Sunday, March 29, 2009

They're Gonna Wave Him In!

Some catching up on a few items:

-I was in the middle of setting up an Awards Ceremony at the Academic Games State tournament as Michigan was playing Clemson in the first round of the NCAAs. As I was unpacking trophies, setting up microphones, and moving chairs, people would shout the score to me from across the banquet hall, where they were watching it on ESPN gametracker or a shitty CBS March Madnees On-Demand video feed, while at the same time monitoring middle school students playing Presidents. When the game finally ended, my son called me with the score. Needless to say, I didn't really get much chance to break down the game, and I still haven't watched it in its entirety. But over the next few days, whenever I had a moment to think. I found myself repeating the results over and over, "We won a game in the Big Dance, we won a game in the Big Dance!" I am ecstatic with the season, and think John Beilein did a whale of a job making the tourney with two walk-ons at point, and one player over 6-8 in the rotation. He certainly deserved some Coach of the Year consideration in the Big Ten (Izzo winning that award was an absolute joke). I know that the step for a program from bad to mediocre or from mediocre to good is ten times easier than the step from good to great, or great to elite, but I have confidence that Beilein will take us there eventually. If Manny and Pedi Sims come back (cross your fingers), top 3 or 4 in the league, a single digit seed, and a sweet sixteen birth are not unreasonable expectations for next year.
-I'm not an NFL draft expert by any stretch of the imagination, and any time spent thinking about the Lions is wasted time, but it seems to me that a Jay Cutler for the Lions second first round pick (#20) is an obvious deal that would help both the Lions and Denver.
-What the heck is Kentucky thinking? You gotta give a coach at least three years, barring any wrongdoing (like the Kelvin Sampson stuff at IU). I don't know why any established coach without prior connections there would want that job knowing they've run off two pretty decent coaches in the last three years. They just moved up a few spots on my "Teams to root against" list.
-TO in Buffalo?!?! Seriously, that's a joke isn't it? That's like saying that Dennis Leary has been selected as the next Pope, or Rush Limbaugh is the new head of the ACLU. Some things just don't belong together.
-The passing of George Kell earlier this week made me feel really old (and really melancholy). Along with Bob Ufer, Ernie Harwell, and to a lesser extent Sid Abel, Kell was the voice of my sports childhood. You could hear one word from him and you knew who you were listening to. Close your eyes and listen to a few more words and you could see the upper deck in rightfield hanging over the field. You could see the flagpole in deep, deep centerfield in front of the rowdy bleacher creatures. He came from an era when announcers didn't just read the score or the pitch count, but actually painted a picture complete with all the little details that were periphery to the game. His Arkansas drawl was so unique to this area that everyone had their own imitation of it. He was a connection to the Golden Age of baseball for my generation of fans.