I'm currently suffering through what seems like purgatory as I'm watching the fourth quarter of the Eagles-Steelers pre-season game. If this were just a normal pre-season game, I would've turned it off a long time ago but it's not. I am currently watching a colossal battle featuring the Steelers 4th stringers led by Charlie Batch as they battle the Eagles 4th stringers led by Mike McMahon. I feel like I'm in the anti-fantasy football twilight zone. Joe Theisman has spent the entire second half proclaiming that Mike McMahon was clearly a better quarterback than Joey Harrington and that McMahon is very comparable to Donovan McNabb. I just found out that Troy Polamalu works out in his bare feet.
The amnesty deadline for the NBA was midnight last night. The new collective bargaining agreement allowed teams the ability to cut one player without having the salary count towards the luxury tax limit. The Pistons were waiting like sharks for the Knicks to dump Alan Houston and for the Raptors to cut Jalen Rose. Amazingly, neither were released. I'm not complaining too much since that guarantees that Alan Houston will not be a Piston. YES! However, the Mavs did cut Michael Finley. I would expect Joe D to pounce on Finley ASAP since there really isn't anyone else out there. If they can't get Finley, then there probably won't be any significant roster changes between now and the start of the season.
Drew Sharp has an article in the Detroit Free Press today that makes me wonder if he's been locked in the bathroom for the last two years. He says that Pudge needs to shape up his attitude or Illitch needs to get rid of him. Huh? Pudge is the first good free agent to willingly sign with the Tigers since..........I could go on with the periods but I think you get the idea. He's done everything the Tigers could ask. He's been among the best defensive catchers in the game. He contributed more offensively last season than anyone ever imagined. He's hovering around .290 this season. He made the All-Star game both seasons and probably played as big of a role as anyone in getting Magglio Ordonez to sign. He's played with a broken right hand and a broken left hand.
The main target of Sharp's attack is that Pudge went over Trammell's head to get permission from Dave Dombrowski to serve his four game suspension in Columbia so he could resolve personal issues. Is this really a problem? Is Pudge really the reason why the Tigers have underachieved? Pudge has been a class act ever since coming to Detroit. Other players around the league get permission to leave the team for personal reasons all the time. Pudge was classy enough to request this while he was suspended so he wouldn't interfere with the team. Sharp is precisely the kind of writer/fan that I'm sick of listening to. He says that the Tigers cannot have double standards for Pudge. Since when has compassion been confused with a double standard? Plus, if you're saying the Tigers cannot have double standards for anyone on the team, then everyone should have to play with two broken hands.
The Tigers haven't been good in 15 years. They came within one game of breaking the all-time record for losses in a season. They rebuilt the roster over the next two years and bam, the Tigers are supposed to just magically win. The pitching staff is suspect at best. Bonderman is nowhere near as good as he'll be next season and beyond. Mags missed the first half of the season. Pervical is out for the season. Polanco got hurt as soon as he came to Detroit. Rondell White has been hurt all season. Anybody who expected the Tigers to make the playoffs or even finish above .500 this season was expecting way too much. The same reason that the Tigers won't win this year is the same reason why the Lions won't win this year either. These things take time. People want to jump ship when things don't go perfect. It's a process. It doesn't matter how long we've suffered as Lion and Tiger fans. That doesn't mean diddly squat in terms of whether or not the teams are ready to win. Both teams will be better next season.
Sharp is one of those loudmouths that likes to lambaste someone just to create noise. I despise that kind of person. The Tigers are underachieving? OK, let's write an article attacking a veteran future Hall of Famer who plays through injury while maintaining a high level of play. Sounds fair.
Sharp is out of his mind. There are just a handful of people on the team that are NOT to blame and Pudge is one of them. He hasn't missed significant time due to injury nor has he been a disappointment. The Tigers aren't ready to win. If Sharp really thinks that the Tigers aren't winning this year because they have one of the best defensive catchers in baseball history behind the plate who provides above average offensive numbers, then I think that's an indictment on the hiring practices at the Detroit Free Press. This article was a waste of time for every person that reads that paper.