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

Leave a comment

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.

2 Comments

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.

1 Comment

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.

1 Comment

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!

1 Comment

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.

Leave a comment

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Hooray!

An Overreaction to the Game 1 Loss

Tigstwinsgame1

(Photo courtesy of Julian H. Gonzalez/DFP)

This morning at the gym I couldn’t help but be captivated by the sight of the jubilant Los Angeles Orange County Angels of Anaheim and Surrounding Neighborhoods and Communities celebrate their AL West championship last night. The champagne, the beer, the jumping around. It looked like alot of fun.

Of course, the next clip just HAD to be a preview for the Tigers-Twins series that got cranked up this morning following a rain delay last night. My excitement quickly turned to nervousness and then to jealousy, as I wanted to watch MY team jump around and pour booze all over each other and watch as Leyland smokes 16 packs of Marbs in celebration.

That’s when the sinking feeling started crawling in. That’s where this blog gets its name. It’s that feeling that keeps you awake at night and you spend the rest of the day trying to shake it off and pretend like it’s not there. It gets in your ear and tells you to stop pretending, you won’t be good enough to win this series. You try to flick it away with a shrug, but it’s always right there. Telling you that those pinstriped jackasses from Minneapolis are about to swipe another division from right under your nose. Now you’re getting frustrated, and you just want the game to start so you can prove that feeling wrong. So you yell and cheer and get pumped up for your team and the belief starts to get stronger and that nagging in your ear gets quieter.

And then you jump out to an early lead and now you are ready to start telling that whisper in your ear to “shove it” because we came to play today and we are taking this division tomorrow night. And the feeling is quiet. And the innings drag on. And you are still confident because, guess what, you are playing just as good (if not better) than the other guys, and it’s YOUR team’s time to win a division, and nothing will stop them.

Then the game is tied. But that’s OK, we’ll get through it. And we do. On defense.

The offense is a nightmare though, and you can swear that you hear the entire Twins nation laughing at how incompetent your team’s batters are, as their pitcher sits down hitter after hitter. Meanwhile, your team is dodging bullets just to stay alive and it feels like they are losing control of the situation. but just when it looks like it’s all going to come crashing down, Nick Punto “puntos” a sac bunt and the DP is turned and now, NOW it’s time for us to step up and fulfill our season of destiny.

We get a runner on. now the excitement builds. That voice of negativity is awful quiet at this point.

And then, of course, the rest of the lineup lets you down. From cloud nine back to earth, but that’s OK, because we are still in this and wrestling control back.

And then Brandon Lyon happens.

BRANDON F**KING LYON HAPPENS.

Two, not one, TWO wild pitches that put the go-ahead run on third and a single later put the Twinkies up 2-1. A sac fly later and it’s now 3-1 and all of a sudden that feeling is back, telling you that it’s your team’s destiny to fail down the stretch, just like they did in 2006 and just like they will do this year. And you IM your friend and say how much this sucks and “watch, Grandy will probably homer just to give me a sense of false hope here” and sure enough, Grandy pops one out of the park, but all you can do is curse under your breath because you know that it was just a flash in the pan and nothing more.

One.

Two.

Three.

And just like that it’s now ONE with SIX to go.

Get it together Tigers. We’ve already done this once with you in the last five years, so why don’t you just man up and win the damn division already? Because I’m sick of hearing about the “CHOKE” and the “CHOKE” that’s about to happen this year. Prove ‘em all wrong, eh? Whaddya say boys? How bad do you want it?

************

Game 2 is in 3 hours and 10 minutes. Let’s hope the post following the game is a little “happier” than this one.

LET’S GO TIGERS!!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Argh!, This is a rant

The Good Stuff.

denardrobinsoneasterntd rodneypump helmer-again1

Yes, I get it. I’ve been a little quiet over the past couple of weeks. I didn’t get on here and tell you how excited I was that we beat Notre Dame. I didn’t get on here to complain about the Tigers looking like they might have run out of gas on their playoff run. I didn’t get on here and go crazy because the Red Wings are in the middle of preseason hockey.

But just because I didn’t write about it doesn’t mean I’m not enjoying it.

Folks, let me tell you something: right now is the most exciting time in the world to be a fan of Detroit/Michigan sports. There is so much going on that it’s almost unreasonable to expect to keep up with it on a regular basis. But this is our reward, this is our prize at the end of the rainbow. It’s funny that the summer, a time of relaxation, enjoyment and just general “feeling good” is for the most part a blank slate of sports. Summer, one of the most popular times of the year, doesn’t share the same enthusiasm for sports as the rest of us fanatics. Summer is our Sahara Desert. Summer is our barren landscape.

But now we have hit the tropical oasis. We have found the magical spring to quench our sports thirst. Drink up friends. The water is cool and refreshing.

The sweetest taste (for me) is obviously the rebound of Michigan football from last year’s mess of a season. With the right pieces in place, the Wolverines have already matched last season’s win total, scored as many points in three games as they did in six last year and have knocked off major foe Notre Dame. Now, the Maize and Blue head into the real deal: the Big Ten season. Every week will be a battle and there will be NO gimmie games. Have the Wolverines truly bounced back from the depths of despair, or is it just a mirage in a desert of uncertainty? I can’t wait to find out.

The Tigers, one season after finishing last in the division, are back in the thick of a division and playoff race. What a roller coaster ride they have been. Sometimes they offer the sweet taste of victory and the next night the bitter taste of defeat. But again, the ride is amazing. There’s nothing like the chase for the playoffs to stir the deepest echoes of fandom, and that’s exactly what the Motown kitties are doing for us right now. Can they deliver? Will they falter? I’m caught up in the anticipation and I’m letting it sweep me away.

And then there are our beloved Red Wings. Yes, they are only at the beginning of a journey that will hopefully last until June, but this campaign brings with it the need to justify their elite status to all those who have so quickly dismissed them. There’s nothing more fun than proving the doubters wrong and then laughing in their face afterwards, which is exactly what we have planned for this season. I can’t wait.

So sit back and enjoy my friends. This is an exciting time for all of us. One that is sure to be filled with ups and downs, trials and tribulations. But it’s not the destination, it’s the journey and I’m just happy to be walking down that road again.

Leave a comment

Filed under Hooray!, Random Thoughts, State of the State

All In.

crable

Remember that summer day three years ago when Notre Dame was supposed to be invincible and Michigan wasn’t supposed to win? Remember when we went down to Notre Dame as underdogs, having struggled through so many road-opening losses over the years that we were already forgetting how it felt to start 2-0 or 3-0? But what you may not remember is that feeling that we took for granted back then and which, someday, we will probably take for granted again.

I was sitting at an Ale House in Orlando, FL. Yes, I was drinking heavily. Yes, I was nervous. But why wouldn’t I be nervous? This was a rivalry game between two titans of college football,  both ranked, both undefeated and both ready to stake their early season claim to supremacy over the young 2006 season. It was everything that Michigan vs. Notre Dame was supposed to be.

The outcome of that game went in our favor. In a big, big way. But I know that nowhere during my euphoric high of beating the Irish did I ever think that our next two matchups would lack that one thing that most every game before them had contained: meaning.

You could argue that the 2007 game had lots of meaning for both teams. But let’s not kid ourselves here. Those two storied programs were the laughingstock of the college football world. Notre Dame rolling into the Big House with a highly touted freshman QB that had engineered two losses. Michigan coming off of THE HORROR and the ass kicking from the Oregon Ducks, both in our house. A combined record of 0-4. A national broadcast. It was pure humiliation and anyone who tells you otherwise is full of it. All that blowout win did for Michigan was get a win in the Big House and put another win between us and the #2 team in all-time victories. But it wasn’t the same.

Ask any Ohio State fan about last year’s drubbing of Michigan. It wasn’t as much fun as beating a good Michigan team. The luster wasn’t there. After 11 weeks of ridiculing the Wolverines and ripping them, finally getting the turn in the whipping line just didn’t feel right. Just like going down to ND with one of the worst teams in school history didn’t really do much for the Irish in the long run either. Did it even the score from the year before? Sure. Was it a game for the ages (or even the year, for that matter)? Absolutely not. It was a joke. A sham. A ghost of what it used to be.

Which is why today’s game is that much more important. After two years of mediocre matchups between these two giants, we finally get what we have been waiting for. Both teams undefeated again. Both teams with their own agendas. Both teams out to prove why they belong. It’s all the drama that was missing during the previous two matchups and all we can hope is that these teams know how to live up to the expectation that has been set in the previous 36 matchups.

Who’s going to win? Don’t really know. I can sure as hell tell you who I WANT to win, but that doesn’t mean it will happen. And quite frankly, it doesn’t really matter which team wins tomorrow*, as long as they both step up to the plate and embrace the rivalry by playing their hearts out and giving us an entertaining, physical and 100% competitive game.

You can bet that the Michigan Wolverines will be “All In” tomorrow. I encourage every fan of the maize and blue to do the same. Wear your maize shirt to the bar. Refuse to get “down in front” at the big house. Pace nervously in your friend’s living room. Just do whatever it takes.

All In. F**K the Irish. GO BLUE!!!

*Of course it matters who wins! It better damn well be Michigan!!!

1 Comment

Filed under If you didn't know now you know, Random Thoughts