good news.
We didn’t get to participate much in the festivities, although we did attend the Motown Winter Blast downtown in Campus Martius. We [my wife, son and I] had a great time despite the constant drizzle. Jack went down the ice slide, which impressed DeAnne and me because it looked rather intimidating from the side lines. Jack has little fear when it comes to these types of things and he had a big smile on his face when his ride came to an end.
I did not receive my expected invitations to the SI/Maxim/Playboy/Penthouse/Jenna Jameson parties so I don’t have any great stories for you. The invitations must have been lost in the mail. I can only assume that’s what happened. My big chance to hit the bars in Royal Oak fell through when my friend Alex called and said he was too tired to party any more. Lame. Since DeAnne is pregnant and Jack is 18 years away from legal drinking in public establishments, I had no readily available drinking buddies and was therefore forced to watch the end of a Tivo-d One Tree Hill episode. DeAnne had the remote.
 | posted 02/06/2006 03:47 PM
I woke up this morning to find out the Lions hired Rod Marinelli as their new coach. I’m glad to see Millen stuck with his overriding requirement of head coaches having a last name starting with the letter ‘M’. This bodes well for the future.
I don’t have much to say about the hiring. I think most would agree the pool of available applicants didn’t blow anyone away. Other options were Jim Haslett and Russ Grimm, but neither of them do much for me, either.
I’ll be honest, I have no idea who will and who won’t make a good head football coach. I was excited when Mariucci was hired, and we saw how well that went. No matter what anyone tells me, there is no “super coach” that can win anywhere at any time with any team. Everyone’s idea of a coaching genius, Bill Belichick, was pretty bad when he was leading Cleveland. Bill Parcells has made the playoffs once in his three years at Dallas. And New England’s whipping boy, Pete Carroll, was horrible with the Patriots and can now (almost) do no wrong at USC.
So, with that being said, I had to laugh when I listened to the callers on 1130 today complaining about the hire, or the articles by Rob Parker and Drew Sharp in the Detroit News and Free Press blasting the selection. Was there anyone available that stood out, head and shoulders, above anyone else? I don’t think so. Marinelli sounds like a very interesting guy and I’m all for his ideas on accountability. I also like the lineage from Tony Dungy, which also includes Herm Edwards and Lovie Smith.
We’ll see what happens come September.
| posted 01/19/2006 09:25 PM
Ahhhh…the Lions. What can I say about them? What can anyone say? They’re bad. They’ve almost always been bad, and they will probably always be bad. There is nothing we can do about it. It is as inevitable as the tides.
After the Thanksgiving Day debacle at Ford Field, it was specualted that Mariucci would be fired as early as Friday. Friday came and went, and Mooch was still the coach. Saturday, Sunday, still the head coach. Monday rolls around, however, and now Mooch is out and Dick Jauron is in. Why the wait? Everyone knew this was going to happen so why did it take so long? I’d hazzard a guess but it’s a waste of time. Trying to understand why the Lions do anything they do is not a productive use of brain power. The phrase “Lion’s Logic” is popular here in Detroit for a reason.
Am I upset about the firing? Nope. Mariucci was not a good fit for this team. I was one of the many here in town that was happy when he was hired. But over time, it’s been pretty obvious it was a bad fit. Mariucci ran the west coast offense but didn’t have the players to execute it. Instead of modifying the system to fit the players, he stuck with the system. That might be why the Lions have the 27th ranked offense. There were also a lot of rumblings about a lack of discipline on the team. It was said that players took advantage of Mariucci’s easy-going nature. Now the Lions will flip it back to the other end of the spectrum and pick up a hard-line disciplinarian again. Follow along with this pattern: Wayne Fontes (soft), Bobby Ross (tough), Morningwheg/Mooch (soft), [insert new tough guy here].
I think Mariucci would be a great college coach and should go the Pete Carroll route and take over a program somewhere. I believe he coached at Cal for a year or so before taking over the 49ers so he’s done it before. I know a few people around town have been saying the MSU coaching job would be a perfect fit for him, but that would mean John L. Smith would have to go and I, for one, don’t want to see it. The man is a walking quote machine. Plus, he hasn’t beaten Michigan yet. I’d like him to stay for a long time.
 | posted 11/29/2005 12:52 PM
So the Red Sox picked up Josh Beckett and Mike Lowell today for 3 minor leaguers. Interesting. Beckett sometimes is a fantastic pitcher. He’s also guy with chronic blister problems and a really bizarre shoulder issue that is still being investigated. Lowell is a pretty good 3B, except for last year when I had him on my fantasy team. He killed me and I think he’s near the end of his career. I don’t know anything about the minor leaguers they gave up, but it looks like a pretty good deal for the Sox. It would be hard to pass on Beckett. I’d love to see him in a Tiger’s uniform.
What I really want to know, though, is when Steve Philips will hold a simulated press conference on ESPN to discuss the deal. I can’t wait!
| posted 11/22/2005 04:03 PM
One of the benefits of being laid up due to surgery is that I get to watch a lot of TV that I normally wouldn’t have a chance to watch. I’ve seen a lot of movies, Simpsons re-runs and last night’s nose-achingly funny episode of Arrested Development. (Tobias as the mole…just hilarious.)
I have, however, stumbled upon what might be the dumbest thing I’ve seen on TV in a while…ESPN’s simulated press conferences shown during SportsCenter. Let me try to set the stage for you. Steve Philips, former Mets GM and current ESPN baseball analyst, comes out to a waiting throng of reporters and cameramen and pretends to be a general manager for a major league baseball team. He comes out, gives a prepared statement and then goes on to answer questions. So far he has pretended to be the GM for the Red Sox, Yankees (surprise) and Cubs. I have no idea how many teams they’re planning on doing this for, but I for one cannot wait for the simulated Devil Rays press conference.
Can somebody out there help me understand this? Why? Why? WHY? I find real press conferences close to useless, so I’m stumped as to why ESPN has found it necessary to come up with these “fake” ones. The level of detail is just amazing, too. Respected reporters are participating in this. Jeremy Schapp, Buster Olney, Karl Ravech, and whoever else is sitting around the cafeteria in Bristol joins in. They have photographers. Everyone shouts out, “Steve! Steve!” so they can get their questions heard. Philips even matches his wardrobe to the team’s colors.
The thing is, I just don’t get it. The whole thing strikes me as over-the-top silliness – and that’s saying something considering the source. The “reporters” ask relatively interesting questions, and Philips does his best to give insightful answers. Fine. But let’s keep in mind that Philips doesn’t work for ANY of these teams. He’s just giving his opinion. I’d be much more interested in seeing him on SportsCenter giving his opinion than this traveshamockery. What a waste.
| posted 11/08/2005 06:42 PM