Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Millen At Michigan-Notre Dame Game A Slap In This State's Face

There is a lot of gray area in life. We all know that.
But with some things, there is no middle ground. It is either right or it is wrong.
And it is decidedly wrong for ABC/ESPN to subject this state to former Lions' team president Matt Millen as an analyst for the Michigan-Notre Dame game in Ann Arbor.
It's not just because of Millen's woeful track record as the Lions' chief executive, but also because of the flip comments he made earlier this year, sarcastically claiming he was blamed for the Kwame Kilpatrick scandal and the auto industry's woes.
ESPN/ABC has many, many analysts to choose from for this game. Why must they subject the people of this state to Millen? It's like cramming a worst nightmare down the state's throat. Can't he do the Wyoming game or something? It will be an unwelcome distraction to most of the people watching the game. Millen has no creditability in this state. None. Never will. And the memory of Millen is still fresh in the collective mind of Michigan's people.
ABC and ESPN normally get these type of things right. How could they be so wrong about this? Why would they want to distract from the game itself, which is one of college football's great rivalries? Why would they openly want to insult the people of Michigan in this manner? It is insensitive and absolutely unnecessary. And for what? To get some extra attention? To make Millen bigger than the game itself?

Random Thoughts

- I don't care if the Tigers get another bat for their lineup or not, they aren't going anywhere if Miguel Cabrera doesn't start hitting the clutch. He killed them again last night. He hasn't driven in a run on the road with a runner in scoring position since May 25 - a span of 29 at bats. If he had just run into a ball at a key time now and then, the Tigers would be running away with the A.L. Central. Sixty-two major league players have more RBI than Cabrera. SIXTY-TWO!!!!!!
Cabrera has been the Tigers' biggest problem and concern offensively. It is only masked by his overly-inflated and hollow batting average.
Carlos Guillen has more clutch hits in less than a week than Miggy has had the last three months. And, oh by the way, he is hitting behind Cabrera, who is capable of doing so much more when it matters.

- Michigan State being picked to finish third in the Big Ten might be a stretch. Everything that could go right did for the Spartans last season, did. Not sure it will work out that way in 2009. I expect MSU to reach a bowl game, but also some bumps in the road. Looking at it right now, I'd say they are a seven- or eight-win team, and probably around .500 or slightly above in the conference. Big edge is not playing Ohio State. Downside: Don't expect either Central Michigan or Western Michigan to lie down in non-conference games.

My column in Tuesday's Oakland Press about the overlooked '84 Tigers.




Anonymous Ryan said...

Agree with you on the Miggy point. Guy is best player on the team by a long shot and he's just not living up to any kind of expectations right now.

Also, Brandon Inge must be sent to dl for a month or so.
Totally hurting the team now. Back end of lineup is horrendous with Inge-Laird-Everett/Santiago.

Hopefully Dumbrowski can acquire Sanchez or something.

3:46 PM 
Anonymous J Ellet Lambie said...

As far as Miguel Cabrera hitting in the clutch....

17 of his 19 HR's and 40 of his 53 RBI's have come in games where the score has been within 4 runs. 14 and 30 in games within 2 runs. His OPS is over .850 in all of the following situations this year:

2 outs, RISP
Late and close
Tie Game
within 1 run
within 2 runs
within 3 runs
within 4 runs

....according to Baseball Reference. Find me another Tiger with those numbers.

Has he been struggling lately? Yes. Is he the only one? Not a chance. I'm not saying he deserves a free pass, he has struggled of late to drive in runs, but he certainly hasn't had many runners on base to drive in now has he?

Perhaps if Granderson, Polanco and whoever Leyland throws in the 3 hole can get on base consistently in front of him we'll get a chance to see what he's capable of once again.

5:15 PM 
Blogger maddog52 said...

I tell you what I got out of tonights disturbing performance by the tigers. 1. I am glad you brought up the big guns of the Tigers. Its not only Cabrera. Granderson as well. HE needs to stop worring about HR 100 and go back to granderson of old.. His HR's will come. You can tell in his swings he is aiming for the fences. They are all swinging at horrible pitches. Even Grilli pitched with confidence against the tigers.

I am not one to rip on coaches as I feel it still is up to the player. However, it seems like other teams find ways to adjust.. Just like my complaint with Hernandez its the same with Lloyd. Where are the adjustments through the course of a game? Tigers in my mind have 2 choices make a move and contend. Stand pat and prey that you can will your way via comerica park into the playoffs. Otherwise I don't see this team doing much. Cause eventually with this offense it will wear on the pitchers and start making them press as well.

10:06 PM 
Blogger Bill Pooch said...

If you are still using RBI's to evaluate a baseball player's worth, then you do not understand baseball very well.

10:51 PM 
Blogger Andrew M. Fanco said...

Put your TV on ESPN, mute it, and turn your radio on.

11:17 PM 
Anonymous Michael C said...

Pat, its one thing to think Cabrera should be producing more RBIs. But to say he's the Tiger's biggest offensive problem is pure lunacy. If that were true we'd be World Series favorites.

You're taking a super small sample size (29 at bats) and using that to suggest that he has problems coming up with clutch RBIs. A couple months of below expected RBI production is suppose to trump the past 6 seasons (2996 at bats) where he's produced at least 112 RBIs each year? Who else on any team has been more consistent?

All the fans and sports reporters are doing with this topic is making a fuss about a statistical anomaly. They happen with small sample sizes. Like how Laird and Everett were hitting over 300 the first couple weeks of the season.

Cabrera has gotten it done time and time again in his career, and he will get it done in the future. He's the least of our concerns. We have so many players struggling the recent focus on Cabrera's RBI production being down is mind boggling to me.

I just did a quick check and Cabrera and Inge are the ONLY Tigers in the starting lineup that don't have a lower OPS this year than their career average. Isn't that a bigger concern?

12:01 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

He's been awful when it matters the last two months. That doesn't mean he will be in the future or was in the past beyond two months, but he hasn't been good when it has mattered. Wasn't real clutch last year - not like numbers sugggest. Sanchez is a very good hitter. Would help the Tigers.

12:37 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

J Ellet Lambie,
Thanks for sharing those numnbers with me. Good stuff. My view: He got off to a really good start, so the overall numbers are skeweed. Since the last week of May, he has underachieved, in my opinon, to an alarming degree.

12:39 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Cabrera has nothing to do with their loss tonight. That was a team effort. At least Verlander is going to tommorrow.

12:40 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Bill Pooch,
Then, Bill, I don't know baseball. I still consider RBI a very important stat.

12:41 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew M. Fanco,
Good point.

12:42 AM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Andrew M. Fanco,
Good point.

12:42 AM 
Blogger Glen J Stroup (WiredTiger) said...

Love the column about the 1984 Tigers. For some reason that Tiger team never really gets their due. Tram and Whitaker should both be in the HOF.

9:52 AM 

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