Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Reputation Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

The University of Detroit has a deep and great athletic tradition. It’s reputation academically is terrific.
That’s why what is happening at U-D lately is disturbing. What is happening? Not a lot. And that is the problem.
A horrible season by the men’s basketball team, the cancelling of a proud baseball program a few years back, the lack of premier athletes from the City of Detroit, administrators coaching varsity sports and virtually no exposure for the school coming from its athletic programs. The latest is an athletic director "search" that is comical in scope. Settling for mediocrity has become the norm.
The alums are up in arms about it at U-D - and with good reason. U-D needs to be careful because out in the suburbs, Oakland University is taking away a lot of its thunder. Oakland played on ESPN in its conference title game. Oakland is cleaning up in men’s basketball recruiting in its backyard. Oakland has a full-time coach and is building a baseball program. Its women’s basketball program is strong. Oakland has very good soccer and swimming programs with top-notch coaching. What is U-D doing? Where is its direction?
Heading the wrong way. The sooner the Titans change course, the better.

Random Thoughts

- The Tigers bitter loss Tuesday in Anaheim was not the end of the world, but it was disappointing. They had an opportunity to gain momentum and did not seize it. A closer is going to blow a game now and then, but how that happened was disturbing. Todd Jones has to be better than that. Tiger pitchers fielding their position poorly has become a sore spot. I didn’t like the way Fernando Rodney threw the ball so well when he was trailing 7-0. That’s a sign he isn’t exactly clutch. And what is with Jim Leyland and Neifi Perez? Why play him instead of Infante at second? He’s a thought, why not play Infante a game or two at third base. He can’t do any worse than Brandon Inge lately.

- Those two megabuck extra years the Tigers added onto Gary Sheffield’s contract aren’t looking real good about now.

- This is a strange NFL Draft, isn’t it. There are no players at the top every one is clamoring for, yet it is fairly deep. The Lions, more than ever, need to trade down. Their two biggest positions of need are middle linebacker and safety, neither of which gives you proper value and salary slotting at two overall. The Lions dream draft: Trading down and being able to land LSU safety LeRon Landry or Florida safety Reggie Nelson - and Mississippi middle linebacker Patrick Willis in the first round.

- I do think the Red Wings have a decent chance of beating the Sharks in the second round. San Jose has an excellent top line, but their goaltending isn’t as strong as what the Red Wings went through with Calgary’s Mikka Kiprusoff. Evgeni Nabokov wasn’t tested much by Nashville.
The Red Wings advantage is their depth up front. They have four solid lines. San Jose doesn’t.


Anonymous Nick P said...

Hey Book,
I obviously have too much baseball on the mind since I thought the blog headline today was "A Rotation is a Terrible Thing to Waste".
Next time you are interviewing some Tigers, give them a copy of Tom Emanski's Defensive Drills Video and send me the bill. Good Lord.
It just seems like we are really wasting some great pitching. Despite some implosions Bonderman has pitched well, Verlander and Robertson have pitched lights out and still they have a combined 3 wins.
It's tough to do, but I'm going to defend Sheffield. He is in a rough slump to start the season without a doubt. But he's staying patient, and getting a lot of walks. I think as long as he can keep a disciplined eye, he'll come out of it at some point, and when he does it should be strong return.
Quick hit on the Lions Superbowl this weekend. We are screwed. There is no way this regime could successfully develop a QB like Russell, Millen won't take Johnson out of fear, we'll never have the pieces around Quinn for him to be successful. I'm not even looking forward to this draft.

8:30 AM 
Blogger Scott (Thinking Man) said...


Regards to the Tigers:

* Cut Nefi and bring up Santiago. Better glove, has some speed, bats lefty.
* Bench Sean Casey. He looks washed up to me. His glove is still good, but he has no power and now doesn't look like he's capable of hitting for average. I'd like to see Thames get more ABs ... he'll at least hit 20 home runs. Use Casey as a defensive replacement.
* I like your idea about playing Infante at third a bit. He's a good hitter. A few days off for Inge might let him get out of his funk.
* Lets not rush to judgement about Sheffield. It's not even May yet. If he's still having problems a month from now, then hit the panic button.
* Gas Can Jones (and I mean that with effection) strikes again!

8:59 AM 
Anonymous Danny said...

Pat, yeah the Anaheim loss was tough after playing nine full innings hard and coming back. Thought we were over the World Series pitchers fielding woes. First Todd has a wild pitch and then "the play". Just horrible, what is he thinking when the ball is hit?

Rodney's problems have got to be mental. He seems unfocused or something.

Also no one explained what the deal was with Pudge calling Leyland out of the dugout at the beginning of one of the Rodney innings. Then the ump goes over and talks to the Angels manager. Do you know what that was?

What do you think about Seay? He's looked pretty good. Got the lefty out yesterday and Skip let him stay in.

The Infante/Perez deal is a mystery. Omar is obviously a terrific player.


9:02 AM 
Anonymous Andrew Winkle said...

Pat the Book, how about Terry Tyler and John Long being coached by Dick Vitale playing U of M in the NCAA tournement? Johnny Orr's Wolves had been dodging them for a couple of years. Finally, there was no escaping the showdown with the Titans due to some astute planning by the NCAA bracketing committee. While unable to pull off the upset, the city boys gave everything, and I mean everything, they had to give or that U of M could handle. Their country club contemporaries were kind of like Apollo Creed in Rocky, "Ain't goin' be no rematch".

I never saw Dave DeBusschere play as a Titan or a Piston (or pitch for the Chisox) but I do remember seeing him play with those championship Knick teams of the early 70's. Now that is how basketball is meant to be played. I'm pretty sure that he's on Heaven's starting five. And Joe Falls is probably covering the game.

Rain day in Chitown? Shef is worrying me less but I do like the idea of Infante becoming a super sub and playing some games at the hot corner. Inspite of Granderson's homer yesterday he had a bad day at he plate. Four strikeouts is horrendous. That is Rob Deeresque. Maggs and Polanco make me giddy with anticipation when they come to the plate. Sort of like Whitaker and Gibby used to in their day.

11:06 AM 
Anonymous Chief said...

I don't get it. Rodney threw 18 pitches to 6 outs and had 3 K's. Sounds good to me.

11:56 AM 
Anonymous Marty said...

It is nice to see someone writing about U of D. I have a degree from U of D and I watched as the baseball team lost game after game. It was kind of embarassing, but I still had fun at the games. (I would usually go drinking with the players afterward.) I wish they would do better athletically, but their real problem is at the top. They are going downhill everywhere, not just with athletics. The previous president practically let the school fall apart. I don't know how well the new president is doing, because I quit caring after watching neglect and poor decisions kill the school for so long. I really hope that they get their heads out of their bottoms and start rebuilding the school the way it needs to be built - with a solid high profile education - and worry about the sports after that is accomplished.


1:41 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Nick P,
LOL on the draft. The Lions are in a box for the reasons you mentioned. What to do? It'll be, eh, interesting to see how they handle it. The bullpen is a concern. I have to think Jones will be OK. Not so sure about F-Rod.

2:48 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Scott (Thinkingman),
Good insight. I thought they'd get a lot more from Casey. I think Santiago is a better player than Perez. I agree - bring him up and cut your losses with Perez.

2:50 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

That game was just a mess from a number of standpoints. They need to pull themselves together in a certain way. Bobby Seay has been better than I thought, too. He just might be the answer for a situational lefty. He seems to have pretty good command and poise.

2:52 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew Winkle,
The thing about U-D is they used to get some of the top players from this area. Vitale brought life to the school and what they do. Now, it's like they are running everything on the cheap. If Perry Watson doesn't split the fish and divide the loaves and make something out of a little bit in men's basketball, it's as if they don't even have an athletic program. That's a shame.

2:54 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

My point is, he isn't doing it with the lead or in a tie game during the late innings. That is what separates quality relievers from mediocre ones.

2:56 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Good points. U-D has so much to offer. But if they just kind of keep spinning their wheels over there, pretty soon they will fall apart. Clearly, they haven't kept up with the times. And if you're not moving ahead, you're falling behind.

2:59 PM 
Anonymous Tom Mohan said...

Looking for your thoughts on Durbin. Better than expected I suppose. Great poise. 9 Ks. I'm a believer.

11:24 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Tom Mohan,
To be honest, I thought he was going to get creamed in that ball park by that lineup. His pitches had a lot of late life on them. That and his command made him very tough. I hadn't seen that before from Durbin. Having said that, it was only one start. He has had good ones in the major leagues before, but was unable to sustain it. So we'll see if it was a trend or an aberration.

3:37 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Book...
Keep up the good work. Miss you at WDFN.

10:51 AM 

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