It was announced this week that Dennis Rodman has been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. While Rodman's defensive ability should reserve a spot for him in Springfield, his former teammate Bill Laimbeer certainly should have been inducted first.
The Hall of Fame is reserved for the games best, not the games most notable and Rodman's inclusion is nothing short of a joke when compared to that of bad boy teammate Bill Laimbeer.
Laimbeer is the ONLY 10,000 point, 10,000 rebound guy NOT enshirned in the basketball hall of fame. His numbers far surpass those of Rodman and current hall of famer Willis Reed. Laimbeer posted 10,400 rebounds and 13,000 points in sixteen NBA seasons, including 2 NBA titles and four all-star appearances while Reed scored 12,182 points and pulled down 8414 rebounds in 10 seasons with the Knicks.
The fact is, Laimbeer deserves to be in the Hall of Fame ahead of Reed and Rodman and it hasn't happened? Why? I suspect Laimbeer is not in the hall because he was a BWS, a "big white stiff." Laimbeer is seen in a negative manner by NBA "elite" because he was a lunch pail guy who did his job without being flashy on a team of "thugs."
If you stood and applauded Rodman's inclusion into the basketball Hall of Fame, get beind Laimbeer....he was a great NBA player who deserves to be enshrined.
Today is the day when everybody is happy talking the Lion's latest first round draft bust, the savior has arrived, this year the savior is Georgia QB Matt Stafford. Sorry if Stafford's selection at number one leaves me more than a little empty. Is this why we suffered through a 0-16 season, to get Matt Stafford? Look, Stafford may be a fine QB one day, but I don't think we have the next coming of Dan Marino on our hands, maybe the next Greg Landry if we are lucky.
Sorry to throw a wet rag on your draft party today but we've already been through Jeff Komlo, Eric Hipple, Chuck Long, Andre Ware and Joey Harrington in the Ford era, I simply don't believe for a second that the drafting of Stafford will end any differently than the previous "saviors."
I'm also concerned that the current economic climate will make it even more difficult for Stafford to connect with Lions fans. How can anybody is the State with the highest unemployment rate in the country relate or even root for a guy who is gonna make $78 million with $41 million guaranteed? Hell, most can't even afford to plunk down money for tickets anymore, yet the golden boy is cashing his first check and he has yet to even take a snap in the league. I predict the first sign of "bust" out of this guy will be met with outright hostility, worse than Joey Harrington EVER experienced.
Oh well, another draft, another zero, but who thought it would be any different?
I like it a lot. I've long wanted the Lions to alter the team logo and colors, I thought they should have done it when they moved into Ford Field. I liked the idea of launching a new era at Ford Field with a new logo, a new mascot and a lot more edge. It is also the perfect time to roll out cheerleaders. I'm happy that the Lions have retained the integrity of the old, classic Lion logo, but added some definition and edge to it. The next step it to ditch the Honolulu blue and wear the throwback jersey's FULL TIME.
With the transition to the new logo I have seen a lot of articles referring to the Lion mascot as "Bubbles." That is not his his real name, the "Bubbles" moniker was started by longtime radio Personality Arthur J. Regner the third. In the late 90's Art and I were hosting "The Sunday Afternoon Sit-In" and Art was on one of his classic tirades and he started in on how stupid the Lion logo was and he screamed "he looks like he is batting at bubbles." From that point on Art, myself and most of the WDFN air staff began referring to the Lion mascot as "Bubbles." Among Art's many entertaining contributions to the Detroit sports scene is naming the Lion logo "Bubbles." Someday, when accounts of how the Lion mascot was named Art will get his due.
I've waited to write this post because I didn't really know where to start in my admiration for Mark "The Bird" Fidrych. In a nutshell, the bird and the Tigers were the focal point of my childhood. When I was 8, I was the biggest Tiger fan on the planet, I loved baseball and I loved the Tigers more. When I was a kid, I loved the Tigers so much that I would get upset and cry when they lost a game in April.
I had a paper route as a kid and I would always listen to the Tigers on my HUGE radio headphones (way before the Ipod) as I rode my route, to me the Tigers were so much more than just a baseball team. They were Spring and Summer, Ernie and Paul, George and Al...and once Joe Pelligrino. Every significant moment in my life as a young kid centered around the Tigers. I use to write papers about them in 7th grade English class. My parents thought I was obsessed and would get an ulcer before I even got to middle school. My dad use to always say "Why are you watching the Tigers, you know they are going to lose in the 9th." He also thought it was funny to ask me what inning "they were in" when I watched the Lions.
As a kid, I was a self-made sports fan, my dad worked to hard to bother, but mom liked sports. Mom always thought I was such a nut job for always taking my transistor radio with me to listen to the Tigers. Many nights I fell asleep listening to the Tigers on the west coast, only to be awakened by the creepy intro of WJR's "Night Flight 76" when the game ended.
I remember the time my mom and dad MADE us go backpacking in the UP. Dad carried some extra weight in his pack because mine was full. He was SO pissed when he found out I had packed my radio to listen to the Tigers. "Why am I carrying your food if you have room for your radio" dad asked? The best I could come up with was "dad, I need a smaller radio." I think I am lucky he laughed or he might have killed me.
Dad was not a sports fan, he thought players were overpaid, he was old school. I learned sports on my own, nobody else in my family other than mom even cared. I taught myself to play baseball and wasn't too bad. I don't think dad ever got to see me play as he worked nights at Ford in Dearborn. He did recognize my passion and he made arrangements for me to see a couple games a year, even though I am sure he was bored out of his mind.
Well, mom and dad saw how completely I was caught up in "Bird-mania" and made arrangements for me to see Fidrych pitch during the summer of '76. I saw one of "The Bird's" losses, his 5th on August 21, 1976. Fidrych was pitching against the Minnesota Twins and facing Pete Redfern. Dad made all the arrangements and even brought my grandpa along. We sat in right field and I was in heaven. During the game I witnessed my dad give a standing ovation to an athlete...it was the only time he ever cheered for a player, ever. The original A-Rod, Aurelio Rodriguez mad a spectacular play and dad jumped to his feet in appreciation, I NEVER forgot it.
As I recall it was the only game I ever attended with my dad, one that I reminded him of on many occasion when we were older. He knew Fidrych meant the world to me.
Mom even took me to a Chatham to meet Fidrych, Jason Thompson and Mickey Stanley...I got an autograph on a Tiger pennant and I still have it to this day.
In 2005 when the All-Star game was in Detroit, I interviewed Mark at "The Major League Baseball Experience" at Cobo. I told him all my stories and he actually thanked me for being a fan. Mark had no idea how much it meant to me to actually sit and talk to my childhood hero on the radio. He signed a couple shirts for my babies and I will cherish that shirt until they are old enough to understand what "The Bird" and the Tigers meant to their old man.
It is times like this that make me miss Detroit more than ever, please celebrate what he meant to our city and enjoy the memories of that wonderful summer. 1984 was better, but the Bird really saved Detroit in '76. Remember the pride we all felt when Fidrych, Ron Leflore and Rusty Staub represented our city in the bi-centennial All-Star game in Philly? Great times!
Matt Dery resigned his position at WDFN today. "Diesel" is crossing the street to WXYT be PM Drive Update Anchor with Valenti and Foster as well as sports updates on sister station WWJ. His new position will be officially announced soon. Great move for Matt, getting out while the gettin' was good.
While I'm not a huge NCAA tournament fan like my old partner JB, it is very cool to see the Michigan basketball team back in the NCAA tournament. They have been gone far too long and it appears that Bill Martin did the right thing when he hired John (I call him Larry because I didn't know his name when he was hired) Beilein two years ago. Beilein is clearly a winner, becoming one of the few coaches to take 4 teams to the NCAA tournament, but I had no idea he'd get the Michigan program righted so soon. Face it, Brian Ellerbe and Tommy Amaker were awful, they didn't move the program forward one inch. Amaker was the king of the NIT and Ellerbe was always handicapped by the "unofficial sanctions" on the Michigan program stemming from the Fab 5 and Robert Traylor/Louis Bullock scandals.
It's good to see Michigan back. I've talked to many Michigan alums over the last few days and many are quietly wondering if Tom Izzo is starting to feel the pressure of a Michigan basketball resurgence. A couple of prominent M-men think Izzo's days could be numbered as the State of Michigan basketball guru if Michigan continues to grow as a program. They believe that NOBODY has more to lose from a resurgent M hoops program. Michigan "insiders" think that "all things being equal, recruits would rather go to Michigan." We shall see.
I personally wish I cared as much as most, I've never been bitten by the college basketball bug, but I like to see the State of Michigan stoked for March Madness, in a bad economy it is great for the area.
Here's to long Michigan and MSU runs in the tournament, maybe even a meeting at Ford Field? Nah!
The conventional wisdom with the Lions is that 0-16 is "rock bottom." I fear it isn't the end, this team could very well lose another 10 or 12 games in a row.
They can't get better immediately because they have too many holes, they simply can't draft enough guys in one year to fix everything that ails the Detroit Football Lions. The need a QB, they need another wide receiver and 3 offensive lineman. They have a need on the D-line at linebacker and in the secondary.
I think the best approach is to trade that # 1 overall pick and try to get as many other picks as possible, do you really want to see them draft Sam Bradford and watch them systematically destroy his career? Nope, they need guy who can play and play well immediately. The Lions cannot afford to train a QB, they need guys who can start TOMORROW.
By not appearing today at Marinelli's press conference Ford has shown that he has completely checked out as the owner of this franchise. I don't know if he's drunk, sick, ill or arrogant but he certainly has zero interest in taking accountability for the performance of his team. By ccompletely ignoring the fan base he has greatly tarnished any positive image he may have had in the community by virtue of his family name, he is an out and out disgrace for not standing up and taking accountability.
Drew Sharpe is right, the NFL should put some heavy pressure on Ford to step aside and turn the franchise over to somebody who cares about the team and fans.