Sunday, February 28, 2010

Three Reasons, Despite The Odds, The Americans Will Win Today

1. Speed - Canada definitely has the edge in skill, but not in speed. The Americans are fast both up front and on the blue line. They are not winning because they are trapping in the neutral zone. They are winning because of their forecheck. And they are very solid playing with a lead.

2. The Americans have everything to gain, but nothing to lose. A silver medal and a win over Canada already is a monumental accomplishment. They'll be loose. Canada might be tighter than a drum, especially if the Americans get the lead.

3. Goaltending - Ryan Miller has been the best goaltender in the tournament.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Forget Team Rhetoric, Trading Down In Draft Real Possibility For Lions This Time

Every year, you hear the same thing about the Lions, who usually hold a premium choice in the first round of the NFL Draft because they have struggled for so long.
Trade down. Get more picks. It would allow the Lions to add depth to their roster.
Most years, it is not feasible. Most struggling teams have the same thought. You need an apple of some team’s eye for it to occur. Normally it doesn’t.
This draft, however, might be different for the Lions. They have the second overall pick, and a domino likely must fall with the first overall pick, and that is the St. Louis Rams’ becoming enamored with a quarterback, either Notre Dame’s Jimmy Clausen or Oklahoma’s Sam Bradford, and taking him. That would leave the Lions with Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh.
Suh is a great player, an active lineman about 300 pounds, but his ideal position is as defensive end in a 3-4 defense. The Lions run a 4-3 and need hefty inside tackles - and there are plenty in this draft.
If somebody wants to move up for Suh, or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy, a similar type of player in many ways, the Lions might be able to secure extra draft picks by trading down - and still land the defensive linemen they need. I don’t ever remember a draft being this deep before in defensive linemen, particularly tackles. Dan Williams from Tennessee, Brian Price from UCLA and Gerald Odrick from Penn State are gap-control tackles the Lions need. The extra pick or picks would put the Lions in better position to address obvious needs in the secondary, at running back and along the offensive line, too.
The reports you are hearing about the Lions trying to trade down are not coming out of thin air - despite what head coach Jim Schwartz said Thursday.

Random Thoughts

- This is how I rated the teams in the Olympic ice hockey tournament before it started: 1. Canada; 2. Russia; 3. Sweden; 4. Finland; 5. United States; 6. Czech Republic; 7. Slovakia; 8. Switzerland.
Friday is going to be a rough game for the Americans. Finland is fierce. They are traditionally tough players internationally and have terrific goaltending. I’d give Finland a slight edge,
Canada should drill Slovakia, but remember, Slovakia’s front end players - Marian Gaborik, Marian Hossa and Zdeno Chara - are every bit as good as Canada’s best. Canada’s edge is depth.

- What’s with Richard Hamilton and the free throws? Those misses last night in Los Angeles were unreal. He has been playing so well otherwise. The Clippers just punked the Pistons inside, too.

My column in Thursday's Oakland Press on why the Ilitches hired Tom Wilson


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On Zumaya, Pistons, QBs in NFL Draft and Russia-Canada Prediction

Didn’t you just know Joel Zumaya would be throwing bullets down at spring training? Didn’t you just know everyone would be raving about the re-vitalized, "Joel?" This is what we’ve learned about Joel Zumaya in the past: Just when you start trusting him, the other shoe drops. Seems like he has a long way to go re-earn the trust of fans in this town.

- The Pistons were 12-12. Since then, they have gone 9-23. Beating teams like New Jersey, Minnesota and Sacramento - all varying degrees of awful - doesn’t mean much. The danger would come if they were actually about to vault into some kind of contention for a playoff spot, which would have been the case last season. It’s unlikely to happen this year. Can you imagine? The last seed in the Eastern Conference just might have a .500 record? You’re seeing lately that Richard Hamilton does have gas left in the tank. Too bad he didn’t play consistently like this before the trade deadline. Maybe the Pistons would have been able to find a buyer for him.

- To me, Jimmy Clausen is a much better pro prospect than Sam Bradford. His arm strength is better, he played in more of a prostyle offense at Notre Dame and isn’t coming off injury.

Prediction: Russia 6, Canada 5. Ovechkin gets three goals. Hope I'm wrong. I am rooting for the Canadians.

My column in Wednesday's Oakland Press on the good and bad of the NFL combine

Caputo And His Boss video about Tom Wilson working for the Ilitches


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

On Michigan's Violations, Tom Wilson and Johnny Damon

So Michigan's football program violated the NCAA practice time limits. Sorry. I don't put that in the same category as paying players under the table or fixing grades, or if the deportment of players is out of control and causing concerns in the community.
I think they are minor violations. I think the NCAA should deal with Michigan with minor sanctions or a warning. Then, I think everybody should move on.
This isn't as big a deal as Michigan's unimagined losing ways recently.
It isn't as big a deal as the Justin Feagin disaster.
It isn't as big a deal as Rich Rodriguez stammering so when asked about the recruitment of Demar Dorsey. Or just the whole concept of Rich Rodriguez as the face of the university.
It's a part of the problem in Ann Arbor, a minor part that has been blown way out of proportion by some segments in the media - particularly the Detroit Free Press.
Like I've stated many times in the past. I salute the Free Press for writing the story. It was a good one. But it's the degree I wonder about. They didn't break the Watergate, yet acted like it.

Random Thoughts

- Hiring Tom Wilson and proclaiming it was in large part to work through the Red Wings' arena issues is a tell-tale sign the Red Wings are likely to be playing at The Palace as soon as next season.

- You get the feeling Johnny Damon will say anything you want to hear, but might be thinking something different? Me, too?
I'm a little suspect about the wanting to finish his career as a Tiger line. I kind of get the feeling this was his distination of last resort.

Transcript of my online chat today at
Note: I will be doing online chat every Tuesday morning at 11:30 at

My column in Tuesday's Oakland Press on why people believe it when Tiger - or anyone else - apologizes anymore


Monday, February 22, 2010

The Americans Got What They Deserved - And So Did Canada

A couple things about the Canada-USA hockey game.

- God Bless America.

- I love Canada. I truly do. Nearly as much as my own country, and certainly more than any nation other than the United States. My mother was born there. I feel roots there. Not only from that standpoint, but having lived my entire life in a border town.
And I admire Canadian hockey. Always have. Always will.
But come on. The Canadians, both the public and insufferable media, are sooooo arrogant when it comes to hockey. That silence at the end of the game in Vancouver, where they once booed our national anthem before a world junior tournament game, was golden. Canadians got what they deserved in a certain way. Deep down many of them know it, too.
And Canada's Olympic record, other than the gold medal in Salt Lake City, isn't exactly stellar. Wasn't that big of an upset. The U.S. won the world junior titles, both 20 and under and 17 and under. Now this. It's the triple crown. All on Canadian ice.

- It wasn't only the Americans overall - it was the players from Michigan. Brian Rafaski and Ryan Miller were brilliant. Ryan Kessler scrappy. For an empty-netter, his goal was beautiful - and timely. Good to see Clawson's Tim Gleason suit up.

- Despite the American win, the Canadians just sent waves of great forwards at the U.S. I thought Rick Nash and Ryan Getzlaf were particularly dangerous. Do wonder about Canada's defense, though. Not as strong in terms of zone coverage as I expected.

- When the going gets tough, Joe Thornton doesn't get going. Most overrated player in the world. Wonder if Don Cherry regrets the time he called him the best player in the world.

- Please. Sidney Crosby is not in the same class as Alexander Ovechkin. That notion is just a figment of Gary Bettman's imagination. Loved Ovechkin's hit on Jaromir Jagr in the Russia-Czech game.

- Don't count out Canada. On an international level, it has a long history of rallying when put into a corner. The loss could have been a wakeup call. In a rematch with the Americans, I would expect Canada to win. If it were a seven-game series, I believe Canada would win.

- Mike Milbury, an American, sounded like he was trying to retain his gig on "Hockey Night In Canada" with that rhetoric he spewed prior to the game. Nice stammering act between periods.

- Thought Miller was more solid than spectacular. The U.S. scoring chances were really good. Martin Broduer was OK in goal for Canada. No excuse for bad clearing pass, though.

- Why was that game on MSNBC, not NBC? And my system, the same used by millions of Americans, doesn't have MSNBC in high-def. NBC dropped the ball on this one.



Friday, February 19, 2010

Was Tiger's Speech For The Right Reasons?

Under the circumstances, I thought Tiger Woods did well Friday morning.
He appeared contrite. He addressed the pertinent issues.
What I still can't help but wondering is whether he is sorry because he wants to be, or whether it is because he has to be?
There are obviously conflicting issues here. This is a proud, stubborn person. That's his strength. It can also be a weakness when attempting to right wrongs.
At the very least, it was a first step in the right direction. How big will be determined by the future, and whether Woods' actions speak louder than words.

My column in Friday's Oakland Press: The Pistons Are In Danger Of Becoming Irrelevant.

Note: I will be doing live chats every Tuesday morning at 11:30 at


On Tiger, The Olympics And Johnny "Enough Already" Damon

Sure, I will watch the Tiger Woods news conference today. Even if it isn't a news conference - because he won't answer questions. It's impossible not to wonder what he has to say.

- Goaltending is always hockey's biggest "X" factor. Jonas Hiller of Switzerland vs. Canada Thursday night was more proof. Oh, Switzerland came oh-so-close to knocking Canada off its high horse. Then again, it might serve as a wake up call for the Canadians.

- Seems like most of the American favorites to win gold medals are actually winning gold medals.

- Considering how massive Canada is in terms of land space, and how cold most of the country is at this time of the year, why are they hosting the winter games in a city where the temperature is so mild? Bizarre.

- Enough of Johnny Damon, already. Let him go to the White Sox.

Note: I will be doing live chats at every Tuesday at 11:30 am.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Tiger Woods First Public Statements Backfiring Before They Are Even Made

As his scandal drags on, you get the sense there are a lot of people that never did like Tiger Woods. That there are many people who feared him, or didn’t want to sound like poor losers, because of his place atop the sports world, let alone golf.
And those people are mad and not going to take it anymore.
The latest was Ernie Els, one of the world’s most-decorated golfers, who called out Tiger for being, "selfish."
And there is a good reason for it. Woods’ first public statements since his auto wreck - and all the dirty secrets about his life that have been revealed in the aftermath - will be Friday.
It’s right in the middle of a major PGA event.
The sponsor of that event in Phoenix, Accenture, was one of the first companies to drop Tiger as an endorser.
Is Tiger already on the revenge trail? Els wasn’t the only golfer to point this out. It’s obvious his fellow pros don’t think much of him as a person - and never did. And perhaps it is justified.
Recently, golf great Tom Watson harshly criticized Woods for his on-course behavior, which has often included throwing clubs, unnecessary glares at his adoring fans in the gallery and boorish behavior by his pompous, boot-licking caddy, Steve Williams, who is one of the biggest jerks in the history of sports. (Yeah, and he’s a caddy).
The fact Woods will not take questions and is selecting the pool of reporters Friday takes away the legitimacy of his statements. It really isn’t akin to facing the music, so to speak.
It’s like everything else about Tiger, save his golf game, phony.
Remember this as he speaks, it’s an image you are being sold, not reality.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

On Wilson Resignation, Lions' Ticket Prices And Stallworth

I thought Tom Wilson’s resignation from the Pistons today was stunning. I certainly didn’t see it coming.
The Pistons have been as stable as a professional sports franchise can be the last quarter of a century, but obviously now they has hit a rocky road Attendance is down significantly. The team on the court is in flux. There are ownership issues. There has been much speculation about what the Pistons are going to do at the trade deadline, but a lot of the NBA is based on how much a team is willing to pay in terms of long-term contracts. If the Pistons do unload long-term deals, are they doing so to capitalize on the prime-time free agent class this summer, or to simply clear the books to make the franchise more desirable for a potential buyer?

Random Thoughts

- There is a good reason Lions lowered the price of many of their tickets today - and it wasn’t out of sympathy for their loyal fans. They had to. Especially those club-level seats. It’s been shocking the last two seasons how few people have been sitting in those premium-priced seats.

- I don’t think the Lions missed out by not signing wide receiver Donte Stallworth, who signed with the Ravens. If he were younger, the risk might have made more sense. But the Lions aren’t at a stage where they are looking for the final pieces to a puzzle, but rather seeking a nucleus.

My column in Wednesday's Oakland Press on United States-Canada hockey rivalry


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Zumaya, Bonderman, Willis, Robertson, Galarraga And Their Chances of Returning to Form

There will be five pitchers on the comeback trail for the Tigers at spring training. All have had degrees of success in the past. Each is coming off seasons that indicate their future is less than promising because of injury, poor performance or both. This is how I see those pitchers and their chances of returning to form in 2010.

Joel Zumaya - Even as he struggled last season, Zumaya was lighting up the radar gun. Problem is, he fell behind in the count consistently and seemed to lose confidence, which had been his second greatest asset behind his rocket arm. It wouldn’t surprise me if he does come back and pitch well. His career is on the line. He is a little older and might be scared straight by some of his circumstances in the past. But even if Zumaya dominates early, can he be counted on for the long haul? That will be considered iffy for a long time because of his injury-plagued past.
Chance of having a comeback season: 40 percent

Jeremy Bonderman - The Tigers are paying Bonderman $12 million this season, and he will get first crack at pitching himself into the starting rotation. He seemed healthy last year, but the velocity on his fastball and the bite on his slider just weren’t there after he had shoulder surgery. I figure he is a longshot to return to form. Can’t see him as a finesse pitcher. Feel for pitching has exactly been a strength.
Chance of having a comeback season: 15 percent

Nate Robertson - There is a lot of bulldog in Robertson, but it’s difficult to pitch in the major leagues with a below average fastball and mediocre breaking pitches. He needs a little more zip on his fastball and bite on his slider. His margin for error wasn’t that big to begin with. The last couple seasons it was gone completely.
Chance of having a comeback season: 15 percent

Dontrelle Willis - Just a fact of baseball life: Pitchers don’t comeback from "The Thing." If Willis were to do so, it would be one of the great baseball stories of all time.
Chance of having a comeback season: 1 percent

Armando Galarraga - He is a taller pitcher and sometimes his mechanics get out of whack. Still think he can be a solid fifth starter.
Chance of having a comeback season: 50 percent

I am defining a comeback season as returning to a reasonable facsimile of the form they displayed when they were at their best in the past.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Spartans, Lucas Primed For Stretch Run

I think Michigan State’s Kalin Lucas is a terrific player, who has had a difficult season. Tom Izzo pushed him early this season, publicly calling him out. Trust me on this: Izzo doesn’t do that unless he figures the kid can take it.
Secondly, Lucas has had a nasty ankle sprain. Michigan State lost three games in a row while Lucas was ailing, but it doesn’t mean they will be any less of a force when it really matters come March.
Lucas, in particular, should gain from the problems during the regular season and emerge as more of a leader than ever.
It’s about peaking at the right time. It wouldn’t surprise me if State does that after a lull. And that Lucas will be the leader.
He had a huge game at Penn State Saturday. Might be the beginning of a big run for him - and the Spartans overall.

My column in Monday's Oakland Press on the plight of the Red Wings

My column in Sunday's Oakland Press on why I think the Tigers are capable of winning the AL Central.


Friday, February 12, 2010

Problem Is, The Tigers Don't Have A Plan

At this stage of his career, Johnny Damon is far from an ideal leadoff hitter, and is a way below average corner outfielder. He might still be able to hit some, and fills a need for the Tigers as a left-handed batter, but he is 36, and that's an age when hitters often start to hit a wall.
The Tigers were supposedly trying to get leaner and meaner, younger and more hungry. He doesn't fit from that standpoint. Signing him, especially bidding only against themselves, would be a classic knee-jerk reaction from owner Mike Ilitch, who is often more interested in big names than the actual value of a player.
Thought Ilitch was over such issues. Obviously, he is not. The Tigers let Placido Polanco go and traded Curtis Granderson, while - if they sign Damon - they will have $67 million invested in Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Guillen, Damon, Jeremy Bonderman, Dontrelle Willis and Nate Robertson for this season alone.
I still think this team will contend in 2010, but it will be despite themselves. Oh, and their mediocre division.

My column in Friday's Oakland Press: Is it the Winter Olympic or reality TV:


Thursday, February 11, 2010

This Is The Running Back The Lions Should Target

An every down running back is an obvious need for the Lions. It doesn't seem as if this draft will be the best way to address that need.
Not only is it not the best draft class when it comes to running backs, but it is a particularly deep draft with defensive players, especially on the line. And that is the Lions' greatest need.
Lendale White from the Tennessee Titans is a restricted free agent. He is a former 1,000-yard rusher, who is stuck behind Chris Johnson with the Titans. White had some issues with weight and maturity, but it seems like he has grown up. He lost the weight last year. He is 240 pounds and physical. He won't turn 26 until December. And Detroit might not be a distasteful destination for White. He's probably heard good things about it from his first cousin, Chauncey Billups.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

No Simple Answer For Lions On Donte Stallworth

It’s a tough call in a case like the one involving wide receiver Donte Stallworth.
Talent has never been an issue for him. He was once the 13th overall pick in the NFL Draft.
But his play on the field has been spotty. Sometimes really good. Other times, like he disappeared.
Stallworth served jail time and was suspended by the NFL for a year after being convicted of a felony manslaughter charge involving driving while alcohol impaired.
The Lions, who reportedly worked out Stallworth, aren’t running a boy scout camp. Winning is paramount. If he can help the Lions win - and if they feel he won’t be a problem in the locker room or off-the-field - they should sign him.
But don’t forget, Stallworth will turn 30 during the upcoming season. He didn’t play for a year. He might be past his prime.
And will he be extraordinarily driven and therefore succeed because of his circumstances? Or is he just a bad apple?
Because of the vagueness of those questions, teams usually pass on players like Stallworth, no matter how tempted they might be to sign him.


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Scott Boras, Used Car Salesman

Is Scott Boras a super player's agent or a used car saleman? The Tigers should sign Johnny Damon because Damon is a big fan of Steve Yzerman? Talk about sucking up to Tigers' owner Mike Ilitch. Yzerman, by the way, probably has a better arm.
Sure, I'd offer Damon a contract. Two years. Two million. Something ridiculously low. Then we'd see how much Johnny Damon loves the Red Wings.
And by the way, Damon would be wise to take it. There is no indication anywhere any team is interested in Damon. And signing him would only enhance the Tigers' well-deserved imagine as lackeys for Boras. Will he help Jim Leyland fill out his lineup card again?


Monday, February 08, 2010

Is Dan LeFevour The Next Drew Brees?

While watching the Senior Bowl practices on NFL Network, I kept having this thought that Central Michigan quarterback Dan LeFevour might be the next Drew Brees.
Granted, they have a different skill set. Brees is underrated as an athlete, but doesn't run like LeFevour, who has excellent speed. And it obviously would be a stretch when it comes to throwing accuracy at this stage to compare LeFevour to Brees, who is perhaps the most accurate passer of all time.
But it does appear like LeFevour adapts well to circumstances and surroundings. The team that drafts him could be getting a great player.
Remember, Brees wasn't a first-round draft choice.

Random Thoughts

- Man, Joey Harrington was just one season away from getting his Super Bowl ring with the Saints.

- In the "give credit to where credit is due" category, former Michigan running back Mike Hart getting two carries in the Super Bowl for the Colts was an accomplishment. It's not easy coming off the practice squad to reach the regular roster. Especially when a player is a college star, such as Hart, it requires persistence. That he was trusted enough to carry the ball in such a big game could bode well for Hart's future.

- There is little question Dick LeBeau's career as a player was looked back on more closely because of his steller career as one of the best defensive coordinators of all time. Alex Karras was a much better player than LeBeau, and clearly belongs in the Hall of Fame. Wayne Walker had a similar career to LeBeau. Like LeBeau, he was a very solid player for a long period, but not necessarily a great one. Karras was a dominant player - a three-time first-team All Pro. If Paul Hornung got into the Hall after the 1963 gambling scandal, why not Karras?

My column in Monday's Oakland Press on the Super Bowl:


Friday, February 05, 2010

The Uncensored Truth About The Justin Verlander Signing

The Tigers played it smart with Justin Verlander. As soon as Felix Hernandez signed his contract for $78 million and five years with Seattle, which is a reasonable cost for a premier starting pitcher, the Tigers immediately threw out a five-year, $75 million offer to Verlander. Just enough wiggle room to top King Felix (they eventually upped offer to $80 million). Just enough guaranteed money that Verlander would likely sign. If he had played out his contracts to free agency, Verlander would have gotten much more - assuming he'd maintained health. And probably would have ended up in the Yankees' price range rather than the Tigers' price range.
Will Verlander be a Tiger for the length of the contract? Don't count on it. General manager Dave Dombrowski said the exact same type of things two years ago when the Tigers locked up Curtis Granderson to a five-year deal even before he was eligible for arbitration. But at least this gives the Tigers the option of getting players or prospects in return when it comes to trading Verlander.

Random Thoughts

- Saw where Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis didn't stick with his new logo. Honestly, I didn't see anything wrong with the change and am curious why MSU's faithful seems to consider it more important than the off-the-field issues facing the Spartans' football program. Hollis' feet should be held to the fire for that, not the logo change.

- The more we know about Demar Dorsey, the more lame Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez sounds explaining his recruitment.


Thursday, February 04, 2010

Magnitude Of Michigan's Tradition Overwhelming Rodriguez

The issue isn't necessarily Michigan's recruiting Demar Dorsey, a four-star defensive back out of Florida, as much as Wolverines' coach Rich Rodriguez's refusal to discuss the issue in a forthright manner.
Dorsey has been charged with felony crimes such burglery and robbery in the past, but was not convicted. The charges, however, are red flags.
And Rodriguez did, after all, have Adam "Pac Man" Jones and the late and troubled Chris Henry at West Virginia. Rodriguez did bring a player to Michigan's program, since dismissed, quarterback/receiver Justin Feagin, who ran afoul with the law in this state - after he had legal incidents in the past in Florida.
A couple things here...
During my radio show Wednesday night, a caller asked me if I thought Bo Schembechler, Gary Moeller or Lloyd Carr would have recruited Dorsey, who is a good enough player to start in the Wolverines' much-maligned secondary immediately.
I said I couldn't answer that for sure, but doubt they would have. Another caller said it was a reminder of the type of player Michigan State has taken chances with for years. I agree. And the Spartans, in my opinion, have often done so out of desperation.
Seems like Michigan is pretty desperate after posting a 3-13 Big Ten record the last two years.
Secondly, Rodriguez is on thin-ice in this state. The "woe is me" line is inappropriate. There has been nothing about his program so far to indicate he is doing anything but running Michigan's storied football tradition into the ground.
People wonder why Michigan is taking a kid like this it might not have in the past. Rodriguez was going to be grilled about it by the media. It shouldn't have been much of a surprise.
That he acted like it was, and was unprepared to deal with it, is yet another indication a job of Michigan's magnitude is just overwhelming Rich Rodriguez.


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Three Key Players For The Red Wings Moving Forward

I really liked the way the Red Wings handled the Sharks Tuesday night. To me, that's a sign they are still the team to beat in the Western Conference. Who is going to want to face the Red Wings in the playoffs? Chicago is the best team in the Western Conference, not the Sharks. I still think the Red Wings would beat Chicago in a seven-game series - if they get all their players back.

Three key players for Red Wings moving forward.
1. Jimmy Howard - I have little doubt he will be their playoff goalie. The Red Wings can't afford to play Chris Osgood just get his skates underneath him
2. Pavel Datsyuk - He is one of the best players in the world. Time he started producing on the score sheet like it.
3. Johan Franzen - Must come off the injury list following the Olympic break and start scoring goals immediately.

My column in Wednesday's Oakland Press: National Signing Day, Where Hope Meets Hype

Caputo And His Boss video on national signing day:


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Count Me Among Those Who Don't Think Damon Fits Tigers

It does smack of desperation that agent Scott Boras has deemed it necessary to sell Johnny Damon like a mop salesman. Although he has been a very good player for a long time, Damon doesn't fit the profile of a club itching for contracts of such aging veteran players to expire. His defense - especially his arm - is awful. Not good for spacious Comerica Park. As a hitter, he is at the age (36) when it's very difficult to know when he'll hit the wall. If I were in Dave Dombrowski's shoes (and be thankful I'm not), I would offer Damon a two-year, $4 million deal. That's because, honestly, it's what his true value is on this market at this point.

Random Thoughts

- It's understood Joe Mauer is a good cut above Curtis Granderson as a player, and he was raised in the Twin Cities, but it has to be discouraging to Tiger fans nonetheless that the Twins chose to keep one of their own, while the Tigers cut Granderson loose to baseball's ultimate big market team - the Yankees.

- A perfect storm for a disaster: Mike Martz as the offensive coordinator in Chicago. We''re talking a big town here. Third-largest in the nation. Still not sure there is enough room to control Matz's ego. Remember the Lions' game at Arizona when he steadfastly refused to run the ball? Remember the home game against Green Bay when, after being criticized by fans and media for not getting the ball to Calvin Johnson enough, all he did was throw Calvin Johnson the ball? It didn't go well for Martz in Detroit nor San Francisco as OC. Why would Chicago be any better?

My column in Tuesday's Oakland Press on Justin Verlander's contract situation:


Monday, February 01, 2010

Baseball Predictions: The American League Central

I have seen a couple baseball preview magazines. The Sporting News and Lindy's are both picking the Tigers to place third in the American League Central behind the Twins and the White Sox. Each has Kansas City fourth and Cleveland fifth. The Sporting News is projecting Austin Jackson to be the American League Rookie of the Year. They also project Jeff Larish, Wilkin Ramirez and Brett Dlugach being in the Tigers' opening day 2012 lineup. If that is, indeed, the case, the Tigers future isn't very bright.
The Tigers are actually getting more respect this season than last, although it might because of a lack of regard t for the A.L. Central. Last year, for example, The Sporting News picked the Tigers to place last.
Believe it or not, the consensus pick to win the A.L. Central last year was Cleveland. On the first day of February, this is how I see the A.L. Central playing out in 2010:
1. Minnesota
2. Detroit
3. Kansas City
4. Chicago
5. Cleveland
I think the White Sox have spent a lot of money, but not wisely. I see the Royals as being a little better than in the past, but not necessarily a .500 team. I see the Tigers as .500 or slightly better because of their pitching. My final predictions will come near opening day.

My column in Monday's Oakland Press. Impressions of Senior Bowl and Lions upcoming draft

My column in Sunday's Oakland Press: If the Red Wings Leave Joe Louis Arena, it must be for The Palace.