Friday, August 28, 2009
-Michigan Sports Guy
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Photo by Lon Horwedel, AnnArbor.com.
Article by Jeff Arnold covers sports for AnnArbor.com.
The stream of fandom reached as far as the eye could see before curling around a corner and out of sight. Despite its length, those at the back of the line nonetheless stood and waited.
Rick Henry had been in this position before, situated closer to Crisler Arena than to the locked gates that led into the University of Michigan's football sanctum.
A seasoned veteran of Michigan's football fan day, Henry wasn't overly concerned with the line he saw in front of him, knowing once the gates swung open, it was every man for themselves.
In this case, 7,500 of them.
"People will thin out, and then you just to have a strategy," he said.
Over the years, Henry estimates he's acquired hundreds of autographs from Michigan players and coaches. Despite his line position, Henry knew the location of his targeted players, making his mission easier.
John Towne employed a different game plan, securing the first spot in line by arriving at 8 a.m. - four hours before fans were allowed inside. Towne drove from Traverse City on Saturday night, spending the night at his parents' home in Royal Oak.
After spending nine years on a wait list, Towne recently learned he had become a freshly-minted season-ticket holder.
"I can honestly say when I saw the letter saying I had gotten the season tickets, I was like a little girl screaming up and down the driveway," Towne said. "I called everybody I knew."
Once the gates opened at 20 minutes past noon Sunday, Towne darted across Michigan's practice field before making his way to Al Glick Fieldhouse, where he was third in line to meet head coach Rich Rodriguez.
Rodriguez, by far the most popular among autograph seekers Sunday, arrived at 2:10 p.m. to a reception of fans that stretched around the perimeter of the Wolverines' indoor practice facility.
Towne met Rodriguez and wished the second-year coach and his players good luck after last year's 3-9 campaign. At least for the time being, Towne is peppering his expections with optimism.
"I'm hoping for a winning season, well a better season," Towne said. "I guess it can't get any worse. But I'm excited. It's going to take some time to turn things around, but hopefully it does turn around."
Most fans who waited in line had gotten over last season's forgettable campaign and were looking forward to better days ahead. For Henry, who referred to last season as "a perfect storm, as far as badness goes", the season-opener against Western Michigan on Sept. 5 can't come soon enough.
"It was a long summer," Henry said. "I'm hoping it's a little better, with hopes for a lot better, but I'm not going to count on it. It can't be as bad as last year."
Brandon Parmentier arrived two hours before the gates open after making the drive from Warren. Like Towne, Parmentier came to wish players well, having already forgotten about last season.
He expects more wins this year, believing Michigan will be more fundamentally sound and better suited at quarterback.
But Sunday was all about meeting players and coaches, making sure his 3-year-old son met cornerback Boubacar Cissoko and slot receiver Martavious Odoms.
"They're his favorites," Parmentier said. "Boo-Boo and Tay-Tay is what he calls them so we have to get over to see them."
Rob Rademacher drew the task of unlocking the gates and in essence, unleashing the fans that turned out for Sunday's event.
Rademacher, Michigan's assistant athletic director for facilities and game day operations, said the goal is to open the gates and then get out of the way. He characterizes the crowd as being patient for the most part, knowing that players can only sign one autograph at a time.
Overall, he enjoys the interaction between fans and players.
"This kind of keeps them in touch with the program, and I think it's important they get the chance to see (players) outside the program," Rademacher said. "They get a chance to get an autograph or take a picture and I think the team likes it."
And despite being on the clock Sunday, Rademacher was also on dad duty. While he ushered fans inside the gates, Rademacher's son waited for his chance to meet his favorite player.
"He's got a No. 5 jersey," Rademacher said. "So (freshman quarterback Tate Forcier) is who he wants his picture with."
Saturday, August 22, 2009
by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert
Matthew Stafford will start Saturday for the Detroit Lions when they face Cleveland in a preseason game.
Stafford, the No. 1 pick in the 2009 NFL draft, backed up Daunte Culpepper in the team's first preseason game. This week, Stafford will start, Culpepper will play the second quarter and Drew Stanton will handle the second half.
Lions coach Jim Schwartz wouldn't use the word "start" in terms of Stafford. He told Detroit-area media members that Stafford will "begin the game."
"You see, starter has a different connotation," he said, according to The Detroit News. "And I don't have any starters. We don't have any starters right now."
Stafford was 7-of-14 for 114 yards and a touchdown in his professional debut against Atlanta. He also threw an interception.
That isn't enough to convince Schwartz that Stafford is the starter.
"He has played one preseason game, played a few snaps," Schwartz said. "We have a long way to go to decide if anybody's ready or not."
Monday, August 17, 2009
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
DETROIT -- Finally, the Tigers found help at the plate on the trade market. In turn, Aubrey Huff found arguably his best chance to finally get to the postseason.
The Tigers added the bat they've been seeking and arguably needing for most of the summer, acquiring Huff from the Orioles on Monday for Class A right-hander Brett Jacobson. Detroit's second trade acquisition in 2 1/2 weeks will join the Tigers for their next game Tuesday night against the Mariners.
The hope from there is that he can provide a spark for an offense that has struggled to score runs for most of the season, well before a 3-2 extra-innings loss to the Royals on Sunday that included 10 runners left on base. That spark at the plate could be the difference that separates the Tigers from the three-team scrum around the American League Central, a division the Tigers have led since mid-May, but never by more than a handful of games.
Even after the Tigers made a splash at the July 31 nonwaiver Trade Deadline, adding left-handed starting pitcher Jarrod Washburn to their already formidable rotation, the offense was seemingly the big question mark. Once Huff passed through waivers earlier this month, the soon-to-be free agent became the answer, though fitting him into Detroit's lineup becomes the next question.
"For us with Huff, he adds another left-handed bat to our ballclub, a middle-of-the-lineup type hitter," team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski said in a conference call Monday. "He's been a quality Major League hitter for an extended period. He brings a good presence to our lineup and adds another good bat to our team. We've worked on trying to get a bat for a while."
That bat has traditionally been better than this year's stats would suggest. The 32-year-old Huff owns a .253 average in 110 games this season for Baltimore, hitting 13 home runs with 72 RBIs.
The RBIs are important, because he's batting .324 with runners in scoring position. That production means something for a club that went 0-for-16 with runners in scoring position on Sunday.
"It's been a tough offensive year for our club," Dombrowski said. "I thought we would score more runs."
Dombrowski called Huff an infielder/outfielder, important semantics for a player who was exclusively a first baseman and designated hitter for the O's this year. His flexibility could be key for the Tigers, who might have to get creative to fit him in the same lineup as Carlos Guillen, who has been limited to DH and first base since coming back from his shoulder injury.
The Tigers hope Guillen can eventually return to left field, where he began the season, but it's far from certain when his shoulder will allow him to do that.
"He really did a tremendous job," Orioles president of baseball operations Larry MacPhail said. "When you think about what he did, he was our Most Valuable Player last year, he went and played a position for us this year and did a good job defensively. He can also play third and, occasionally, you can put him in the outfield if need be."
Dombrowski will leave that creativity up to manager Jim Leyland, but he ran off the list of positions where Huff has played in the past.
"He can play first. Of course, he's not going to play there on a regular basis," Dombrowski said. "He can play third if we decide to rest Inge. He has not played outfield since 2006, but he can play out there, and some people think that's his best position. That's something Jim will decide on a daily basis."
The move will not impact Inge's status, Dombrowski said. Though Inge has been bothered by patella tendinitis in his left knee all summer, he is not headed to the disabled list.
Huff, Dombrowski said, has indicated that he'll be happy to play wherever he can to help a contending team. The move to the Tigers gives him a chance at the postseason, where he has never been in his 10-year Major League career. He barely missed out with the 2006 Astros, his only team to have posted a winning season.
"I've been in last place basically my whole career, so this is an exciting time for me," Huff told reporters Monday in Baltimore. "I'm looking forward to it."
Huff spent 2000-06 with Tampa Bay before going to Houston in July of that year. He signed a three-year contract as a free agent that winter with the Orioles. Despite the lack of team success, Huff owns a .284 average and .818 OPS in 1,282 career games.
"He's always been a good hitter," Dombrowski said. "He's a guy that we tried to acquire numerous times in the past, because good left-handed hitters are hard to find. He's a guy that's a left-handed hitter that's a threat."
Dombrowski said the Tigers were not close to acquiring him last month. After that, it became apparent the price tag dropped once he passed through waivers. Dombrowski said they had shown interest in other players who did clear waivers.
Huff makes $8 million this season. The Tigers will pick up the remainder of his salary, as they're doing with Washburn.
The Tigers' other sacrifice, of course, was Jacobson, part of Detroit's crop of big, hard-throwing relievers from last year's First-Year Player Draft. He went 1-3 with a 3.74 ERA and six saves at Class A Lakeland, striking out 44 batters over 55 1/3 innings. However, the Tigers already have relievers Cody Satterwhite and Robbie Weinhardt at Double-A Erie, plus Scott Green in Lakeland.
"He has a good arm," Dombrowski said. "He's got good stuff. He's done a solid job out of the bullpen. He's not a guy we would like to give up, but considering we're getting a quality middle-of-the-lineup guy, we had to give up something to get him. I think he's got a shot to pitch in the big leagues."
The Tigers don't have to announce a roster move to put Huff on the 25-man roster until Tuesday. Dombrowski confirmed the move will not involve Magglio Ordonez, who struggled mightily early this season but has improved since the All-Star break.
The Tigers will fit Huff onto the 40-man roster by moving reliever Joel Zumaya to the 60-day disabled list. He's scheduled for surgery later this week to correct the stress fracture in his right shoulder.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Good turnout at Ford Field for Lions' open practice despite inclement weather
By Chrissie Wywrot
August 8, 2009
ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- After a week of training camp practices in Allen Park, the Detroit Lions moved to Ford Field for an open practice on Saturday afternoon.
The day began with a 45-minute team autograph session throughout the stadium before the players moved to the field for a two-hour, full-padded practice in front of a sizable crowd on a rainy afternoon.
“Yeah, I heard about (the rain) too when they were coming up (to get his autograph),” said Head Coach Jim Schwartz.
“There were a lot of wet people. You know what? It says something about this city’s love for football. You can get 15,000 people standing in the rain for two hours to come in and sit through practice like this. “
Schwartz knows that there are some parts of practice that aren’t as dynamic as others, yet the fan base stuck around for the duration.
“There are some parts of practice that aren’t viewer-friendly, but they stuck with it,” said Schwartz. “It was probably louder than a preseason game and it was 15,000 people so this is going to start to build.”
Prior to the practice, Schwartz addressed the crowd, thanking them for waiting out in the rain to come and see practice.
He also said he was hoping they would come out to practice at the team’s facility.
“I appreciate them and I think we got a good thing for them today,” said Schwartz, “but I would like to do some more of that. I would like to have some more of those people out at Allen Park.”
One thing that was apparent throughout the practice was the intensity from the fans regarding the team’s quarterback competition.
What does Schwartz think about fans evaluating the QBs based on Saturday’s practice?
“I’d say they came out today, come out to Allen Park and see (them) again,” he said. “Come to the Atlanta preseason game; come back when the Colts are here for the preseason game. It’s not going to be based on one practice or one week. It’s going to be the whole body of work and what happens through the preseason.
“(And) that’s not just the quarterback position; it’s every player on this team. It’s one of the exciting things about coming in as a new coach, a new coaching staff: you don’t have any loyalties built up. The players don’t have anything to be loyal to me for yet; I don’t have anything to be loyal to them and it makes everybody better.”
By Jason Beck / MLB.com
08/08/09 2:12 PM ET
DETROIT -- Fox Sports Detroit and cable provider Comcast announced Friday the launch of Tigers On Demand, a feature on local Comcast systems that will allow fans to watch the most recent Tigers game on demand in its entirety whenever they want, as well as original Tigers programming from FSN Detroit.
The service, available to local Comcast Digital Cable subscribers at no extra charge, allows fans the chance to watch the Tigers on their own timetable. The highlight of the package is the ability to watch the most recent Tigers game from first pitch to last, from the time it becomes available -- usually around two hours after the game has ended, according to FSN Detroit's Tim Bryant -- until the next game is played.
Viewers can watch the game with DVR-like controls, rewinding, fast-forwarding and pausing from their remote. They can also watch a selection of other Tigers programming, including the Tigers Weekly special on the late Mark Fidrych from earlier this season, and past interviews from legends such as Al Kaline and Willie Horton. FSN Detroit and Comcast plan to try to bring in additional content as the season rolls on.
"With the launch of FOX Sports Detroit: Tigers On Demand, we're bringing our customers across Michigan access to the Tigers like they've never experienced before," said Tom Coughlin, FSN Detroit senior vice president for Michigan.
Access to the programming works much like any other On Demand programs. Fans can go to the Channel 1 On Demand station, click on Get Local, then find FS Tigers, then scroll down to the list to find the particular game or other Tigers programming they want to see.
The move is a new one for Comcast and FSN Detroit with the Tigers, though it's one in which they've partnered before on other sports. FSN usually shows Tigers games soon after they wrap up, sometimes multiple times in one setting. Comcast estimates that viewers have watched more than 12 billion programs since the launch of On Demand programming in 2003, with sports and health/fitness items among the most popular.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Friday, August 7, 2009
-Michigan Sports Guy
The contract is for one year at the veteran's minimum of $1.3 million, according to sources.
Wallace is expected to sign the deal early next week.
Wallace became a free agent this summer after the Phoenix Suns bought him out of the last year of his contract. Wallace was traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers to Phoenix earlier this summer for Shaquille O'Neal.
The move is a bittersweet reunion of sorts. Wallace bolted from the Pistons for the Chicago Bulls in summer 2006 after the Pistons balked at matching the Bulls' four-year, $60 million offer.
Wallace's move from Detroit to Chicago was a bit of a bust. He never regained his defensive dominance and was traded away two years later to Cleveland.
In Detroit, the Pistons plan on using Wallace as a backup to Kwame Brown. The Pistons were especially thin on their front line last season and still believe that Wallace can defend and rebound -- albeit not at the same pace as his last stint with the Pistons.
With younger, offensive-oriented players such as Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon joining the team, the Pistons are trying to find ways to preserve their blue-collar approach to defense they've been known for under Joe Dumars, the former Piston who is the team's president of basketball operations.
Adding Wallace as a vocal proponent of the "Pistons Way" should help that effort in the locker room.
On Friday, Dumars announced that the team has signed 2009 draft selections Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers and Jonas Jerebko to contracts.
Daye was drafted by Detroit with the 15th overall pick in the first round of the draft. The 6-foot-11 sophomore forward from Gonzaga averaged 12.7 points and 6.8 rebounds in 34 games last season.
Summers was selected with the 35th overall pick in the second round. He started 98 of his 101 games at Georgetown and finished his collegiate career with averages of 11.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per game.
Jerebko was selected with the 39th overall pick in the second round of the draft. He played professionally in Italy the last two seasons.
Chad Ford is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
-This article was straight from espn.com - to go to original article click on the title
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
TEAM W L % GB
Detroit 54 - 49 .524 -
Chicago 54 - 52 .509 1.5
Minnesota 52 - 53 .495 3.0
Just 2 days into August and the Tigers are getting ready to make that push to the playoffs. I think it is more important for us to get a few games up so we can get some of our players some rest. Inge probably needs to go on the DL. Bonderman and Robertson are making rehab assignments on Tuesday and Galarraga is still struggling. Willis will probably be on the DL all year and Carlos Guillen can only bat from the left side.
Even through all this adversity we are still in first place. This is our favorite time of year, football practice is taking place. There are only two months left before playoff baseball and once again the White Sox and Twins are in striking distance. The trading deadline is over and all 3 of these teams in the hunt for the Al Central pennant race made last minute teams to try to make that push.
Soon we will get to see how Washburn is going to help us. We have seen this story before, most recently with Kenny Rogers here in Detroit. The Veteran pitcher who has struggled for a few years becuase they have lost the 95 plus mile per hour fast ball and they had to learn how to pitch all over again. Which is a struggle for anyone who is just used to going out there and throwing it past people. Greg Maddox is a Hall of Famer becuase it is hard to learn how to pitch that way and he made it look simply.
I do not know about you about you guys but I am ready to turn the clock back and take a chapter out of the old book and have the 2009 Detroit Tigers do what they could not get done back in 2006. What do you say?
Michigan Sports Guy
Saturday, August 1, 2009
I am interested to know if anyone has attended any of the sporting events in this book? Are there any that you believe should have been in there that weren't?
Also please let me know if you have any ideas or tips about my blog.