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The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Beat Pittsburgh ... Again?

Nestled away in section D of today's edition you'll find a comprehensive Stanley Cup Finals section. You may recall a Final Four special section in late March of similar size and we couldn't let the Red Wings' return to the Finals go unnoticed.
What also shouldn't go unnoticed is the fact Pittsburgh is still the best team of the East, even without Marian Hossa. Granted Carolina took out Boston (No. 1 seed), but the Pens still had to go through Washington. But the same could be said for the Wings, who held on to beat Anaheim (No. 8), which had previously knocked off "Big Fish" San Jose. I look for an even closer series than last season. And I should add this year's run seems far more entertaining than last.
Now that a Red Wings jersey is on the Spirit of Detroit, it's time to get things started.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Is it only OK to celebrate with the fans?

(My follow up to the James Harrison story buried on B5 in Tuesday's edition between Michael Vick and an update on the ever-popular "Monday Night Football")

One of the coolest things about winning a professional sports championship is going to the White House to schmooze with the current president. I must have been too quick to assume everyone felt the same way.
Steelers linebacker James Harrison apparently disagrees. The reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year will be skipping the team's trek to Washington D.C Thursday, telling The Associated Press "I don't feel like it's that big a deal to me."
You might think he's just not that into the White House because the Steelers just went three years ago. But Harrison abstained during the second Bush term, also.
He added that had the Cardinals kept the lead from their amazing Super Bowl XLIII comeback, President Obama would have been inviting Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals.
Come on, we're not talking about skipping out on an All-Star contest to rest an injury. How often are you going to get to go and visit with the President of the United States?
Obviously, this guy's an easy target and I would assume other athletes have bailed before, but when you're a big name in the NFL, you've got an image to uphold for a league routinely getting punched in the face by the "professionals" it employs.

In this Feb. 3, 2009, file photo, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison holds the Vince Lombardi trophy during the NFL football team's Super Bowl victory parade in Pittsburgh. Harrison plans to pass on another trip to the White House with the Steelers.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Clutch catch just grand

I can't get enough of Curtis Granderson's game-saving catch from Friday night. The Associated Press photo doesn't do it justice, so here's a YouTube link. I only watched the bottom of the ninth that night, but I'm glad I had the privilege to see that.

Granderson’s great catch still gets rave reviews
CLEVELAND (AP) — A day after Curtis Granderson went over the wall to rob him of a game-winning homer, Grady Sizemore was still a bit stunned.
“I just couldn’t believe it. I was devastated,” said Sizemore, whose long drive to center with a man on would have beaten the Tigers and Justin Verlander on Friday night had Granderson not leapt high to pull it back in the bottom of the ninth. Detroit ended up beating the Cleveland Indians 1-0.
“He’s a great player and made a great catch at such an important moment,” Sizemore said Saturday. “That’s what is so impressive — doing it with the game on the line.”
Verlander was dominant, striking out 11 and allowing only two hits, but he had Granderson to thank for his third career shutout.
“I thought the game was over,” the right-hander said. “You won’t see a better catch than that.”
Andy Van Slyke, the Tigers’ outfield and baserunning coach who won five gold gloves, revealed that the before Friday’s game, he hit fly balls for players to practice making leaping catches. Granderson didn’t make a catch, but reliever Joel Zumaya did.
“But the catch in the game was tremendous,” Van Slyke said. “When it was hit I didn’t think it was going out — and it didn’t.”
Granderson said he got numerous text messages from friends, family and former teammates. All the accolades made him reflect on the circumstances that combined to make it so special.
“That’s the crazy thing about it,” Granderson said. “Everything has to be perfect. If no one’s on base, I’m not playing as deep. If he hits it a foot further, it’s a home run. If he hits it a foot shorter, I’m standing there catching it.”
Cleveland reliever Jensen Lewis, in the Indians’ bullpen a few feet away, saw the play unfold right before his eyes.
“I stood up and was cheering,” Lewis said. “The ball got closer, closer — and then Granderson just took it away. It was like shock and awe.”
Josh Barfield, on first base as a pinch-runner, had already rounded second when the catch was made. He had to scramble back to avoid being doubled off for the final out.
“I think everybody in the ballpark was stunned,” Barfield said. “I saw him jump, then I saw him start to wind up to throw and I said, ’Oh, no!’ That was unbelievable. I’ve never seen a catch like it at that point in the game.”
Granderson said he’s lost plenty of hits to Sizemore, a Gold Glove centerfielder.
“He’s robbed me and us too often,” Granderson said. “He’s not the man out there for no reason. He’s probably going to try to get even.”
Granderson enjoyed watching the play over and over on highlight shows.
“It was real neat to see it,” the 28-year-old said. “I saw the angle on one replay and it looked real cool.
“It felt slower doing it. The play looked a lot faster watching it. It seemed to happen slower when I made the play.
“I watched it a few times, then switched over to Nick At Nite and fell asleep.”
He had already come through in the nick of time.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Late night viewing habits

I'm assuming I was one of the few to see Marian Hossa's game-tying goal disallowed because the referee lost sight of the puck, subsequently blowing the whistle as the puck slid into the net, live on FSN.
After seeing the TSN call on YouTube last night, the announcing was much different: The national announcer saying the whistle was blown before the puck went in; and the FSN team declaring the whistle went after the puck went in. As can be expected.
If you've only heard of the play, view it here.
I don't think the national media is making a big deal out of it, and really, what can you do? I bet a lot more people will be watching the game through till the end tonight.
Check our Web site for the result as well as a blog from Pat Caputo, as the game, once again, is likely to finish well after our print deadline.

(Marian Hossa's potential game-tying goal shot past Anaheim Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller (left) and defenseman Chris Pronger was overruled, as the play was whistled dead before the purported goal during the third period of Game 3 Tuesday in Anaheim. The Associated Press)