Wednesday, December 26, 2007

While I was away...

Though I was in Vegas for only 4 days, it feels like I've been away from the blog much longer. I'll admit that I missed having the pulpit, no matter how small, to voice my opinions. So I'm going to try and make up for lost time.

Leaving the Lions out of the equation, which is always a good idea, there were two stories that broke in the D while I was drinking and gambling up a storm in the pacific time zone.

Story 1 - Dontrelle Willis signs a 3 year, $29 million deal with the Tigers:

I wonder if Rob Parker still thinks Dave Dombrowski is the worst GM in Detroit? As we all know that Parker is, to put it gently, mentally challenged, I'm sure he does. But everyone else in their right mind has realized by now that Dombrowski is in the same realm as the other master team builders in town, Joe Dumars and Ken Holland. The singing of Willis is just another example as to why Dombrowski is acknowledged as one of MLB's best GM's.

Think about it. For less money than career stiff Carlos Silva received from the desperate for starting pitching Mariners, the Tigers locked up a former 20 game winner who hasn't yet reached his prime. Let alone there's the fact they bought out Willis' first year of free agency.

Yes, Willis did have a down season in 2007, mostly due to his pitching through injuries. Let's not forget he's only 2 seasons removed from a 22 win season. Willis has a proven track record of past success, even dominance, something you can't say about any of the free agent starting pitching that was available this off season.

Even if the D-Train doesn't pitch up to his 2005 level, but closer to his career averages, the Tigers are still well ahead of the game. They'll be getting a starter with a career ERA under 4, who'll give you 200+ innings, and win 15 games. On many teams, I just described their number 1 starter. On the Tigers, Willis is 3rd in the rotation. In other words, the Tigers have a a young pitcher, who is capable of being ace, in the middle of their rotation. That's a rotation most every team in MLB would love.

Inking Willis long-term is well worth the risk. I wouldn't even call the signing a risk, I call it smart management.

Story 2 - Rich Rodriguez gives the entire Michigan Wolverines coaching staff the ziggy:

As I was riding from one casino to another on Friday night, I figured it would be a good time to whip out my phone to check the headlines back home in Detroit, as I was still sober enough to read them.

Then I saw the following headline on the Freep's front page...

BIG HOUSECLEANING: Rich Rodriguez fires all of Carr's assistants

Once I made sure I wasn't drunkenly imagining things (that came later...), it finally hit home. This is no longer Bo's Wolverines.

The first thing that came to my mind was, "I'm thirsty, I need a drink!" Once that was out of the way, I thought about Michigan. My knee-jerk reaction? "That's fucking harsh!" The more I thought about it though, I knew that cutting ties with the vast majority of Carr's coaching staff was what needed to be done.

The Michigan program has to stop looking back, and start looking forward. The Rodriguez hire was their first step in doing so. Now the old Blues need to get out of his way, and let him do the job he was hired to do. Make Michigan once again a feared powerhouse, a national title threat most every season.

That wasn't going to happen if Coach Rod allowed the Mike Debord's of the world to stick around, and continually say, "That's not how Bo would have done it." It's no longer 1977, and "How Bo would have done it" mantra no longer works in 2007. It only lead to Michigan losing to the Appalachian States of the world.

There is a need for some continuity in both the athletic department, and for the current crop of recruits, and that was done with Rodriguez rehiring head recruiter and backs coach Fred Jackson. I'm sure there will be a 1-2 other holdovers from Carr's staff, such as QB coach Scott Loeffler.

I'm fine with Rodriguez cherry picking the best of Carr's assistants. That's smart on his part. But there's no need to carry over the stick in the mud, backwards thinking cronies that made up the majority of Carr's staff.

So I don't want to hear Michigan fans and alumni bitching about "tradition" and "the Michigan way" after the assistants were deservedly shit canned. Those same fans and alumni were screaming for Carr's scalp after the embarrassing Appalachian State and Oregon losses. They wanted heads to roll. Well, those heads are now rolling. You got what you wished for, change. Now is not the time to fear it. It's the 21st century folks, and that's the landscape in college football today.

It's no longer Lloyd Carr's, and by extension, Bo Schembechler's, program. It's Rich Rodriguez's. If Rodriguez needs to step on some old Blue toes, and fly in the face of "tradition" and "the Michigan way" in order to make it his program, more power to him.

1 comment:

  1. Some clown in Ohio says that the hiring of Rich at UM is the best possible outcome... For the Buckeyes. He says that the Spread will no longer be working by the time they get in legitimate spread players (i.e. a fast, tricky, smart QB), and thus UM will be behind the Bucks again. Not to mention that he's positive that RR can't win the Big Ones.

    Since Michigan won't be able to run the Spread effectively, and since by then Tressel will have created the Next Big Thing, he's basically already started the countdown to the Ziggy.

    I personally would like to think that a coach who can create an offensive system like RR did, can probably come up with another system as well. Or is Tressel the only coach smart enough to do that?