September 29, 2014

Holding On

Every year it starts in Lakeland, Florida.

The Tigers show up, ready to prepare for "that championship season."

Brad Ausmus took over the manager's office for the new season after eight years of  Mr. Leyland. It turns out Mr. Leyland was one cool customer. In 2006, when the team turned things around and ended up in the World Series, people wore "Leyland for Governor" shirts. It was a fun time. Joel Zumaya threw the ball 103 miles per hour. Nate Robertson had his 15 minutes with "Gum Time." Fun baseball in the D was something we hadn't really had in about 15 or so years back in '06.

Leyland chewed the team out after a lousy Sunday afternoon performance in Cleveland and the team just seemed like it wanted to head to Oakland. He famously said, "This has gone on here before and it's not gonna go on no more" or something to that effect. It had a great result. The Tigers started winning. And winning. And winning. And we all had a "reason to roar."

The Tigers are back in the playoffs. Four years in a row they have been crowned the Central Division Champions. The first time was great. Now, it's almost like they need to be the World Champions. Heck, there are even playoff tickets available for next week-end. When they won in '06, you couldn't even buy a standing room only ticket!

The fans like to have a winning team, especially those of us who remember the '90s and first half of the oughts. But, with the talent assembled, it's time for these guys to win a World Series. That will get the Tigers fans fired up. But winning every season is a lot better than losing and having nothing to play for in August and September ...

September 14, 2014

The Cutting Room Floor

Sometimes when putting together a blog, things get missed or forgotten. 


One of my favorite photos that I ever took — just at the right place at the right time. The Tigers had just won the American League in 2006 and the Fox Theater was lighting up its marquee. 


Lakeland, Florida, has so much to offer. Even though Mr. Leyland is no longer the manager, he now hangs out around the park and is more accessible than ever. 


One of my favorite photos with Courtney at the Tigers playoff game last fall. 


Lori and I love to go to Leelanau Coffee in Glen Arbor. It's just a short 45 minute drive and the coffee is pretty decent. It's one of our favorite things to do on a lazy Saturday morning. 


This is a shot taken by a customer of my Uncle John and Grandpa at Morgan's Service. It's one of my favorite pics of those guys. 

Places

Keeping on with my lists … places

Today, I'll list my favorite places to visit.

I grew up, basically, in Elk Rapids, Michigan. Every summer we spend a lot of time there during Harbor Days. When we had our camper/trailer, I could get in a great nap. Not sure why, but every year I would take at least one good nap!



I've loved going to Detroit since I was a young boy. I don't have any idea why Detroit has always been so important to me. I used to get so excited driving into the city — and it was many years before I actually explored Detroit. I used to be one who drove in, took in a game or concert, and drove home. Now, I love to stay downtown and explore.



I'm not sure the first year we went to Las Vegas, but it was in the early 2000s. What a cool place to visit. The first time you fly in at night and see "the Strip," is something you'll never forget. Las Vegas is amazing and a wonderful place to people watch. There is so much to do and see that you can never run out of things to do.


I've been to Washington, D.C., a few times, but now that my sister Amy and nephew Morgan live there that gives us more reason to go visit. We haven't been out there enough and need to somehow get back out there soon.


Silver Lake located in Hart, Michigan, is one of the coolest places to visit. We enjoy vacationing there and hanging out on a regular basis. There is so much to do there. We have rented jeeps and climbed the dunes, ridden with people in there trucks, and just had a great time there.


Lakeland, Florida, is someplace I always wanted to visit in February. I finally did several years ago and absolutely love going there. It's so cool because you never know what's going to happen, or where. You might run into Justin Verlander and Kenny Rogers when you're out eating.


I lived many years in Clarkston, Michigan, and went back for years to visit my Uncle John & Aunt Connie (and the cousins) and my Grandma & Grandpa. But, now, Clarkston is an iconic little town featuring two of the best places to eat in the state of Michigan. I've been going there for years — and now, even Kid Rock lives there!





September 13, 2014

Singin' along to the radio …

I Wanna Rock!



"My Life" — huge song on the radio in the late '70s. One of my first favorite songs. Wore out a 45 RPM and a couple of album versions when I was a youngster. It's a great song and might be listed at the same level as …


"Hot Blooded" — rockin' tune from my early childhood as well. Always loved hearing the song and singing along, even though it was many years before I understood what the song was all about, but that's not as bad as …

"Lonesome Loser" — because I thought this song said something about, "the law to losers," which for a kid sounded kind of cool. You know, I mean what must it be like when you're learning about the "law to losers."

"Jack & Diane" — just a tune about a couple of kids trying to hold on to their dreams. I was about 10 when the song was a hit, didn't really understand the line "hold on to 16 as long as you can" because 16 sounded so far away. Now, in my 40s, I get where John Cougar was coming from back then; however …

"Hurts So Good" — was another smash hit off the same LP, American Food. But this one was cool because the video was banned by MTV. Talk about cool.

"Zanzibar" — this tune is another one from the same album as "My Life" — 52nd Street. As a seven year old, the line "Rose he knows he's such a credit to the game, but the Yankees grab the headline every time" just took hold of a youngster who loved the Tigers but would take any reference to MLB as awesome!

"Saturday in the Park'" — used to be played on Saturday afternoon games in Detroit and I always thought it was the greatest, especially when watching a game at Tiger Stadium at the Corner of Michigan and Trumbull.

"You Never Even Called Me By My Name" — funny, but my dad used to occasionally listen to his cassette tape of David Allan Coe's greatest hits and this song played. I used to think it was cool. I've seen DAC in concert several times and consider him a legend.

"Rock N Roll All Nite" — I because a fan of KISS as a first grader. It was all a mistake, then I found out they had visited Cadillac, Michigan, and that seemed cool even though at the time I lived closer to "Detroit Rock City" than to northern Michigan. But the masked men grabbed a hold and have stayed with me for many a year.

"Cocaine" — true story is that I first heard this song in middle school when we were watching a movie that went after popular media that portrayed drug and alcohol use as good stuff. I had to find the song because it sounded great. And, yeah, it's a great song.



I could go on and on and keep writing about songs that I really like. I still love rock 'n' roll.




September 12, 2014

The Detroit Tigers of the American League

One Game Makes a Difference

It's Friday and the Tigers are a game out of first place in the American League Central Division. This is unexpected because the division was supposed to be weak and the Tigers were supposed to be really good. The season hasn't gone as planned — even from Spring Training when a couple of key cogs in the line–up went down injured.

I don't know what hitting advice Courtney gave to Victor Martinez in January, but it sure did pay off for Martinez. He's having his best season, may garner some MVP votes, and is looking at being a sought–after free agent. 

Jose Iglesias and Andy Dirks were expected to play big roles on the team in 2014. Neither will play for the team at all. Pitchers have been injured at various times during the season — Anibal Sanchez continues his injury–prone ways by being disabled no less than two times. It's my guess that if the Tigers play in the post season that Sanchez will be coming out of the bullpen. I think he would be a solid arm to do so.

Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera have both played at a slower pace than expected. Verlander has had a plain lousy year — let alone for a guy making the amount of cash he'll make. Cabrera has had a decent season, but not a Miggy Season.

The rookies have played decent: Nick Castellanos has had about the season you would expect, but the short stop position hasn't provided the Tigers much offense. We hadn't expected much assuming that Iglesias would be the SS; however, our short stops haven't done much.

Alex Avila seems to call a decent game and hit in the clutch on occasion, but he isn't much of an offensive threat. Ian Kinsler has mostly been what we've expected, except he's been incredible on defense. We do somewhat miss Austin Jackson's defense in CF, but we don't miss his strike outs. I would be remiss if I didn't mention the year that JD Martinez has had after the Astro's released him.

I would say that if the Tigers still had Doug Fister, they would probably be seven games in front of the Royals; however, they traded him away to open a spot in the rotation for Drew Smyly, who has pitched smashingly for the Rays since the big trade for David Price.

I still think the Tigers will win the Central and make a good run for the World Series. I don't know if this team has what it takes, but if they get hot at the right time, anything could happen. The design of this team is one that's more for the post season (haven't we heard that before) but I think the speed might play more in October than the power does in June. We'll see. Pitching has a tendency to win out. Except for two pitches last October, the Tigers might have been playing for all the marbles instead of golfing.

Restore that Roar! Let's go!

September 08, 2014

Mondays

The Days of the Weeks

It's funny.

A teacher says this morning, "Our first Monday."

I commented the first of 34 or something like that. I'm probably off by a couple because it seems like there are Mondays here and there that there is no school.

She said, "Thanks. I didn't know that."

Didn't expect to see a hot air balloon so early on a Monday morning! 

Mondays mean something different during the school year.

During the summer, Mondays come and go. I go to work and work on projects and such, but I don't really think about Mondays in terms of Mondays or weeks in terms of weeks necessarily.

We are off and running on another year in education. My twentieth.

Have a great year, everyone!


September 07, 2014

Moving

Going from larger to smaller 

We are in the process of moving to a smaller house.


My friends have always said that I have too much stuff.

Last time we went from a smaller house to a somewhat larger house — more or less it was laid out better than the previous house; plus, we have more storage in the attached garage. Now, though, four years later, we're going even smaller than before.

My friends have always been right — I have too much stuff.


I have more books than a small library. I have many CDs, vinyl albums, and — YES — even cassettes. I don't know if I'm a hoarder or saver, but I have lots of stuff. At this point, I am going to somehow get rid of some books. I'm thinking of selling them online or something because I just have too many great books. What do I do, keep 10% of them?

Books have always been my thing. I love to find books at places like Goodwill — books that I've looked for, books that are great deals, or just plain books, books, books. They can be leadership books, novels, sports, Detroit Tigers … it doesn't matter because I love to read.

But it's tough going from a larger house to a smaller house and trying to figure out what to keep and what to jettison.

Cheers to a great day!

September 06, 2014

Tigers fade …

Everybody is panicked. The Tigers are struggling.

Enter clich├ęs.

Notice exhibit one: Tigers struggle.

You can read more columns, as well.

"It's a long season."

There are about 20 games left.

Etc.

The hitting is deceptive.

The pitching is iffy.

Without Miguel Cabrera hitting like a boss, the Tigers don't seem like a good offensive club; just offensive.

This is a 20–game sprint to the end.

It should be fun!