Category Archives: Sports

Hi, my name is Rob and I’m addicted to sports

Since getting cable TV on Monday, my sport watching addiction has come back with vengeance. I need a game a day to keep the doctor away. In the last couple years, I’d watch games on ESPN3.com or at my mom and dad’s house. But mostly all I could get was the Lions. The Tigers and the Wolverines, and even the Red Wings and Pistons, were a rare find on mom and dad’s TV, as well as ESPN3.com. Often I’d just watch different teams, but it’s always better to watch my own.

I know it’s an addiction when I realize none of my teams are playing today and I start to go cold turkey. But wait, that’s not quite right. The NFL preseason started a few weeks ago and isn’t today Thursday?

I went to the official Detroit Lions website and checked their schedule. Thank the Heavens, there is a game on today. It’s just a preseason game, but it’s a game, a game that at least helps us predict the outcome of the regular season… or so we tell ourselves.

What a game it was. Several players made impressive plays. The Lions successfully kept the Bills out of the End Zone. The final score is, Lions 31 and Bills 0.

That was the last game of the preseason. The regular season starts September 11, when the Lions face the Colts. I’ll probably watch that at my mom and dad’s house. It’s what we’ve been doing for the last several years.

So, out of the four preseason games, the Lions won two and lost two. If the preseason could accurately predict the regular season, by the preseason results, I guess that would mean the Lions will win half their regular games and lose the other half.

But in reality, regardless of how the preseason went, the regular season is always iffy. The Lions might fail miserably or this might be the year they break the terrible curse. I say that every year, so we’ll just have to see.

I was pleased to see that the Lions have Jake Rudock. He was Michigan’s starting quarterback last year. I thought he did very well with the Wolverines and he seems to be doing well with the Lions.

Matthew Stafford is still with the Lions too, so I’m not sure who the starting quarterback will be. But maybe they’ll both get playing time during the regular season.

Socks are Worn in Detroit

Yep, the Tigers swept the White Sox, winning all three games of this series. Justin Verlander pitched today and lasted seven innings. He’s still got the arm.

The score was tied up in the eighth inning, 2-2. The Sox did not break the tie in the top of the 9th.

JaCoby Jones just might find himself dubbed Rookie of the Year. Last night was his first time in the show and he’s determined to stay. He was the hero last night and he was the hero today.

In the bottom of the 9th, the score was still tied. Jones was on third base when the ball was hit to centerfield. Jones made a mad dash and slid into homeplate.

Tigers: 3 – White Sox: 2

Will the Tigers Sweep the White Sox?

The answer to the big question will be revealed tomorrow.

Tonight’s game went sour early when the White Sox got in three runs in the second inning, while the Tigers remained scoreless. It sure looked like trouble for the Tigers and I thought I’d be writing a bummer tonight.

The score was still 0-3 in the bottom of the fourth when J.D. Martinez scared the shit out of me. He hit himself in the leg with the bat and was hopping around for a bit. A medic went out on the field to check him out. I thought they would take J.D. out of the game, and then what were we going to do? But J.D. swallowed his pain and returned to the plate.

J.D. didn’t get a square hit that inning, but eventually walked to first base. Justin Upton came up next and he packed a hard hit, sending the ball far and high over centerfield, but unfortunately the ball dropped before it was over the wall and was caught.

The fourth inning ended with the 0-3 score remaining.

It was the bottom of the fifth when Ian Kinsler turned it all around with his home run, bringing the score to 2-3. The Tigers were still behind, but there was hope.

Bottom of the sixth, J.D. hit one deep into left field and hauled ass to second base.  Upton was up next and he wasn’t playing around. He sent the ball rocketing through centerfield and brought J.D. home.

While Upton was hanging out on second base, JaCoby Jones came up to bat. As I understand it, tonight was Jones’ first time in the Show. I believe he was called up to replace the guy who was injured yesterday.

The kid is good and he had family there to see. In the previous inning, Jones’ folks were interviewed as they sat watching the game. Man, they looked so proud when he hit the ball deep into right field, bringing Upton home.

The Tigers were ahead then, 4-3. But the sixth inning wasn’t over yet. Kinsler came up and brought in two more runs.

The Sox pushed back in the top of the seventh, but only managed to get in one run. J.D. was first at bat in the bottom of the seventh. He smashed the ball over the wall and brought the score to 7-4.

JaCoby Jones wasn’t done yet and swatted a hard roller down centerfield bringing in another run before the seventh inning ended. No one scored in the eighth or the ninth.

Tigers: 8 – White Sox: 4

A side note: The White Sox must have a fashion expert in their locker room. I really like the jerseys they wore tonight. I oughta get me one of those. Maybe one with Avila’s name on it.

My First Night Back and the Tigers Win It

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I’ve been without cable TV for a couple years, which meant my sport watching was reduced to the dire minimum. I don’t know how I survived. For the most part, I’d just keep an eye on the box scores and the standings, but it wasn’t the same as watching live games.

Well, I just got cable TV back today, in time for the Tigers-White Sox game. There’s some new faces on the team, but some of the old ones are still there too.

I was surprised and disappointed to see Alex Avila is no longer with the Tigers and is now playing for the White Sox. I found myself rooting for him whenever he stepped up to bat and I wasn’t the only one. Near the end of the game, the camera caught a kid wearing an Avila Tiger jersey. Yeah, we remember you, dude.

It looks like Ausmus still has the top three sluggers in the same order. First Miquel Cabrera bats, followed by Victor Martinez, followed by J.D. Martinez. I have seen that order function very well in the past and I reckon it still functions well.

The Tigers are currently in second place. In order to catch up to Cleveland, the Tigers need to win more games than they lose, and hope Cleveland doesn’t win too many more. Cleveland is leading by four. It looks like a hard, unlikely feat, but just maybe the Tigers can do it.

Tonight’s game was a little tense. The White Sox were ahead for most of the game. but in the bottom of the eighth, Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a home run, scoring two runs for the Tigers. That put the Tigers ahead of the White Sox, finally.

The White Sox did not score in the ninth and the Tigers won, 4-3.

Thank you, Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Goodbye Megatron

Well, wow. Wasn’t expecting this. Calvin Johnson is retiring from NFL. Johnson, man, he ruled. Season after season, I watched the Lions, missing very few games. Johnson was one of the players who gave us hope for a winning season. I think Johnson was the best thing to happen to the Lions since Barry Sanders.

But I understand why Johnson is retiring. He’d gotten pretty banged up in the course of his career and he’d dealt with several injuries in his last few seasons. Thirty years old seems pretty young to be retiring, but not when you’ve spent years getting smashed into by really big guys .

We’ll miss you, Calvin. Good luck in whatever you do next.

Jefferson City @ St. Joseph Academy

I feel like I’m entering an unfamiliar territory with this post, but I want to give it try. I’d like to get in some more blog entries about sports and about games I watched. It doesn’t matter if I don’t have any particular loyalty to either of the teams in a game.

I was on ESPN3.com to see if The Big Ten Championship football game was listed, because Michigan State is in this game. I have to be honest. Although the Wolverines are my all time favorite college team, the Spartans are my second favorite. When the Spartans are in the championship game, that’s a game I want to watch.

But, no luck. The Big Ten Championship game was not listed on ESPN3.com, so I decided to watch something else. There were quite a few games to choose, most of them NCAA football and basketball games. But I wanted to watch something a little different and selected a girls high school basketball game that was listed.

That game was Jefferson City at St. Joseph Academy. I don’t think it was a live game, but I’m pretty sure it was recent, probably yesterday or the day before. I don’t even know what state these two schools are in. But all that’s cool. It was just a pure basketball game where everyone plays fair.

I came in late. They were in the third quarter. The scores were close, in the high-twenties. I think St. Joseph Academy was leading by two points when I first got the game on. Since I didn’t have a dog in the fight, I was rooting for whoever had the ball at the moment.

I thought both teams played very well. I was impressed with some of the moves the players made. I could never play basketball very well. I had a brief stint on Michigan School for the Deaf’s basketball team during my sophomore year, but I was just embarrassing. I just never had talent for basketball, but I do enjoy watching a good basketball game.

The young women playing for Jefferson City and St. Joseph Academy were talented players.  They played a good game, a game worth watching.

At some point Jefferson City pulled ahead and continued to secure their lead. But St. Joseph Academy kept playing until the clock ran out. The final score was Jefferson City 47 and St. Joseph Academy 34.

Meanwhile, the Michigan Wolverines are kicking ass

While the Detroit Lions are having a horrible season, the Michigan Wolverines are kicking ass. They’re 7-2 so far this season. Many of their victories were big wins and only a couple were close.

I wish it was a perfect season, but it’s a season I’m happy with. I admit, I was disappointed when they lost their first game to Utah and my faith dropped some. But then they had a solid streak of big wins.

Until the Michigan-Michigan State game.

For several years in a roll, the Spartans have beaten the Wolverines. I had high hopes that this year we would see a Wolverine victory over the Spartans. We have Jim Harbaugh now and he certainly has turned things around since Hoke’s reign ended. I had hoped he would bring us a victory in the Michigan-Michigan State game.

Oh, the Wolverines were ahead by a few points, with just a few seconds left on the clock, and then something went terribly wrong. A field goal attempt went bad, a Spartan defense man got the ball and ran all the way down the field for a touchdown.

It was painful to watch and my spirit died a little. Out of all the games they play, there are two games that I really want to see them win. That’s the game against Michigan State and the game against Ohio State.

I’m not completely over the loss to Michigan State, but I’ll consider this a great season if they win the rest of their games. The last game will be against Ohio State, who are currently undefeated. If the Wolverines can beat the Buckeyes this year, I’ll be very, very happy.

I love the Detroit Lions, but sheesh….

Oh, man, what a season. YAY!!! The curse continues.

That’s right. Whatever curse the Detroit Lions have been dubbed with, it ain’t lifted yet. Was there someone from Ancient NFL who declared the Lions will never make it to the Super Bowl because he was pissed off about being cut from the roster or traded to another team? Like Babe Ruth did when the Red Sox traded him to the Yankees?

I don’t know, but every season we see the Lions miss the mark. Some seasons are better than others. Once in a while the Lions will be having a season that looks so good, we dare to think that “Hey, this just might be the year they break the curse and set foot on Super Bowl turf.” Those are seasons that are exciting, they get your blood pumped. At least you got hope, even though it always gets dashed in the playoffs.

But this season ain’t one of the seasons of high hopes. No, it’s quite far from that. The Lions are currently at 1-7. Amazing that they managed to beat the Chicago Bears. But all the other games are losses and I’m not expecting a dramatic change for the remaining eight games. I mean, it would sure be impressive if they suddenly turned everything around and won all of the remaining games. But the way things are going, they might win one more game and lose the rest. Either way, the season is already blown.

 

The Michigan-Minnesota Game

Rudock was injured, but Wilton Speight proved to be a decent replacement. Still, that was too freaking close. Minnesota was right there on the goal line. All Minnesota needed was a touchdown and they would have won, but Michigan managed to hold them back until the clock ran out. Practically gave me a heart attack.

Michigan wins, 29-26. That makes them 6-2 for the season.

An Interview with W.P. Kinsella

W.P. Kinsella is the author of Shoeless Joe, the novel that the 1989 movie Field of Dreams is based on. He has written several other novels and short stories, many of them having to do with baseball, First Nations people and magic. “The Essential W.P. Kinsella” was released from Tachyon Publications in March and contains some of Kinsella’s best stories, including the short story Shoeless Joe Jackson Comes to Iowa, which was the seed for the novel Shoeless Joe.

Kinsella celebrated his 80th birthday on the 25th of May.

 

Interview conducted February 22, 2015.

Rob Darnell: Much of your work has to do with baseball. Do you closely follow the sport? What teams do you root for?

W.P. Kinsella: Not anymore. Loosely follow the Blue Jays. After the strike, I lost interest. In reality, neither players nor owners care in the least about the fans. The greed of both factions has destroyed baseball’s credibility, at least for the present.

RD: Are there any MLB players at all that you feel are not caught up in the greed?

WPK: As long as they are forced to belong to the Players Union, no. My hero will be the guy who tells the Union to get lost.

RD: MLB politics aside, do you still agree that the game is beautiful?

WPK: Yes.

RD: Are there college, minor league or independent teams that you pay any attention to?

WPK: No. Have never been a minor league fan.

RD: Did you play baseball when you were a kid? If you did, what positions did you prefer to play? And how well did you hit?

WPK: No. Played a little softball, but there was nowhere on the field it was safe for me to be.

RD: When did your interest in baseball start and what sparked the interest? What inspired you to mix baseball and magic together?

WPK: My dad talked a good game. A child got only the World Series on the radio.

RD: What is the best World Series you can think of and what made it great?

WPK: 1946, if my memory is correct. Harry “The Cat” Brecheen went against the Red Sox in Game 7. I stayed home to listen, practically had my head inside the radio.

RD: What is your fondest baseball memory?

WPK: Seeing Bob Forsch pitch a no hitter against Montreal.

RD: Both, Harry Brecheen and Bob Forsch, played for the St. Louis Cardinals. You have fond memories of both of them. Does that mean you were once a Cardinal fan? If yes, why are the Cardinals not your team anymore and when did your love for them die?

WPK: I became exclusively an American League fan when they instituted the DH rule, and will remain so until the National League moves out of the dark ages.

RD: Over the years you’ve seen many players come and go. Who are the players that you admired the most? And what was it about them that made them admirable?

WPK: Yogi Berra, Bill Lee, they were irreverent, poked fun at the stodgy owners and managers. Curt Flood, of course, was in a class by himself, a true hero.

RD: In the early years, you had to listen to the games on the radio. Do you remember the first game you saw on TV? Was there any difficulty in making the transition from radio to TV? Was it more enjoyable to watch than listen to the games?

WPK: Guess about 1954. Until Color TV came along, BW TV was too muddy to be enjoyable.

RD: What was the first professional baseball game you had been to? And how old were you? Can you describe the experience?

WPK: Edmonton Vs Calgary, 1946, age 10. First Major League game was San Francisco Vs L.A. Don Drysdale Vs Juan Marichal. Drysdale won. Didn’t realize how lucky I was.

RD: Have you been to many MLB games? What professional baseball parks have you been to?

WPK: At one time I’d been to every park except Baltimore and Houston, but can’t even keep track of who plays where these days.

RD: In your opinion, who is the greatest baseball player of all time?

WPK: It is hard to compare the eras, but Joe Jackson and Ty Cobb from the past, Sandy Koufax and Roger Clements from the present.

RD: Do you like any other sports, such as football, basketball or hockey? If so, what are your teams?

WPK: I’m a big fan of curling, follow all the major world events. Watch all four Tennis majors. Basketball is the worst sport. They need to raise the basket at least two feet.

RD: You and Ray have the same last name. Is there more that the two of you have in common? Does Ray Kinsella mirror much of yourself?

WPK: Ray is named for a Salinger short story character, but he mirrors some of my thoughts and experiences era 1980.

RD: I’m a Detroit Tiger fan, so I want to know, what does the voice in Ray Kinsella’s cornfield have to say about the chances of the Tigers winning the World Series this year?

WPK: Slim and slimmer.

RD: What do you say about Kevin Costner’s portrayal of Ray Kinsella?

WPK: Couldn’t be better.

RD: You were happy with Field of Dreams. What about the other film and TV adaptations of your work?

WPK: Pretty pitiful. I was lucky to get one good adaptation. Field of Dreams the Musical is lurking in the wings. Hope it will provide my daughters with a ton of money someday.

RD: You’re also known for writing about First Nations people. What sparked your interest in that area?

WPK: Found a good voice and took advantage of it. Each of my specialties was like a prospector discovering a vein of gold. I worked each until the vein was exhausted.

RD: In 2010, you said that the state of the book industry was such that you would not be able to break in if you were just starting out. It’s 2015 now. In your opinion, is the situation better or worse than it was five years ago?

WPK: I think it is worse for a mid-list author such as myself. You either have to sell like Stephen King or go with the small presses where there is no money. I was lucky to have been in the right place and time for many years.

RD: What would improve the situation for mid-list writers?

WPK: Less greed on the part of both publishers and chain booksellers. It is easier for them to publish and sell only blockbusters and leave the real work to small presses.

RD: Though you are a mid-list writer, has your writing made you a comfortable living? Would you say the larger portion of your income came from your novel sales or your short story sales?

WPK: In the 70s and 80s, I made a good living. Have managed my funds carefully, will never have to go out and cadge quarters from the tourists. My main income came from failed movie and TV options.

RD: I read somewhere that you were reading books when you were five years old. What are some of your childhood favorites?

WPK: Discovered W. Somerset Maugham in about 5th grade. Didn’t understand the plots, but loved the descriptions.

RD: And for that matter, what are some of the best books you’ve read over the years?

WPK: The Great Gatsby, the finest novel ever written. Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, Anne Tyler, In Watermelon Sugar, Richard Brautigan, What The Crow Said, Robert Kroetsch.

RD: Outside of baseball and reading, what are some of your fondest childhood memories?

WPK: Uneventful, though isolated childhood. Good, kind, stable parents.

RD: You’re a tournament Scrabble player. What is your highest achievement in the game? And how long have you been playing?

WPK: I’ve played tournaments for about 20 years. My daughter, Erin, who lives with me, also travels to tournaments. While I’m not a top division player, I’ve won a number of tournaments. Won Portland one year at about 19/3.

RD: You’re going to be 80 on May 25th. Do you have anything special planned for your birthday?

WPK: Going to a Scrabble tournament in Edmonton in May, so will celebrate with family there. My agent, Carolyn Swayze, is planning a “surprise” party on the actual day.

RD: This last question is from your novel Shoeless Joe. If you could do anything you wanted to do–if you could take time and turn it in your hands like rubbing up a new baseball; if you could stop somewhere in time, and in the silence and mystery and calm of that situation you could have a wish…?

WPK: I lost my wife Barbara to cancer two years ago. I would give whatever time I have left to spend one more day with her.