THIS COLUMN WAS WRITTEN IN FRONT OF A LIVE STUDIO AUDIENCE
Who was the Michigan Panthers head coach when they debuted in the USFL in 1983?
“I expect to make at least seven mistakes a round. Therefore, when I made a bad shot, I don’t worry about it. It is just one of those seven.” – Golf great Walter Hagen
“I sign every autograph I can for kids because I remember myself at that age. I think it’s ridiculous that some guys won’t sign for a kid.” – Hall of Famer Jim Thome
“My vision was about playing in the NFL and being the best player I could be, but God’s plan was to have a purpose greater than any game in this world.” – Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin
In honor of their hometown team, the Kansas City Chiefs winning Super Bowl LVII, Ford Motor Company’s Kansas City Assembly Plant Manager Carlos Hollwell made the decision to cancel day shift production at the plant so workers could attend the Chiefs’ celebratory parade in downtown Kansas City. Great gesture on the part of Ford.
Nolan Ryan had seven no-hitters during his illustrious career but he also tossed 12 one-hitters. Think about that for a second. Ryan was just 12 hits away from 19 no-hitters. And he never won a Cy Young Award.
The person with the most career victories in boys high school basketball in the state of Michigan is Beaverton High School’s Roy Johnston. Johnston, who began his stellar coaching career at Yale High School (1967-68) and Howell High School (1969-70), currently sports an astounding 809-338 career record – a whopping 70 wins ahead of River Rouge’s Lofton Greene. Prep basketball teams play a total of 20 regular season games. A person just breaking into coaching would need to have a perfect 20-0 record for 40 seasons just to get within spitting distance of Johnston, who also has 55 girls’ varsity basketball victories.
The Chicago White Sox won the 2005 American League Championship Series in five games. They only used their bullpen for two outs in the entire series.
The New Mexico State University men’s basketball program is in shambles. The school recently suspended the program’s season indefinitely following new allegations within the program. NMSU personnel were recently informed of the allegations, separate from the events that took place in Albuquerque late last year, involving potential violations of university policy. While those allegations are being investigated, the men’s basketball coaching staff has been placed on paid administrative leave. The allegations are regarding multiple players hazing a teammate on more than one occasion, and a police report was filed. In November, Aggies forward Mike Peake shot and killed a New Mexico student in self-defense after being lured onto New Mexico’s campus as part of a “planned revenge beating” following an altercation between Peake and three New Mexico male students that occurred several weeks earlier. Peake, who was struck with a baseball bat and shot, acted in self-defense and shot the man four times as he tried to get away. Peake met three teammates after the shooting, and police later pulled over a bus bringing home the basketball team and discovered evidence related to the shooting onboard. Head coach Greg Heiar was in his first season with the program. The Aggies finished the season 9-15 and 2-10 in conference play.
A large Florida school district has pulled an illustrated children’s biography of Pittsburgh Pirates legend Roberto Clemente off its shelves to determine whether it is “developmentally appropriate for student use.” Duval County Public Schools, which includes the city of Jacksonville, said in a news release it is “taking further steps to comply with Florida laws on library books.” Those laws, the district said, require books in schools to be free of pornography; instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity in kindergarten through third grade; and discrimination “in such a way that an individual, by virtue of his or her race, color, sex or national origin, is inherently racist or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.” PEN America, a New York-based nonprofit that works to defend free expression, reported the district had removed at least 176 titles from classrooms. They include works such as “My Two Dads and Me,” “My Two Moms and Me,” “Celebrating Different Beliefs,” “The Gift of Ramadan,” “The Berenstain Bears and the Big Question” and books about Rosa Parks, the Underground Railroad and Japanese internment camps during World War II. Also removed was “Roberto Clemente: The Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates,” a 2005 book by Dormont’s Jonah Winter. The 32-page book references racism Clemente sometimes endured.
The University of Michigan displayed absolute class when it hosted Michigan State University’s basketball team Saturday evening. It was MSU’s first game since the tragic shooting in East Lansing earlier in the week where three students lost their lives. Michigan had shirts made for their team as well as the student section with a message that read: Michigan Basketball Stands with MSU and they also held a moment of silence. The Michigan pep band took it a step further when they quickly learned and played Michigan State’s alma mater “MSU Shadows” during the game.
I was honored that Dave Slaggert asked me – along with Hugh Bernreuter - to write a Forward for the book he is writing about the Saginaw High and Arthur Hill high school’s basketball rivalry entitled Remember the Trojans and the Lumberjacks. I got a sneak preview of the book, which chronicles the hundreds of outstanding players that laced up their sneakers in the rivalry. There’s no way I could even attempt to come up with the top five players from each school, but I wouldn’t hesitate to start with Jason Richardson of Arthur Hill and Ernie Thompson of Saginaw High.
I’m a huge diehard baseball fan. But for some reason I have absolutely no interest in the World Baseball Classic. To pique my interest they should have a team of all right-handers play against a team of all Southpaws. Now that would be interesting.
Former Major League Baseball player Mike Trombley always enjoyed telling the story about sitting at his locker and staring at his very first MLB check. Teammate Kirby Puckett walked by and said “first big-league check, huh?” Trombley nodded with a proud smile. Puckett then reached into his pocket, pulled out a big roll of money, and asked “you want me to cash it for you?”
The University of Michigan has some work to do if they are going to make the NCAA Basketball Tournament. If you put together a team featuring all ex-Wolverines, that squad might have a chance to beat this year’s team. Players who departed Ann Arbor include Colin Castleton (Florida), David DeJulius (Cincinnati), Cole Bajema (Washington), Frankie Collins (Arizona State), Brandon Johns Jr. (VCU), and Zeb Jackson (VCU).
The Detroit Tigers have announced that all weeknight home games this season will begin earlier, with a first pitch of 6:40 p.m. That helps, a tad.
It’s nice to see Saginaw Valley State University’s baseball team recruiting local athletes. Their 2023 roster has 10 players from the Great Lakes Bay Region, including a trio from Hemlock High School – Corbin Larkin, Jake Shelagowski, and Max Dinninger.
I am convinced that Michigan center Hunter Dickinson has hemophilia. It seems as if he gets nicked-up nearly every game and trainers have a tough time with getting his bleeding under control. I see he’s stopped “cupping,” a training aid to deal with muscle soreness and pain made famous by U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps.
Congratulations to former Arthur Hill High School basketball player Omar Linder who recently opened his third Big O’s Burgers and Barbeque Restaurant. Linder possesses a tremendous work ethic. I highly recommend the Pulled Pork Grilled Cheese Sandwich.
I’m not exactly sure of the reasoning, but the Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame has waived its five-year rule for athletes to gain entry into the HOF. The majority of Hall of Fames around the nation feature a five-year waiting period. The wait time is beneficial for two reasons. One, it generally prevents the awkward situation of a player coming out of retirement after he's been elected to the Hall of Fame - which was the case with Mario Lemieux in hockey - or having him come out of retirement and pad his resume after voters have already rejected him. The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown makes an exception for players who die during their careers. Lou Gehrig (who died two years after his career ended), Roberto Clemente, and Thurman Munson were all inducted without having to wait five years.
One of the reason’s why I enjoy the game of baseball is because their games don’t have a time clock. You play nine innings of baseball to determine the winner, and then play additional innings if the score is tied. A game could last an hour or it could last three and a half hours. That is all going to change this season with the implementation of the Pitch Timer Rules. MLB’s new rules (there are three) include:
1. Pitch timer: The length of games will still be determined by innings, not minutes. But to create a crisper pace, there will be a 30-second timer between batters and then a shorter time limit between pitches. Pitchers will be required to begin their motion 15 seconds after receiving the ball with the bases empty or 20 seconds after receiving the ball with runners on base. If they don’t, they will be charged with an automatic ball.
Pitchers will also be limited to two disengagements from the mound (i.e. pickoff attempts or step-offs) per plate appearance with a runner on first. The disengagements reset the clock.
Batters, meanwhile, must be in the batter’s box and alert to the pitcher by the 8-second mark on the clock, or else be charged with an automatic strike.
2. Shift restrictions: The defensive team must have a minimum of four players on the infield, with at least two infielders completely on either side of second base. These restrictions are intended to increase the batting average on balls in play, and allow infielders to better showcase their athleticism with great defensive plays.
3. Bigger bases: First, second and third have been expanded from 15 inches on each side to 18 inches on each side, while home plate remains unchanged. The primary reason why the bases are bigger is safety, giving fielders and runners more room to operate without colliding. But the slightly decreased distance between bases could help runners on stolen-base attempts and bang-bang plays
I know I’m probably in the minority here, but please leave the grand old game alone. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Detroit Lions quarterback Jared Goff recently appeared on The Rich Eisen Show and told one of his favorite Dan Campbell stories: “He must have a fake tooth and his tooth fell out while he was talking in front of everyone at a team meeting. He just picked it up off the floor, put it back in, and just kept talking like nothing happened.”
Whatever happened to Brennan Bosch?
QUICK QUIZ ANSWER
Jim Stanley was the Michigan Panthers first head coach. The Panthers, which played its home games at the Pontiac Silverdome, won the inaugural USFL championship with a 24-22 win over the Philadelphia Stars. Amid financial struggles following the 1984 season, the team was merged with the Oakland Invaders in 1985, where they would operate under the Invaders name. Stanley was 24-15 in his two years coaching the team