Monday, June 04, 2007

Welcome to Band Wagon Town

The Pistons and the Red Wings both reached the conference finals. Before they started, such an ending to each of their seasons would have been deemed as successful. Both teams were, allegedly, on the slide. Each was supposed to regress rather than make progress. Yet, in the end, I get this sense that people are disappointed by the performances of both teams.
Look, I don’t like the way the Pistons performed during the fourth quarter Saturday in Cleveland. Flip Saunders made an amazingly foolish decision by starting the period with Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton on the bench in favor Lindsey Hunter and Flip Murray. Rasheed Wallace flipping out when the game was still in doubt was downright embarrassing. The Pistons didn’t play well in any of the games vs. the Cavaliers. But five straight Eastern Conference finals? I remember when I was a kid and the Dave Bing-Bob Lanier version of the Pistons just made the playoffs and it was a big deal. I remember how bad they were between the Bad Boys era and the Going to Work era. It’s as if fans are complaining because the Pistons aren’t a dynasty. No, they aren’t. But the Pistons have been pretty good.
Ditto for the Red Wings. They were much better during both the regular season and the playoffs than had been anticipated. Nobody can say they were soft this time. And their future is fairly bright. Yet, their playoff run drew a collective yawn. I remember when I was a kid and the Red Wings missed the playoffs virtually every season. I remember when they won a playoff series against Atlanta (then the Flames) and it was this huge deal. I remember when they hadn’t won the Cup in eons and broke through and what it meant.
Could it be we’re spoiled around here when it comes to our sports teams. That when they win, we only accept more. That we fall for teams like the Tigers who have won one pennant in more than two decades, but don’t respect the teams that deserve it the most because they are consistent winners. Could it be we, strangely, hold their success against them. Could it be we have just become Band Wagon Town. Seems like we have.

Random Thoughts

- Andrew Miller pitched seven shutout innings Sunday. Dallas Trahern is 9-1 at Double-A and Triple-A. What are the Tigers waiting for?

- If the Spurs win the NBA title, it will be for the fourth time in nine years. To me, that is amazing because, with all due respect to Tim Duncan, it just doesn’t seem like the Spurs are that good.

- That minor league manager in the Atlanta Braves system who went off on that obviously choreographed tirade was a bit too much. Too me, it’s just not funny anymore. It appeared the guy was trying to call attention to himself. Guess he accomplished that, but it was nonetheless phony.

- Check out the Johnnie Morton mixed martial arts bout on youtube. He was brutally knocked out. It was surreal, actually. Then he refused to take the post fight drug test. Personally, I liked J-Mo, but I know a few people who were probably more than happy to see that.


Blogger Fred Brill said...

I guess, Book, the levels of expectation for Detroit sports teams were / are appropriately high. 2007 in Detroit brought earnest expectations of 3 of our 4 teams were going to play in / win the finals. I have never heard of such a thing before.

And disappointment sucks.

Granted the Wings and the Pistons were doubted to be up to the task. And right now we are really hoping the Tigers can just make the playoffs let alone win the World Series.

Anybody, name another city that had three of four teams be contenders to win their championships in one year. Or is this more common than I think it is?

As for the Tigers, they are confusing me right now big-time. the weekend sweep - that's what us optimists are calling it - was really a great surprise.

It really is all about our bull-pen.

Too bad it took one series too long to do something about Pronger. The Sens looked good.

Thanks for pointing me to the Johnnie Morton fight on You-Tube - That's what getting hit by a truck looks like.

Getting sports from You-Tube. I'm getting old.

I came across another great fight on You-Tube. Two brothers in a back yard. Clearly the older brother had the upper hand - I didn't see the younger brother grabbing that tire iron coming. Truly one for the ages. I guess he gets out in 7-10.

I smell a re-match.

9:24 AM 
Blogger Andrew M. Fanco said...

When I first heard about the Mesa acquisition, I was just left asking why. I am glad that the Tigers released him, because the 42 year old just wasn't getting it done.

(Admittedly I was also unsure of the Sheffield deal, but I have never been happier to be proven wrong.)

Also, I never thought I would be saying this, but I can't wait for Rodney to come back! I think the pen can get it together, and the second half of the Cleveland series was very positive. The Friday loss was a shame, but Jones will bounce back. The way they were hitting him he should have been yanked by leyland. Jones is too old to be throwing 40+ pitches in an appearance anyhow. The problem is of course, who the heck do you put in?

I'm sure we are all looking forward to this Texas series after the much needed day off. The hitting should continue at a real high level considering they are facing 3 6+ ERA guys. Go Tigers!

10:02 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
That's my point - what city has three teams cooking like this. Certainly not New York. Cleveland hasn't won anything for eons and doesn't have a hockey teams - right on down the line. Pronger is thug.

11:20 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew M Fanco,
Leyland did kind of hang the guy out to dry. It was a tough spot, though, because the lead was so big and he is their only dependable reliever. You had to think he would get out of it without blowing it.

11:22 AM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

Book I understand your point. I am a detroit fan no matter what. I am probably one of the few that still calls himself an actual lions fan and isn't (keep this down) embarrass to say so. However, I do think that there should be disappointment in the way the Pistons Played.

The Red Wings a lot of people didn't even think this team would make the playoffs. And if they did they thought it would be barely and they would get bounced quick. For that team to still end up the best team in the NHL just a tad shy of the Sabres. Then make it to the West Conf. Finals is really and unbelievable year. Especaially with so many question marks. I really like the Wings going forward.

The Pistons on the other hand is a joke. Yeah they made to the conf. finals. This team had expectations especially after they got Webber. All you kept hearing was how this team put so much emphasis last year trying to get to 70 wins that it was tired come playoff time. They have a bad taste. They are saving it for the playoffs. They are waiting to unleash the full set of plays in the playoffs. OTher then Lebron James. The Pistons were and I still believe are a much better team then Cleveland. They should of beaten cleveland. In my mind they should of beaten them a lot easier then they did. I will give them game 5, because lebron was out of this world. I just think the Pistons Lack Luster attitude bit them in the rear this time. They need to stop complaining and get focused back to playing basketball. Looking into the future. Unless they will give Laimbeer a shot (who I think would do well as coach) or get Larry Brown back I don't think I would get rid of Flip just yet. I would tweak the roster. I think signing and keeping both Billups and McDyess is a must. I think letting Amir Johnson and Maxiell play good quality minutes next year is a must. I think packaging Wallace/Mohammad and maybe one if not both of our draft picks would be the right thing to do. If you need to part ways with Rip so be it. I'd love for the Pistons to package maybe Rasheed/Mohammad and maybe one of our draft picks if we could to Phoenix for Shawn Marion. I think He'd be a perfect fit for this team. I also think we need to look at a big man some way. I think they should give Grant Hill a look as a role player with this team. I think he could offer quite a bit in a limited role. But we will see.

As far as the Tigers go. I agree a hundred percent what are we waiting for get Miller up here. I wouldn't sweet if I had to sent Robertson and Thames and heck Maroth or Durbin to the Rangers for Texeria right now I'd do it. You bring Miller up and Rogers comes back. I like what we got cookin for that late season run.

11:29 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

The Pistons are one thing, the Lions are another. The Lions would die to just play in a playoff game. At this point, it would be huge. You should be outraged by them. I am not talking about the disappointment of the Pistons losing to the Cavs. That's understandable. It's the ho-hum "no big deal" surrounding the Red Wings and Pistons this spring. It was a big deal that likely won't last forever. These will likely be the good old days in the future.

12:24 PM 
Anonymous lennyw1971 said...

Book.... bandwagoners? That may not be fair. It's human nature to protect your heart from the most obvious pain (20 years of Tiger ineptness). It may not be fair to expect Tiger fans to attend the games of perrenial 90-loss teams (I went to games faithfully through the 90's until the pain became unbearable... so the TV sufficed). As far as the Stones and Wings go, we as fans naturally continued to expect excellence as the bar was raised due to the delivery of championships and conference finals appearances. It may be unreasonable to expect us as fans to accept 40-win Piston and 30-win Wing teams when the level of play has been exemplary for soooooooo long. If fans back off a bit from a franchise during an extended dark period, it's just self-preservation... the wagon is still booked full of passengers

Man, I really need to see more of A. Miller... enough coddling. Dwight Gooden was 19 and established and I believe Clemens was 20 and ready, so there's no need to baby this guy. It's also very encouraging to hear about Trahern, Jair and friends who are just about ready for the "show".

I'm with you on the Spurs... but when you have the supervulcan (Timmy) on the block who gives your team years of incredibly consistent play, this is what you get. His post game is like the big men of old, and his teammates know their roles and rarely deviate from that... in short, the Spurs are what the Pistons wanted to be

I saw the Johnnie Morton fight... they're still trying to revive him. I like J-Mo, but he came in at an "enhanced" 213lbs. and with technical flaws in his fighting style that called for this result. The flip side of this coin is that this KO was almost as scary as the Roy Jones "twitching" loss to Glen Johnson. I was in shock to see this good guy unresponsive on the ground. This is a man that gave our Lions incredible consistency during an inconsistent time... and loved playing for said team... and still wants to play for said team. Johnny was goofy and vain... but was, by all accounts, a good guy who could flat-out catch the ball. He deserved better than being stretched out Saturday night.

3:56 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

It did look like JoMo was bulked way up. The only move he had was using his football blocking technique and pushing the guy around the ring. He walked right into that punch. Don't think he will be doing that again. He was very good player for the Lions - underrated.

5:57 PM 
Blogger Moondogg said...

I like to think I speak for a lot of Detroit sports fans.
While we are all bummed out by the Pistons, I think for the most part, we are actually all pleased with how the Red Wings played with heart and courage.
I believe the apathy for the Red Wings is a lingering anger with the NHL for ruining the sport we love in so many ways. Plus, the tickets are priced thru the roof for a prosperoius city--let alone one struggling as mightily economically as Detroit.
Having said that, of course we've been spoiled with our team's successes.
But hey, we deserve to get spoiled for a change!~

12:00 AM 
Blogger rocket07 said...

Book- You know this is not a great sports town, only a good one. The only reason it is a good one is because of our teams. The only fans I would exempt from this list are the Lions fans. As for the rest, MAJOR bandwagon fans.

Is Brad Lidge a possibilty for the Tigers? He has been pitching well as of late. Also when is Miller going to be brought up? Its obvious Maroth is not the same pitcher.

9:26 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Seems like you are right on. It was more a letdown to most people about the Pistons. I don't think anybody was really mad about the Red Wings. They just didn't care like they used to - for the reasons you pointed out. I truly love hockey. Guess that is why I reacted to it that way.

10:09 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I don't know about Lidge, but just thinking about it, that might be a good fit. Seems like he needs a change of scenery and the Tigers could use him. He's gone haywire, but he sure has great stuff. Still does. That hasn't been the problem.

10:11 AM 
Anonymous Danny said...

Pat, I’m with “lennyw1971” on the bandwagon thing. Following teams and embracing them with your $$ support are two different things. I can’t imagine that being a Lions fan is a litmus test for being a true Detroit sports fan. I’ve been following the Lions since 1965 and there is only so much ineptitude you can take after 40 years.

Great to see the Tigers win two in Cleveland! I was at the game Saturday and it was long and intense. Tremendous amount of vocal Tigers fans there. Much more vocal and almost as loud as the Cleveland fans. The Leyland expedition was great. We had no idea why he was out there (Durbin had just gotten his first K) and here he comes. The strike zone was erratic to say the least. I know you enjoyed Infante at 3rd and the hitting he did. He looked terrific. Inge could learn a few things about putting the ball in play from him.

Pistons off season should be really interesting. Seems like everyone agrees Rasheed has overstayed his welcome, but what can you get for him?


4:12 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

The thing on Rasheed Wallace is I wonder if the fans will get on him at The Palace next year. He is really unpopular right now. But in the regular season, there doesn't seem to much fan emotion like there is for MLB and the NFL.

1:46 AM 

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