Monday, January 15, 2007

Tigers Caravan Was A Classic

The Tigers have their winter caravan this week, and while it is done much differently than when I covered the team as a beat writer for The Oakland Press from 1986-98, it always brings back memories - most of them fond.
I used to dislike the trip. It meant spending hour after hour on a bus with team president Jim Campbell, who did not like me at all. I remember one time, in St. Clair, he "greeted" me as I got off the bus. He pulled out this old, leather appointment book, and out fell this yellowed copy of a column I had written a couple years before. Below my smiling face, the headline said: “Monaghan’s Pizza Logic Destroying Tigers.” It was very critical of then-Tigers owner Thomas S. Monaghan, who was incredibly off-the-wall.
"Just to let you know how much I follow the #%@* you write in that newspaper, I carry this where ever I go,” Campbell said. Then he started screaming at me, "You wish he were dead, don’t you!!!!"
It was not all bad, though. We used to stop at Win Schulers for a great meal - although the deviled eggs at various stops got to be a bit much. You really got to know the players back then on the bus. I remember playing hearts with players from Cecil Fielder to the late Chris Brown to current White Sox general manager Kenny Williams on the caravan. I used to remember thinking that I was glad we were not playing for money because they had a lot and me none.

Random Thoughts

- Best laugh I got all weekend was watching Steve Mariucci on the NFL Network hem and haw and dodge the subject of his good buddy Andy Reid punting on fourth down when he should have gone for it during the Eagles playoff loss to the Saints. His co-hosts, Rich Eisen and Deion Sanders, just would not let up on Mooch, either. It was as if he were dodging questions from the media as the Lions coach again.

- I really like the concept of a high school basketball tournament to celebrate Martin Luther King Day in Pontiac. Kudos to Pontiac Northern for the idea. Pontiac is truly a great basketball town.

- I am going to Michigan’s game on Wednesday vs. Penn State. The Wolverines should win that game, but it will be a tricky one because Penn State does have experience. The last thing Wolverines can afford is to be upset in conference play at home.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


That's a funny Jim Campbell story! *LOL* Poor guy... just trying to do your job. What an intimadating man he could be, and such an ornery cuss to deal with. Though he never screamed at me, his eyes could nearly do the same.

I used to work the broadcasts at Tiger Stadium, along with doing the work on the phone system. He used to have this trimline phone mounted to an aisle seat where he sat in the stands below the broadcast booth, and he whined constantly about the slightest scratchiness in that phone line; not the most secure location, nor was there one in the stands, but he had to have one there. Most of the employees in the old stadium used to fear him like he was God. It was funny how the Head Usher Bob's eyes would roll when he'd tell me, "Mr. Campbell wants to see you again." *LOL* I would explain the nature of the problem to Bob, and he in turn would re-explain it to Mr. Campbell, as if, my conversation with him was in Greek.

I don't think I was one of his favorites either, but he paid to have the phone company there at the games to insure broadcast problems would be dealt with. I was grateful for that exposure, and it all ended with his departure. Those were the days.

Only one month until spring training, Book; time to spir the pot up. I think last year's success might have spoiled me. It's obvious that they weren't prepared for the World Series, and I fear a dropoff this season. I'm not happy with the Tigers' off-season moves; the lack of moves, rather. I still don't understand the lack of left-hand power tailored for Comerica Park!

Pull me out of the rut here, Book!

2:00 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

Caputo what do you know. I called the final four in last Friday's blog. It helped me at the sport book as well. Rivers wasn't the one who choked. I thought the way they used Tomlinson (the best football player in teh game) during the second half was a joke and the stupid penalties. They kept a hall of fame QB around long enough and when you do that you will get burned eventually.

Preasure is definately on Dungy and Manning this weekend. I don't think there will be a bigger focus then on them. Personally I think the question could be answered on who would you rather have as a QB Manning or BRady. If Brady wins the question is obvious. If Manning wins and can win the superbowl. THen well based on Talent. You'd almost have to go with Manning. Me Personally I think Brady deserves to be the top dawg in that conversation at who is the best based upone his output. Especially if he wins the Superbowl with a subpar receiving corps.

The superbowl 41 matchup heard here first is:

Bears vs Patriots

I know everyone wants the Saints and Grossman is stinking up the joint. I just think Chicago pulls it off.

I think the Webber move could be a great signing. However, I think more important things stand out over the weekend involving the Pistons. #1 I think Billups earned his contract by not being in the game. It showed how much the Pistons missed his game mgmt. skills, and his control of this team while he is on the floor. Chauncey puts people in a spot to be successful on this team and he has the ability to take over when the Pistons need him to take a game on his back. #2 Rasheed is not with it. The guy is just not motivated what so ever. For the championship run the risk of sheed was great. For the long term contract (and letting Memo go) I don't think it was all that worth it based on production. Keep in mind I am saying long term. I think te next move of trading Mohammad, McDyess, or D.Davis could be significant. One thing about this team is that Webber won't have to play a ton of minutes and should be healthy for the playoffs. I really like this team now for the playoff run if ti plays out the wya it is suppsoe to. All I know is Joe's next move should be to sign #1 Mr. Big Shot.

2:07 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I have a lot of Jim Campbell stories like that. But the one thing about it is he would always answer my questions - in between yelling at me. It was odd how he didn't want to give Bill Lajoie credit for anything. Weird, really. He did a lot for many people despite his gruffness. And I felt sorry for him. When they took the Tigers away from him, he had little else in his life.

2:47 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

The Chargers should have won that game. They were clearly the better team. New England knew it, too. You could tell by how they acted after the game. I agree with you about LT. What a great player and they should have used him more.

2:48 PM 

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