Wednesday, September 05, 2007

About Tiger, The Tigers And, Of Course, Michigan

Trust me. I spent seven hours on the radio talking about it Sunday and Monday. There were no breaks in the phone lines, either. None. Even on Labor Day. It’s definitely topic No. 1. The buzz on the street is still there. And it’s not just the sports nuts who are discussing it. Everybody is.
But enough already. Michigan’s upset loss to Appalachian State was huge, massive, colossal - but the world does move on. Obviously the defeat was extremely damaging to Lloyd Carr’s program, but I don’t buy the notion that even if the Wolverines finish this season strongly, it’s still the end of Michigan’s football program as we have known it.
With each passing week, if the Wolverines win, the sting will gradually be taken out of the epic loss. A Big Ten championship would mean a lot. Beating Jim Tressel and Ohio State and winning a bowl game for a change would mean even more.
Saturday’s loss will only measure to the level of extreme damage if Michigan’s football program unravels. Say, a 7-5 or worse record, with and/or more of the same to end the season vs. OSU or in a bowl. And I am not so sure it is going to work out that way. The talent is there. Carr has won in the past.

Random Thoughts

- I was at the Tigers game Tuesday and wrote my column about it in The Oakland Press. You can read it in "sports columns" at theoaklandpress.com. I thought the most telling moment came when Ivan Rodriguez popped out with runners in scoring position and less than two out. The Tigers either get production from Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen or Curtis Granderson - or they don’t score. Last year, their great strength was production up and down their lineup.
Two factors have hurt the Tigers more than any other compared to last season: 1. Their pitching isn’t nearly as good. 2. They aren’t as strong in the lower slots in the batting order. It’s the bottom line. They are still within striking distance of the Yankees for the wild card, but reaching the postseason is difficult to envision at this juncture. The Tigers just aren’t playing well.

- Can’t believe, given his legendary work ethic, that Shaun Rogers wasn’t named as one of the Lions’ team captains. (Just kidding).

- Don’t know what the bigger weekend "miracle" was - Appalachian State upsetting Michigan or Phil Mickelson beating Tiger Woods down the stretch in a golf tournament. Didn’t think either was possible, although I still can’t imagine Lefty getting the best of Tiger in a similar situation during a major. I’d like to see it, though. Tiger does need a rival and - like it or not - the best golfer in the world not named Tiger Woods is Phil Mickelson.

16 Comments:

Anonymous Marty said...

Pat,

What did you think of the Lions releasing Johnie Baldwin. I was disappointed in that move, even though they needed another safety. Oh well, we'll see what happens this season.

-Marty

p.s. K.C. picked him off waivers, so he won't be on their practice squad.

12:30 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, Tiger pitching has been bad except for Verlander, Miner and Seay. Pitching is everything to make the playoffs. The Tigers are streaky and they could get hot and win 10 games in a row. There seem to be a few relief pitchers available this winter and since the other positons are scarce or lack of free agents, it might be wise to sign a consistence reliever. They need to trade for a shortshop unless they are going to over paid for Eskstein. Love to see Lowell come to the Tigers to provide an extra bat. Probably going to cost 15 million plus per year.

1:05 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Marty,
I thought Baldwin was pretty good, too. Considering how weak they are at linebacker, I was surprised he was cut.
Caputo

1:53 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Barry,
Maybe you're right about a hot streak. Baseball is so unpredictable that way and this team did rattle off seven straight wins in the postseason last year when they were in a similar funk before. But it seems doubtful.
Caputo

1:54 PM 
Anonymous Danny said...

Pat, as you closed in the Oakland Press column: "Seems like the Tigers just aren't that good this year." Have to agree based on the critical "consistency" quotient. They have showed stretches of exciting brilliance earlier in the season followed by long stretches of the inability to put it all together. So many base runners left on base. Tigers seem able to make almost all pitchers seem like Cy Young. It’s more than just the injuries.

This is all very frustrating. They are only 3 1/2 out of the wildcard, so anything is possible, but as the old classic "September Song" says: "the days grow short when you reach September". Still clinging to the hope that the last gasp can get them a winning record in the last 24. The three against Seattle are looking pretty big now. Seems like they would need to go at least 16 – 8, but can’t see that happening the way things are going.

Still it is fun to have a team actually in a pennant race - can't forget that. Oh well, it ain’t over till it’s over.

Cheers,
Danny

2:18 PM 
Anonymous Tony B said...

Hey Book, still waiting for the Tigers to prove me wrong about continually calling them soft. They keep trying to prove me right ... Up 7-0 when they really need a win and the batters start mailing in plate appearances? Inexcusable.

Since you do everything in the media except deliver papers, where does Todd Jones stand on you? Does he like your column but hate your radio personality?

2:30 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This should be a fun year to watch how Michigan responds to this controversy.

Will they continue their more recent years haphazard ways, or will they achieve a state of consistent high focus and execution?

They will either rise up and pound on the teams which will now mock them, or they will roll over.

I was always taught not to tease a cornered animal. I ubderstand Wolverines can be right nasty little critters.

Baseball sorts itself out. If they deserve to make it, they will. I'm not going to loose sleep over it. I hate to see opportunities thrown away though. Could a timely aquisition or two have helped them over the top? I wonder what they passed on along the way. I also hope they aren't starting a decline. Are they truly better then last year?

Allan

4:27 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

My second worst nightmare came true with that Michigan loss.

Only in that now I have to hear and read all about it until at least mid-January – when the final Bowl game is done and over.

Having gone to Georgia and LSU myself, I could care less, except that I too enjoy the Michigan – Michigan State – Ohio rivalries.

Instead my first worst fear is causing eyes to water over this continued downward spiral of the Tigers.

I hear everybody talking – sharing their opinions.

“Inge is a bum”
“Pudge is a bum”
“Leyland is throwing darts at balloons”
“Maybin and Miller are too young”
“Pudge and Guillen are to old”

The fact of the matter is they just are not clicking.
Last year they were clicking. And we all fell into – quite easily – the belief they would always click. And then came last September. They didn't click.

This year, they started clicking really good again but – well, they wore out the clicker. The clicker clicks less frequently now.

Fact is – Mag’s is having a career season near the twighlight of his career.
Fact is – Verlander threw one of the most incredible No-Hitters – hitting 102 MPH in the ninth.
Fact is, Granderson has stepped up to become a finer specimen of ball payer than anyone ever expected.
Fact is – Maybin and Miller has every likelihood of fulfilling our expectations also!

Remember the movie “Bull Durham” – the Dominican guy who would sacrifice a chicken each game and rub it on his bat for luck. Costner tries it once and hits a dinger.

Could we get these guys some chickens?

4:36 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Danny,
As I was watching the game Tuesday, that was what I was thinking. There seems to be something missing this year. And it's a number of factors, not just one thing. Each season takes on a life of its own. Seems to me the life this season has taken on is that the Tigers just aren't good enough. But you're right, it has still been an interesting season - and the Tigers are a heck of a lot better than they used to be. And who knows, there is still time left in the season.
Caputo

6:57 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Tony B,
I like Todd. I think he is a good guy with a good heart. I did see what he wrote and thought it was strange because it kind of painted everybody in the media with the same trite brush. Doesn't seem like his style. For example, he doesn't know anything about my background. As for whether he likes me or not, I honestly don't care. You learn early on in this job that people like you when you write or say what they deem "positive" things about them, and don't like you if you write or say what they deem as "negative" things about them. What you need to be above all is honest. hardworking and fearless.
Caputo

7:05 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Allan,
I have that feeling, too, that this might awaken Michigan more than devastate it. If nothing else, the Wolverines should have quite a chip on their shoulder the remainder of the season because they sure are taking a beating over this loss.
Caputo

7:07 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
I thought you probably went to York or Western Ontario...Tigers can't do your chicken suggestion. PETA would get mad. It's true, the Tigers haven't been awful this season. They have had several players come through with good seasons.
Caputo

7:11 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book, that's ok, I often eat PETA's for lunch, with philly steak and cheese.

As for my schooling (or skoolin) as we called it at Georgia) - I did go to Western Ontario - every Thursday for lunch. Great PETAs.

I go back to a much previous comment I made - these boys have no confidence. That's where the clicking kicks in. When you just know you're going to win. Injuries and band-aid solutions have usurped their confidence.

Leaves Leyland to trust the ouija borad -channeling Sparky - who isn't even dead.

And thats how the clicker breaks.

Lets hope Kenny and the Sheff have some 'clicker-repair' training.

PS - the extra beers listening to the game ain't hurting.

8:17 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
Rogers was all right Wednesday. We'll see about Sheffield. There is always Timo Perez. Of course, if you live by Timo Perez, you will probably die by Timo Perez. Just ask the Mets.
Caputo

11:31 PM 
Blogger Scott (Thinking Man) said...

Pat,

I, too, am skeptical of the Tigers chances despite the nice win over the White Sox and Bobby Jenks today. The bottom line is that they're not playing good baseball consistently. You have to have good pitching, defense and timely hitting to get in the playoffs. They aren't getting any of those elements consistently now. The one thing I will say is that the Yankees won't run away with the Wildcard. Their pitching simply isn't good enough.

As for Tiger and Phil, I was pleased to see Lefty get the better of Cyborg. I really don't like Tiger woods ... he's a great, great player, but too much of a prima donna to suit me. How many fits has he thrown because someone dares to whisper or snap a picture when he's swinging.

Tiger was programmed at an early age to be a golfer by Earl Woods. I wonder if he ever picked up a baseball bat, shot a basketball or played tennis? I wonder what would have become of Tiger if he had failed to become a great pro?

It's like these soccer-Nazis that have their kids play soccer 10 months out of the year from age 5 to 18. Their entire lives revolve around shuffling little Johnny to this soccer tournament or that. I just wonder for every Tiger Woods and Freddy Adu, how many kids end up feeling like they missed out on their childhood chasing their parents' dream.

Sorry to go off on a rant, Pat. Yeah Tigers, yeah Lefty!!

5:20 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Scott (thinking man),
That's OK. I have been known to go on a few rants myself. I agree they haven't played well. And I do think the Tigers chances of making the postseason are less than 50-50 by a good margin, but I wouldn't discount their last two victories. Those one-run wins often spark a team.
Caputo

11:31 PM 

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