Monday, January 29, 2007

Detroit Pistons Mid-Season Report Card

O.k, so my Radiohead-esque (where they go to the brink of irrelevancy, keep their fans on edge by constantly hinting that they are quitting, before releasing an album every fifth year and having critics and fans fawn over them and hail them as the greatest band since Jesus Christ's 3 year stint in The Kingston Trio,) approach to posting has not been very well received and I've been justifiably called out in the comments section for being lazy, and I have no excuse. I promised at the beginning of the new year to dedicate myself to posting more often and expanding the scope of my blog, and then spent the first month of 2007 ignoring this site, and posting more sporadically then ever. Anyways my new goal is to get back to the level I was at before my three month hiatus, to be linked to consistently on Deadspin, and get my readership back over two hundred people a day, and if I fail, mark my words, I will burn the city of Clio to the ground. Anyways to get the ball rolling I've decided to break out my favorite over-used, gimmicky, oh-my-god-Chris-McCosky-handed-in-a-drunken-half-assed-Pistons-report-card-instead-of-writing-a-real-column, ploy by handing out grades for the Pistons. Wait, wasn't I just making fun of writers for doing this exact same thing, that doesn't make sense. Well you know what? It doesn't have to because I'm beautiful, and I'm wearing a tie. On to the grades.

Chauncey Billups: O.k. after watching Flip Murray as point guard/abomination during the eight games Chauncey missed with a calf strain, I don't think anyone would argue with the assertion that Chauncey is hands down the most integral and valuable player on the Pistons team. Not that anyone was arguing with me other then some schizophrenic Jamaican guy at the gas station on Palmer and Woodward, (I know I've said this before, but if there is something funnier then alcoholic dementia I haven't seen it) and he made an intriguing case for Adrian Dantley.....but I digress. Anyways Mr. Davidson needs to give Chauncey a blank check after this season, because as hard as it was to see Ben Wallace leave, the prospect of seeing Billups in a Bucks jersey would be as disturbing as that time I saw Louie Anderson naked. Grade: A-

Rip Hamilton: Rip is having a typical Rip-like season, and has been the teams most consistent scoring threat including scoring 20+ in eleven straight games. He's also giving Tayshaun Prince a run for his money for the most poorly acted T.V. commercial by a local athlete. Those two could really learn something from Joel Zumaya, "Now that's fast !!!". Grade B+

Tayshaun Prince: I'll admit it, I've never really warmed to Tayshaun. He's probably my least favorite of the four mainstays, and I don't know why. Maybe it's because my friend's and I attended a game 2 season's ago, where we sat in front of two teenage girls who sat there and screamed Tay-tay, tay-tay, tay-tay, tay-tay, over and over again for 48 straight minutes and were probably disappointed that Tayshaun didnt take them to a hotel room to get them drunk and try to sleep with them even though my friends and I were trying to offer the same thing, and no I'm not bitter. Oh well, Tayshauns game has improved this year and he'll probably continue to do so as the season progresses. Grade A-

Rasheed Wallace: Sheed's been mailing it in like crazy this season, averaging his lowest point total since his rookie season, and openly chafing at Flip Saunders. However off the court he's been having another fantastic season from confronting the pasty, whiny, annoying, Chris Sheridan at practice (I hate Chris Sheridan with a passion, he makes me long for the sensual Chad Ford), to making the surreal Jingle Bells Christmas video that can be found on Need4Sheed. Grade On Court: B- Off Court: A+

Chris Webber: I still can't believe C-Webb plays for the Pistons. Sure he can't move laterally, and he's replaced Ken Griffey Jr. as the athlete whose aged horribly and makes me feel really, really old. I remember going to games at Crisler Arena as a kid to watch the Fab Five and seeing a young, spry C-Webb run the floor, rebound, and play above the rim, and now 15 years later he's a baggy-eyed, one-legged, shell of his former self. Wait 15 years?!? Holy hell, I am old....I need to go lay down....O.k. I'm back, but seriously, C-Webb in Detroit, for nothing, I think they are paying him minimum wage plus tips from the estate of Ed Martin, and he's going to put us over the top in the Eastern I love Billy King. Hopefully he'll continue to trade for bad contracts, buy them out after a few months, and allow them to sign as free agents for the Pistons. Grade: I (he hasn't played enough, never mind I'm too excited about this) A.

Antonio McDyess: McDyess has easily had his worst season in his three years stint with the Pistons, but his play seems to have picked up over the last two weeks or so. I've always been a big McDyess fan dating back to his mini-mutiny against that hideous, Leather Monster Dan Issel nearly seven years ago. The only thing I ask for in a sixth man is consistency, nothing drives me crazier then a wildly inconsistent bench players (I'm looking at you Flip), and McDyess is about as solid as it gets, similar to what Big Nasty gave the Pistons during their title season. Grade B+.

Lindsey Hunter: Lindsey Hunter is in the midst of his 14th season as a regular rotation player in the NBA, and he's only shot over 40% four times in his career, and he hasnt been over 37% in four years. I find this incredible. The biggest knock on players coming out of college is that they can't shoot, yet the league is flooded w/ backups who struggle to make more then 2/5ths of their shots. I'm not trying to rip Lindsey because I like him......kind a person, not so much as a player though. I think backup point guard is the one area that the Pistons could really stand to improve before the trade deadline. Grade: C

Carlos Delfino: I expected big things from Carlos heading into this season, and thought his role would expand immensely as the first SG/SF off the bench, but it hasnt panned out that way so far with that worthless bastard Flip Murray getting an ass ton of minutes for some preposterous reason that I'm not even going to pretend to understand (I know that's the third time I've ripped Murray in this post, but I really loathe the guy, I've become hostile towards his mere presence on the television screen). His numbers are pretty much in line with his rookie season and he hasn't turned into the Mini-Manu I thought he was going to become. Oh well there is still time for him to redeem himself. Grade: C+

Flip Murray: Wow, I don't even know where to begin with this. Flip Murray may be the worst point guard in the history of any level....ever. Those 8 games he started in place of Chauncey were 8 separate 3 hour horrific nightmares. I don't want to pile on but I think I could do a better job of setting up the offense and quarterbacking the team then Flip, and I can hardly dribble with my left hand. The rumors of course are that Flip will be traded, released or banished back to the ninth circle of hell from which he came. Grade: F-

Nazr Mohammed: Speaking of people likely to get traded, Nazr has seen his minutes disappear with the signing of C-Webb. Before the season I compared him favorably to Ben Wallace, and I thought he had played well during his first couple of months, but for some reason he fell out of favor with the coaching staff. I also liked his high and tight haircut w/ the moustache, which looked like Play from House Party, (since Nazr's been racking up DNP's lately, I think they should make a Kid n' Nazr movie during one of the games, someone get a Wayans brother on this) but, alas, it looks like he's on his way out. This really hasnt been one of Dumars' more impressive free agent classes. Grade: B-

Will Blalock: Well he certainly isn't making anyone forget the immortal Alex Acker. Umm, Blalock, Blalock, does anyone care what I have to say about the Pistons second round, rookie, 3rd string point guard......probably not. Grade: D, who cares, this grade is completely arbitrary and capricious.

Dale Davis: Ol' Crazy Eyes is currently wrestling with Nazr for the title of Piston most likely to be traded, because of his expiring contract and sheer worthlessness to the current rotation. I've never really understood D squared's role with the Pistons in his 1 and a half seasons in Detroit, but he must be good at his job, whatever that is. Besides, I was talking to Elden Campbell the other day while he was working at Long John Silver's and he said he could give the Pistons what Davis does for the veterans minimum, so the Pistons have options. Grade: B-

Amir Johnson: Amir has only played in 4 games this season for the Pistons but has been a dominant force in the NBDL, an has GM's blowing up Dumars' phone line in an effort to pry him away from the Pistons. Reportedly the Pistons have deemed him untouchable although there is always the possibility that Danny Ainge would offer Paul Pierce, and the Celtics unprotected first round pick for Johnson straight up. Or Billy King would give up Iguodala and seven number ones for him. Seriously if I were Dumars I would shop him and try to fleece one of the 27 illiterate, backward, incompetent GM's that run teams in the NBA, i.e. Ainge, King, Knight, Mullin, McHale, etc. Grade: I

Ronald Dupree: Apparently Dupree has appeared in 13 games this season and I can't remember one of them. However, I did run into him about a week before Christmas while shopping at Somerset. I turned the corner and saw a congregation of people and knew immediately it had to be an athlete, and sure enough there were about 10 people surrounding Rip and asking for his autograph, and standing off to the side about 3 feet away, loaded down with gift bags and boxes, and standing by himself was Ronald Dupree. I don't know if he was with Rip or just trying to get his autograph too, but I felt sorry him and said "Merry Christmas Dup", and he sort of glared at me. Jerk. Grade D

Sunday, January 07, 2007

My Top 5: Favorite Tigers

In lieu of starting this semester off on the right foot and getting a head start on the thousands of pages of reading that will be assigned over the course of the next thirteen weeks I'm going to write a post that I've been meaning to get to since I started this site but have neglected due to sheer laziness. I'm going to count down my five favorite players ever to don the Olde English D. This list is not based on performance, character, standing in the community or any other rational basis of judgment but rather a completely arbitrary decision by me, where something as small as a fleeting glance or a bat of the eyelashes means as much as a powerful homerun or overwhelming fastball. This list could just as likely include Raul Casanova (not bloody likely) as much as it would Cecil Fielder. I'll try to keep the sappy sentimentality crap to a minimum because I am an emotionless robot confused and irritated by this feeling you call "love". Enough...........on to the list.

Honorable mention: Rob Deer, Nook Logan: Deer almost makes the list for obvious reasons. 1:
The absolute apex of the white trash look for baseball players (rivaled only by fellow Tiger Dan Gladden) with his mullet flowing from under his batting helmet and his infamous wispy moustache that made women swoon and bloggers name their sites after it. 2: He harkens back to the simpler times before sabermetric robots like Rob Neyer made stats like OBP important, and guys like Deer and Steve Balboni could justify their .192 BA's and 180 K's w/ 25 homeruns and be considered power threats instead of swirling black vortexes of lineup production, (sigh).

Logan would have had real chance of cracking the top 3 had his stay in Detroit lasted longer then
half a season. I loved how fast he was around the bases, how he broke his hat off as far as possible, the bunt singles, his name, his laid back demeanor, everything. Also his robbing two homers in a game against the Orioles might be my most memorable and enjoyable Tigers moment ever before last season's playoff run. He's already my favorite Washington National, (sorry Mathew LeCroy) and if you read any of my blog entries from two years ago you'll see why I now have to stay 500 feet away from Nook at all times.

5: Deivi Cruz: During the 1999, 2000 seasons I would argue passionately with anyone who
would listen, (my dog, my grandfather, a parrot, etc.) that Deivi Cruz deserved to be mentioned in the same breath as the other elite A.L. shortstops of the time (A-Rod, Jeter, Nomar, and Tejada), a position that was completely indefensible and insane, but I stood by it. I always thought he looked as though he was made out of plastic like a Starting Lineup and his rigid movement seemed to support this belief as he was a machine at grounding into double plays and had a range at shortstop that was one step to his right and zero steps to his left. A friend of a friend of mind nicknamed him "Shufflebutt", which I thought was the most appropriate nickname for any athlete.........ever. I was beside myself when the Tigers non-tendered him and let him walk as a free agent believing he would turn into the next Luis Gonzalez as a former Tiger who flourished after leaving Detroit, and as in many instances when I let my emotions get in the way I was dead wrong. Regardless I enjoyed the Deivi era enough for him to crack number 5 on the list.

4: Steve Sparks: I remember when Sparks came out of nowhere in a rather forgettable 2000
season as a 34 year old journeyman knuckleballer to go 5-1 in the month of August which was good enough to establish himself as the de facto "ace" of the staff. Sparks had the kind of persona that one would envision a journeyman knuckleballer to have, a kind of laid back, sarcastic sense of humor, (unlike that womanizing, alcoholic prick Hoyt Wilhelm) with a "I can't believe I'm pitching in the big leagues with a fastball that wouldn't break a pane of glass" giddyness. He also scored bonus points for nearly ending his career by injuring his shoulder while trying to rip a phone book in half, a feat of stupidity that sounds like something my roommate and I would try in a fit of late night boredom. After he signed an extension to stay in Detroit I seriously considered buying an authentic Steve Sparks jersey but didn't because apparently purchasing jerseys involves a monetary transaction, which was beyond my means at the time, and was fortuitous as Sparks struggled and was eventually released.

3: Curtis Granderson: He's quickly moving his way up the list and if he has a few more stellar
seasons could pose a real threat to knock off the long reigning No: 1. I wanted to hate Granderson this season because I thought he usurped the centerfield position from the aforementioned Nook Logan. However Granderson was stellar from the start and Nook slowly faded from my memory leading to the inevitable emotional demise of me and Nook's relationship, (you knew what this was Nook). I like Granderson's style, personality, and he seems like a guy I could hang out with and go to Talib Kweli concerts in a vain attempt to not look like a nerdy white guy. As the season progressed I found myself doodling his name on my book covers, signing documents as Mrs. Andrew Granderson, and hanging pictures of him in my locker, and one day he actually said my name when I was outside his apartment, either that or "Hey you behind the bushes", whatever.

2: Matt Anderson: Anderson may be one of the biggest draft busts ever but he comes in at No. 2 on this list. The thing I like most about Anderson was his style, (like I said this list isnt based on any important facts/statistics), if I were a baseball player I would probably have a similar style to
Anderson, ill fitting jersey from being tall and insanely skinny, with a three quarter length sleeve cutoff sweatshirt underneath, long hair, lackadaisical approach, (it's never a good sign when a closer has the same reaction to a 100mph strikeout as he does a walk off grand slam), although I might have slightly more movement on my fastball, ( this may be true because I have grotesquely long fingers, like a mortician in a Disney cartoon, if only I could throw hard, locate and develop a second pitch I would be thhiiiiiiisssssssss close). Also for the past five years I've wore my hair long and it's because of Anderson. In the summer of 2001 I vowed not to cut my long, flowing, beautiful locks until the next time Anderson blew a save, which I figured would be a matter of hours if not minutes. Of course he didnt blow a save until late September by which time I looked like disheveled homeless man, a look that I still wear to this day to as much success with women as Anderson was having in the Mexican Slo-Pitch Softball League this past season.

1: Mickey Tettleton: No one person had a bigger influence on my childhood then Mickey Tettleton. I was completely obsessed with him and emulated his mannerisms as much as I could. Froot Loops became my breakfast cereal of choice, I held my bat at hip level much to the consternation of my Little League coaches, I played catcher, was snubbed by the Little League All-Star team and exclusively chewed Red Man Brand Tobacco in 3rd grade. I developed an immense hatred for Chad Kreuter that continues to this day, sent Tettleton autograph requests on a daily basis none of which he ever returned, but that still wasn't enough to dissuade me from liking him. I still own nearly 10,000 of his baseball cards including this really creepy Leaf Studio card that frightened me so much I went and buried it in the back yard. Nearly fifteen years after he left I can still recall all of his statistics and when I decided to start this blog two seasons ago there was no question about who it would be named after. So there you have it you didn't ask for it but you received it.