Sweaty Men Endeavors

The sports blog with the slightly gay name

Friday, January 23, 2009

No More Talkin' Tigers on the Radio

I don't know how many of you had streamed or downloaded our appearances over the past two weeks on WTKQ's The Morning Ticket with Pat & Todd, but I'm not going to be talking on the radio again any time soon.

Unfortunately, the powers-that-be at FM Talk 100.5 decided to go in the proverbial different direction, and as of last Friday, pulled the plug on the show. Any disappointment I felt over that is a trifle compared to what two radio hosts who suddenly don't have a show must have experienced. Fans of WDFN in Detroit learned this week just how brutal the radio industry can be. (And though I'm late on it, that's something I'd like to write about in the next couple of days.)

I'm obviously biased, but Pat Johnston and Todd Guerne are two talented, nice guys who deserve better, and will hopefully get it. And if you follow the conversation over at Bless You Boys, you know Todd's suddenly become an active part of the BYB community, and it's great to have a new voice and more participation - especially at this time of year.

So I should probably leave it there, and thank Pat and Todd for a wholly unexpected opportunity, as short-lived as it turned out to be. It's incredibly flattering that they thought enough of what we do here to want to talk about the Tigers on the radio each week. And it was a lot of fun.

Labels: , ,

Monday, January 19, 2009

Some Water For Detroit's Football Desert?

I'm late to the party on reading Michael Lombardi's wonderfully insightful writing and reporting at National Football Post - probably because it took me a while to work my sports appetite back up after baseball season (mercifully) ended - but his stuff is a must-read for me these days.

And maybe I just need any little kernel of hope to make me feel good about the Detroit Lions now (thanks to the Arizona Cardinals) being one of five teams (three of which are newer, expansion franchises) never to make it to the Super Bowl, but I was encouraged to read this from Lombardi about the Lions' new head coach, Jim Schwartz:

I know the Lions hired a great young coach in Jim Schwartz, who is someone I believe will do a wonderful job. We hired him in Cleveland in 1992 to work with me in the personnel department. He is extremely smart (third in his class at Georgetown in economics) and hard working. He knows how to build a program, and he understands the Bill Belichick approach as well as anyone. Given enough time, he will restore the roar to the Lions.

So hopefully, The Schwartz is strong with this team. And for a guy who said the Lions were dead to him, I'm suddenly quite a bit more interested than I was at this time a year ago.

Labels: ,

Friday, January 16, 2009

Talkin' Tigers on the Radio: Any Closer to a Closer?

Where will the Detroit Tigers turn to find a closer? The Quest For Relief (or lack thereof) was the main topic of discussion in my chat with WTKQ's The Morning Ticket with Pat & Todd.

Are we really looking at Fernando Rodney being the man in the ninth inning this summer? Is that a possibility that should terrify Tigers fans? Or is there still a chance a free agent reliever could come to the rescue? If so, are Jason Isringhausen or Brandon Lyon up to the task?

We also talk a little bit about signing Justin Verlander long-term to avoid arbitration, and whether or not trading Magglio Ordonez is really a good idea.

Thanks once again to Pat Johnston and Todd Guerne for having me on, especially before a big football weekend (and in lieu of the Detroit Lions hiring Jim Schwartz as their new head coach).

You can listen to an embedded audio clip below (I think I've installed a better audio player this time) or download the file from the accompanying link.


Labels: , ,

May the Schwartz Be With Us!

This is just too easy, but in honor of the Detroit Lions hiring Jim Schwartz as their new coach (a moment of silence for the poor guy), I have to post the first thing that came to mind when I heard the news.

I think the Lions got the right guy. Someone with Schwartz's pedigree - working under Jeff Fisher in Tennessee, and previous background with Bill Belichick in Cleveland - and unconventional, stats-oriented approach to the game is intriguing. (I can't wait to see how the media and fans react when he says something like "Well, fumbles are a random occurrence; good teams fumble just as often as bad teams" after the Lions have five turnovers in a game.)

It's also encouraging that other teams were interested in hiring him. I'm just not sure about the executives that made the hire. Like Michael Rosenberg in this morning's Freep, I hope the Lions let Schwartz coach his way and bring in his players. (Just remind them who has the bigger Schwartz, Coach.)

Here's a profile of Schwartz that the New York Times wrote in November.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Tao of Rickey

In honor of Rickey Henderson's election into the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday, I'd like to rerun some clips from a post I wrote back in 2005 when Rickey signed with the San Diego Surf Dawgs. As we get closer to the HoF induction ceremony in July, I look forward to hearing more stories about Henderson's celebrated eccentricities. But I don't know if they'll be any better than these.

For a 12-year span through the 1980's and into the early 90's, Rickey owned the American League stolen base crown. The one year he didn't get it was 1987, when he played in only 95 games because of a hamstring injury. So Harold Reynolds was the final season leader with 60 steals. And after the season, H.R. got a phone call from someone (as told on MLB.com's "Fantasy 411"):


"Reynolds! This is Rickey."

"Oh, hey Rick."

"60 steals, huh?"

"Yeah, I can't believe it. It was amazing."

"60?! Rickey had 60 at the All-Star Break!"


Immediately after breaking Lou Brock's stolen base record, the Oakland Athletics held an on-field ceremony commemorating the occasion. Rickey ended a relatively gracious speech by saying, "Lou Brock was the symbol of great base stealing. But today, I'm the greatest of all time. Thank you."

Henderson often referred to himself in the third person. He once called the general manager of a baseball team, looking for a job, and said, "Rickey wants to play another year and he thinks he wants to play for you."

While playing for the San Diego Padres late in his career, Henderson got onto the team bus and was looking for a seat. A teammate, Steve Finley, said, "Sit anywhere you want, you got tenure."

Rickey's response? "Ten years? What are you talking about? Rickey got 16, 17 years."

This one apparently isn't true, but it's so funny that it should be: While playing for the Seattle Mariners, Rickey approached John Olerud, who wears a batting helmet on the field because of a brain aneurysm he suffered, and said "I used to play with a dude in New York who did the same thing."

Olerud's response? "That was me." Olerud and Rickey had previously played together with the New York Mets and Toronto Blue Jays.

Labels: ,

Friday, January 09, 2009

Talkin' Tigers on the Radio

I was invited onto The Morning Ticket with Pat & Todd on Saginaw's FM Talk 100.5 this morning to talk about the Detroit Tigers. We're hoping to make this a weekly thing during the baseball season.

After a tortured search during last night's Florida-Oklahoma national championship game, I found a program for Windows that would allow me to record streaming audio. And I got it synced up with my thingermajigger just in time to record my appearance.

For those of who have followed the Detroit Tigers' offseason closely, you'll already be familiar with what Pat, Todd, and I discussed. And if not, I really sound like I know what I'm talking about.

(Except when I got two pitchers mixed up, which was a little bit embarrassing. Can I say, "Hey, it was early - and I was a bit nervous and hyper"? Well, I just did.)

Anyway, I think it went pretty well for our first time out. But I should let you judge for yourself. As Tony Kornheiser would say, I'll try to do better the next time. And hopefully, the Tigers give us a little more to talk about in the weeks to come. Thanks to Pat Johnston and Todd Guerne for having me on. That's a fun show they have going.

You can listen to an embedded audio clip below or download the file from the accompanying link. (At least, I hope so. This is the first time I've tried this.)


Labels: , ,

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

For Those Who Had to Watch, We Salute You

Before turning the page on 2008, I have to post one more thing about Motown's gridiron heroes, the Detroit Lions.

This isn't about the firing of coach Rod Marinelli. That was a no-brainer. The man was the worst ever at his job. No one else has ever gone winless in a 16-game season. How the hell do you bring that guy back? So no surprise there.

No, this post is to stand and give a slow clap to the poor guy who had to watch all of the crappy football southeastern Michigan's most prominent professional and college teams inflicted upon its fans this year and describe it those of us who followed the games on radio. Yes, he was paid for it, as a professional broadcaster. But he also surely paid a price, having to endure some soul-crushingly bad football.

We're talking about Jim Brandstatter, color analyst for both the Michigan football and Detroit Lions radio broadcasts. Out of the 28 games he called this season, Brandstatter provided commentary for only three victories. Michigan went 3-9. The pitiful Lions failed to win a single game. He witnessed the worst season Michigan football has had in 46 years. And as we've already covered, the Lions set NFL history for losing all 16 of their games.

Hey, at least we had the option of turning off the TV or radio. (And I did that more this year than I ever have.) Not Brandy. Hopefully, the strength and discipline instilled in him when he played for Bo Schembechler at Michigan helped him through this.

Salutes must also be given to my buddy Big Al, who live-blogged every single one of the Lions' incompetent performances, in addition to posting related news and commentary each day at The Wayne Fontes Experience. (I thought blogging about the Detroit Tigers was tough.) And to my fellow SB Nation blogger Sean Yuille, who authors blogs devoted to both University of Michigan sports and the Lions. Man, that's a tough year.

Can we please turn the calendar on 2008 in Detroit sports? (Except for the Red Wings. You guys are doing a hell of a job and shouldn't be overlooked. Even though I kind of just did that.) 2009 can't possibly be as bad. Can it?

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Rooting For 0-16 Does Not Make Me Less of a Fan

So I'm watching "SportsWorks" on Fox 2 Sunday night, as Dan Miller, Jamie Samuelsen, and Sean Baligian try to pick apart yet another loss (the 14th of the season) by the Detroit Lions. And there's really only so much to say when the losing continues week after week. Maybe the Lions are showing a little bit of fight at the end of the season, especially as it tries to avoid becoming the first team in NFL history to go winless over a 16-game season, but with only two games left on the schedule, they're running out of chances to avoid pro football infamy.

But while discussing that very possibility, Miller asks Samuelsen and Baligian if they're part of the "moron contingent" of Lions fans that is rooting for the team to go 0-16. And when I hear that, I sit up. Because I count myself among the segment of Detroit sports fans that want to see the Lions suck on a historical level. And maybe my perception is influenced by the echo chamber of my friends, but I don't believe I'm in the minority on this. I think many Lions fans believe that the only way the team has any chance of getting better is for the ownership to suffer the kind of humiliating indignity that they'll never want to experience again.

Apparently, that makes me a "moron." Or as MLive.com's Tom Kowalski put it, not a real Lions fan.

If you want these things to happen and you still want to call yourself a Lions fan, I have a huge problem with that. It might be a silly little pet peeve of mine, but I firmly believe that once you start rooting for your team to lose, you're no longer a fan.

My response to Miller and Kowalski on this consists of two words.

Fuck you.

(What, did you think they'd be "Merry Christmas"? I'm sorry, but no other words better capture how I feel about this.)

Let me get this straight: two members of the credentialed Detroit sports media - who are paid to attend games and watch them from what is essentially an office environment in the press box - are going to tell people whether or not they're fans? Miller, as the radio play-by-play man for the Lions, is literally a professional mouthpiece for the team. Kowalski is presumably impartial as a beat reporter, but when you spend that much time around a group of coaches, players, and executives, it's impossible to remain completely objective. And he doesn't.

Am I less of a Lions fan than I was three years ago? Absolutely! This team - and its entire organization - has given me nothing to root for. Their games are a frustrating, joyless ordeal. And I can't even watch another, better team that might play more enjoyable football. (Believe me; I've tried to find a new team. But what fun is it to root for Pittsburgh's team? Or New York's team?) The Lions have actually drained my love of the sport right out of me.

Would I be more of a fan to blindly surrender my loyalty to a team that has given its fans an utterly inferior - and progressively worse - product for eight years? Am I not a fan because I want the team that represents my community to get better and know, deep down, that it can only be rebuilt once it's completely destroyed?

Miller and Kowalski dispute that line of thinking, asserting that changes are going to be made, so there's ultimately no difference between a 1-15 and 0-16 season. No, there is every bit of difference. Other teams have gone 1-15 or 2-14 before. No team has gone winless. And if the Detroit Lions have to carry that weight around their collective necks, maybe they'll work that much harder to make us forget what a laughingstock they've been.

The fact that I'm hoping for that, that I care enough to have typed out 600 words about all this, makes me a fan. How dare someone in the media try to tell me otherwise.

Labels: , ,

Monday, July 14, 2008

It's Not Called the Stanley Bidet

The Stanley Cup is the greatest trophy in sports. Even my father, who wasn't a hockey fan, was awed by this glorious chalice when he glimpsed it with his own eyes at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. So it's not really something you let your kid take a $#!+ in, Kris Draper. Yet that's exactly what happened last month while the Cup was in his possession.

Red Wings forward Kris Draper revealed during the weekend that his diaperless baby, Kamryn, did a number on the Cup last month. A number two, to be exact.

"A week after we won it, I had my newborn daughter in there, and she pooped in the Cup," Draper said. "That was something. We had a pretty good laugh.

"I still drank out of it that night, so no worries."

C'mon! No! No, no, no! He let his baby take a dump in the Stanley Cup? Where's your respect, Kris Draper? Hopefully, he took some rubbing alcohol, bleach, or Purell (or maybe just soap and water) to it afterwards.

I have a picture somewhere of my dad kissing the Cup. What's funny is that he thought he was getting away with it, behind the security guard's back. I was later told that you could kiss it, but couldn't hug it or try to pick it up. I'm just glad he planted his lips on the Cup before Draper's kid sat in it without a diaper. What do you think about this, Hayden Panettiere?


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bruce Pearl: A Leader of Men

University of Tennessee men's basketball head coach Bruce Pearl was already The Official Favorite Coach of Casselbloggy, Inc. for showing you can have a lot of fun while being also being successful. And you can't blame the man for being excited at halftime of last night's college basketball Thunderdome vs. Memphis, as his team was only down by one point despite his best player having a terrible shooting night. Fueled by adrenaline, Pearl did what just about every man in America would like to do: Hug Erin Andrews.

Well played, Coach. You continue to be a heroic figure in my world. Oh, by the way, the Volunteers went on to win the game, beating the #1 Tigers, 66-62.

(via The Big Lead)

Labels: ,

Monday, February 18, 2008

Why Tom Izzo is Cooler Than John Beilein

Nothing against John Beilein (nice win over Ohio State yesterday, Coach), but here's an example of why Michigan State will dominate the state's hoops scene as long as Tom Izzo is their head coach:

I'm glad a journalist finally asked Coach Izzo what he thought of Jay-Z's "H to the Izzo." I've been wondering about that for years. How come Jay Bilas never tackled that subject?

Can you see Beilein being that kind of a sport? (No way Tommy Amaker would've been.)

Rich Rodriguez, on the other hand, would probably be game for a sit-down with Ron Burgundy (though an interview with Lloyd Carr would've been a hell of a lot funnier).

(via Awful Announcing)

Labels: ,