In 1997 I worked in Louisville, Kentucky for about 3 months managing a sports memorabilia store. Louisville was a cool town with lots to do, but the one thing I’ll never forget is how big of a deal the Kentucky Derby was and still is. While I didn’t get to attend the actual race, being in town the two months leading up to it was amazing.
Over the years of all the major professional sports I have attended more Detroit Tigers game than any other. My favorite memories are of sitting in the upper deck in left field at old Tiger Stadium. I did attend a few Detroit Lions games in the Silverdome when it was sold out and that was a fun time as well. I was able to attend a parade celebrating a Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup Championship, but none captured the electricity going on in Louisville that spring.
I’ll never forget the excitement in our store and downtown everywhere you went. Signs were up everywhere and everyone was talking about the upcoming race. I remember many people talking about two horses one named “Silver Charm” and the other named “Free House”. Needless to say they didn’t disappoint and here was what I watched while working…
…and I wasn’t alone. Our store was packed with people watching on our TV’s. It was amazing, and it was an great race with Silver Charm pulling out a win by inches. I don’t follow much horse racing, but I always pay attention to the Kentucky Derby and this year will be no different. I’m still not sure who my pick will be yet, but I’m leaning towards “Hear the Ghost”. Let me know in the comments who you think will win the Derby this year.
Before we know it we’ll be hearing the famous “…and down the stretch they come!”
Here are three updates from Draft Sharks about the Detroit Lions. Draft Sharks is one of the best fantasy football sites out there! Check them out if you get a chance.
The first update is about one of the Lions best players…
Lions insider Chris McCosky has learned that WR Calvin Johnson played through 2 fractured fingers “most of last season.” It’s unclear exactly when the injury occurred, but it only makes Megatron’s record-breaking 2012 campaign even more impressive. His 122 catches were a personal best, and his 1,964 receiving yards were the most in NFL history. It is worth noting that Johnson was charged with a career-high 14 drops. The broken fingers likely had a lot to do with that. Johnson will be ready for the Lions’ offseason program, though, and the injury won’t be a factor in 2013. He’s the clear-cut #1 WR in fantasy football.
Like McCosky says it makes Johnson’s 2012 season even more impressive. If any receiver is going to pass 2,000 yards in a season it will be Johnson. A healthy Johnson means the Lions have a shot.
Lions HC Jim Schwartz wants to see more explosion from RB Mikel Leshoure in 2013. “He flashed enough highs that gives us optimism that he can (be explosive), but he also had enough inconsistency to say that he’s not there yet,” Schwartz said. “We still have high hopes for him and expect him to make a big jump.” Leshoure’s longest run all last year was just 16 yards. He averaged a sluggish 3.7 yards-a-pop. But remember that he tore his Achilles in August of 2011 — an injury that’s tough to return from. It’s certainly possible that Leshoure regains some explosion as he puts that injury further in his rear-view mirror. This guy averaged 6+ yards per carry in each of his final 2 college seasons, with 7 runs of 40+ yards.
If Leshoure can find his “explosive” side again and make some big plays, then he could be the guy in the backfield. If he ends up with a low yards per carry, then look for the Lions to find an answer for some speed at the running back spot.
Lions WR Nate Burleson has agreed to a restructured contract. It means he’s more than likely to remain in Detroit for 2013, which wasn’t the case with the $4.5 million he was originally scheduled to make. Burleson will turn 32 this August and is coming off a broken leg suffered last October. He hauled in 73 balls in 2011, though, and was on an early pace for 83 before going down last year. With Titus Young gone and Ryan Broyles recovering from a torn ACL, Burleson will be counted on to play a significant role again in 2013.
Smart move by Burleson. It makes it likely he will be in Detroit for the year now and also makes him the #2 receiver to Megatron. If he stays healthy he could put up some big numbers and land one more decent contract. Maybe not from Detroit, but somewhere else. So he’s motivated and that’s a good thing!
I’ve been waiting for this game now for a couple of weeks. Michigan State and Michigan are both battling for the Big Ten lead with the first of two regular season meetings at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Tuesday night. While the 2013 March Madness tournament bracket will be here before we know it, both of these teams take very seriously in winning the Big Ten regular season crown. Michigan has been ranked in the top 5 in the last few weeks, even holding down the #1 spot briefly, while Michigan State has slowly climbed up to the edge of the top 10. The two key players in this matchup are at the point guard position, the Wolverines Trey Burke and the Spartans Keith Appling. Both help run their teams in the half-court and get them running as well. I’m predicting a fairly low scoring game with great defense and physical up-front play, but the offensive execution by the two point guards will be fun to watch.
As we get closer to live betting on March Madness the Big Ten should come down to the wire. The Big Ten has seen some great basketball and that should continue as the great teams, Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State, will continue to battle and as shown by their great coaching staffs, get better and stronger as we get closer to the tournament.
Should be a fun game on Tuesday night and I’m hoping for a Spartans win!
Opinions on five current sports topics from yours truly…
1. Detroit Lions – The Lions are half-way through the season and have battled back to a 4-4 record. After starting 1-3, the Lions have gone 3-1 to hold on to hope of capturing an NFC Wild Card bid. QB Matthew Stafford has found his touch and as long as Calvin Johnson’s injuries don’t get any worse this offense should continue to click. The game this Sunday at Minnesota is big if the Lions wish to stay contenders.
2. Detroit Pistons – A tough start to the season (0-5) has Pistons fans grumbling, but a solid young nucleus is being formed. The Pistons are still another year away (at least) to seriously challenge for a playoff spot, but with Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe they have two potential stars to build around. They’ll be fortunate to win 25 games this year, but if everything keeps moving like it is, they’ll be back in the playoffs in another couple of years.
3. Thanksgiving – Going to Pittsburgh for Thanksgiving and can’t wait to hang out and watch some football. If anyone has any sites I should see while there, please email me below.
4. Fantasy Football – Ugly. I have three teams and all three are underachieving. I’ll be lucky to make the playoffs in all of them. I keep waiting for Cam Newton to turn it on like last year, but I have a feeling that’s not going to happen. A top 5 pick is in my future for next year’s draft in all three leagues!
5. Big Ten Basketball – The Big Ten is being called the best conference in college basketball with 4 serious contenders for the Big Ten Crown as well as a run at the National Championship. Indiana, Michigan, Ohio State, and Michigan State are all getting lots of national attention and deservedly so. If I had some extra cash I’d be looking at betting on one of these 4 to cut the nets down in March.
If you want to let the me know what you think, you can always send me an email at email@example.com or post a comment!
So if you bet money on the Packers/Seahawks game you were either very happy or very sad by the replacement referees “touchdown” call at the end of the game. It’s amazing just how much money changed hands based on that call alone…
Mike Perry, spokesman for betting site Sportsbook.ag, told ESPN.com his estimate in the money swing on the call at the end of the game is closer to between $200 million and $250 million.
Perry said that 70 to 80 percent of the money on his site was put on the Packers, which is in line with the percentage bet in Vegas. At Mandalay Bay, the sportsbook took in about $500,000 in total bets, with about 85 percent of the money on the Packers.
Oddsmaker Danny Sheridan, who sets the lines for USA Today, had the highest estimate of those surveyed by ESPN.com. Sheridan said Tuesday morning that he believes that $1 billion in total money changed hands with the touchdown call.
When I first heard this number, I couldn’t believe it. Now the replacement official Lance Easley thinks he “made the right call”. I’m just glad the regular officials are back!
Opinions on five current sports topics from yours truly…
1. Detroit Tigers – This tweet pretty much says it all…
Seriously, why sit the guy with the hot bat? I’m still holding out hope the Tigers will win the division, but if it comes down to one game that costs them, remember today.
2. Sports Bingo – The other day I was thinking of games to play with my kids, and I remembered how much fun bingo was when I was a kid. I stumbled upon a site where you could make your own sports bingo cards and thought that would be alot of fun. So now I just have to start planning some tough clues and picking out which cards I want to use. I hadn’t realized how many different types of bingo games you could play. I looked at partybingo.com, where you get free money when signing up and they have multiple jackpot bingo games! Give Bingo a chance!
3. Lance Armstrong – I was hoping he was clean, but the more I read, the more I doubt. No doubt he was a great cyclist, but he raced in the era of major doping. If everyone is cheating and you’re winning, that just means you’re a better cheater right?
4. NFL Kickoff 2012 – The best time of the year! Preseason is over and the NFL is about to start. I’m only playing in three fantasy football leagues this year, but still can’t wait to get started. Go Lions!
5. Detroit Lions – I like their chances to finish at least 10-6 this season. I think the offense will be explosive, but the defensive secondary has major holes. They’ll win alot of games just by outscoring the opponent, but until they get better stopping the pass, they won’t be challenging for the NFC Championship.
If you want to let the me know what you think, you can always send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment!
Here’s a quick update on the new ESPN Radio on 105.5 FM and 106.7 FM in Traverse City and Northern Michigan. They are hosting a new show, “High School Sports Center” tonight from 8pm to 11pm. Here’s the Facebook Release from Rick Coates…
Kicking Off a new radio show tonight on ESPN Radio-Northern Michigan. From 8-11 pm. We will have in-game reports from around northern Michigan final scores and post game interviews and more. Jack Roberts head of the Michigan High School Athletic Association will join us. High School Football Guy checks in.
If you are going to be at a game tonight check in with us. My cell is 231-883-5625 or the studio line at 231-929-1067.
Like some of teams we have a few injuries ourselves. Our producer and operations director accepted another position so we are shorthanded and a little help with updates would be awesome. Also we looking to hire a person with radio experience who likes sports.
A couple of updates from Draft Sharks…
** Lions RB Jahvid Best (concussions) has still not been cleared for contact. “There still is a hurdle to go,” HC Jim Schwartz said. The news is surprising only because reports on Best’s progress were positive all offseason. But with a lengthy concussion history, he remains a major question mark heading into the 2012 season. We’ll continue to track his recovery all summer. For now, he brings more risk than reward as a fantasy pick.
My View: Best’s concussion history really is a major cause for concern for the Lions moving forward. At this point he’s definitely not an every down back and one more concussion could finish his career.
** Lions HC Jim Schwartz admits that RB Mikel Leshoure may never regain pre-injury form after last August’s torn Achilles. “It depends on what you label 100%,” Schwartz said. “He has a surgically repaired Achilles? Are you ever 100%? …I don’t know.” It’s common knowledge that Achilles injuries are tough to come back from. But it’s sobering to hear Schwartz’s uncertainty about Leshoure’s future. Now, he did avoid the PUP list and is ready for the start of camp. That’s obviously good news, but we’re waiting to hear reports about how Leshoure looks in practice — and then how he fares in preseason action. While the 2011 2nd-rounder has upside in Detroit’s high-scoring offense, he shouldn’t be considered more than a flier in fantasy drafts this summer.
My View: Not good news here either. The Lions need Leshoure do have a big preseason and show that he is ready to help. If healthy he gives the Lions another offensive weapon.
There aren’t many things that can be considered sure bets in sports, but when it comes to Nicklas Lidstrom being inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame you can bet your house on it. The Detroit Red Wings defenseman announced on May 31 that he was retiring from the NHL after 20 amazing seasons.
Lidstrom undoubtedly will go down as one of the best defensemen to ever lace on a pair of skates and along with former Toronto Maple Leaf and Red Wing great Borje Salming, is surely the best player to ever come out of Sweden. Many observers felt Lidstrom might play at least one more season with Detroit, but the team’s captain said at 42 years of age and after playing in one of the world’s toughest leagues for two decades it’s time to call it quits. Lidstrom said it’s been a great ride and he can’t thank his teammates and the Red Wings organization enough.
Lidstrom has won just about everything with the Red Wings, including four Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs and seven Norris Trophies as the league’s best defenseman. In total, Lidstrom suited up for the Wings 1,564 times during the regular season, which is the second-most all time for Detroit behind the great Gordie Howe. He scored a total of 1,142 points on 264 goals and 878 assists for the fourth-most points in Red Wings history.
Lidstrom’s plus/minus rating over that time was plus 450 which is eighth best in NHL history. He also played in a franchise-record 263 postseason games and added another 54 goals to go along with his 129 assists for 183 points and a plus 61 playoff rating. Although he missed 12 games due to an ankle injury this season, Lidstrom scored 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 points and had a plus/minus rating of plus 21, which was one of the best in the league.
Perhaps the statistic that best represents the type of player Lidstrom was is his penalty total of just 514 minutes in 20 seasons. Lidstrom, who hails from Vasteras, Sweden, became the first European player to be named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2002 and in 2008 became the first European to captain a Stanley-Cup winning club. He played in 12 All-Star Games as well as being voted an NHL First-Team All-Star on 10 occasions and a Second Team All Star twice.
Lidstrom was selected with the 53rd choice overall in the 1989 entry draft from his hometown ream in Sweden and made his debut for Detroit in the 1991/92 season, making the All-Rookie Team. He also won a gold medal at the Olympics with Sweden in 2006 and was named to the tournament’s all-star team.
Lidstrom said that retiring allows him to walk away from the game he loves instead of having the game walk away from him. He added that he’s comfortable with his decision and even though his gas tank’s not on empty, it’s not where it should be and he isn’t about to cheat himself.
An update from Draft Sharks on some locker room difficulty for Lions WR Titus Young…
It doesn’t sound like Lions 2nd-year WR Titus Young is making too many friends in the locker room. He was suspended for a week by the team for reportedly sucker-punching FS Louis Delmas earlier this month. And beat writer Dave Birkett hears that Young was “apathetic” in player-organized workouts this offseason. “That didn’t sit well with Lions veterans,” Birkett writes. Young has some fences to mend this summer. We still like him as a potential 2012 breakout player if he gets his act together.
My View: It seems like a few of the recent young players drafted by the Lions are turning into knuckleheads. I hope Young straightens up his act as he’s a very talented wideout and gives the Lions another play-maker. Hopefully the veterans can reign in some of these youngsters.
A look at my thoughts on the current state of our pro teams and my expectations for the current and upcoming seasons…
Detroit Tigers – About the best word I can use to sum up the Tigers start to the 2012 season is, disappointment. I’ll admit I didn’t expect the offense to struggle like it has. The pitching (besides Verlander and Fister) hasn’t been great, but has been good enough to be 5-10 games better then their current record. Coming off a sweep to the Central leading Cleveland Indians has put the Tigers in an early hole. I imagine that Prince Fielder and Miguel Cabrera will both pick it up as we move into the summer months and if both get hot at the same time, then the offense will score in bunches. The injury to Austin Jackson hasn’t helped matters and he can’t get back soon enough for me. I like the Tigers to still win the division as I don’t believe that the Indians or the Chicago White Sox have enough staying power, but I don’t predict much playoff success this season unfortunately, unless Verlander can somehow pitch every other game.
Detroit Lions – If I was a sports betting man (or had any extra money), I’d put some money on the Detroit Lions in 2012! This team is built around Matthew Stafford who in 2011 showed why he was such a high draft pick. The Lions have locked up Calvin Johnson for the next few seasons and he will give Stafford the big target he needs to lead the Lions to the playoffs once again. Will they have enough to overtake the Packers for the North Division crown? That remains to be seen, but the Lions have built a solid foundation in free agency and the draft the last 3 or 4 years and now seem poised to be one of the best teams in the NFC for the next decade.
Detroit Red Wings – I was disappointed by the way the Wings season ended, but the injuries finally caught up to them. The nucleus will be back and here’s hoping for another season out of Nicklas Lidstrom. If he comes back the Wings will remain a contender, but if he hangs it up, the Wings will be battling for a playoff berth. Jimmy Howard proved he can be a consistent and at times sensational goalie in the NHL and I look for him to take another step forward in 2012-13.
Detroit Pistons – I read an article this morning in the Detroit News titled Pistons’ fall contrasts with Spurs’ rise by Vincent Goodwill and realized just how far the Pistons have fallen in a short amount of time. I’m having a hard time picturing the Pistons in the playoffs let alone winning a series. The changes of them making the playoffs are slim enough, but if they make it as a 6th, 7th, or 8th seed what are there chances of winning a series against the best of the East. I’m confident in head coach Lawrence Frank as he kept the Pistons competitive after a bad start. I’m also confident in what the Pistons seem to have in Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe as building blocks, so we’ll see what GM Joe Dumars can add in this year’s draft and see if he pulls off any trades. 2012-13 Prediction: Another season out of the playoffs is my guess.
One doesn’t have to reach too far back into the history of the Detroit Tigers to find a time when an apparently loaded roster was having trouble getting their act together and playing like the playoff team they were supposed to be.
Last season, and July 30th to be more specific, the Tigers were just 56-51 and spinning their wheels near the top of the AL Central. But what a day July 30th of 2011 would turn out to be. That was the day the Tigers traded for Doug Fister, the one who makes all things better.
5 players moved in that deadline deal and only one currently stands as an impact major league player – Fister. Detroit shipped Charlie Furbush (currently pitching in the Mariners’ bullpen), Casper Wells (a part-timer in the M’s outfield) and Chance Ruffin (a prospect pitching in AAA) out west in exchange for Fister and David Pauley (remember him?).
It is well documented that the Tigers went on a sudden and permanent tear for the rest of 2011 after Fister hit Motown. Jim Leyland’s crew went 39-16 the rest of the way and eventually petered out in Game 6 of the ALCS against the mega bats of the Rangers.
Spearheading the pennant drive was none other than the lanky one. In 10 starts for the Tigers down the stretch, Dougy Fresh went 8-1 with a 1.79 ERA and a disturbing 57:5 K to walk ratio. He was so good, dare I say it, that he was one-upping the mighty Justin Verlander every turn through the rotation.
Fister started the Tigers’ 2nd game of this season against the Red Sox. All seemed right with the world through 3.2 innings of scoreless ball until he strained a muscle in his side. That was exactly one month ago, April 7th. Fast forward to May 7th and Fister once again has put himself in the position of playing the hero’s role.
The Tigers are a middle of the road 14-13 after 1 full month of baseball. Their lowest point came 2 weeks ago when they were pushed around by Fister’s former team, the lowly Seattle Mariners. Fister has yet to face the M’s since joining the Tigers. Don’t be surprised if his return serves as the spark that this team needs.
The 6’8″ right-hander will be taking the mound as you’re preparing for bed tonight (10:05 eastern). When you wake up, all just might be right within the world of the Detroit Tigers once again.
Be sure to check out other great articles at isportsweb.
An update from Draft Sharks…
Lions RB Jahvid Best has been working out for the past couple months and will be in attendance for the start of the team’s offseason program on Monday. But beat writer Dave Birkett reports that Best still hasn’t been cleared for contact by team doctors. It’s a reminder that he’s not out of the wood yet after suffering 2 concussions last year. We’ll continue to track his progress this offseason.
My View: If anyone can help the Lions to the next level it’s a healthy Best. I’m not very confident that he can stay healthy for the entire year however, so the Lions need to make sure they have capable backups.