July 18, 2014


Ernie Harwell and Sparky Anderson 

I never even realized that the skipper was in the background when I took this photo at Tiger Stadium. I always looked forward to summer nights and the radio with Ernie and Paul describing the action from the Corner. Ernie Harwell called the action of Tiger games for many years. It's hard to believe that both of these legends have passed. Time sure does fly. The guys I grew up rooting for, they're all in their 50s or 60s these days. Oh no! That means I'm in my 40s ...

Road Games

Opening Day in Another City

Every city has its thing. Kansas City has great barbeque. Steve did not apprecaite watching the dudes doing the cooking sweating — it looked like the sweat just added flavor to the meat. Arthur Bryant's, ladies and gentlemen. 

In a strange twist of luck, a group of us attended Opening Day in Kansas City in 2006. Of course, one of us had predicted that it was "gonna be the year" because of this and that and, of course, the addition of Jim Leyland as manager. A lifelong, diehard Tiger fan, I think I predicted they would win most years — with the exception of about 1990 through 2005. We call that era the dark days …

We flew into Kansas City and took in a great week–end of site seeing and baseball. We even were able to get into the ballpark and watch the Tigers' Sunday workout. We drove into the parking lot jamming some Kid Rock and just wanting to develop a plan for Monday. Instead, we decided to see if we could go into the park — and the security guy let us.

You remember that Opening Day. The one where Chris Shelton (above, with Trevor Thompson) knocked the ball around and looked like he would be the MVP. Yeah, we knew he wouldn't but it was still cool, considering somehow he made the team over Carlos Pena who was a big part of the Jeff Weaver trade from 2002.

Anyhow, I had lunch with Kenny (red shirt, above) the other day and we got to talking about how we're all so busy and never have time to do much as a group anymore. Then we started talking about how fun it was in Kansas City back in '06. Kenny said, "Maybe we should pick a road series every year in July and just go." That sounds like a good idea …

There's no Opening Day party like a Detroit Opening Day party, though …

July 11, 2014


The Rock City

The Motor City

One time, the greatest city in America! 

July 10, 2014

CCSS — The Political "Curriculum"

Why the controversy? 

Is it political? Is it a curriculum? 

It's interesting all the controversy about the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). I've asked questions all along — but my major question was why Michigan had to jump on board because the Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCEs) and the High School Content Expectations (HSCEs) already were some of the best curriculum in the United States.

Photo by http://blog.libbylevi.com/

Frequently, I would tell my staff that Michigan got it right when they rolled out the GLCEs and HSCEs several years ago. Michigan created a culture of curriculum in the 1990s when they rolled out the original Michigan Curriculum Framework (MCF) first arrived. I was a youngster in education then, but really dove headfirst into the framework, aligning my English classes with the MCF. I spent countless hours and did all I could to line things up and create lesson plans and unit plans that incorporated the "framework."

After nearly 20 years of work, Michigan now has the CCSS — or does it? The assessment program, Smarter Balanced Assessment, has been put on hold as the Michigan legislators have passed legislation and a budget that would require the development of "MEAP 2" — Michigan Educational Assessment Program #2 — because the former MEAP (we won't digress there!) is not retired. Actually, we educators don't know what the state assessment will be 10 months from now …

The main thing about the CCSS is that it requires students to problem solve and work with more rigor. And, if you're in education, you know that teachers frequently say, "These kids don't know how to think." My thought — huh? — is that if we begin early in a student's education teaching him/her "how to think," e.g. problem solve, work with rigor and more thought, that type of statement will go away.

So, to sum it all up, the only controversy I can see is that the CCSS are so similar to what we're already doing in Michigan that the final pieces (rigor, problem solving, etc.) would be easy enough to put in to place without causing a supposed major shift in curriculum (CCSS is not necessarily a new curriculum but a new thought process) and making student learning MORE POLITICAL than it already is.

July 09, 2014

When The Sporting News Arrived

The Baseball Bible

Way before the Internet and instant information, I used to read The Sporting News back to front as soon as it arrived. It contained an incredible amount of stats, standings, and box scores. You could find anything you wanted to know about the great game of baseball. I subscribed for many years, starting in 1982. We saw the ad during the World Series and my mom ordered it for me. It was a great investment because it kept me busy reading. I had tried Baseball Digest and Sports Illustrated before, but this truly was the Baseball Bible.

I began my subscription late in 1982, but the first two years of my Sporting News days, the Tigers were challenging for first place and eventually became the World Champions. I've told you before that I used to purchase my "preview" magazines by where the writers picked the Tigers to finish — so with so many columns and articles about the Detroit Tigers, reading TSN was a no–brainer!

Anyhow, I used to read each issue — cover to cover — and knew a great deal about all of the teams. I even knew a great deal about football, basketball, and hockey. The baseball coverage, though, was second to none. Great baseball writing is an art form, so the old weekly magazine had many artists!

Have a great day.

June 28, 2014


Celebrate America — Remember When We All Did!

I became a baseball fan in 1976. That's the year that Mark "The Bird" Fidrych took Michigan and the nation by storm. I was all of four years old — wouldn't be five until November. All I understood that this Tigers player was "great."

I had all of the iron ons that came out in the Oakland Press. Actually, there may have only been one iron on, but I think I had more than one shirt. It was a great summer. Dan Epstein covers the summer in an awesome manner in Stars and Strikes. If you like baseball, America, and great writing, you should order a copy right now! He talks about Fidrych a great deal — but covers baseball and America in '76 well.

June 23, 2014

Summer Means | Enjoy Everything More

Summer Means | Enjoy Life More 

It's summer. A season that often is taken for granted.

Summer means relaxing around a bonfire.

Summer means taking in Tigers games, or White Caps games, or even Beach Bums games.

Summer means baseball. More hotdogs. More soft serve ice cream.

Summer means taking some time to reflect. And relax.

Summer means catching up on many, many books.

Summer means more fun.

Summer means mowing the lawn. More than necessary.

Summer means Elk Rapids. For some, the beach.

Summer means trying Northern Michigan's craft beers.

Summer means a new jam that rocks radio "all summer long."

Summer means Jimmy Buffett. And the Coral Reefer Band.

Summer means Miguel Cabrera. Justin Verlander. And even Don Kelly.

Summer means another summer older. Another summer bolder.

Summer means fun.

And this summer, we will take nothing for granted — even the sounds of summer.

The "true" sound of summer, Ernie Harwell. That's partially me in that classic photo from Tiger Stadium. I'm not sure the year ('86 or '87, probably) but I remember a chance meeting with Mr. Harwell, a request for an autograph, and a chance to talk to him for a minute. His voice, just like the on the radio. Grandpa Morgan used to say he worked "until five minutes to Ernie." Ernie Harwell brought Tiger baseball to many of us for years — before the daily games on TV, even before we could watch the Cubs or Braves every day. Mr. Ernie Harwell, the sound of summer. 

June 22, 2014

Summertime in Northern Michigan

Summertime in Northern Michigan

The sights and sounds of "up north" are awesome during the summer. Each year we look forward to spending some quality time with family in Elk Rapids during Harbor Days. Harbor Days is a several–day event that honors the "port" history of the village. It's grown considerably over the past many years, from basically a carnival/mid–way to much more than that … I always feel like we're wishing away summer when we think about Harbor Days, but it is a great time!