Joe Louis Arena was more than just a building

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Published on : April 13, 2017

 

 

On Sunday April 9th, 2017 the Detroit Red Wings played their last game at Joe Louis Arena, signaling the end of an era. For 38 years Joe Louis was the heart and soul of Hockeytown, and the list of players who graced the ice in that building is a who’s who of hall of famers. It is one of the most iconic places in hockey, even for those who don’t support the winged wheel. Everyone respects the history but for some of us, Joe Louis Arena is more than just a building where our favorite team played, it’s hallowed ground. It’s like a part of the family, a piece of our sports culture. A piece of Detroit’s culture.

 

JLA is a monument to a time before corporate sponsorship of stadiums. When places that represented a people were named in honor of the greatest champions among those people. The Red Wings new home, Little Caesars Arena, inspires considerably less Motor City pride. Joe Louis Arena was too old, too small, too ill-equipped to handle the needs and desires of today’s sports fan. Because of that, it was time to move on, but damned if it wasn’t a great place to see the game. That place was always rocking and the atmosphere was always electric. Four Stanley Cups were won by the Red Wings during their time in that building. The team was built into a dynasty during that era; they were royalty, and Joe Louis Arena was their castle.

 

 One of 31 octopi that were thrown on to the ice during the Red Wings last game at Joe Louis Arena.

 

The Red Wings are missing the playoffs for the first time in 25 years and it almost seems fitting that in the same year we all said goodbye to beloved owner, Mike Ilitch, and Joe Louis Arena. This is the beginning of a new era for the franchise and all of its fans. What makes this franchise so special is that even though they are planning for the future they know they had to honor their past.

 

The Illitch family has always had a deep love for the city of Detroit and they know what that building and the team mean to the city. The organization recognized the meaning of that moment, and they knew that the fans in Detroit needed a chance to pay their respect to a place that means so much to them. In a ceremony that involved over 90 current and former players and coaches, the city and the team had a chance to process the moment and reflect on everything that had happened under that roof.

 

 Current and former players salute the crowd following the closing ceremony at Joe Louis Arena.

 

Steve Yzerman was in the house and was greeted by adoring fans who begged him to come back home to Detroit. Bob Probert’s widow spread his ashes in the penalty box, a place where he spent a considerable amount of time during his career. Guys that couldn’t attend, like Sergei Fedorov and Brendan Shanahan, sent in video messages. Hell, Wayne Gretzky did a video message, and he didn’t even play for the team but he wanted to be part of saying goodbye to a piece of history.

 

Joe Louis Arena was more than just a building. For some people, it was their earliest memory of going to a game. For some people, it was where they fell in love with the game. For some people, it was where they saw champions made. For some people, it was sports Mecca. For some people, it was home. As for me, it is the place where some of my fondest memories happened, and the best place to watch a hockey game on the entire planet.

 

 

 


The Pistons are going back to Detroit!

Written by :
Published on : November 23, 2016

 

 

For the first time since 1978, the Detroit Pistons will play basketball in the city of Detroit. The team announced on Tuesday that they would begin playing games within city limits beginning next season. It’s a big win for citizens of the city and basketball as a whole. All four of the Detroit’s professional sports franchises will be located in downtown Detroit, a mere stone’s throw from each other. The team will share the Red Wings’ new home, Little Caesars Arena. The inclusion of the Detroit Pistons in the state of the art arena and entertainment complex known simply as, The District, means that downtown Detroit will be popping almost every single day/night of the year.

 

Not everyone is thrilled about the idea, however. Though it may seem like a no-brainer that the Detroit Pistons should maybe actually be located in the city they are named for, there are some people who think that the move is just a money grab for team owner, Tom Gores. So let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of the Pistons’ move to Detroit.

 

Pros

Pizzarena
                                                                                  Home Sweet Home

 

– The first pro is one that I’ve already touched on. The Pistons will now call Little Caesars Arena home and will be located in less than a mile from both Comerica Park and Ford Field. This will be an premier destination for people in Southeast Michigan and the entire state and will be a centerpiece of downtown Detroit.

 

– The major pro here is that the Detroit Pistons will now be located in the actual city of Detroit. Since 1978 they have played at The Palace of Auburn Hills, almost 30 miles from the city that the team claims to represent. It’ll be nice for the team to stop lying about what city they are from. It just makes sense to come back home.

 

– Team owner, Tom Gores, has pledged that the team will be committed to helping the city of Detroit grow and prosper. He has highlighted a 10-point plan that will underscore the team’s commitment to the city. This plan including funding for the construction of 60 community basketball courts over the next 6 years, providing 20,000 free tickets per season to Detroit youth and residents, and employment of Detroit residents in the construction of the team’s new practice facilities in the city, among other things.

 

Cons

Owners
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Ilitch Holding CEO Chris Ilitch, Pistons Owner Tom Gores and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

 

– The Pistons will be leaving behind a perfectly good and beautiful facility in Auburn Hills. The Palace was opened in 1988, relatively new as far as modern arenas go. It’ll be a shame to see it go. There was a time not so long ago when the team sold out 235 consecutive games, during the Pistons’ last dominant run with Chauncey Billups and co. The Palace used to be one the most rocking basketball venues in the game. Thankfully the arena will be quickly demolished and redeveloped, avoiding a fate similar to that of the Pontiac Silverdome, which still sits vacant since the Lions left in 2002.

 

– The major con that I see for this move it that somehow Tom Gores convinced the city of Detroit’s downtown development authority to foot the $34 million dollar bill for converting Little Caesars Arena from a hockey only venue to a hockey/basketball venue. I’m sure the city sees it as a good investment considering the amount of money that will come in with having another major sports team, and they’re probably right. But that just adds on to the already enormous amount of public funding that the new arena has received (a couple hundred million at least), and helping to pay for billionaire’s stadiums never seems like that good of an idea.

 

 

There are always going to be conflicting opinions when something like this happens. The Detroit Pistons’ move from Auburn Hills to Detroit will be sure to help some people and hurt others. But with the renaissance that is currently happening in downtown Detroit, the time is ripe for the team to move back to its original home. After years of losing citizens and resources, people are finally starting to flock back to the city. It’s only right that the last holdout of the flight from Detroit (at least as far as sports teams go) comes back home and bring some truth to those famous words…

 

Deeeeee-troit Basketball!!!!!

 

 


The New Sports Rivalries

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Published on : November 6, 2016

 

 

Everyone knows about Yankees vs. Red Sox and Michigan vs. Ohio State. Those and many other old rivalries are classic. Important parts of the fabric of sports history. But what are the new beefs? The modern day feuds? We look in every major sport and highlight the contemporary era of rivalries.

 

Toronto vs. Cleveland

Hear me out, first the Cavs bounced the Raptors out of the playoffs last year and just a bit ago, the Cleveland Indians said goodnight to the Toronto Blue Jays. Maybe this rivalry is a little one-sided but be sure, Drake and all of Toronto are looking forward to their next chance to get revenge on Cleveland.

 

Patriots vs. Broncos

 

Want to win a Super Bowl? Chances are you have to beat one of these guys to do it. Things really started cooking when Peyton joined Denver. Manning vs. Brady part two. Featuring new team colors. Even with Peyton retiring, this matchup is still serious. I could easily see both franchises back in the AFC Championship game.

 

Detroit vs. Everybody

This attitude is almost out of control. And I’m part of the problem. The Detroit fanbase can be salty but it comes from a place of love. It just doesn’t always shine through. The vs. Everybody campaign has its merits, I like the galvanizing quality but it can get pushed into hostile territory that will leave us Michigan sports fans without any sympathy from anyone outside the state. NOTE, not really an issue in the Red Wing world. People hate us but that’s because we are awesome at hockey.

 

Russ vs. KD

It’s Batman trying to kill Robin. Kevin Durant and the Warriors are the favs in the west but don’t tell that to Russell Westbrook. This dude is looking to drop a triple-double in every game until he meets KD and company in the playoffs. Everyone wants to see that.

 

Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor

mayweather mcgregor

 

They have never fought. Probably never will. But they are rivals. No doubt about that. Since we may never get a pay-per-view, our only hope is that these two both meet in a Vegas nightclub and they fight on the dance floor. Video provided by iPhone.

 

Penguins vs. Capitals

This is more than just Alex Ovechkin vs. Sidney Crosby. These two crews have been battling it out for the last few seasons and it’s been some of the finest hockey you can watch. Not a huge fan of either team but the product they put forward is top shelf. But please, someone just put Crosby into the boards already.

 

Cavs vs Warriors

The best and most epic of the new school rivalries. They have met in back-to-back NBA Finals and a third meeting is inevitable. That win will end the argument until they met for a forth of fifth time. Right now, this is the greatest show on floor. Damn, that saying doesn’t really work in basketball.

 

All it takes for a new rivalry to be created is one great game. You can’t tell me the players don’t feed off that kind of stuff. Drop your favorite rivalries in the comments and let’s keep this conversation going.

 

Heated.

 

 


A Case of the Mondays: Detroit Edition

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Published on : September 26, 2016

 

 

This Monday is a tough one for Detroit sports fans to swallow. The Motor City collectively limps into the week after one of the tougher Sundays in recent memory. Both the Tigers and Lions had big games, and both teams failed to come ready-to-play, leaving fans (or at least this one) wondering why they put themselves through this pain. The Tigers, in the middle of a race for the second wild card spot, played the Royals at home. The Lions, trying to rebound from a painful loss in a game that they should have won against the Titans last week, traveled to Lambeau Field to play the Packers.

 

Both team started off slow and were punched in the mouth by the opposition. Both teams got it together eventually and made a game of it, but lost in the end. It was too little, too late.

 

 The Royals celebrate the Tigers demise.

 

Neither the Lions nor Tigers deserved to win yesterday, yet they had the chance to steal the game away. That should be encouraging, but that doesn’t mean that fans should overlook the fact that these teams are flawed, and aren’t getting a lot of help from the guys that are running the show. That’s right, both of these professional sports teams located in Detroit have coaches or managers that just aren’t very good.

 

It’s already pretty well documented how I feel about Detroit Tigers’ manager, Brad Ausmus. He just hasn’t been all that good during his time with the Tigers. He inherited a team that was in the middle of years-long domination of the AL Central and has had a hand in the teams underperformance ever since. The team started this season with an awful 15-21 record, but somehow managed to hang around long enough to be competing for the second wild card spot. With yesterday’s loss, the team now sits 1.5 games back of the Baltimore Orioles for that last playoff spot. Ausmus deserves some credit for helping the team stick around this long, but also deserves the blame for not getting the most out of a roster with some serious talent.

 

 “Promise me you’ll write after they can my ass.

 

Same goes for Lions’ coach, Jim Caldwell. In his first year with the Lions, he took them to the playoffs with a 11-5 regular season record. After a brutal playoff loss at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys, he followed 2014 up with a 7-9 record in 2015. In this, his third year with the team, he is off to 1-2 start following a game that the team pissed away against Tennessee and the debacle in Green Bay yesterday. He has shown a lack of ability to get his teams motivated and the blame for the sloppy play and penalties almost certainly lies with him. If it’s not the head coach’s job to make sure his team is properly prepared then whose job is it?

 

No one really expected this Lions team to go win in Green Bay, but the fact is the Packers aren’t that good. If the Lions had come ready-to-play and didn’t have to dig themselves out of a 31-3 hole, maybe they could have done it. If the 34-27 final score is any indication of what this team is capable of, then maybe they will be alright. But not if their coach doesn’t get them to come out and play for all 4 quarters.

 

 The Packers came out strong and hung on for the win.

 

No one really expected this Tigers team to make the playoffs. When you start the season like that and then go on to have a 2-13 record against the division leading rival, Cleveland Indians, playoffs seem like a pipe dream. But the Tigers are still in the hunt. Sadly, with only 7 games to play they start a 4-game home series against the Indians today, likely spelling an end to those wild card hopes.

 

Mondays can be rough, especially with Sundays like yesterday. The Tigers season might be wrapping up in similar fashion to how it started, with a whimper. The Lions season is just starting off and has already given fans plenty of reasons to drink. Both teams have coaches that could very well be gone next year. And most fans probably wouldn’t be mad. This Case of the Mondays goes to you Detroit. Hopefully this week will be better than the last.

 

 


Why Do the Red Wings Need a Lead Defenseman?

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Published on : July 11, 2016

 

 

Say what you will about General Manager Kenneth Mark Holland, but the man will do things. Inaction has never been a criticism of a Detroit Red Wings front office that was once feared and revered by NHL general managers and players alike. There was a time when, with a fell swoop, the likes of Brett Hull, Chris Chelios, Brian Rafalski, and Marian Hossa would join the already-legendary Wings locker room. These days, Hockeytown’s faithful are happy when that activity just turns out to be neutral, scarred by (among other ill-fated transactions) a Stephen Weiss debacle that remains one of the great disasters in the history of Red Wings free agency.

 

Dealt a poor hand at this summer’s outset when my father, Pavel Datsyuk, announced his retirement, King Kenny sat upon his Westeros-style carbon fiber and aluminum stick throne and somehow maneuvered an escape from the awful cap recapture penalty that would have sapped millions of dollars in flexibility. He showed the world he still had some juju by way of that draft-day deal in which he traded back a few spots in the draft for an extra pick and the right not to have an empty cap-hit on the books. Not bad, but for some reason Wings fans used this as a springboard to prime themselves for a gilded entrance into “The Stamkos Race,” as if there wasn’t an enormous problem in the back end to address first.

 

 

Quickly missing out on one of the game’s elite players is forgivable considering nobody else got a sniff, either. The door was closed before Holland could get a foot in. However, the velocity with which it slammed shut begs the important question of why any “star” would want to join a team without a best defender in the first place. Having the space without the structure will never appeal to the mega-stars; ask Kevin Durant about that one.

 

Niklas Kronwall Is Not A First-Pairing NHL Defenseman

It’s somewhat surprising that the once-vaunted Red Wings defense has actually put up great numbers over the past few years. Since 2014, the Wings have the lowest defensive zone start percentage in the NHL, indicating that the puck just isn’t near the Wings’ goal all that much. Similarly, the Wings rank 9th in overall goals against in that span. That’s pretty solid!

 

Last year, however, the deeply ineffective power-play, with its affinity for allowing short-handed goals, shone light through a key crack in the wall: Niklas Kronwall is simply no longer equipped to be more than a second-pairing defender. His personal numbers are awful. He was minus-21 last year, and hasn’t had a plus-season since 2011. He scored 26 points in 64 games, looked sluggish and more than a step behind, and almost never deployed the once-beloved bone-crushing hits that used to be a trademark. The advanced numbers are astonishingly bad:

 

Kronwall Decline
Courtesy of http://stats.hockeyanalysis.com/

 

Kronwall has become a possession liability on a team that has dominated possession numbers in the NHL for years. His Corsi For%, a metric that aims to measure a player’s impact upon how many shots are directed towards the opponent’s net, has fallen dramatically for four years, to the point that Kronner’s numbers were net-negative last year. He’s not effective on the power play, and it could be argued that the yearly wear-and-tear of being asked to embody the twin-archetypes of the Red Wings Ideal Defenseman has taken its toll. He never possessed the composed offensive genius of Nicklas Lidstrom, nor the terrifying physical presence of Vladimir Konstantinov.

 

The Wings Don’t Have A Best Defenseman

Detroit is a long ways away from the time when its defense was a certainty. Arguably the greatest modern defenseman there ever was, Lidstrom’s soothing, angelic aura guaranteed stability even when he wasn’t on the ice. The Red Wings have never hurt for talent, but I was surprised while scanning rosters from the Red Wings dominant era from ‘97-09 to find that the defense wasn’t actually all that impressive in 2002, Scotty Bowman’s final, Stanley Cup-winning year:

 

Red Wings D 2002
Courtesy of http://www.hockey-reference.com/

 

Despite that core’s limitations (it probably didn’t hurt to have Dominik Hasek between the pipes), the presence of competent puck-moving defensemen to complement Lidstrom’s perfection, with Chelios’ experience and Dandenault’s speed, served as an invaluable way to ensure that there was talent on more than one line to get the puck out of the zone and into productive areas. This stood out even more so in other championship years:

 

1997-98: Lidstrom, Larry Murphy, Slava Fetisov, Vladimir Konstantinov
2002: Lidstrom, Chris Chelios, Matthieu Dandenault
2009: Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Kronwall, DEREK MEECH*

*May not have served an important role in any way

 

One thing that we know for sure is that The God Lidstrom is not lacing up those skates again. Looking to the Red Wings current roster, just a bit past the heinous bog vapors of Kronwall and frequent line-mate Jonathan Ericsson, Brendan Smith actually posts some very good Corsi numbers, and has been a fan favorite for his grit, bravery, and willingness to not try and fight Zdeno Chara and embarrass us all. His improved ability to forcefully carry the puck out of the zone, and the reduction of his abysmal turnover habit, might make him a neat fit for that 1-B defender role, which is a sign of hope on a roster stocked with capable but flawed 2nd and 3rd-liners like Mike Green, Danny Dekeyser, and Alexey Marchenko. But there’s nothing to indicate that anyone on the Red Wings as they are currently composed can fulfill the role of a number-one defenseman.

 

The market remains foggy as to what it will take to get that rare, competent first-pairing defender. Showing a bit more swag, Holland made it clear that he wouldn’t be fleeced for teenage star Dylan Larkin in trade discussions with the St. Louis Blues for standout Kevin Shattenkirk, as was the case when Edmonton GM Peter Chiarelli recently traded 24 year-old human bullet Taylor Hall for pretty okay guy Adam Larsson. At this point, if they want a real lead defender, Wings fans might have to steel themselves for an “anyone but Larkin” package and count on saying goodbye to a favorite like Tomas Tatar, Gustav Nyquist, a youngster like Anthony Mantha or Andreas Athanasiou, or even more.

 

Stats Courtesy of Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com and hockey-reference.com

 

 


Dylan Larkin seems destined to be the Captain of the Red Wings

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Published on : January 19, 2016

 

 

 

I’m here to talk about the next big thing in Hockeytown and his name is Dylan Larkin. By now, the rest of the NHL has taken note of the talented rookie, but many of us Red Wings fans have been on the hype train since very early this season. This kid optimizes the term “local boy makes good.” That should be the front page headline on the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News when this young man inevitably becomes the one wearing that coveted ‘C’ on his jersey in the coming years.

 

This story is just too good for it not to happen. I’m not sure many casual fans in Detroit were familiar with the 19 year old Larkin when he became the first teenager to play in a Red Wings uniform in 15 years. Fans in the Motor City are well aware of him now and he is the first rookie All Star for the Red Wings since Steve Yzerman. That’s pretty good company for a kid from Waterford, Michigan who grew up rooting for the team and probably dreamed of one day donning that red and white uniform. Well his dream is now a reality and he has grabbed the bull by the balls, so to speak, and is making the most of this opportunity.

 

 Celebrating with the boys after setting up Danny DeKeyser for the game-winning goal in overtime against the Coyotes.

 

He is currently tied for first on the team in points (30) and goals (14), and tied for second in assists (16). This is a team with the likes of Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk still playing on it. Not to mention he has a plus-minus of 22, which is far ahead of the number two player on the team (Datsyuk with 9) and good for third in the entire NHL. He also has 4 game winning goals which leads the Red Wings and all rookies in the league. Dylan Larkin can do it all and in my opinion has been the Wings most valuable player this year. That’s why he is the only Red Wings in the All Star Game. While he may not be able to catch up to Artemi Panarin for in points (43) and assists (27), I still think his goals and plus-minus make him a strong candidate to win the Calder Trophy.

 

Some people think there are other players on the team that deserve to be named Captain before Larkin, and I respect that but I think this makes too much sense. In such short time he has already become so valuable to the team and that value will only increase as he develops as a player. Henrik Zetterberg’s contract runs until 2o21 but most people believe that with the wear and tear his body has endured throughout the years that he will likely retire before the end of that contract. When that fateful day finally comes and our Swedish Prince hangs the skates up for good, I think it is Dylan Larkin who should be handed the torch to lead his team into it’s next era of greatness.

 

 The look of a captain, the eye of the tiger.

 

He has received heaps of praise from coaches and fellow players alike for his natural athletic talent, as well as his desire to improve every day and be the best player he can. He’s got speed and grace. He can handle the puck, pass it, and shoot it as well as anyone on the team right now. He can play all over the ice and if he continues to develop at this rate, he could be one of the best players in the league by the time he is old enough to have a legal drink at a bar in the States.

 

Barring any major injury or other career derailing incident, Dylan Larkin is the future for the Detroit Red Wings. The team is on the verge of a major roster shift as its aging stars continue to decline and eventually retire or leave the team. Dylan Larkin should be the centerpiece of the new Red Wings as their Captain and lead them to the playoffs for another 24 years.

 

 

 


SBS Stadium Series: A Night at The Joe

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Published on : January 5, 2016

 

 

Every year for the holidays I make a trip back home and on that trip, I visit one of my favorite places in all of the world. It’s a place that is very familiar to me. I know it well. The smell, the feel of the concourse under my feet, that bite of cold air as I descend the stairs to my usual Christmas holiday seats on the glass. To me, this is hallowed ground. The holiest of sporting venues. A place where legends have been made, and champions have been crowned. It is the historic Joe Louis Arena, affectionately known as The Joe. It’s in Detroit, Michigan and it is by far my favorite place to watch any type of sporting match.

 

And sadly, it’s days are numbered.

 

Upon arrival, my first thoughts were on how this could be one of my last few times in this wonderful building that has been the location of so many fond memories. It added a shade of melancholy to the joy that I usually feel once I set foot inside the building. Not necessarily sadness, just a thought in the back of my mind that very soon these halls will be empty and the banners will be moved up Woodward to the new, as yet unnamed arena, set to be ready for the start of the 2017-2018 NHL season.

 

Red Wings Banners
                                                         All these banners will soon have a new home

 

One of my favorite things about the arena is the fact that isn’t named after some mega-corporation. No, it carries the name of, perhaps, the most legendary sporting figures in the history of the great city of Detroit. Along with Madison Square Garden, it’s the only arena in all of the NHL that lacks corporate sponsorship, and I love it. I hope with every part of my being that somehow the new stadium will be free of the chains of corporate sponsorship. And like Joe Louis Arena, it will be erected to honor those that have made a difference in the place that was once one of the most important arms in the Arsenal of Democracy. I’m afraid that might be too much to hope for, but that’s a discussion for another time.

 

This game featured my beloved Detroit Red Wings versus the New Jersey Devils. It didn’t go exactly as planned, as the Wings started Jimmy Howard and his overblown contract in net. Jimmy helped the Wings start the game with a 3-0 deficit in the 1st period, despite only seeing 6 total shots. Coach came to his senses after goal number three and replaced him with the, at this point in his career, more talented Petr Mrazek. After that, the game was far more exciting and the Wings gained on the Devils only to lose the game 4-3.

 

A view of the action
                                                                                  A view of the action

 

That’s ok though, I’m was happy just to be back home at the Joe, and there’s nothing like the energy in that place when everyone is chanting “Let’s Go Red Wings!” and those players are battling it out right before your eyes. The $19 double jack ‘n cokes were flowing and my comrades and I were in it together, cheering on our boys in red and white. There are few feelings quite like that and sometimes that’s enough. Sure, a win would have been nice, but just being there was a win in my book.

 

Another bonus was that this was the first time I had the chance to see the Wings’ exciting new rookie player, Dylan Larkin play live. He added yet another goal to a rookie season that has far exceeded expectations. This kid is the real deal and if you ask me he is the next Red Wings’ captain-in-training. It’s going to take a while, but he’s that good. When you think about the fact that he is the first teenager (19) to play in a game for the Wings since Steve Yzerman in 1983-84, it’s almost too perfect. And he’s from Michigan!?!? It just makes too much sense, he has to be the next guy to wear that “C” on his jersey.

 

That’s my prediction for next captain of the Detroit Red Wings, you heard it here first. Only it won’t be here. Not in The Joe. I guess I’ll have to get used to that. After all, the only thing constant in this world is change. That’s ok, I still have the rest of the season and then the next. Then it will just be memories, and what great memories they are!

 

 


Tigers’ Tailspin Continues with Dombrowski’s Release

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Published on : August 4, 2015

 

 

A Tigers season that many in the Motor City would like to forget continued today when the team announced that general manager, Dave Dombrowski, has been released from his contract. Dombrowski’s future in Detroit had been uncertain for months as rumors swirled about him leaving the organization once his contract expired after this season. The team’s owner, Mike Ilitch said that he released Dombrowski earlier than the expiration of his contract in order to “afford him the time to pursue other career opportunities.” In the absence of “Dealin’ Dave”, Al Avila, whose son plays catcher for the team, has been promoted to GM and will take over baseball operations for the remainder of the season.

 

Dombrowski and much-maligned second year manager Brad Ausmus

 

The move comes less than a week after the trade deadline, when the Tigers made moves that included trading David Price and Yoenis Cespedes.  The moves signaled a raising of the white flag on the 2015 season, despite being just a handful of games out of the second AL wild card spot. Whether or not you agree that the Tigers season was headed nowhere (I happen to agree), the moves were prudent and set up the team nicely for the offseason and for 2016. Many people inside and outside of Detroit were opposed to the idea of giving up on the season, and it now looks as though those trades may have had a hand in ending the relationship between the Tigers and their GM. I find it hard to believe that this was a sudden firing and it seems that somewhere along the line Dombrowski and Ilitch decided that it would be best to go their separate ways.

 

Dombrowski’s departure may have been a mutual separation, and it certainly looks that there is no bad blood from the comments that he and Ilitch made regarding the decision, but should the Tigers have tried a little harder to keep him around?

 

The big criticism of him in recent years always revolved around pitching; it’s generally seen as the reason the team hasn’t won a World Series in their past eight years or so of contention. It’s a pretty well founded criticism when you look at the fact that Cy Young winner Max Scherzer was allowed to walk and that the bullpen was never truly addressed in the past few years. Pitching wins the big games and in the two World Series where the Tigers won a single game in both series combined, it was clear that the Tigers didn’t have enough of it. But you can’t take anything away from what this man has done for baseball in the city of Detroit.

 

Former coach Jim Leyland, Owner Mike Ilitch and GM Dave Dombrwski celebrate the AL Championship in 2012

 

Dave Dombrowski  resurrected the team and the entire sport of baseball in Detroit. Sure, there were some hiccups, including when the Tigers lost an AL record 119 games in 2003, but after that the team improved by leaps and bounds. The man put together some amazing teams in his time with the franchise, including AL Champion squads in 2006 and 2012. He traded for a surefire hall of famer and Triple Crown winner in Miguel Cabrera, along with acquiring studs like Max Scherzer and David Price. He made that team relevant for the first time in decades and won four division titles between 2011 and 2014, after the team had won only three division titles in the previous 42 years.

 

Dombrowski and perennial All Star, Miguel Cabrera.

 

Despite all that, there were still fans calling for this move after the Tigers fall from grace this season. The funny thing about winning is you get spoiled by the victories and lose sight of who really makes those victories possible. Sure there have been bad moves, but there were a lot more good ones. The only thing the Tigers and their fans can do now is move forward. Without the man who made baseball in Detroit fun again. And with the very real possibility that what lies ahead is not better than the good thing that they had.

 

 



5 Things Lions Fans can do to help the team get better

Written by :
Published on : June 18, 2015

The Detroit Lions are coming off one of their best regular seasons in team history. After finishing 11-5 the cats returned to the playoffs only to have their hearts broken by the Cowboys (and Refs) in the Wildcard round. Looking forward, the team has lots to be excited about: A league leading Rush Defense, the all most complete return of the Coaching staff, and continued development of Matt Stafford gelling with the rest of the Offense.

But what can us fans do to help the team? Most folks would say “nothing” and that it’s in “Coach Caldwell’s hands” or “it’s GM Mayhew’s Job” but those folks would be WRONG. Here is a list of the top 5 things Lions fans can do to help the team improve and maybe even get the 2016’s Super Bowl.

5. Keep our boys out of trouble.

The NFL regular season is hard enough with a full roster. But trying to manage a squad racked with suspensions and non-injury related issues makes it even tougher. Since parting ways with Titus Young, the Honolulu Blue and Silver have avoided any real Police issues and this trend needs to continue for the team to succeed.

Here’s where you can help. Leave the Lions alone! Don’t buy them drinks, don’t fight them at clubs, don’t talk to their girlfriends, wives or mistresses. Just stay away and don’t instigate shit. If you own a Michigan area Strip club, please be discreet about player activity. Help keep our boys on the field and out of jail.

4. STOP with all the negativity.

These are not the “same old Lions”. That phrase needs to be retried. In one year as Head Coach Jim Caldwell successfully changed the culture in Detroit. For the first time in a long time, there is something to really root for. So act like it. That means don’t boo Matt after he throws one incomplete pass. And please quit being so rotten to other fans, Lion or otherwise. It all just reinforces an outdated Thug image we are desperately trying to shed.

If the 2014 Lions’ season taught us anything, it is that our boys are always in the game. Stafford has shown a great ability to lead the team back late in games. Something that all great QB’s do. With our D playing well and all the weapons on Offense, our squad should NEVER be counted out. So no more “here we go again”. That stuff is history. If you need proof; go watch the 2014 games versus Atlanta, Miami, and New Orleans.

3. Find a good luck Charm.

This may seem silly to the causal sports fans but there is nothing silly about it. Athletes in every sport believe in practice, routine and a little luck. Us fans need to adopt the same policy. So go out and find a rabbit’s foot, maybe custom made Lions t-shirt, or a vintage Barry jersey. Then watch the games the same way every week. Pick a bar, a buddy’s house, illegally stream the content, whatever just do it the same each Sunday.

This goes for snacks and viewing buddies. Don’t suddenly stop ordering Little Caesar’s Deep Deep Dish Pizza when the Football Gods have grown accustom to the tradition. And it should go without saying, but don’t watch football with Bears, Vikings or Packer fans.

2. Cheer like Crazy.

Seems like a no-brainer, but Home Field Advantage in the league is major. And the louder the stadium, the better. Force opposing offenses to deal with the noise. Make them waste time outs or rack up False Start and Delay of Game Penalties. All of these little things can add up to a serious bonus for the hometown squad. Just look at 2014 Super Bowl Champs Seattle and their “12th Man”. No coincidence that they won it all and have the loudest fans.

Lions went 7-1 at home in 2014. Which is great but a Championship squad wins all 8. So get loud Detroit. And if you aren’t at the game, you still gotta scream. The players can hear you no matter where you live. Get hype. Every neighbor on my street knows I’m a Lions fan. Cause I let the TV know what’s up. Remember, it’s all our jobs to Defend the Den.

1. Transform into a Mega-fan.

Following on the heels of #2 on the list, step up your support of the team. What if all Lions fans went to ALL games home and away? Imagine the insane crowd at every stadium for 16 weeks. That just might be enough to vault our boys through the playoffs and to a ring ceremony.

So I’m asking all Lion fans, please quit your jobs, open as many credit cards as you can and follow the team around the country. Also, get your Passport ready cause we need support for our return trip to London to play the Kansas City Chiefs. Who cares about debt when you can finally wear one of those stupid hats that says “Detroit Lions – Super Bowl Champs”


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