Monday, 31 December 2012

Michigan carrying torch for Big Ten in Outback Bowl





South Carolina tough test for Michigan

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/12/31/sports/doc50e20fec535aa371031680.txt

On Lions, MSU bowl victory, Michigan vs. South Carolina

Replay of my live chat:     Video streaming by Ustream

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Only one vote matters for Lions' head coach Jim Schwartz's job security

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/12/30/sports/doc50e0cf342954a676311795.txt


Jim Schwartz: 4-12 record equals hot seat

Thoughts after 3 quarters, Bears, Lions

- The Lions defense is holding them in this game, but it is only adding to the frustration. The Bears aren't a very good team at this stage. They had lost five out of six games until beating the Cardinals last week. It's probably the biggest reason the Lions have been able to stick around despite their propensity to commit turnovers.
- Mikel Leshourse seems to have regressed rather than made

Thoughts halftime, Lions, Bears

- This game, like the Lions' season, got dangerously close to being out of hand in a hurry. It's one thing to lose. It's another to get embarrassed. The Lions were on the brink of getting embarrassed until scoring just before halftime.
- A bright spot: The Lions' defense held the Bears to field goals in a couple tight spots, or it would be a Chicago rout.
- Forget Warren Sapp. Lions' defensive

Thoughts after 1st quarter, Bears, Lions

- Would I fire Jim Schwartz as head coach? No. But I know enough about the Lions to understand that there is only one vote that counts on such matters. It is owner William Clay Ford Sr. And I also know enough about the Lions to understand Ford Sr will do exactly what he pleases - regardless of what his son, the media or the fans think. It is real simple: If Schwartz rubbed Ford Sr. the wrong way,

On MSU's bowl victory over TCU

Beating TCU 17-16 in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl was an important measuring stick victory for Michigan State.


Will Le'Veon Bell return?

The fact MSU beat Georgia last bowl season has gained cache because the Bulldogs were so good this season. TCU, loaded with freshmen and sophomore starters, and likely to get standout QB Casey Pachall back next season (he left the team after being arrested for

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Spartans lost season likely not a trend



Spartans need to tighten up defensively at key times

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/12/27/sports/doc50dc1ec8d8a0f754977467.txt

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

On the overreaction to MSU and Tom Izzo losing out on Jabari Parker



Future bright for Harris, MSU

Yes, Jabari Parker was a big-time receuit. It's true, Michigan State basketball coach Tom Izzo put an inordinate amount of time recruiting him. Yes, it was Duke that landed the big fish. Yep, the Spartans' 2013 recruiting class is looking like it will be a zero. But it hardly tells the story of the bigger picture, which is a future that is going to be bright for

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions - record broken, broken record

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/12/23/sports/doc50d69ff786924855865319.txt


Calvin Johnson: Both records a matter of record

Thoughts after 3 quarters Falcons, Lions

- Calvin Johnson is single-handedly keeping the Lions in this game. What an effort and performance.
- Another strange aspect about the Lions' season. They have 17 rushing touchdowns, their most since 1997 when Barry Sanders rushed for more than 2,000 yards. It doesn't jive with their dismal record at all.
- Roddy White and Julio Jones, the Falcons' wide receivers, are both amazingly big and fast.

Thoughts halftime Falcons, Lions

- What? When did Calvin Johnson go to the Brandon Pettigrew school of ball security? I thought the Lions might have a fighting chance in this game, but it wasn't going to happen turning the ball over like that. Now it's turned into a drubbing.
- Here's stating the obvious: Johnson has 100 yards receiving already and the Lions are getting drilled by 15 points at halftime. There is just something

Thoughts after 1st quarter, Falcons, Lions

- Back-to-back plays summed up the Lions' season: Calvin Johnson breaking loose on a 41-yard catch and run, shattering Detroit's single-season receiving yardage mark that had been held by Herman Moore in the process, and Mikel Leshoure losing a fumble on the very next play.
- Another tale of the Lions' 2012 season, a touchdown for field goal exchange, one not on Detroit's side.
- More Joique Bell

Biggest reason bowl games hardly meaningless for Spartans, Wolverines

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/12/22/sports/doc50d5eb974bb7a808545333.txt


Devin Gardner: An important evaluation

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Bottom line is Calvin Johnson's record rings hollow on a losing team

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/12/20/sports/doc50d35c2955fe4883426033.txt


Lions' bad mark taints breaking record

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Lions have gone from disappointing to awful

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/12/16/sports/doc50ce6bed9cd75176409203.txt


Lions weren't even close this time

Thoughts after 3 quarters, Lions, Cardinals

- The Lions are going to rack up a bunch of numbers in this game, win or lose. It will be completely meaningless should they lose this game. They had this game early. Had they gotten any sort of lead on the Cardinals, there was no way their going to come back given their quarterback situation. It's why I have mixed feelings about the importance of Calvin Johnson's record for receiving yardage.

Thoughts halftime Lions, Cardinals

- It was too risky a throw by Lions' QB Matthew Stafford out of the end zone, sure, but, still, Cardinals' cornerback Patrick Peterson should have been flagged for holding on Calvin Johnson. It was a brutal non-call. No two ways about it. There was no excuse for the second interception, though. Just a poor read by Stafford, who had a poor first half.
- Just when it looked like the Lions were

Thoughts after 1st quarter Lions, Cardinals

- The Lions offense looks flat, too say the least. Disappointing so far.
- Beyond trying to score points, the Lions should also be motivated not to punt today because it puts the ball in the hands of the Cardinals' biggest game-breaker, Patrick Peterson (yes, even beyond Larry Fitzgerald). The Lions contained Peterson well on the first three punts, but the odds will not be with them if they

Not only does Jack Morris belong in the Baseball Hall of Fame, so does Alan Trammell

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/12/16/sports/doc50cdec3cbd3e6814226558.txt


On the cusp of the Hall of Fame

Thursday, 13 December 2012

The good and the bad of expanding the NFL playoffs

I do not like the NFL brand of football. I love it. From a purely selfish standpoint, I would welcome an expanded NFL playoff format. More of the intensity of playoff football, the better. But I am not sure it would be the right thing. This is why:


7-9 teams in postseason like '10 Seahawks not a good thing

- Expanding the playoffs would water down the value of reaching the playoffs. Currently

Matthew Stafford: Another Tom Brady or Tony Romo?

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/12/13/sports/doc50c95baf3e2fb920344966.txt


Yards haven't garnered victories in '12 for Stafford

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Taylor Lewan a first-team All-American? Really?

One of the more intriguing aspects of college football is the selection of offensive linemen for All-American teams. Is it based on who will be selected early in the NFL Draft? Is it based on the production of the given player's offense?


Lewan (right): How effective was he really?

Based on NFL Draft potential, Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan deserved his spot on the first-team AP All-American

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Lions will have to win back trust after this lost season



Suh, Lions underachievers

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/12/10/sports/doc50c5929f464b9850855067.txt

Thoughts after 3 quarters. Lions, Packers

 - Nick Fairley is showing the Lions didn't make a mistake by taking him in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. The talent is obviously there. Not only is he capable of a bull rush move like the one that netted him a key sack of Packers' quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the third quarter, but he has quickness as well. And he won't be double-teamed that often because of the presence of fellow

Thoughts halftime Lions, Packers

- The Lions can't win this game if they turn the ball over. It's the way it is. It doesn't matter if they are up at halftime. It might prove to be a half in which they wasted the opportunity to get a bigger lead, and could be costly at the end of the game. Quarterback Matthew Stafford must do a better job of taking care of the ball. Period. There was excuse for the fumble the Packers turned into

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Why Calvin Johnson may replace Barry Sanders as the "Greatest" Lions' player of all time



Like Sanders before him, Johnson deserves to be on better teams

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/12/08/sports/doc50c3a35b26804870100528.txt

Friday, 7 December 2012

Why the NHL is a long way from cancelling the season



Decision whether to cancel season long way off

Sometimes posturing by the parties negotiating like we saw from NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the players on Thursday isn't a bad thing. It can mean the real real issues toward an agreement are finally being addressed in earnest. Sometimes, though, it does mean what it seems - like there is no resolution in sight.
Trying to read into it is a

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Defending Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges



Borges' only real weapon has been Robinson

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/12/06/sports/doc50c0fcc365518509827481.txt

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Why Sunday's game at Green Bay is still very meaningful for the Lions

Any team goals the Lions set at the start of this season have evaporated after four straight particularly disappointing and disheartening defeats.
But the season is not over, just playoff aspirations. The Lions still have a quarter of their schedule remaining. The wrong approach would be just playing out the string.
While the Lions aren't playing for a championship any more, they are playing for

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Lack of talent isn't the Lions problem, but mental toughness is another story

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/12/02/sports/doc50bbee503605a094398727.txt


Suh, Lions just not getting it done

Thoughts after 3 quarters Colts, Lions

- The Colts have no answer for Calvin Johnson. It doesn't matter if they are double-teamming him. The Lions receiving corps have been depleted. Keep throwing him the ball. What a truly great player. He may very well break Jerry Rice's single-season yardage record. And the thing is, he is still capable of playing better and may be just scratching the surface.
- Believe in halftime adjustments? So

Thoughts halftime, Colts, Lions

- The Colts' Andrew Luck and Lions' Matthew Stafford certainly have lived up to their advance billing in the battle of first overall draft pick QBs. They may not always be effective, but they sure are thrilling. It's not just the QBs, however, who have stood out in this game. There have been some tremendous catches. The one-handed grab by Calvin Johnson down the right side line (while holding off

Thoughts after 1st quarter, Colts, Lions

- Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh broke through and sacked Colts QB Andrew Luck on Indianapolis' first play from scrimmage. See, it's possible. Sacks, tackles, tackles for loss...those are are the things that determine outstanding and dominating play, even for a defensive tackle. Not empty stat sheets in losses. True stars make plays. Hey, Suh made a play.
- Tight end Tony Scheffler has

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Not this year, and very likely never, will I vote for Bonds, Clemens or Sosa for Hall of Fame



Bonds was what was bad, not good, about baseball

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/12/01/sports/doc50baa6baeb8c0280427076.txt

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Why the NFL was wrong to fine Ndamukong Suh



Matt Schaub: Has a bright future in soccer

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell spoke at a charity dinner Tuesday night at Ford Field and stated the NFL didn't suspend Lions' defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh for kicking Houston QB Matt Schaub in the groin Thanksgiving Day because "intent" was difficult to determine in this case.
Was it inadvertent? Many people are suspicious because Suh has gained a

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

NHL lockout carnage the result of a two-headed monster



Fehr every bit as culpable as Bettman

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/11/27/sports/doc50b4b696a9f23595304411.txt













Replay of my live video chat on Lions, Michigan, Pistons and Birmingham Brother Rice football coach All Fracassa.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

It is no mistake, fluke or coincidence the Lions are reeling



Too much Suh, not enough Lions

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/11/25/sports/doc50b2b0d0ef39d322774080.txt

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Ohio State Buckeyes have just roared right past the Michigan Wolverines



Wolverines dropped an opportunity vs. Buckeyes

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/11/24/sports/doc50b15d04b5356663347489.txt

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Lions Thanksgiving Day stinker lies at Jim Schwartz's feet

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/11/22/sports/doc50aeb662a525c418215880.txt


A real bad day at the office

Thoughts after 3 quarters, Texans, Lions

- That was the worst call I've ever seen in the NFL. Worse than Packers-Seattle game with the replacement refs, ect. Justin Forsett was tackled. Period. It was idiotic to not make that play subject to review, too. The explantion of why it wasn't reviewable is a joke. It should be automatic because it is a TD. It should not matter if the Lions threw the challenge flag. What? Get the call wrong 

Thoughts halftime, Texans, Lions

- For all the complaints about Lions' QB Matthew Stafford throwing sidearm, which I think is justified, he made a great sidearm pass while on the run to tight end Brandon Pettigrew for a first down to set up the Lions' second touchdown.
- It wouldn't surprise me if Stafford throws for close to 500 yards today. The Texans secondary is serious bad without premier cornerback Johnathan Joseph.
- Wide

Thoughts after 1st quarter, Texas, Lions

- Finally, the Lions put together a long drive to start a game and finished it with a touchdown. Quarterback Matthew Stafford made a brilliant throw on third and long to rookie wide receiver Ryan Broyles for a first down. There was a very good diving catch by Calvin Johnson on the drive, too.Then, the dominos fell. Not playing from behind is an obvious key for the Lions today. With Arian Foster

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Maryland and Rutgers do fit the Big Ten. This is why



Maryland adds market size, basketball tradition to Big Ten

In the past, when the Big Ten expanded, it was about adding elite programs to the stable.
Penn State and Nebraska had national championship pedigrees in football.Market-size was a secondary issue.
There isn't nearly as much "wow" appeal with Maryland and Rutgers athletically.
Rutgers, in particular, raises eyebrows and questions about

Michigan-Ohio State - it has more meaning this year

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/11/20/sports/doc50abb4f028b41463179528.txt

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Detroit Lions have earned their 4-6 record one mistake at a time

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/11/18/sports/doc50a978e504a2f697594483.txt


Matthew Stafford: One of his worst performances this year

Thoughts after 3 quarters, Packers, Lions

- Calvin Johnson's brilliance is sometimes difficult to comprehend. The 25-yard pass he caught from Matthew Stafford made Packers' safety Morgan Burnett look silly. Burnett is a good player, but that play was an example why Johnson is the best non-quarterback in the NFL. Defenses stack the deck against him. He still succeeds.
- It is difficult to not look at the fourth quarter of this football

Thoughts halftime, Packers, Lions

- First it was Minnesota's Josh Robinson. Now it is Casey Hayward. The rookie cornerback for the Green Bay Packers from Vanderbilt, who is tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with five after picking off Lions' QB Matthew Stafford in the second quarter Sunday, was taken in the second round with the 62nd overall pick of April's NFL Draft, eight picks after Detroit selected wide receiver Ryan

Thoughts after 1st quarter, Packers, Lions

- What Calvin Johnson does far better than any receiver the Lions have ever had, by far, is beat double coverage deep. The Packers did have a safety defending him over the top. He beat the coverage anyway. It was also a very accurate deep throw by Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford.
- While flipping a field position game that was bound to doom the Lions sooner instead of later, settling for a

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Michigan Wolverines ready to bring on "Ohio"

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/11/17/sports/doc50a80d6d7bdd9514285425.txt


Devin Gardner was brilliant vs. Iowa

Thoughts after 3 quarters, Iowa, Michigan

- Michigan's performance couldn't be more impressive than today. It is remindful of the Illinois' game earlier this season because it's difficult to determine if it is because the Wolverines are so good, or the opposition so bad. We know this, Michigan needs a Minnesota upset of Nebraska today because it seems unlikely they will get any help from Iowa next week.
- Denard Robinson's catch and run

Thoughts halftime, Iowa, Michigan

- Devin Gardner is throwing the ball exceptionally well today, better than his first two starts. He is hardly getting any pressure and is taking full advantage. His deep throw to Jeremy Gallon was excellent.
- Kirk Ferentz, Iowa's coach, has proven himself down through years, but the Hawkeyes' talent level is really down. That is especially true up front defensively. Usually, Iowa's front seven

Thoughts after 1st quarter, Iowa, Michigan

- Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges, mad scientist? Not really. Putting Denard Robinson at running back was a good idea to get him on the field today. Obviously, he is still having injury issues when it comes to throwing the football. It's senior day. The idea of Robinson coming from another direction is just one more thing Ohio State must prepare for and be concerned about next week. And

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Why recent comparisons between Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner are inaccurate and unfair





Gardner, Robinson: Perception is delusional

No quarterback I can ever remember in this state, whether it be college or NFL, has ever been judged by a more unfair standard than Michigan's Denard Robinson.
He has led his team to victories over Notre Dame (twice), Nebraska in his only meeting, Ohio State after a long drought by the Wolverines, Michigan State by making a couple clutch plays at

AL MVP Award could be the first of many for Miguel Cabrera



Cabrera defined "MVP" in 2012

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/11/15/sports/doc50a58f75039c7927078892.txt

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Why there is no downside to Detroit Tigers signing Torii Hunter

Under normal circumstances, I'd be questioning the Tigers signing a 37-year-old outfielder who will be 38 by the time the postseason rolls around next October.


Outfield defense now a Tigers' strength with Hunter added

Baseball players prime years are 27-to-33. They tend to slow down after that. And when it happens, the descent is often rapid, and difficult to see when it is exactly coming.

Detroit Lions are on Mission Improbable



Stafford, Schwartz: Need to figure it out

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/11/14/sports/doc50a3ceba857fc299356673.txt

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Why Torii Hunter is a much better fit for the Detroit Tigers than Angel Pagan



Torii Hunter: Rakes vs. left-handed pitching

- Torii Hunter is a different type of player than Angel Pagan. He is a run producer, not a table setter. Pagan (31 and turning 32 in July) is in his prime while Hunter 37 turning 38 in July) is older. Yet, Hunter, unless he suddenly runs into an age wall, is much more threatening in the batter's box than Pagan.
There was a lot of fretting among

Sunday, 11 November 2012

The finger of blame points everywhere for the Detroit Lions



Season turned upside down on Stafford, Lions

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/11/11/sports/doc50a0317554b7a949950483.txt

Thoughts after 3 quarters, Lions, Vikings

- Finally, the Lions got a big play offensively. Those bemoaning Calvin Johnson's lack of production this season are misguided. Yes, he should have more touchdown passes, and is banged up, but he is still very productive despite double teams. He has gone over 100 yards in five of the Lions' first first nine games this season, and had 94 in another.
- The Lions pass rush needs to be better. Even

Thoughts halftime, Lions, Vikings

-The idea playing against the Vikings is simple: If they fall behind, and they are forced to put the ball in quarterback Christian Ponder's hands throwing to pedestrian wide receivers (with Percy Harvin out), the Vikings' chances of winning are minimal. Give the Vikings a lead, with a great back, Adrian Peterson, pounding into the line play after play, and running down the clock, their chances of

Thoughts after 1st quarter, Lions, Vikings

- It's one thing to get beaten deep by Percy Harvin, it's another to get smoked by Jarius Wright. Christian Ponder to Jarius Wright? Ponder didn't even throw for 100 yards the last couple weeks. Wright was a solid college player at Arkansas, a fourth-round draft pick. But how he got that open deep down the field is a mystery. Ponder did buy some time by side-stepping the Lions' pass rush, but he

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Michigan Wolverines' close victories like one over Northwestern no coincidence

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/11/10/sports/doc509ed78d37c64495454936.txt


Devin Gardner was clutch again on Saturday

Thoughts after 3 quarters, Northwestern, Michigan

- Pat Fitzgerald went to Northwestern and was a star linebacker. Chicago is a great town and Northwestern is a tremendous school and place. But it's difficult to win there in revenue sports such as football and basketball. It's just the way it has been for nearly a half a century.
But it's very difficult to watch this game and not come away impressed with just how well-coached the Wildcats are.

Thoughts halftime, Michigan, Northwestern

- It was a disappointing drive at the end of the half for the Wolverines' defense. Northwestern backup QB Trevor Siemian is an excellent passer, though. He'd start on a lot of teams, and the Wildcats do an excellent job of using him in passing situations, particularly the two-minute drill. Northwestern is a very difficult team to prepare for because their offense is so diverse.
- Michigan's

Thoughts after 1 quarter, Michigan, Northwestern

- The issue in this game is not Michigan's offense. The Wolverines were going to score a lot of points in this game whether Devin Gardner or Denard Robinson is at QB. The big issue today is whether the Wolverines' defense can stop Northwestern's offense. The answer on the first drive wasn't a good one for the Wolverines. We'll see how it develops. Northwestern's second drive went better for

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Lions blowout bodes well for second half of the season



Leshoure was terrific Sunday

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/11/04/sports/doc50971b5704643327529118.txt

Thoughts halftime, Lions, Jaguars

- Finally, a halftime lead.
- The second quarter is indicative of what the Lions are capable of when they get on a roll. They are one of those teams that can get very hot offensively. After a mostly sputtering first-half of this season, perhaps the Lions are heating up. They have a lot of weapons on offense. They are using them all today, including getting the ball into the hands of Calvin

Thoughts after 1 quarter, Lions, Jaguars

- Granted, field position hasn't been in their favor, but another first quarter with no production offensively. Better starts are a necessity for the the Lions moving forward. They should be toasting this secondary. It's not that good to begin with, and is injury depleted.
- The Lions are only using Calvin Johnson in key situations. If the Lions could take a lead in this game, rather than having

Saturday, 3 November 2012

MSU Spartans have only themselves, not the officials, to blame

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/11/03/sports/doc5095d1f6ad415736107789.txt


MSU made Taylor Martinez look like Peyton Manning in 4th

Thoughts after 3 quarters, Nebraska, MSU

- The Spartans' offense is so plodding, it's painful. That this is one of MSU's better offensive performances of the season speaks volumes about the Spartans' issues. The Spartans were baled out by a terrible call on a alleged hit out of bounds on the final drive of the quarter.
- Honestly, I have never been impressed with Spartans running back Nick Hill, but there is no question he provided an

Thoughts halftime, Nebraska, MSU

- One factor noticeable in this game is that Nebraska has much more speed on offense than MSU has on offense. The Spartans' Le'Veon Bell does most everything well, and is defnitely a premier college running, but his lack of breakaway speed sticks out. Even MSU wide receiverTony Lippett's long TD reception in the quarter wasn't because of separation from defenders. He won a jump ball with three

Thoughts after 1 quarter, Nebraska, MSU

- Getting a touchdown in the first quarter has been unusual for the Spartans. It was an impressive drive. There does seem to be a carryover from late in the Wisconsin game, when MSU's offense finally pulled together.
- Taylor Martinez is an explosive college QB with outstanding big-play capability, but it is more than negated by his inconsistency. That was a beyond horrible throw he made on the

Thursday, 1 November 2012

MSU Spartans, Michigan Wolverines still on track despite struggles this season



Dantonio, Hoke passing adversity test



My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/11/01/sports/doc50934f203d464298931784.txt

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Detroit Tigers off season: These should be the priorities

The first Las Vegas odds are out and have the Tigers as a 6-1 favorite to win next year's World Series.
Their starting pitching, even if they can't re-sign Anibal Sanchez, will be among the best in baseball. They'll have Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister leading the rotation. Rick Porcello and Drew Smyly are young and have an upside. Austin Jackson, Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

What is unusual about Jim Leyland's contract



Deal works for both Leyland and Tigers

The Tigers won the pennant. In those circumstances, the manager doesn't get fired. What is different about the Tigers and their situation with Jim Leyland is they do it on a year-by-year basis.
Normally, a manager on a one-year deal is considered a lame duck, who is doesn't command much respect in the clubhouse because the players figure he won't be there

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Bitter end shouldn't diminish an otherwise sweet season for the Tigers

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/29/sports/doc508e0f82966bc342510556.txt


Tigers were far more good than bad in '12

Thoughts after 8 innings, Tigers, Giants, Game 4, World Series

- So far, so good for the Tigers bullpen. It's always a danger zone when it is put in charge of a game. It was important to get through the portion of the Giants order with Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey.
- Miguel Cabrera's wind blown home run aside, both he and Prince Fielder have just not performed up to expectations so far in this series. The back to back strikeouts in the eighth inning were

Thoughts after 3 innings, Tigers, Giants, Game 4, World Series

Finally. Miguel Cabrera came through. Will it be too late? It might have been wind blown home run, but at minimum, it will help Cabrera save face for what has been a tough World Series for him thus far.
- The Tigers are streaky offensively, granted, but the depths they've fallen offensively in the World Series had been ridiculous.
- The bunt play by Quintin Berry was extremely dangerous. Great

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions live to fight for a playoff another day

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/28/sports/doc508db95c7e1a4530524898.txt



For Stafford, Lions it's never too late

Thoughts after 3 quarters, Lions, Seahawks

- Safety Louis Delmas has hurt his knee again. While the Lions defense had played much better since Delmas' return, Ricardo Silva did made did make two nice plays in the third quarter.
On a quick read with the Lions in an all-out blitz, Silva made a nice open field tackle on Seattle running back Robert Turbin. If Silva hadn't made that play, Turpin would have been off on a long gain, possibly a

Thoughts halftime, Lions, Seahawks

- That was a great throw by quarterback Matthew Stafford to Titus Young, producing the Lions second touchdown. You still see flashes of brilliance from Stafford this season. It's been his consistency that's been the issue. But that was by far the best first-half of football the Lions' offense has played this season.
- Seahawks' offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell has chosen wisely to avoid

Thoughts after 1 quarter, Lions, Seahawks

- Excellent scoring drive by the Lions. Amazingly, just their second TD in the first half of a game this season, the first since the opener. They mixed run and pass well, and took advantage of the middle of the field being so wide open.
- The penalty on the punt to extend Seattle's scoring drive was disappointing. The Lions continue to shoot themselves in the foot with too many foolish mistakes,

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Cabrera, Fielder, Verlander - Detroit Tigers World Series troubles as simple as 1-2-3

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/28/sports/doc508cb6db7cf0d039391205.txt


Everything that can go wrong has for Miggy, Tigers

Thoughts after 8 innings, Tigers, Giants, World Series

- The Giants are just another example of how important defense is when it comes to winning baseball games, and probably in this case, a championship. When Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford made an error in the eighth, it was almost surreal.
- Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder have been beyond disappointing in this series, but especially tonight.
- For the leading hitter in the major leagues this

Thoughts after 6 innings, Tigers, Giants, Game 3, World Series

- Two outs, bases loaded, down two runs, the fifth inning, the pitcher on the ropes...Miguel Cabrera couldn't have been at the plate in a more ideal situation. He just didn't get it done. Not a good series for Prince Fielder, either.
- Quintin Berry sometimes struggles as a hitter, but he usually doesn't get himself out. Plate discipline is normally a strength. Tonight, that has not been the case

Thoughts after 3 innings, Tigers, Giants, Game 3, World Series

- There were a lot of things the Tigers wanted to see from Quintin Berry in that situation. Swinging at the first pitch wasn't one of them.
- Anibal Sanchez's lack of command tonight is alarming and surprising. The Giants seem to be recognizing his pitches well. They are getting good swings off him. The Tigers bullpen better get ready. It looks like they will be getting plenty of work tonight.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

If Detroit Tigers don't win World Series, decision to send Prince Fielder home will live in infamy

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/25/sports/doc508a121eca7f0009656882.txt


Prince Fielder: Inexplicably out at home

Thoughts after 8 innings, Tigers, Giants, Game 2, World Series

- What really hurt both Drew Smyly and Octavio Dotel out of the Tigers' bullpen were the walks. They don't happen, the Giants probably don't get either run.
- You must give the Giants credit for doing what the Tigers don't do well at the plate. That is working the count and being tough outs in clutch situations. Dotel did get the borderline calls before Hunter Pence hit his sacrifice fly, but

Thoughts after 7 innings, Tigers, Giants, Game 2, World Series

- I'm sorry, I just don't see Drew Smyly as a situational left-hander. The bad part is he didn't throw strikes tonight. Usually, he is pretty good about that, but has trouble keeping the ball in the park, but this a park it is difficult to hit homers. But the Tigers don't have many options in these situations. It is one of the downsides to using Phil Coke as a closer. Perhaps Darin Downs should

Thoughts after six innings, Tigers, Giants, Game 2, World Series

- The Tigers are making Madison Bumgarner look like Clayton Kershaw. He has had some big-time success, winning 16 games this season. But his ERA was over 5.00 after September 1, and he was lit up like a Christmas tree by the Cardinals in the NLCS. Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder both ripped shots off Bumgarner the second time they faced him. Maybe the third time will be a charm. Omar Infante

Thoughts after 3 innings, Tigers, Giants, Game 2, World Series

- Tigers third base coach Gene Lamont made a mistake sending home Prince Fielder in the second inning on Delmon Young's double, period. I am all for aggressive base running but not with a player that big, that early in a game. If the Giants had executed a simple left-to-short-to-home relay, Fielder would have been out by several feet. The only reason the play was that close is it took Giants left

Why the layoff isn't why the Detroit Tigers lost World Series opener to Giants



No excuse necessary:  Verlander was just hit hard



I don't know if the Tigers will win the World Series. I do know this: It is not over simply because they didn't win Game 1. If they win tonight, the series is even and the Tigers will be in tremendous shape coming home for three games.
But I strongly don't believe they lost Game 1 because they were off awhile after sweeping the Yankees in

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Detroit Tigers better wake up or the San Francisco Giants will roll to World Series title

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/25/sports/doc5088c4ca5a015536935838.txt


Kung Fu Panda and Giants sent a message in Game 1

Thoughts, middle of the 5th inning, Tigers, Giants, Game 1 World Series

- I know people are frustrated by the way this game has gone, but reality is the Tigers were one big hit away in the fifth from being back in it. But they didn't get it...
- All you ever hear about this ball park is how difficult it is to hit home runs. Then Pablo Sandoval hit three home runs in his first three at bats of this World Series. Two were off Justin Verlander, truly a great pitcher,  

Thoughts after 3 innings, Tigers, Giants, Game 1, World Series

- Pablo Sandoval is one of those weird hitters, who is impossible to gauge when using basic baseball logic. He was down 0-2 in the count at the most difficult park to hit a home run in the major leagues, while facing the best pitcher in baseball, when he lined a solo home run off Verlander in the first inning. Then an opposite field shot to make it 4-0. What he does best is put the ball in play.

All things considered, it is Detroit Tigers time to win the World Series



Stars are aligned for Miggy and the Tigers

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/24/sports/doc5088414572d75363269620.txt

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Disappointment only begins to describe the Detroit Lions



Jim Schwartz: His Lions are underachieving

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/23/sports/doc50864d3f5d837237606511.txt

Monday, 22 October 2012

Thoughts after 3 quarters, Lions, Bears

 - The Lions defense has held them in this game, but if the offense keeps this up, the dam will break and the Bears will romp. One TD scoring drive, and the Lions would be right in this game.
- The Lions lack of proficiency in the scoring zone is alarming. Where was a lead back in that spot? The Lions do have a package with a tight end leading up through the hole in short yardage situations.

Thoughts halftime, Lions, Bears

- It seemed like Bears linebacker Lance Briggs wanted the ball more than Lions running back Mikel Leshoure, didn't it? And it kind of summed up the first half. The Lions are extremely fortunate to be down just 10-0. Their first-half ineptitude offensively is stunning given their weapons.
- That was a big-time play and clean smack down by Ndamukong Suh on Bears' QB Jay Cutler. His off-the-field

Saturday, 20 October 2012

One close victory, and Michigan Wolverines own Michigan State Spartans again

My column:http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/20/sports/doc50834d23b6acd465593871.txt


Denard Robinson exorcised MSU ghost

Thoughts after 3 quarters, MSU, Michigan

Time is running out on Denard Robinson. Michigan desperately for him to make a play, the type he has made so often against every other conference or rivalry opponent the Wolverines have faced since he became the starting quarterback except Michigan State.
- It was a horrible missed call by the referee. Anthony Rashad White clearly should have been flagged for hitting Robinson late, and to the

Thoughts MSU, Michigan halftime

- The Wolverines are winning this game, but the story of it so far is how well the Michigan State defense has throttled Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. This game very well could determine Robinson's legacy at Michigan. So far, the Wolverines' defense and a missed field goal by MSU kicker Dan Conroy has helped Robinson. Upcoming: The most important half of football Denard Robinson has ever

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Baseball tidal wave carried Detroit Tigers to World Series

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/18/sports/doc5080a79a33a8b823987980.txt




Tigers peaked at just the right time

Thoughts after 8 innings, Tigers, Yankees, Game 4, ALCS

- If the Tigers close in the ninth, enjoy this moment. The Tigers will have won just six pennants in the last 72 years. They also have proven to be superior to the Yankees in the last seven years. They may be lacking a world title since 1984, but the Tigers have still established themselves as one of baseball's best franchises.
- I can tell you this: There is no way Jim Leyland would ever handle

Thoughts after 4 innings, Tigers, Yankees, Game 4, ALCS

- This is now officially a beating rather than a ball game.
- You don't see Miguel Cabrera pull too many fastballs into the left field seats, but he really did a tremendous job of turning around a cutter by Yankees' starter C.C. Sabathia. It was a majestic home run that was remindful in terms of its distance, location and trajectory of Magglio Ordonez's pennant-deciding homer in the 2006 ALCS off

Thoughts after 3 innings, Tigers, Yankees, Game 4, ALCS

- People bemoan about how high the pitch counts for Tigers starting pitchers Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer get early in games. I look at it more as accepting a minimal downside for something that is exceptionally good. They both throw hard and miss a lot of bats. In their case, it is a sign of how difficult they are to hit. Also, there is nothing that can benefit a pitcher more than the

Thoughts after 2 innings, Tigers, Yankees, Game 4, ALCS

- Andy Dirks has been a terrific offensive player for the Tigers this season, but there were times when his defense seemed to dropoff. He played more of a speed game in the past, too. Perhaps that's because he had an Achilles tendon issue during the season. He is running better now. That was a terrific running catch he made in the second inning on Mark Teixeira. He has also proven he can hit

Thoughts after 1 inning, Tigers, Yankees, Game 4, ALCS

- I don't hear anybody complaining about Delmon Young swinging at the first pitch too much now. He is on fire, and has now started to use all fields.
- The crowd here today is excellent. No dropoff in noise from last night. There is not an empty seat to be found. People have still managed to find their way to this game.
- The Yankees have virtually no fight left. You can see it in their body

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Detroit Tigers postseason run of incredible stories

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/17/sports/doc507f606ad0248421776140.txt


Phil Coke: Sweet revenge after bitter regular season

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Detroit Tigers are inferior no more to the New York Yankees

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/16/sports/doc507e2ed73d605832548169.txt


Justin Verlander was brilliant - again

Thoughts after 5 innings, ALCS, Tigers, Yankees, Game 3

- I've defended Curtis Granderson's defense a lot down through the years. He has made some of the best catches I can ever remember, especially at the wall. But he badly misplayed Miguel Cabrera's drive. Between that and third baseman Eric Chavez's error on Quintin Berry's grounder have given the Tigers another break. But to their credit, Cabrera did hit that ball relatively hard, and Berry did

Thoughts after 4 innings, ALCS, Tigers, Yankees, Game 3

- I watched Delmon Young take batting practice today, and he hit a couple low rockets over the left field wall, which were just like the shot he slammed off Yankees' starter Phil Hughes in the fourth. For all the angst about Young, you must give him this: When he's hot, he can carry a team. He did carry the Tigers at a couple key points this summer, and he is doing the same in this series. He has

Thoughts after 3 innings, Tigers, Yankees, Game 2, ALCS

- The Yankees did not get good swings at all on Tigers starter Justin Verlander the first time through the order. At this early stage, it appears like a total mismatch. Yankees starter Phil Hughes is a solid major league starter. He has a good fastball and mixes his pitches well. Still, the gap between Hughes and Verlander is amazingly wide. Before the game, former Tigers star Jack Morris said

Monday, 15 October 2012

Why it's wise Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland didn't write off Jose Valverde



There may be a point Jose Valverde is needed

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/15/sports/doc507c9b2cad9ab567813338.txt

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Detroit Tigers more good than lucky vs. struggling Yankees



Phil Coke: Now he is a fan favorite

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/14/sports/doc507b5845667b5598562900.txt    Video streaming by Ustream

Thoughts after 8 innings, Tigers, Yankees, Game 2, ALCS

- The Tigers got a huge break on the call at second base. Second base umpire Jeff Nelson blew that call badly. Robinson Cano tagged Omar Infante out. It was clear. But Nelson is the same umpire, behind the plate in the game at Fenway Park in Boston this season, who ruled a foul tip strikeout was not valid because it hit the dirt before it landed in Tigers' catcher Gerald Laird's glove (after

Thoughts after 7 innings, Yankees, Tigers, Game 2, ALCS

- The Tigers hitting is amazingly spotty (although it was ridiculous to believe Hiroki Kuroda was going to throw a perfect game today on three days rest), but what we are seeing this postseason is that starting pitching remains the most important element in the game, despite the death of the complete game. This game will, however, come down to what the Tigers do out of the bullpen. It's

Thoughts about the Lions 26-23 victory over the Eagles



Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions character victory

 - The Lions season was on the ropes. They needed a victory in the worst possible way. Even though it wasn't pretty, it was definitely a sign the Lions have made great progress. This is not the "same old franchise." They responded very well under pressure in a classic "must win" situation. The Lions are now very much still in the race for a

Thoughts halftime, Lions, Eagles

 - The Lions should lead this game by at least a touchdown. It's on the offense. It has become increasingly inept as the game has moved on. The last drive of the half was particularly disturbing.
- Wide receiver Titus Young and tight end Brandon Pettigrew are in a neck-and-neck race to be the Lions' MDP (Most Disappointing Player) this season. QB Matthew Stafford made a great, long throw, which

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Detroit Tigers so hot right now even Jose Valverde can't spoil it



Prince Fielder and Tigers winning despite their closer

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/14/sports/doc507a5469ebbaa791357168.txt

Thoughts after 8 innings, Tigers, Yankees, Game 1, ALCS

- Baseball can be extremely weird. Among the Tiger's heroes tonight: Jhonny Peralta (as a defensive stalwart), Phil Coke (getting out Mark Teixeira while he was hitting right-handed) and Avisail Garcia (as a clutch hitter). Hey, is there still room on the postseason roster for Ryan Raburn (I'm kidding). For all the justifiable complaints about the lack of balance in the Tigers' lineup during the

Thoughts after 7 innings, Tigers, Yankees, Game 1, ALCS

- It was inevitable the Tigers had to go to their bullpen tonight. Phil Coke wasn't good in the seventh. He was brilliant. Getting Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira back-to-back like that was incredible given Coke's struggles this season. And Cano really fought him hard in that at bat, too.
- Doug Fister has a tremendous competitive heart. Even when he was
coming off an injury earlier this season

Judgment day is here for Denard Robinson and Michigan Wolverines

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/13/sports/doc507a031001c22717860329.txt


Beating MSU a must in many ways for Robinson, Michigan

Thoughts halftime, Michigan, Illinois

- Michigan fans can't help it. Many of them bemoan the idea of Denard Robinson as their quarterback, but today they got a dose of life without him. The offense wasn't nearly as threatening, was it?
It also brought in the question: If there is a long-term injury, does Devin Gardner go back to QB? I would have to belief that is the case. He is a good receiver, but not great there. It wouldn't hurt

Friday, 12 October 2012

Justin Verlander perfection could propel Detroit Tigers to world title



Justin Verlander is the ace in any playoff deck

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/12/sports/doc5077c55941413136318085.txt

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Thoughts after 7 innings, Tigers, A's, Game 5, ALDS

 - It's amazing how much better the Tigers play when expectations are dropped. In the seven years they have been managed by Jim Leyland, they have seldom played well as front runners. They are much better coming from behind or with their "backs against the wall."
- Finally, the offense has broken through. It shouldn't be considered any kind of fluke. Ryan Cook had been as effective as any

Thoughts after 4 innings, Tigers, A's, Game 5 ALDS

 - Justin Verlander has been brilliant in this game. He is mixing his pitches well. The A's are extremely unbalanced. Perhaps he can give the Tigers a complete game to avoid the bullpen. Oakland's hitters, with the exception of Yoenis Cespedes, appear overmatched. But we all know about the A's propensity for unlikely comebacks.
- There has been a classic example in this game how not play catcher

And so it will be the Detroit Tigers Justin Verlander vs. the Oakland A's destiny



Tigers fighting destiny

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/11/sports/doc50766b901e883902111790.txt

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Thoughts after 7 innings, Tigers, A's, Game 4 ALDS

- Getting the first out in any inning means even more to Al Alburquerque than other relievers. His velocity is down from last year, and there isn't quite as much bite on his slider, but he does ride his confidence well, and there is still plenty of "stuff" there. He did extraordinarily well under a lot of pressure in the seventh, given how he is loathed in Oakland after kissing the baseball in

Thoughts after 4 innings, Game 4, Tigers, A's, ALDS

 - Max Scherzer isn't throwing as hard as usual, but plenty hard enough. There is still enough separation in velocity between his fastball and his off-speed pitches to be effective. Also, there seems to more late movement on his fastball at 92 mph and 93 mph than at 95 mph and 96 mph. And he still has his share of strikeouts. The A's have helped him out with pitch count. Scherzer has thrown just

Detroit Lions great Alex Karras always had a flair for the dramatic

I have two older brothers, and remember distinctly as a kid how they and my father would wax poetic about Alex Karras firing his helmet at Lions quarterback Milt Plum, reputedly barely missing his head, after Plum threw a late interception that cost the Lions a victory in Green Bay in 1962.
As the Lions were losing continually throughout the 1970s and the 1980s, it was like this prideful moment

Detroit Tigers become kittens on the road



Coco Crisp: Goat in Detroit, hero in Oakland

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/10/sports/doc5075206e80af4225746981.txt

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Thoughts after 7 innings, Tigers, A's, Game 3, ALDS

 - Big inning by Detroit reliever Octavio Dotel. Tigers manager Jim Leyland rolled the dice having him pitch to the left-handed hitting Seth Smith. It worked. There is concern about the lack of a situational lefty in the Tigers' bullpen, though. In the long run, it could hurt them.
- If there was an example about just how much importance fielding plays in the game of baseball, it is this series

Thoughts after 4 innings, Tigers, A's ALDS

- Oakland center fielder Coco Crisp made up for his horrible play in Game 2 of this series on Miguel Cabrera with his great play on Prince Fielder in Game 3 tonight. The A's, overall, have been much stronger defensively tonight than during the two games in Detroit. The Tigers are hitting the ball hard tonight. They should have more to show for it. They will if they keep putting these type of

Monday, 8 October 2012

Sunday, 7 October 2012

On a team of stars, it is Detroit Tigers role players keying postseason run

My column: http://theoaklandpress.com/articles/2012/10/07/sports/doc5071f9363591c680852313.txt    Video streaming by Ustream


Thoughts after 8 innings, Tigers, A's, Game 2 ALDS

- Oh boy. Phil Coke...Yikes. He does have postseason experience...
- It wasn't luck the Tigers pushed the tying run home. They did get two hits in that inning. They did get a sacrifice bunt from Andy Dirks. They forced Oakland's hand with the wild pitch. Oakland's Ryan Cook has been as effective as any reliever in the AL lately.
- The home run routine is getting a little stale with Tigers' setup

Thoughts after 7 innings, Tigers, A's Game 2 ALDS

- That was a monumental error by Coco Crisp in center field on the ball hit by Miguel Cabrera. It could ultimately cost the A's this series. They continue to shoot themselves in the foot defensively. In fairness to Crisp, he was playing unusally deep because Cabrera was at the plate. But come on, that wasn't a difficult play.
- That was a huge two-strike hit by Omar Infante with two outs. It set

Thoughts after 6 innings, Detroit Tigers, Oakland A's Game 2 ALDS

- A's right fielder Josh Reddick has just horrific at bats in this series. The A's as whole just don't look very imposing offensively. But the Tigers pitching has a lot to do with it. There have been excellent starts from Justin Verlander and Doug Fister at the top of the rotation. It'd be difficult to ask for much better. The Tigers have been doing their part behind their aces with a solid 

Thoughts after 3 innings, Detroit Tigers, Oakland A's Game 2 ALDS

- It looks like if Miguel Cabrera batted 10 times against Tommy Milone, he'd get eight hits, all of them doubles up the left-center field gap.
- Avisail Garcia is still developing as a hitter. The A's are playing him to swing late and he has displayed little power. Yet, his throw, nailing Coco Crisp at the plate in the third inning, proves the value of his defense. He is the only Tigers'