Monday, January 28, 2008

To U-M: Tradition Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

I owe the University of Michigan basketball program an apology. I predicted on the radio they would lose to Michigan State by 30 points.
It was only 15. Guess we should give the Wolverines a trophy for a moral victory. They can set it in a glass case right next to the NIT hardware they earned during the Tommy Amaker era.
The Wolverines weren’t massacred at the Breslin Center, but merely blown out.
Nothing against John Beilein. Obviously he is a good coach. He proved as much at West Virginia. Whether his system is the right fit for Michigan remains to be seen, but that’s a different issue for another time. And there are some players there, most notably Manny Harris. But the main issue, as far as I’m concerned, is about resources and support for the basketball program.
I just can’t get this reoccurring vision out of my mind. It comes from attending the press conference when Rich Rodriguez was named as Michigan’s football coach.
It was of the massive re-modeling of Michigan Stadium, while Crisler Arena sits right next to it, long overdue for an upgrade or replacement.
College basketball is HUGE. The fact U-M’s administration essentially ignores it is shameful. Michigan has a great basketball tradition, particularly dating back to the Cazzie Russell era in the mid-1960s through the end of the Fab 5 era. Wasting it, and ignoring it because of an embarrassing scandal and MSU’s basketball success, seems so wrong.

Random Thoughts

- People ask me all the time what my favorite sport is, or assume it is baseball because I have a strong background in it. I don’t really have an answer to the question because I very much like all the four major sports, and follow them all with equal interest. I just know I don’t like any sport more than hockey.
But having said that, I didn’t watch a second of the NHL All Star Game. Didn’t even record it, although I did record the skills competition, which I do enjoy.
I hate the NHL All Star Game and missed the NHL deeply the last five days, but I have to admit the MSU-Michigan hockey games this weekend were both compelling and helped fill the void.

- Maybe the Lions should trade Drew Stanton to move up in the draft in order to select Chad Henne. Just kidding. Or maybe not. Henne was really good in the Senior Bowl. Better than Stanton the year before.

- Man, how did Eddie Guardado, at age 37, get a $2 million contract from Texas after missing much of last season with arm trouble and posting a 7.24 ERA? Teach your sons to throw left-handed, people. It’s the baseball gift that just keeps on giving.


Anonymous Marty said...

Hi Pat,

Why do you have a soccer ball in your collage at the top of the blog? I thought you didn't cover the sport? Maybe I have your comments confused with someone else. (Which would be about right for me.) Also, I notice that the Lions helmet is there in addition to a Football. It seems strange considering that by the time it was added to the top, you seemed to give up on writing about them, because they really weren't worth your time to write about. None of the other home teams have their own symbol placed up there.

I'll be honest and say that I don't really like the new layout. I'm not asking you to change it, I just wanted to tell the truth about how I felt. I am not going to go into why I don't like it.

One thing I have noticed is that since hockey started getting broadcast in HD, I would rather watch the game at home than at the Joe. Hockey games were always a horrible game to watch unless you were there in person before, but now you can actually see what is going on very well. HDTV really helps the game of Hockey. It is too bad that the Strike hurt them so bad, or I bet the popularity of the NHL would really be much higher. I still think that the main reason it isn't widely accepted, is because it is so expensive to actually play. It is hard to be able to afford all of that equipment for your kids, and if you don't start playing a sport as a kid, chances are that you will never play it.

It does not bother me at all that Michigan ignores its Basketball program. They care about their football program, and that is enough to me. Most schools are like that. Mine only cared about their basketball program. The sports are secondary to academics and enrollment anyway. At least the Athletics Director tried to make the Basketball program better by paying top dollar for a proven coach. I just don't think it is economically responsible to truly update the facilities, because the return on the investment would likely be a net loss. I can't say the same about the changes in the Football stadium. This is still a school, and when you use a lot of funding on a non-academic project, that can be pretty hard to justify.


3:09 PM 
Anonymous Bryan152 said...

If MSU can win around 29-30 games this year and secure a #1 seed in the Tourney, I really think that Metro Detroit will wake up and pay attention to the Spartans. Unfortunately, it will take that much for Sparty to be noticed in his own state.

The All Star Game was quite boring this year. No hustle, no contact, no penalties. I seem to remember fond memories of the All Star Game when I was younger like when Owen Nolan skated in for a breakaway on Hasek, then pointing to his target and scoring. Maybe the actual game is for the casual fans whereas the Skills Comp is for the purists (even though that breakaway competition was a total letdown).

Speaking of the Texas Rangers, I noticed that the infamous knuckleballer R.A. Dickey who served up six long balls in one game to the Tigers back in '06 found himself a spot with the Mariners LOL. Although I'm sure he'll be sent back into obscurity once this Bedard trade goes through.

3:30 PM 
Blogger Fred Brill said...

Book, did you see the ratings for NHL all star game? Thats why Bettman has to go. Maybe he can start a consulting firm with Selig? They could hold seminars called "learn from our mistakes".

I lived in Atlanta when the Flames were there. They considered it a step above roller-derby.

So why do the Thrashers exist?

The NHL All-Star game belongs in the original six cities until demographics prove otherwise!

Hamilton (Ontario) would sell out every game if they had a team!

3-point stance on Inge: maybe, but it doesn't seem likely you have to twist a guys arm to catch. In the Show?

Cool note:
I drove all over Windsor to find my kid a new ball glove Friday night. Why? Their first practice was Saturday morning. OK - dedicated - right? Well - this is 7 year old girl's T-ball. And they do it right. Check it out.

I can smell them seeding the infield now.

9:55 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

Hey Pat, responding to your Three Point Stand on Inge. Is this where you respond to the Three Point Stand? I am actually little excited about Inge staying, especially if he can be a good catcher. He should gets lots of ABS as a back-up catcher, start against lefties in CF, defensive replacement at 3B in late innings and it gives Leyland chance to pull Jones against lefties in the late innings and put Inge in LF. Thames should also get a few ABS when playing LF against lefties. Never know about the injury bug. I am sure glad Raburn still has an option left.
Your previous blog, best memory of Ernie Harwell, my Dad would listen to the ball game on the radio at night for decades and I could barely hear Ernie's voice as his voice would drift down to my room as I would fall asleep when I was a young boy.

11:09 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

I didn't have anything to do with the soccer ball being placed there. Don't like the sport that much, I admit, but did try to get into it during the last world cup. HD has made a huge difference in watching hockey on TV, particularly during the outdoor game in Buffalo. I'm disappointed when a game isn't on in HD.

3:03 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

It was good talking to you and your father at Art Van...That is a lot of wins, but the schedule does seem like it is in the Spartans favor. R.A. Dickey is one of the worst major league pitchers I have seen.

3:05 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Fred Brill,
They were awful because the All Star game is awful. Ken Kal said on Inside Hockeytown he hurt they were thinking about doing away with the All-Star Game. I wouldn't shed any tears if they did. And nearly a week is a long time to suspend play right in the middle of the season.

3:07 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

This is fine. Ernie does have a great voice, doesn't he? I want to see how Inge does as a middle infielder. Wonder how good his range will be. I wouldn't be surprised if he catches 40 and goes into 2009 as the Tigers regular catcher.

3:08 PM 
Blogger Barry said...

To me, Pat, Ernie had a true baseball voice with a few stories to tell. To me he is quick off the bat and has the legs to maintain his speed from the initial jump. Good range as 2B and middle of the pack as SS. Great if he could, then Raburn would make the team. I think the Tigers are set in stone with Santigo. I hope your right and Inge catches 40 games this year.

7:50 PM 
Anonymous Joey said...

I just read your random thoughts. I have to say I feel a little guilty now for asking you if baseball was your favorite sport. Anyhow I agree with you that the NHL All Star game is a joke. I do however enjoy the All Star Skills Challenge. I watched the AHL All Star game and I thought it was pretty entertaining though and it was kind of neat how they have Planet USA vs. Team Canada. I think I might like it if the NHL went back to North America against the World All Stars, but nowadays the World All Stars would probably be a lot better.

6:26 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Always good to hear from one of my students...I don't like either baseball or hockey more than each other. That's why I can't really say I have a favorite sport. I am identified with baseball more because I played it a lot as a kid and covered it for a long time as a beat writer.

12:26 PM 

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