One man's honest opinion about sports in the Motor City, and beyond.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Inge Heatin' Up...

Seemed like Inge had been hitting well as of late... So I checked it out on the Tigers website... You can find his complete bio here. As I thought he has actually put together a really good string over the last 10 games. (Might have started earlier than that, but you can find players stats from the last 10 games way too easy to bother going farther back... 10 is a nice round number anywho). As you can see he's improved his average by .17 over the last 10 games... Which, at this point in the year, is pretty incredible. Also he's hitting .429, has 3 dingers, and 11 RBIs over this nice little streak.

This resurgence for Inge is really nice to see. His batting average seemed to bottom out not too long ago, and it is good for him and the Tigers if he could get it going for this last 1/3 of the season. (Which for the first time in 132 years - is meaningful for the Tigers.)

(That pic is property of, I did not create that - please don't sue me !)


Monday, July 24, 2006


Chris McCosky (bit of a Pistons slappy, but good writer, and def. understands the game), of the Detroit News, wrote a very interesting article today. It is called Stern: Commish or tyrant? (click there to read the article, which is a must read). Chris, an NBA insider of sorts, writes much of what I've been thinking since the conclusion of the NBA Circus (a.k.a. NBA Finals).

McCosky writes;
There is a growing sentiment among players, coaches and officials that Stern's power has run amok. There is concern that, more than manipulating the business and image of the league, he is manipulating the game.

During the playoffs I noticed, and mentioned in my blog, that more than ever the NBA was becoming a giant marketing machine. The attention was coming away from the games themselves and towards the drama surrounding them. For instance on June 9th of this year I wrote that during a Finals pregame show they interviewed Celtic legend Bill Russel. What did they ask him about? The Kobe and Shaq feud. Why? Well, other than keeping people interested in stupid crap, I have no idea.

Also, watching the Finals games I noticed that after every somewhat close call (in favor of either team) the announcers on ABC almost always came up with a reason on how the refs were right. Often disregarding that some calls normally wouldn't be called the way they were. That didn't matter. Seemed like the ABC announcers had their order, and that was "Don't rock the boat!!!". This observation fits right in to a point McCosky makes about the NBA controlling its Media. ABC makes a lot of money off the NBA and so won't have a problem with listening to Stern - especially when his decisions have the motive of making even more money.

Another point McCosky makes;
Sports are real human drama. That's what makes them entertaining. It's not a reality show created for television. It's not "Survivor" or "American Idol". You cannot create heroes and manipulate storylines and expect to be taken seriously.

After reading that line I have a strong belief Chris has been recording conversations between my Girlfriend and I... After the Finals I ranted and raved for a good 3 days straight. My main point is exactly what McCosky writes... One of the reasons I love to watch sports is because they are real. The best of the best, in most cases, make it to the NBA... and no matter what the drama is going on outside of the court... a true fan of basketball can sit down and watch the game, and enjoy it. Now, like McCosky, I feel the NBA is heading in some type of Harlem Globetrotter direction. Good must defeat evil... Superstar must defeat non super star...

A Myth: There seems to be a myth forming that the Pistons won the title in 04 playing some type of defense that shouldn't have been allowed. That perhaps it wasn't just their talent. Well, that is bogus. The Pistons won because they were loaded with talent, and because the Lakers lacked any defense. Do not forget that coming off the bench that year was Okur and Mike James - who both had fantastic seasons, this past year, as starters for their respective teams. The Pistons had talent, they did not win that title on "hard work" or "tough defense" alone. I just hope it is remembered that way, and they don't become the poster board of Stern's new "We can't have that happen again" campaign. (Which sadly seems to be the case)


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Oh Ben

Sung to the tune of "Oh Mandy"...

Oh Ben...

Well you came and you gave us a title
But you packed your bags, oh Ben
You came by sign and trade for Grant-Hill
We thought it was over, oh Ben

But you came and you gave us a title
And now you've packed your bags, oh Ben
You're headed First Class to Chicago
And now you are traitor, Oh Ben

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Bulls V Pistons

Been a bit busy lately, but here is a link you should check out. (Again, I have no idea why I pretend there is someone reading this, when I know damn well there isn't. Or why I pretend to have been busy lately) The article, from The Sporting News can be found by clicking here. Ira Winderman writes that the Pistons still have the edge over the Bulls... at least when playoff time comes around. Which, unless they add someone else (which seems unlikely), I would have to completely agree with him. Below he illustrates a particular argument on why he (and I agree) believe the Pistons would still beat the Bulls in the playoffs.

Go ahead, score at home: Rasheed vs. Ben? Antonio McDyess vs. Andres Nocioni? Prince vs. Luol Deng? Hamilton vs. Kirk Hinrich? Billups vs. Ben Gordon or Chris Duhon? This judge's card: 4-1 Pistons, with Nocioni getting a slight nod over McDyess at power forward.

I believe eventually Big Ben is going to regret his decision to leave the Pistons. What he had here he can never regain. Unless he leads the Bulls to a championship... which I really don't see happening... he will never be loved in Chicago like he was loved in Detroit. Ben could have ended his career here, with a better chance at another title (perhaps), and walked right into the pages of Detroit Legendry... Instead, he goes to Chicago... Where if a championship is not delivered in the next 2 years... and if his productivity is not at "max contract" level... those Chicago fans will not be happy paying him another 2 years (to say the least). Then again, the Bulls may pull off a trade (which would be essential for a championship run), and win the title. In which case... Ben probably won't regret it... Time will only tell.

Side Note: Joe Dumars was interviewed on WDFN yesterday, and was asked if the Pistons organization was unwilling to pay the luxury tax... According to Dumars they actually did pay it... the year they won the championship. They also interviewed Davidson (the owner)... who basically said there are a select amount of players in the league (very few) who are worth maximum contracts, and Ben was just not one of them on that list. When asked who on the current roster was... Davidson declined to answer.

Side Side Note: At home there sits a mini Big Ben bobble head doll. Every time I see it I say to myself, "Why... why, Ben, why?" Then I slowly wipe away the tear rolling down my cheek. Soon the season will start, and the bobble head must come down... But it didn't have to... It didn't have to, Ben.


Monday, July 10, 2006

On a limb...

Watch out for the Knicks this year... No, they won't be winning the title, but they will be contending for a playoff spot. Look, with the departure of Brown I believe a huge load of pressure and stress will be lifted off the player's shoulders. The pressure will now be on Zeek. While he may not be the best coach in the league, or anywhere near, he is not a horrible coach. His record in Indiana was not terrible, and they made the playoffs in each of his three years there (2000-2003). Also, he seems likeable to his players - which is always good when taking over a team coming off a complete disaster season. Not to mention, regardless of his post-playing-days, he is a champion - and NBA Finals MVP - and a 12 time all-star. (not to shabby)

I have reached this opinion after reading an article in the New York Times, which you can find here. The key to this year's success will be for Thomas to create a situation where Marbury and Francis can co-exist. I believe at this point in their careers it is a plausible undertaking. Both have been passed around the league a bit. Never finding there role. Together they could find it. The talent is there for an interesting backcourt. Imagine getting 40 points and 10 assists between them each game. Which, if they are willing to share... would be a very realistic goal.

Isaiah -Sit Starbury down and show him clip after clip of Chauncey Billups (in a Pistons uniform)... Who is basically the mirror physical imagine of Stephon... and, I believe a disciplined version could be a very comparable point guard to Billups. The way Marbury sounds in the NY Times article I reference above... he may be ready to take the same career leap Chauncey did with Detroit. Still capable of scoring 25 points a game... But, instead... playing good basketball, involving his teammates, and winning games. He sounds ready to make it happen. He is excited about having Thomas on the sideline... If the supporting cast of the Knicks have half his enthusiasm... This could be a very interesting team to watch.

The Knicks have other talent on this squad as well. Jalen Rose, Eddy Curry, and Channing Fry are all respectable NBA players. If you could work a starting lineup featuring all five... and somehow get them to mesh together... they should be playoff bound.

If I were Zeek... I wouldn't even worry about defense... Just let them run and put up 100 points a game... Will they win a championship that way? No. Will they win a championship any way? No. So why not win some regular season games, and play entertaining basketball while you are doing it?

With Curry and Fry... they have a 13ft 9inch 533 pound frontcourt... Fry averaged 12+ points and nearly 6 rebounds on limited play (24 min. per game) as a rookie. Curry has had a streaky past... but with the other four players around him he will have a more comfortable role as a support player. A very pricey support player... But still very good as a 3rd or 4th option on offense. He will be allowed to average somewhere around 15 points... But when playing against undersized teams, which there are plenty of, he can easily go off for 25+.

Getting this roster to come together as a cohesive winning machine will not be easy - but not impossible either. Thomas may have not made the wisest of choices as GM. Thomas may not be the greatest of coaches. But, there is talent on this team, and that is why I believe they will be the surprise out of the East. Look for them to finish somewhere in the bottom half, but the playoffs is not a lofty goal - not in the least.

Note: One glaring problem I see in the predicted starting 5 is Steve Francis' small stature. If playing the 2 sport, he may have trouble guarding some of the other shooting guards - where he will be giving up some inches. Also, I haven't seen many comments by Francis - which may be a sign he, if anyone, will need some type of attitude adjustment going into the season. Both should be addressable issues.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Feet & Balls

Ok, for some reason I have decided to sogg (soccer blog) again. Why??? Because I have realized the problem with the lack of American support for soccer... the scandals...

"But Bladdy, there are no soccer scandals..."

Precisely my friends (my "friends" being my Dad, the only person who reads this... and not very often I think)... Anyway... what the American soccer club needs is some serious, low down, and dirty scandals to spark interest...

C'mon guys.... throw us a friggin bone. England has probably the greatest metro-sexual of all time who is all over the news... We Americans, more than anything, crave a good story... Which, I must add, must have nothing to do with the sport itself... We don't really care there aren't many goals scored... Or that we don't really understand what is going on... We just want to have some kind of vested interest in watching this team...

Maybe an alcoholic... are there any on the team??? If there are... quit hiding it. Put it right out there for everyone to see. Send him to rehab, and make it public. Have him crash his car into the Liberty Bell first... Really add some drama.

How bout roids? Not necessarily for that competitive edge... But, more for the scandal... Nothing has kept the public more interested in Major League Baseball more than all the hoopla surrounding the rampant roid use.

Oh, I know... a sex tape. Those are all the rage right now. You could put out a tape of these guys slappin' balls around all day... "leak" it on the internet... BAM... you gott a million viewers by the next day.

Hmmm... What else??? Spouse abuse is always good . Drug offenses equal awesome. Over sized egos are fantastic. Huge contracts that should have never been paid forcing everyone to hate the contracted player - always a good call. Um... are there any scientologists on the team???

Listen... the possibilites are obviously endless - so let's stop worrying about the game itself... I mean that is secondary. (Just thought of this one - we need to hook one of the players up with a piece of hollywood whore trash (must be blonde) - oooooh... the headlines write themselves) Where was I??? Oh, right... Soccer can't survive in this country until we turn it into every other sport... A huge money/hype/marketing machine... Then we'll love it...

And only then.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

The Scoop

In an article on, "Christmas in July?", Scoop Jackson offers an interesting theory on Big Ben's short flight to Chicago. He seems to believe that the Bulls could have swayed Ben by promising to bring Kevin Garnet to town... Perhaps this is true... Perhaps it isn't... But, it is very interesting to consider. First of all, I agree with Scoop in that Garnett is not coming to Chi-Town. They would have to offer one of their top guys (Gordon, Heimlik, or Macaroni). So unless they are willing to part with one of those players... KG probably ain't coming.

I do, however, pray that is the sole reason why Ben showed off his amazing Benedict Arnold impression... Because if that is the case... I relish thinking about how miserable he will be when it doesn't happen... (I would imagine that isn't the case though)

One more thing about the article... Scoop writes:

All of a sudden, a shift in the basketball landscape could be
felt inside the city. Like a change was gonna come. Like Shaq
won't have his best games of the playoffs against us anymore.

I hate to tell you Scoop, and all of the other Bulls fans out there... Shaq played his best series against the Pistons. Although I didn't watch much of the Bulls/Heat series - I know that statistically Shaq's numbers vs. the Bulls and Pistons in the playoffs were basically the same. Shaq even averaged 2 more points a game vs. the Pistons (see the full stats here). And watching almost every minute of the Pistons/Heat series... Ben was not so impressive against this year's more in shape and determined playoff Shaq. So... if the Bulls are hoping he can stop Shaq... they weren't watching the Pistons/Heat series.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


I'm listening to Rome, and Skip Bayless is the guest host today. He not too long ago opened a discussion on the gruelingness of the NBA as compared to soccer. He said that soccer players "jog a lot" and there is a lot of injury time and what not. He claims to have based this opinion on actually watching soccer games. Well, Skip, either you are lying or an idiot. I may be a completely biased fan (of the NBA), but even I will tell you the "soccer players are in great shape" cliche is very very true. If you think it takes more endurance to play in the NBA than the World Cup of Soccer... you are an idiot... Or... you know nothing about sports... Or... in Skip's case... both.

Look, first of all... There are millions of play stoppages in the NBA... Timeouts... TV timeouts... injuries... fouls... turn overs.... Not to mention all the time spent standing around watching one player dribble the ball... Plus, players play about 8-9 minutes of game-time (which is actually 20 minutes of real time) and they are taken out. Again, I love basketball... I'm only pointing out the many flaws in Skip's statements. He says that soccer players jog a lot... Well, I would say 90% of the time in the NBA players are jogging... Not to mention that a full length sprint in the NBA would still only be a quarter of a soccer field...

Skip, for some reason, even brought up Shaq... as an argument in favor of the NBA... saying that Shaq has to hustle back on plays or get burned... Are you kidding me? The fact that one of the best players (top 10% of the league)... is fat and out of shape (and slow to begin with)... is basically all you need to make the case that soccer requires its players to maintain a much better physical condition.

While I am blogging in defense of soccer, which I was hoping I would never have to do... I would really like to raise the question... Why do American sports enthusiasts find it so worth their time to bash soccer? I don't understand... I mean, if you don't like it... don't watch it... Or complain mildly... if you really find it necessary... But some of the bashing is just out of hand... Especially the "soccer players fake injuries all the time and just whine"... Look, first of all... it really doesn't happen all that much... I've been watching the World Cup, and am actually surprised at how little it happens... I've just heard so many people say it on the Rome show... that I guess I thought it was true... I should have known better. Second, soccer is rougher than basketball in my opinion... and because I really don't feel like making that argument... I will say that at the least... they are equal... and if you have watched the NBA in the last 2 years, you would be aware of the new mandatory argument rule... After every foul call... in order to avoid further penalties... the player who committed the foul must passionately argue the call (a.k.a whine about it)... Or, if you are slightly touched by an opposing player... you must throw your hands up, stagger backwards, and yelp... Also, if you are Dwyane Wade, you must fall to the ground after every shot...

I don't know... One last time... I am a basketball "slappy"... but, as a sports nut, still a fan of soccer... I don't watch it all the time, but I do enjoy a World Cup match or two... and I really like playing the game... But, more importantly... I hate stupid people... who make things up in order to bring their point home... Sorry Skip... but, you are wrong about soccer...

One Last Thing: Skip said that baseball is more exciting than soccer - if you understand the game... Obviously, you can say the same about soccer; yet he combats that by saying he has tried to figure soccer out and can't... Well, Skip - that is your fault... and no... baseball is not more exciting than soccer... Baseball is extremely boring in fact... That is not to say I don't enjoy baseball... because I do... grew up playing it... but an objective viewer would confirm the boringness of baseball.