Since the inaugural season of play in 1894 as part of the Western League, the Detroit Tigers organization has had a lot of talent to put on the Ole’ English D. As the oldest team in the American League to not ever have changed its name or city, the Tigers own four World Series championships, 11 AL pennants, and six division titles.

The problem with choosing a Mount Rushmore of players from Detroit is that great players are sure to fall through the cracks. Guys like Hank Greenburg, Norm Cash, and Hal Newhouser are some of the greatest players of all time, even though they played in an entirely different era of baseball. Since there are only four coveted spots available, space is limited.

For our purposes, we are going to shorten the scope of our discussion to the post-war years (1945-present). It will shorten the list to players whose careers were not interrupted by World War II. Secondly, it represents an era of baseball that is more similar to what we see today with an emphasis on power hitting and pitching. It simply wouldn’t be fair to compare pitchers from the 1920s to today; the specialized pitchers of today have strict pitch counts and are constantly measured. Back in the day, guys used to be able to go out and throw 9 innings a few times a week, and that was after they had drank a few beers!

The following is a list of the four players I would place on my Mount Rushmore of baseball. Coaches are also eligible because players aren’t the only ones who bust their tails all summer long.

Infield: Miguel Cabrera, 3rd Base

Miguel Cabrera Detroit Tigers

In 2012, Miguel Cabrera became the first player since Carl Yastrezemski in 1967 to win the Triple Crown in batting. Following on his success from 2012, he won the AL MVP award in 2013 while having a .348 batting average with 137 RBI. After winning his second consecutive MVP award, Cabrera joined Hank Greenburg and Hal Newhouser as the only Tigers to have ever won the award more than once. Not only is he a great hitter, he always plays the game with the enthusiasm of a 10 year old, which is a welcome sight to see in the locker room.

Outfield: Al Kaline, OF

Al Kaline Detroit TIgers

At the ripe old age of 20, Al Kaline burst onto the baseball scene and never looked back as a member of the Detroit Tigers. In 1955, he became the youngest player to ever hit three home runs in a game and also became the youngest AL battle champion after hitting .340 with 20 home runs and 102 RBI. Kaline would go on to play for 22 seasons, all with Detroit and hit a career .297 with 399 home runs and 1583 RBI.

Kaline was an 18 time All Star, four time Golden Glove winner, and first ballot Hall of Fame inductee.

Pitcher: Justin Verlander, SP

Detroit Tigers Justin verlander

The second current Tiger on our list is one of baseball’s most dominating pitchers in the last decade. Justin Verlander has spent his entire career with the team, posting a 137-77 record with a 3.41 ERA. As the ace of the rotation, Verlander is also the team’s workhorse, throwing over 200 innings the last seven seasons in a row.

The hard work has paid off for Verlander as he has appeared in six All Star games so far in his career. In 2011, Verlander finished off the season winning the AL Cy Young and MVP awards; the first player since Roger Clemens in 1986 to do so.

Manager: Sparky Anderson

Sparky Anderson Detroit Tigers

Sorry Jim Leyland, but Sparky’s unique style and on field accomplishments make him the greatest Tiger manager ever. In 1984, the Tigers began the season 35-5 and ended up winning the World Series. He was the first manager to ever win the World Series as both an NL and AL manager. Anderson went on to win two Manager of the Year awards with the Tigers and held the best record in the majors during the 1987 season. The tough love from Sparky was symbolic of the Detroit sports culture and is still what fans crave the most in the city.

Honorable Mention: Alan Trammell, SS

Alan Trammell Detroit TIgers

Alan Trammell played for the Tigers in 20 seasons, averaging .285 at the plate and knocking in 1,003 runs during his prolific career. Trammell made it to the All-Star game six times, won four Gold Gloves, and was named the 1984 World Series MVP. In the postseason, he shined as he hit .333 for in 13 career games and had an on-base percentage of .404. Currently, Trammell is seventh on the all-time list of double-plays turned with an amazing 1,307.

Image By Dominic Alessi

 

Derek Jeter will go down in history as the greatest shortstop in the history of the game. Even though he does play for the Evil Empire, he is seems to be a stand up guy, with a desire to play his ass off and help his team win at all costs. So much in fact, he once took a nose dive into the dugout. 

As a life long Detroit Tigers fan, I have longed for him to join the club…even though I always knew it was a long shot. The way he would turn double plays and dive for balls through the hole is part of the majesty of baseball. Sure, he can hit like hell and get on base, but its the fluid motion of playing the field that brings together a team.

So why he is the greatest shortstop to play the game?

He’s played as a Yankee his entire career. Some may argue that he should have left, but who actually goes through an entire career with one team anymore? Not very many.

13x All-Star Game selection, nuff said

Winner of the Babe Ruth Award, Roberto Clemente Award, AL Rookie of the Year, Hank Aaron Award; you get the point

5x AL Golden Glove Winner and 5x Silver Slugger Award winner

71.6 WAR- Wins Above Replacement, good enough for 3rd best of active players

2,602 career games- first for all active players

3,676 career put outs- first for all active players/20th in MLB history

Those are just some of the numbers that really pop off the stat sheet. Because of Derek Jeter, the New York Yankees have built their million dollar franchise into a billion dollar franchise. If you are my age, you remember Jeter as the face of baseball, and for the rest of my life, his name will be synonymous with all the other baseball greats

Image

By Collin Strang

The Detroit Red Wings currently are in 8th place in the Eastern Conference. If they want to continue their playoff streak, they would be wise to keep playing their young players. Riley Sheahan, Tomas Tatar, and Tomas Jurco have been playing really well the past couple of weeks and it has showed in the Red Wings record. In the past 11 games, the Wings have won 6 and lost 2 games in overtime. Which isn’t great, but compared to the rest of the season, it’s definitely improvement. Plus, just watching this team is more exciting. And let’s face it, this team has gotten stale over the past couple years.

Take Dan Cleary for instance. Now look, I appreciate what he did back in 08 and 09, but he is just not what he used to be. And that’s the nicest way I can put it. In 52 games, he has a whole 4 goals and 8 points. And that’s with getting regular power play time (for some dumb reason). Jurco has played in just 19 GAMES and he has 3 goals and 7 points. Oh and Sheahan has 3 goals and 11 points in 18 GAMES! Jurco and Sheahan are getting better every game it seems like and Cleary is just a shell of himself. Not to mention what Mikael Samuelsson has done (or not done) this year.

So, the Wings would be wise to just keep playing these young guys if they want to make a run in the playoffs. Just imagine what this team can do when Pavel Datsyuk gets healthy again. This team would have a very nice mix of young, energetic players and skilled veterans. Let’s face it, the Wings are just wayyyyy too loyal to some of these guys. They need to just cut bait with these old, beat up guys. And thankfully it looks like they have started to do that when they sent down Jordin Tootoo to the AHL. The Wings might not have what it takes to win it all this year, but they will have a nice foundation to continue the success of this legendary franchise by keep on playing the young guys.

Michael Sam Gay Athlete
There has been a wide variety of opinion on Michael Sam coming out of the closet for the first time. For the most part, there have been a lot of positive comments towards him. What I finding interesting as I drive around Detroit and listen to sports radio, is the fans throughout the country all feel relatively the same; fans don’t care if he is gay, they care if he can produce.

And that’s really all that matters. Who cares if an athlete is gay, can he/she get it done on the field? In Sam’s case, absolutely! The reigning Defensive player of the year in the SEC is proving that you cannot judge a book by its cover. Sam was a monster this season, tallying 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss; 48 total on the season as the Missouri Tigers rolled in the Cotton Bowl.

For more reasons than one, Michael Sam is blazing trails. By him coming out, I’m sure there will be thousands of young athletes that can see him as a positive influence. And let’s face it, there has never been an athlete of this magnitude that has come out of the closet. Sorry, but Jason Collins doesn’t count, he isn’t even on an NBA roster any more. For more reasons as to why I believe he is a hero, check out this article here, you will not be disappointed.

Image

By Collin Strang

With national signing day coming up, I thought it would be a good time to talk about recruiting rankings. More specifically recruiting “stars”. Some people’s opinions are either way on one side or the other. They mean everything! No, they mean nothing! What do I think? Well call this a cop-out, but I think the answer lays in the middle.

Now let’s address the notion that if your team doesn’t have a top ten class or a bunch of 5 star recruits, then your team STINKS! That is just, in a word… dumb. Look at just this past season. Michigan State went 12-1 and won the rose bowl over a really good Stanford team. You know where MSU is year in and year out in the recruiting rankings? Not in the top 25. They have a handful of 4 star kids and a bunch of 3 stars. Look at Baylor too. They won the Big 12 and went to a BCS game. I mean, BAYLOR WON THE BIG 12! Over power teams Texas and Oklahoma. You know how those teams win? By good coaching and development. By knowing exactly what type of players they want and going out and getting them.

Okay, having said all that, recruiting rankings do mean something. Look at the recruiting rankings and see what teams are at the top. Most of them are the top teams year in and year out. Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, and others. Just look at this year’s national champion Florida State. They routinely have a top 5 class. And their opponent Auburn is usually in the top ten. So obviously there must be something to this whole recruiting rankings and stars thing.

So to wrap up, if your team has a bunch of 3 and 2 star kids, they can still be good. And if your team is consistently at the top and getting 5 and 4 star players, then you can be good too. But, it does take good coaching to see the results. I mean look at Texas. Nothing has changed recruiting wise. They are still near the top, but the last few years haven’t been good. And that is why they have a new coach. People who say recruiting means nothing, are just fans of teams who aren’t good at it. However, just because your team has a bunch of 4 star kids, don’t expect them just to show up and win championships.

By Dominic Alessi

kevin durant dunk
Shut up and take my money for admittance to the Kevin Durant show. While I wouldn’t say I’m an avid basketball fan, I am a passive one. I stay up to date on the newest story lines and major news but other than that, I will never watch a NBA game through its entirety. After seeing Durantula score at least 30 points in his last 11 games, I will now make more of an effort to keep up with him, aside from just using him in NBA 2K14

Last night against the Hawks, Durant dropped 41 points, 4 Rebounds, and 3 huge blocks to rally the Thunder to a 111-109 win. The Thunder won their 8th straight game and 13 of Durant’s 41 points came in the 4th quarter- exactly what you would expect from an MVP. Did I mention he nailed the game winning shot? Durant is the epitome of what you want from a MVP. He has shown that he is “basketball smart”, a team player, and one that his teammates have come to depend on.
Kevin-Durant
Isn’t that the essence of what the MVP award is? Take all the candidates away from their teams and put them on the bench. Which team would be impacted the most? I would certainly say the Thunder. If you need any more convincing, Durant has had a break out year for the most part without Russell Westbrook, who has played in just 25 games this season so far.

As the Thunder travel to South Beach on Wednesday night to take on the Heat, KD has put himself in the driver seat to win his first MVP award. If he can continue his streak of at least 30 points in a game against the defending champs, perhaps some LeBron James supporters will be swayed. Although it is still early in the season, and his career, Durant needs to keep on keeping on and carrying his team.If he can keep up his 31 ppg and the Thunder can remain number 1 in the Western Conference, surely, he will be poised to take win the MVP and maybe even a NBA Championship.

By Collin Strang

One of my favorite sporting events to watch is Olympic hockey. There is just something special seeing all the NHL stars represent their country and compete for the gold medal. You can tell that they all play their hardest and leave everything they have on ice. Let’s take a look at this year’s teams.

Group A:

Russia: The host country of these Olympics have the most pressure on them. Russia hasn’t won the gold since they were the Soviet Union in 1988. (I’m not counting 1992 since it was a unified team with six different countries.) And they haven’t won a medal in the last two Olympics. They have no shortage of stars with Alex Ovechkin , Yevgeni Malkin, Pavel Datsyuk, and on and on. But the biggest problem the last couple Olympics is that Russia doesn’t play as a team and the stars try to do too much on their own. Maybe being the host country isn’t bad in this case and the Russians can come together and at least medal. Goalie is a glaring weakness however.

Slovakia: Coming off a 4th place finish in 2010, Slovakia is a dark horse team that everyone should take seriously. With playmakers up front in Marian Hossa and Marian Gaborik, a great defender in Zdeno Chara, and two solid NHL goaltenders, Slovakia will for sure be a tough out. Expect them to challenge for a medal this year.

Slovenia: If you are a fan of Slovenia, you should be more than excited that they have qualified for their first Olympics. But that’s about it. This team is just not ready to compete with the other powerhouses in this group. Anze Kopitar is a great player from the L.A. Kings, but he just doesn’t have enough support as he is the only NHL player on the roster. But hey at least they made it this far which is a start!

USA: Will the Americans make the final jump and win the Gold? There is no reason why they can’t. Even though I think it was a mistake to leave Bobby Ryan off the roster, they still have plenty of talent to win it all. I mean if you can afford to leave that kind of talent off your roster, then you don’t have to worry about a lack of talent. With two great goalies in Ryan Miller and Jonathan Quick, the Americans are poised to make a run for the gold.

Group B:

Austria: Making their first appearance since 2002, Austria is hoping to prove it belongs on the Olympic stage. It won’t be easy though. They are going to rely heavily on Thomas Vanek for most of their scoring. He is joined by his New York Islander teammate Michael Grabner. They have their best chance of winning a game against Norway.

Canada: Same old story with the Canadians. They are absolutely loaded again. They bring back 11 players from the gold medal team in 2010. I mean you can make a team of the players they cut and you could compete for the gold. That’s how many great players they have. Anything less than gold is failure for this team and when you look at this roster, it’s hard to argue. The only worry they could have is in the goal. Luongo has played well this season for the Canucks, but he still worries me in international tournaments.

Finland: Finland is for sure a gold medal contender. Every Olympics, they are right in the thick of it. With three very solid goaltenders and some firepower up front, Finland has all the ingredients for a gold medal. Look for Valtteri Filppula to have another big Olympics as he always shows up in the international tournaments. And yes I am a bitter Red Wings fan making that statement.

Norway: Norway has made the Olympics for the second straight time. They finished in tenth place last time and well it doesn’t look like they will get much improvement this time. The best chance for a win is against Austria.

Group C:

Czech Republic: The Czech’s have a roster that has a lot of quality. The big problem is the age of the quality. Jaromir Jagr and Patrik  Elias are on their last legs. And Petr Nedved is 42 years old! Plus they lack a big time goalie to make a serious run. They will give teams a very hard time but it will be an accomplishment for them to finish in the top 4.

Latvia: Well, um, hey they made the Olympics! They have one NHL player in Zemgus Girgensons from Buffalo. But they do have 8 players from Dinamo RIga in the KHL so at least they are familiar with each other.

Sweden: The Swedes are no doubt one of the favorites. After failing to medal in 2010, they have plenty of motivation to go out and the gold. Look for the Sedin twins to start to heat up since they haven’t been doing so well with the Canucks this year. And with the play of Jonas Gustavsson this year for the Red Wings, it gives them a reliable number 2 goalie if something happens to Henrik Lundqvist. (God forbid.)

Switzerland: The Swiss can go as far as Jonas Hiller will take them. Even though they don’t have the star power as a Sweden or Canada, they are always a tough out. Mark Streit is a great defender from the Flyers. Plus, they have 16 players from the Swiss National League A, so they are pretty familiar with one another.

Prediction:

Gold: Sweden- I have a feeling King Henrik will be unbeatable this year.

Silver: USA- I know that I am a bad American for not picking them but Sweden is too stacked.

Bronze: Canada- Plenty of talent but again the goalie situation gives me pause.

By Dominic Alessi

There is a laundry list of reasons as to why people hate Alex Rodriguez. What started as a promising career at shortstop in Seattle as the first overall pick in 1993, has spiraled out of control. A-rod has been called many things; tools, greedy, cheater, just to name a few, but his early years are rarely ever talked about anymore. While in Seattle, A-Rod appeared in 790 games in 7 seasons, batted .309, and made it to the All Star Game in four different seasons. In fact, he was named the 1996 Player of the Year, won the AL batting title, and owned a .977 fielding percentage. So far so good…right?
alt="Alex Rodriguez Seattle Mariners"

After the 2000 season, A-Rod went into the market as a free agent, eventually signing with the Texas Rangers for a whopping 10 year/$252 million contract. While playing for the Rangers, A-Rod had three respectable seasons. He batted over .300, smoked 156 home runs, and made the All Star Game each season. As if his accomplishments on the field weren’t enough, he surely felt he had the world by the balls as he lived extravagantly off a contract the Rangers overbid on by about $100 million.

So how did he sustain these eye-popping numbers? Well, if you consider using PED’s as a way to sustain then sign Alex Rodriguez up. After being traded to the Yankees, the limelight, media, and pressure from management was too much for A-Rod. After the 2007 season when “The Mitchell Report” was published, 100 MLB players were named to have been using PED’s, although Rodriguez was not mentioned. For the next two years, he faced scrutiny as he continued to live his life and play ball, but in 2009, Sports Illustrated reported Rodriguez had actually tested positive, back in 2003. This blew the top off the PED scandal that has rocked baseball for over a decade. In February 2009, A-Rod finally came clean, stating he had used steroids from 2001-2003.
alt="Alex Rodriguez yankees crybaby greedy cheater"

Since 2009, his career has suffered dramatically. Not only has his reputation, but his production on the field has also nearly crawled to a halt. Since 2009, he has only batted higher than .275 once and he has been plagued by injury on and off. In addition, he has been linked to the newest PED scandal, this time involving a company named Biogenesis where it has been said A-Rod’s PED use was one of the most intricate regiments ever witnessed.

A-Rod has tarnished his legacy by acting like an immature prick who used to have the world by its balls. While he still lives it up in NYC, he continues to file suit against damn near anybody. His recent suspension has been reduced from 211 games down to 162, but more than likely, he will continue to fight it. Rodriguez’s ego made him great, but it is also what will tear him apart.

The boys over at BadLipReading on Youtube have done it again. After their first bad lip reading of NFL players last season, they have made another video for this season. You can expect to find Colin Kaepernick as a spy, Jim Harbaugh whining (as usual), and a few Harry Potter references, enjoy!

Video  —  Posted: January 25, 2014 in NFL
Tags: , ,