An Open Letter to the Readers of SIM

Hi Gang.

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything over here, and quite frankly, I’m not sure if there is anybody left to even read this stuff. Nevertheless, I wanted to provide the following update on my status and the status of SIM for anyone who might still check in here from time to time.

Just under a year ago I launched this blog to give myself an outlet to vent about Michigan and Detroit sports since I’m stuck out here in Seattle. I threw up some posts just to see what would happen and actually got a pretty nice response to my thoughts an opinions. It was a hobby, nothing more.

It all started to turn as we rolled into hockey season, when my true passion, the Detroit Red Wings, began to shine through. I followed them with a fervor as they made another run at a Stanley Cup and many of you came to realize just how important the team was to me.

And then a funny thing happened…

I got invited to write over at the powerhouse of Red Wings coverage Winging It In Motown, which opened up the doors for me to take the reigns of my own Wings blog at Motown Wings. In the process, I also got asked to participate in the extremely popular MGoTalk podcast with two guys who I grew up watching play football for the Maize and Blue. As if that wasn’t enough, I partnered with Brian, our producer, to launch another podcast aimed at bringing together the most well versed and influential blogging minds around the Detroit Red Wings blogosphere. We’re six weeks in to The Obstructed View and the response has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive. Add to that my role in helping coordinate the H2H charity event in March and you can see how busy life has gotten for me.

But with success comes sacrifice, and SIM has been the biggest victim. It’s been almost impossible to keep up with everything that is happening across the vast sports universe that I follow, and even harder to present a thoughtful and meaningful opinion. With so many excellent voices out there to choose from when it comes to the Tigers, Pistons, Red Wings and Michigan, it only makes sense that I stick to what I know the best and am already invested strongly in.

So, sad as it is to say, I’m putting SIM on indefinite hiatus. I don’t expect that I’ll write over here again anytime in the near future, but if I’ve learned one thing over the past year it’s that you never know what the future holds. I won’t be taking the site offline, so all of the content that is here will remain archived for your viewing pleasure.

I encourage you all to bookmark both Motown Wings and The Obstructed View for all sorts of great Red Wings coverage, both from me and the immensely talented group of individuals I share the microphone and keyboard with. As for my love for Michigan? The plan is for me to start writing more blog type posts over at MGoTalk along with our regular schedule of regular season podcasts. I won’t be far away, I promise.

So, let me close by offering my sincerest thanks to each and every one of you who has read, listened, commented and complained to me over the past year. I couldn’t have made it this far without you guys, and your support means the world to me. I look forward to continuing our conversations at all of my new locations.

Go Blue. Go Wings. Go Tigers. Go Pistons.

Oh, what the Hell..

Go Lions.

Until we meet again,

Chris

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Filed under For the Good of the Masses

Breaking the Silence

RichRodriguezconfuzzled

It’s been awhile. Nice to see you again.

First, an apology: For those of you that know me well, it comes as no surprise to you why I haven’t been posting much here at SIM. During the summer, I took a position as the lead blogger at Motown Wings and now that hockey season has started, I’m dedicating most of my time to that site. Combine that with a real job and wanting to have some sort of a life outside of blogging, and you can see how SIM gets the short end of the stick. It’s probably going to be like this for some time, so if I lost any of you readers out there because of it, I’m sorry.

However, SIM will continue to serve as my mouthpiece for all sports things unrelated to the Wings, and will continue to be updated, just on a much more limited basis.

That said, it’s time to talk about the Rich Rodriguez experience. Over the past month or so, I have to guess that between phone calls, text messages, IM’s, tweets and discussions on MGoTalk, I’ve discussed Rodriguez’s role as Michigan’s head football man at least a hundred times. Now, I love a good discussion as much as the next guy, but what these are turning into borders on what I consider a “discussion” and lists dangerously towards to side of “whining”. We’ve all heard it: “Fire Rich Rodriguez.” “He sucks.” “He’s not a Michigan Man.” “He can’t cut it here.” “His schemes don’t work.” “His staff is terrible.” “He just doesn’t fit.” “He was a mistake.”

Here’s my thing: You can have whatever opinion you want. I have many of them and that’s A-OK. But if you want to bitch and moan about someone or something not living up to your expectations or letting you down, and then call for that person to be removed, you BEST have a solution or replacement option that is not Brian Kelly or Les Miles coming out of your mouth right afterwards. Otherwise, just STFU and don’t waste my time. For all of you asshats out there that want Rod canned, you need to step back off that ledge my friend. Don’t you get it? Rodriguez is exactly what you asked for three years ago when Lloyd decided that he had better things to do than coach and recruit, and now you want to go through that shitstorm of a coaching search process again? Oh wait, you want to do it with an outgoing athletic director just to up the ante and make it a little bit more fun this time. Gotcha.

Can it.

Here’s what you need to do.

Stop acting like we are entitled to some magical football experience just because the team wears winged helmets and touches a banner before the game. My biggest beef with this whole thing is when I ask someone why these changes need to be made and all I get back is “Well, because we’re Michigan and we should be better than this.” What better? 9-3 better? Maybe 8-4? Because, lest we forget, that was the “better” everyone was complaining about when Lloyd was at the helm. We wanted “better” then as well, in the form of undefeated seasons, non Rose Bowl blowout losses and an innovative playcalling scheme that overhauled the “run, run, run, punt” scheme that permeated Schembechler Hall for so long.

You got that coach. You just expected him to turn water into wine and take a group of athletes that either have A) No business running that scheme or B) Are freshmen and work a dynamic and complex scheme to perfection. It’s like driving a pickup truck and then having someone hand you the keys to a jumbo jet with nothing more than a smile and a “Good Luck!” It’s called unreasonable expectations, and all you haters out there are struggling to grasp that concept. Change takes work. Success takes work. If you don’t believe our guys are putting in the work to make it happen, then I have some great property down in Florida I’d love to talk to you about as well.

Basically, you wanted all of the glory with none of the work or sacrifice.

It’s time to get with the program. I can’t make you like or even support Rich Rodriguez. All I can do is make a case for patience and logic and hope that it resonates with a few people. If it does, awesome. If not, fine. But if it turns around and the success happens, then don’t even bother coming to me with anything that resembles praise for the man. You doubting Thomas’ out there can all get together and pretend like you “knew all along” that it would work, but don’t even try and come to me with that routine. I’ll simply point back to the article and go on my way. And if I’m wrong, I’ll write anyone that asks a letter of apology and will eat my crow. But I’ll do it knowing that I stood behind the Michigan Football program and the head coach, one Rich Rodriguez and that I endured the whole thing believing that it was all for the best.

Besides, I’m enjoying all of the leg room I have on the bandwagon right now.

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Filed under This is a rant

“Dolla Billz” Heading Back to His Boat for Good

083109_APBILLMARTIN

The Detroit News is reporting that Michigan Athletic Director Bill “Dolla Billz” Martin is hanging up the checkbook effective September 4, 2010. Martin made his plan known to University president Mary Sue Coleman in a letter today, and will inform staff members at a meeting at Keen Arena.

I’m not quite sure what I make of this just yet, other than I’m curious to see what direction Michigan decides to go in with their next AD. For all of the good that Martin did (Stadium renovations, practice facility for hoops) there were moments that left you scratching your head (i.e. Les Miles and the infamous sailing trip). All of that aside, Martin was a financial maestro and had the University’s bottom line singing a beautiful tune.

Coleman has already said she will lead the search for Martin’s successor, which could be in place before Martin’s announced retirement date of September 4.

“He has agreed to remain as athletic director until his successor is on board, at which point he will serve as a special advisor to me until retiring from the University in September.”

You can bet the discussion will obviously start heating up shortly on who should replace Martin, and one name that will probably pop up is that of former Michigan football coach Lloyd Carr. Carr is still highly thought of by many members of the Michigan community in high-ranking positions, but it’s hard to imagine that he will be the first choice of Coleman given his lack of financial experience, as well as his “shaky at best” relationship with current football coach Rich Rodriguez.

We’ll see how it all plays out, but for now we should all take a step back and thank Martin for his contributions to the University, which cannot be argued.

Bon Voyage, Bill.

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Filed under Breaking News

Meltdown for the Ages.

meltdown:

1. Severe overheating of a nuclear reactor core, resulting in melting of the core and escape of radiation.

2. Informal A disastrous or rapidly developing situation likened to the melting of a nuclear reactor core

3. Informal An emotional breakdown

Chernobyl_Disaster

Chernobyl

Carter_leaving_Three_Mile_Island

Three Mile Island

tigerslose

2009 Detroit Tigers

Heartbroken.

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Filed under Argh!

Get it Done.

There’s nothing more to say. It’s been a crazy weekend, with all kinds of drama, but none of that matters now. All that matters is a win. So get it done Tigers!

tigers1978_800x600

LET’S GO TIGERS!

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Filed under Let the Freak Out Begin

One More Time

sparky_anderson

“You’re out on the town, safe in the crowd
Ready to go for the ride
Searching the eyes, looking for clues
Theres no way you can hide
The fire inside”

-Bob Seger, “The Fire Inside”

It’s fitting that Nate Robertson gets the start for the Tigers today. With the the Tigers’ first division title in 22 years hanging in the balance, we hand the ball to a guy who, at the beginning of this season, pretty much said if he wasn’t starting, didn’t want to be here. Yet, here we are, four games to go, and Robertson is getting the nod. Shows what happens when you buy into something, eh Nate?

This Tiger team may be the greatest metaphor that the city of Detroit has ever seen. A down-and-out group during the preseason who hardly anyone gave a chance to do much of anything. A division title? Forget it. It won’t happen. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Detroit as a city rebounding? No way. It’s over.

Is it?

This city has long held the Tigers close, despite being treated to a number of terrible seasons where hope seemed to run out on Day One of the season. Sure, attendance dropped and money was lost, but the one thing that always stayed constant was the love of a team that most closely resembles the state of the city as a whole. Some will argue that the Lions are a more fitting metaphor: a bunch of losers with no way out and no hope of ever bouncing back. Yet, the Lions did get that first win last week, and although I don’t follow the team that closely, it was a great moment and a step in the right direction. Some will argue that the Red Wings are the face of the city. I disagree. The Red Wings are kings of the city, expected to succeed, and when they don’t, everyone is surprised. They are the gold standard that the city itself hopes to one day achieve. They are the success story that every true Detroiter wishes its city would become.

No, the city itself most closely aligns itself to the Tigers, a group who are constantly up and down and who you are never quite sure will actually pull it off or hang on to do something great. But it’s their character that connects us to them. Their love of what they do, the support that they give the city, the hope that they provide for the downtrodden. They are the great success story of Detroit, and they can put their seal of authenticity on their great tale today.

No, a win today is not a World Series victory, but it doesn’t need to be right now. The World Series experience in 2006 was a glorious and golden moment for this organization, but if you asked any Tigers fan about it, nine times out of ten you heard “This is great, but it sure would have been nice to win the Division.” I was one of those fans. In true “assembly line” fashion, the road to a championship needs all of the parts, and one of those is the satisfaction of grinding out 162 games and finishing what you started. All of those spring and summer matchups against “fill in the blank” that “didn’t mean anything”, well, those now mean a whole lot. Every game this team played this year means something now. Every hit, every run. It was all for the chance this team has today.

It’s fitting that in the year the Tigers are one step short of the division mountaintop, they also lost one of the great symbols of Tiger baseball. In 1987, the old stadium would have been rocking and rolling as the boys of summer put on the long sleeves and brought home the division. Today, it’s a new stadium that holds the opportunity, one that is yearning for a legacy of it’s own. It’s already been host to a pennant win and a World Series appearance, but now it’s time for the new park to wear a division crown. Since Tiger history never seems to fade away, it would be a fitting tribute to the ol’ ball park that used to live at Michigan and Trumbull if the Tigers win the division in the year that it died.

There are so many ways in which a win today would impact this city and this organization. I could sit here and list them for days. The truth is that for each of us, this means something unique. For me, it’s the vindication of growing up a diehard Tigers fan and thinking that I would never ever see this team win the division and make the playoffs. Sure, I’ve seen them in the playoffs. But that division win has been oh so elusive.

It’s in their grasp today. Pardon the pun, but can they finally “grab the Tiger by the tail?” I sure hope so.

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Filed under Random Thoughts

Counter-Punch

maggshit

(Photo courtesy of Julian H. Gonzalez/DFP)

Well, after the Game 1 tirade, things turned around on the nightcap and the Tigers held on to a 6-5 win with a kung-fu grip. In true Tiger fashion, this one wasn’t in the bag until the last fly ball landed in Raburn’s glove, but a win is a motherf****n win and I don’t care how we get them at this point.

Hat tip to Miggy (solo homer), Maggs (2 RBI), Inge (2 RBI), Grandy (Solo homer, even though he gave the run back on a badly played fly to center) and Fernando (clutch save).

A BIG “We’re not worthy” to Verlander, who ended up pitching eight innings deep to the tune of something like 398,271 pitches.

The only number that matters now is FOUR.

Hunker down, Tigers. Stay hungry.

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Filed under Hooray!