Sunday, June 29, 2008
This past weekend, I had the chance to spend a few days helping cover the Buick Open up at Warrick Hills in Grand Blanc. There was no Tiger, no Phil, no Vijay, and only two of the world's top ten golfers were there. Despite all these pitfalls, it turned out to be one of the best events I've gotten to attend this year. People in the media wanted to say that this tournament had no appeal and with Tiger out for the rest of the year, the game of golf would be in a tailspin. The exact opposite happened, as a wild pro-am and competitive finish allowed the Buick Open to post above-average attendance numbers.
One way the Buick Open drew people to the gates was with the Pro-Am on Wednesday. The feature group on this day included Kid Rock and John Daly, which turned out to be one of the oddest rounds of golf ever played. It included Kid Rock coming out of the clubhouse wearing denim overhauls, white undershirt, and a fedora. The fun didn't stop there as Rock and Daly both prompted the gallery to make noise and do the wave while they were taking their cuts at the ball. This was a gallery straight from Happy Gilmore, and was comprised of more groupies than golfers. The highlight of the round was when Rock gave Daly a full can of Budweiser and Daly then used it as a golf tee, smashing the ball 305 yards and spraying the gallery with beer in the process. The gallery was 4 people deep on each hole, and the Buick organizers (who each had nervous grins on their faces during the round, as if anticipating a disaster at any moment) reaped the benefits of increased ticket sales due to the pairing.
The tournament also provided much drama, as Kenny Perry came from 7 strokes back on the 2nd day to win the tournament by one stroke over Bubba Watson. Watson had a chance to force it to a playoff but his birdie putt fell inches short of the hole. While the tournament may not have had a superstar, it was a family friendly event,with many of the players stopping to sign autographs between holes and to give a golf ball to a kid on the boundary ropes. I know Stu went on Friday and although temperatures got into the 90's, it still provided a lot of fun.
The next tournament to come through Southeast Michigan is the PGA Championship at Oakland Hills in Bloomfield Hills. I highly recommend going, as this is the last major tournament of the year and the final Ryder Cup qualifying tournament. The competition should be great, and it's one of the few events left where you get to walk the side by side with your favorite player. Although golf on TV might not exactly be a rip-roaring good time, watching a live PGA event is a great summer treat that everyone can enjoy.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
8:06pm- Stan Love flashback. I'm thinking he needs to bring back the long hair as long as Kevin is going to rock that weird-ass beard.
8:08pm- New York fans just received the news that they have selected Danilo Gallinari and is about to be booed off stage. Even without Isiah, these people are still pissed. There is no pleasing these people. I smell a bust with this pick.
8:09pm- Friscilla just held up Gallinari's new shoe called "The Rooster." Not only is it the ugliest shoe I have ever seen, but how can a guy get his own shoe deal when no one has ever heard of him?!
8:11pm- Gallinari seems like a nice kid. I feel bad for him 'cuase he can't even hear Stephen A. Smith over all the boos... Looks like a deer in the headlights. Says his favorite player is Tayshaun Prince. Obviously, the last four years of the NBA have not been seen by Italians yet.
8:14pm- Eric Gordon just went 7th to the Clips. I really like this pick. 3 of his 6 highlights on the tape they just showed are against Michigan. This is the only time we will see the Wolverines in the draft so cherish the moment.
8:16pm- If Stephen A. Smith asks one more draft pick what he brings to the team, I'm going to hurl.
8:18pm- I'm flipping over to Last Comic Standing for a moment, even though I got it on TiVo. My pick for this year is Rod G.
8:20pm- Bucks just went with Joe Alexander, a former John Beilein recruit. Had a great NCAA tournament . I think we will look back and say Darrell Arthur was the better Forward, but a solid pick for the time being.
8:19pm- Joe Alexander sounds like an Army cadet in his interview with Stephen A. Dude, relax! It's the NBA Draft...might as well enjoy it because he will spend the next 3 years in the Milwaukee boondocks.
8:26pm- Bobcats just took DJ Augustin. I'm a little confused, but Rob had this pick correct in his Mock Draft. Rob went 60% in the first ten picks. Hopefully he and his Sixers are rewarded with Arthur at 16.
8:28 pm- Stu's boy Brook Lopez is literally shedding tears over not being taken by the Bobcats. If I'm him, I'm just glad Jordan didn't pick me. The last big man MJ selected in the first round was umm, lemme check here.... Oh yeah! KWAME BROWN... Be happy, Brook. You dodged a bullet.
8:31pm- Lopez didn't have to wait long because the Nets have just called his number. He fell a long ways as Stu had him going 4th to the Sonics. He only played half the season at Stanford, but he made it count in the tourney. I like his potential.... I'd still like to see Stephen A. ask him why he was crying, though.
8:35pm- Holy S^%$!!!! Brook Lopez sounds exactly like Sean Penn in "Fast Times..." He talks like he's a beach bum, but has the same tone as Cookie Monster has in his voice. He can't interview, but he's got a mean turnaround.
8:36pm-Jerryd Bayless just got picked by the Pacers. He's a project but it doesn't bug me that much, seeing as the Pacers are about to get TJ Ford. Would have liked to see them take a big man to replace O'Neal though.
8:37pm- Tim from Varsity Blue says "THIS LIVE BLOG IS GREAT. by which I mean terrible. Matt Boyer is the only contributor wirth his weight on this awful blog." I don't know if I should be insulted or just happy someone is reading. I'll go with the latter and keep going.
8:38pm- Kings take Jason Thompson out of Rider. Wow. A MAAC player was taken 11th?!? I heard the Pistons like his offensive skills and inside-outside game... but that was at 29. Chad Ford had him falling to 29 too. This is the biggest reach since the Lions took Gosder Cherilus at 16 in April's NFL Draft.
8:48pm- Blazers take Brandon Rush. I think he's been one of the most underrated players in the draft and will be a Pippen-like defender in Portland. Look out for these guys in the playoffs in '09.
8:50pm- Andrew Seid just texted," Grizzlies new dynamic duo.. the Gay-Love connection." I can't believe I didn't think of that! There's enough material there to fill at least 2 minutes of a pre-season game for a broadcaster. Good catch by Andrew.
8:54pm- Golden State just selected Anthony Randolph of LSU. This is the player that worried me the most. He really didn't make a huge impact in the SEC and I didn't really hear about him, untill February. Most of the critics say his potnetial is his best attribute. I don't like it.
8:56pm- Dick Vitale just professed his undying affection for Kevin Love. He also just called Gallinari the next Darko in the draft. I have to agree. He even looks like Darko a little bit. Minus the bleach blonde hair.
8:58pm- Speaking of hair, Robin Lopez just got drafted by the Suns. The hat won't fit over his 'fro. I like th pick, because Terry Porter is a defensive guy. I got to hear Porter speak at Pistons practice during the playoffs and I like his style. Lopez's strengths on the glass and defense fits Porter's style very nicely.
8:58pm- Robin doesn't sound like his brother in his interview, but it's close. Much more reserved.
8:59pm- I was really hoping Lopez would have fallen to the Cavs, just so I could watch Lopez and Varejao play side by side in the post. They have the exact same Side-Show Bob 'fro.
9:04pm- 76ers on the clock. After the pick, I wish we could go to Rob via video conference to get his take on the decision.
9:05pm-Maurice Speights goes to Philly. I'm not sure I'd take him here, with Arthur still on the board. If I'm a Philly fan, I'd be kind of pissed, but I'd like to hear what Rob has to say.
9:08pm- Raptors pick for Indy and take Roy Hibbert. Stu's ideal pick for the Cavs is off the board. Stu's potential nightmare of drafting Koufos of OSU is getting closer and closer. Arthur is looking very lonely in the green room.
9:10pm- I think Hibbert is going to be a bench player for most of his career, but seeing as he is going to Indy and would have to guard Rasheed or McDyess in the Central, I don't mind that much.
9:13pm- Of all the players to Wire-Up for sound, why Brook Lopez?!? He's like the NBA's own version of a "Valley Girl."
9:14pm- My boy Terry Porter on Robin Lopez: Took him for his defense. The Phoenix Suns are about to look totally different next year.
9:15pm- JaVale Mcgee to the Wizards. This is a good pick because it strengthens the front court of the Wizards. Gives Haywood some help in the middle. Solid pick.
9:17pm- Bayless was just traded to Portland and Rush was moved to Indiana... I'm not sure Rush knows who the coach of Indy is according to his interview with Andy Katz. He just said "that coach" when referring to Jim O'Brien.
9:19pm- Cavs are on the clock... and Koufos is on the board........
9:20pm- Cavs select NC State's JJ Hickson. I guess this makes sense being 6'9 in the Carlos Boozer mold. Stu, you dodged the proverbial bullet. Rob didn't even have Hickson in the first round.
9:26pm- Jay Bilas sounds like a used-car salesman trying to pawn off Koufos on the Bobcats. If I'm a Bobcat fan, I'm praying Jordan stays away from big men.
9:33pm- Just took my dog Obi out for the night. I'm pretty sure even he knew it would be a bad idea to take a center named Alexis. Jordan strikes again!!
9:35pm- NJ just took Ryan Anderson after getting Yi and Boby Simmons via trade today and already drafting Brook Lopez. I'm a little confused why they would need a third big man in Anderson after you traded for a guy (Yi) with the exact same skill set as Anderson.
9:39pm- Courtney Lee is taken by the magic. I really like the pick. He had his coming out party during the tournament and will be a nice player to compliment Nelson and Howard. He had the nicest jump shot I saw all year.
9:41pm- Rob had his confident prediction confirmed with Lee....Koufos selected by Utah. I don't like the pick because I didn't think he did that much to help the Buckeyes this year. He didn't stand out at all when I saw him play against weak Big Ten Competition this year.
9:47pm- Andrew has turned to a higher power and is now praying Arthur falls to the Spurs. This is a strong possibility since Houston and Seattle seem set at the 4 spot.
9:50pm- Sonics take Serge Ibaka from the Congo. This guy will stay overseas for at least another year. I feel bad for the Sonics, becaause this pick should have alienated whatever fan base they had left. Your franchise is on life support and select a no name from the Congo? At least take a name that might sell some tickets.
9:53pm- Doris Burke just told Arthur that many players have had success and were never drafted. I'm sure this is just what he wants to hear. In other news, Stan Van Gundy loves buffets.
9:54pm- Rockets take Batum of France. I've never seen the guy play so I'm not going to act like I know what is going on. San Antonio is next and the Spurs have Arthur to themselves if they want him. Bucher reports he has kidney issues, which is the reason he has fallen so far
10:02pm- Spurs go with George Hill, guard from IUPUI. I'm a little confused because he is a 6'2 slashing guard. Andrew says "Whoa...didn't see that coming."
10:03pm-The Hornets select Darrell Arthur for Portland. I'm happy to see him go to Portland. He is a great player that I was able to see in Detroit for the NCAA tourney. Great pick and will help make Portland scary good in 3 years.
10:15pm- Memphis is next with Detroit on deck.... please don't let Memphis take CDR, please don't take CDR...
10:16pm- The Grizz take Donte Green... Bilas calls him a wing athlete... I thought Memphis already had Rudy Gay? I shouldn't be surprised since this pick came from the same guy who traded Pau Gasol to LA for Kwame Brown and some beach side real estate in Malibu. CDR to Detroit? I hope it comes true.
10:22pm- *$&%!!!!!!!!!!! DJ WHITE?!?! I absolutely hate this pick. He is another Corliss Williamson type player. I understand the Piston are in the midst of moving some guys, but Joe went from drafting Stuckey last year to this... This smells of 2003.
10:28pm- Apologies to Andrew... he called this pick when SA was picking. I'm about to go eat an entire Hot N' Ready and drink heavily to help soothe that Piston's pick.
10:30pm- Boston is next. I'm still sad about that Piston's pick but this week hasn't been a total loss... I got to see John Daly hit a ball 300 yards off a beer can on Wednesday... so I got that going for me.
10:32pm- J.R. Giddens closes the first round to Boston. Transferred from KU to NMU early in his career. Don't think this kid will make the roster on what is already a loaded team. Can you say D-League?
10:36pm- Stu Scott briefly mentioned White might've been on the move.... hopefully that comes true as my blood pressure is slowly returning to normal levels.
Thanks for reading the blog. I'm off to bed because I need to be up early for the Buick Open tomorrow. My winner for the draft was Portland and loser was the Nets or Pacers (tie). Hope everyone is enjoying their summer and have a safe Fourth of July for all those going on vacation.
#1 CHICAGO BULLS: G Derrick Rose (Memphis)
#2 MIAMI HEAT: F Michael Beasley (Kansas State)- I think Beasley will be taken 2nd. If the T’Wolves fail to take Mayo third, then the Heat and Clippers could make a blockbuster trade involving Brand and Marion.
#3 MINNESOTA T’WOLVES: G OJ Mayo (USC)
#4 SEATTLE SONICS: (traded to LA Clippers): G Eric Gordon (Indiana)
#5 MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES: C Kevin Love (UCLA)
#6 NY KNICKS: G Russell Westbrook (UCLA)- The Italian Danilo Gallinari is also an option for the Knicks in this position.
#7 LA CLIPPERS (traded to Sea Sonics): C Brook Lopez (Stanford)
#8 MILWAUKEE BUCKS: G Joe Alexander (West Virginia)-We’ll see if the Bucks go another direction with Jefferson now on the roster.
#9 CHARLOTTE BOBCATS: G DJ Augustin (Texas)-Biggest bust of the top ten picks. A great college player, but he is too small to contribute on the NBA level. Plus, if Michael Jordan likes you, that can’t be a great sign.
#10 NEW JERSEY NETS: F Danilo Gallinari (Italy)
#11 INDIANA PACERS: F Anthony Randolph (LSU)
#12 SACRAMENTO KINGS: G Jerryd Bayless (Arizona)- Either Augustin or Bayless will slide towards the end of the lottery. This would be a great steal for Reggie “Hangtime” Theus.
#13 PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS: G Mario Chalmers (Kansas)
#14 GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS: C Kosta Koufos (Ohio State)
#15 PHOENIX SUNS: G Brandon Rush (Kansas)
#16 PHILADELPHIA 76ERS: F Darrell Arthur (Kansas)- Not thrilled about this pick, but I like him more than Koufos, Speights, Lopez, Anderson, and Hibbert. At least, he can run the floor.
#17 TORONTO RAPTORS (traded to Ind Pacers): C Marreese Speights (Florida)
#18 WASHINGTON WIZARDS: C Robin Lopez (Stanford)
#19 CLEVELAND CAVS: F Ryan Anderson (Cal)- A chance to be an impact player immediately.
#20 DENVER NUGGETS (traded to Cha Bobcats): C Roy Hibbert (Georgetown)- No thank you.
#21 NEW JERSEY NETS: Alexis Ajinca (France)
#22 ORLANDO MAGIC: G Courtney Lee (Western Kentucky)- Pretty confident about this prediction.
#23 UTAH JAZZ: C Serge Ibaka (Spain)
#24 SEATTLE SONICS: C DeAndre Jordan (Texas A&M)
#25 HOUSTON ROCKETS: F Donte Greene (Syracuse)
#26 SAN ANTONIO SPURS: F Nicolas Batum (France)
#27 NEW ORLEANS HORNETS (traded to Por Blazers: C Ante Tomic (Croatia)
#28 MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES: C Javale McGee (Nevada)
#29 DETROIT PISTONS: G Chris Douglas-Roberts (Memphis)
#30 BOSTON CELTICS: C Omar Asik (Turkey)-I really hope I predict this one right.
- Chicago- Derrick Rose. Guard, Memphis. This pick shouldn't surprise anyone as we both agree on this pick due to Rose's versatility and quickness for a bigger guard. He will also benefit in playing for a young, athletic team and a hometown crowd. Welcome home, Mr. Rose.
- Miami- O.J. Mayo. Guard. USC. This was very much a Stu Zaas production, however, I can see his logic. A lot of questions are raised with Michael Beasley (his height is only 6'7, his character issues, his work ethic, etc.) that might not be worth taking such a huge risk at No. 2. I see him being a Glenn Robinson type player (O to burn...No D though). Mayo is an explosive guard that could give the Heat a franchise backcourt. Although I'd probably take Beasley. I gave Stu the nod and we'll give his pick the bold print here.
- Minnesota- Michael Beasley. Forward. KSU. Stu thinks Minny needs some help at the 3 spot while Al Jefferson and Corey Brewer progress. I think they should take instant offense in Mayo, and build around him and Jefferson.
- Seattle (or location TBD)- Jerryd Bayless. Guard. Arizona. Bayless gives the Sonics their first franchise PG since Gary Payton lead the team to a Finals appearance. He's a project, but has tremendous potential. Stu has Brook Lopez here, giving Durant some support up the middle. Stu says "premium on the big guys ...seattle/new orleans needs one.... they have guards and guards are a lot easier to come by."
- Memphis- Brook Lopez. Center. Stanford. This is a Matt pick, and one that should help fill the void left by the Gasol trade (and No, Kwame Brown doesn't count). Stu likes the Italian forward Gallinari here because of his outside game.
- New York- Eric Gordon. Guard. Indiana. Me and Stu both believe that Marbury and Crawford are both on the way out of New York within the next two years. This gives Mike D'antoni the run and gun 2-guard he covets in his 7 second offense.
- LA Clippers- DJ Augustin. Guard. Texas. I like Augustin here because of his ability to distribute the basketball and perimeter scoring. Has the ability to help Corey Maggette into a Tyson Chandler-esque transformation by drawing the defense and leaving Maggette open. Stu has Bayless falling here on his big board.
- Milwaukee- Brandon Rush. F/G. Kansas. Stu says "Brandon Rush...to replace Michael Redd who's coming to Cleveland. I have the rangy Gallinari here.
- Charlotte- Kevin Love. Center. UCLA. Stu made this intial pick which I can see. Okafor gets some help up front and completes a college all-star front court of Okafor, Love, and Sean May.
- New Jersey - Russel Westbrook. Guard. UCLA. This gives NJ some defensive help after Jason Kidd left the team devoid of defense at the guard position. They are just biding their time before the LeBron Sweepstakes open up in two seasons.
- Indiana- Mario Chalmers. Guard. Kansas. Plenty of Final Four players in this year's lotto. We both agree this is the spot for Chalmers as Tinsley is on his last legs as the Pacers veteran PG.
- Sacramento- Alexis Ajinca. Center. France. This will be a "project pick" with the final prdouct not complete for the next two years. Ajinca is a risk, but has the size and strength to bolster the Kings weak frontline. Stu has Anthony Randolph (another project pick) landing here.
- Portland- Stu has DJ Augustin and seeing as most draft boards have him here, I'll give Stu some credit on this pick. Portland needs a Chris Paul type point guard who can create for other players. Should be dynamic on the offensive end with Oden. I have Randolph here.
- Golden State- Kosta Koufos. Center. Ohio State. Stu has him here becuase he doesn't want this Buckeye anywhere near the Cavs at 19. He has Koufos as the biggest bust thus far. I have Joe Alexander here, as Al Harrington is reportedly being shopped to multiple teams.
- Phoenix- I have Brandon Rush here, filling the Shawn Marion void at the 3-spot as a defensive stopper for this team. Stu likes his KU teammate Mario Chalmers. Phoenix will look to bulk up defensively regardless with Terry Porter this year.
- Philadelphia- We both like Darrell Arthur here. Forward. Kansas. Arthur gives them a physical presence up front to help Sam Dalembert against the bigger frontcourts of Boston and Detroit in the East. Hopefully Sam brings back the mohawk and passes it on to future generations of Sixer players.
- Toronto- Robin Lopez. Center. Stanford. He should compliment Chris Bosh nicely by providing nice defensive help and is a great rebounder. Doesn't have much offensive but that's not going to factor into this decision too much. Me and Stu agree here as well.
This is where Stu started to fade as the lack of sleep got to him. But he fought on like a champ in a heavyweight fight...
18. Washington -Jason Thomson. F/C. Rider. Versatile scorer who could prove to be a nice complimentary forward to Jamison and Haywood up front. Could even be his replacement should the Wiz choose to ship Jamison out.
19. Cleveland- The reason Stu Zaas stayed one more hour. Roy Hibbert. Center. Georgetown. Stu likes the big men in this draft, and Hibbert fits the mold at 7'2. He would provide a nice back-up to Illgauskas, and will replace Varejao in the rotation, as he is reportedly very likely headed on his way out via trade.
20. Charlotte - JJ Hickson. Forward. NC State. Good forward to help bolster the front line/good PR move to help the good people of forget the draft blunder of Adam Morrison.
In the interest of time (and Stu's health) we fast forwarded through the rest of the first round.
21. New Jersey- Stu with Hickson here. I like Hibbert here. I'm a sucker for local picks.
22. Orlando- Maresse Speights. F/C. Florida. Nice hometwon project pick.
23. Utah- JaVale McGee. Center. Nevada
24. Seattle - Donte Green. Forward. Syracuse.
25. Houston - Serge Ibaka. Center. Congo. Will play in Europe at least 1 more year.
26. San Antonio- Bill Walker. Forward. KSU. Hard-worker at the 3 will make the Spurs very deadley within a year.
27. Portland- Nicolas Batum. Forward. France.
28. Memphis- Ante Tomic. Center. Croatia. The run on big men continues...
29. Detroit- Chris Douglas Roberts. Forward. Memphis. Great pick here as a hometown boy, blue collar worker on D, and ability to create his own shot. He will light the fire to be put under Tayshaun Prince's butt.
30. Boston- Courtney Lee. Guard. Western Kentucky. Hard-working SG could be seen as a steal this late within three years.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
- Derrick Rose will be better in the NBA than Michael Beasley
- Michael Beasley has character issues, so let's take OJ Mayo instead
- OJ Mayo is a great, honest, hard-working individual who is willing to put the team before himself
So in closing this rant, I just want to point out that, while the Bulls might take Derrick Rose with the number 1 pick on Thursday night, and the Heat might trade down so they can grab Mayo rather than Beasley, this could all result in Kevin McHale, the moron who traded KG to Boston for Al Jefferson and nothing else just to make his former teammates and fan base love him again (he had lost...that loving feeling...whoa, that loving feeling), getting the luck of Beasley dropping in his lap and setting up a frontcourt of Beasley, Jefferson, and insert random athlete/shooter here that will lead the T'Wolves back to the playoffs and possibly further than KG ever took them in all his years in Minny. The League of Ordinary GentleMens continues it's trend of one moron helping another moron keep his job...at least, we have the one year rule to keep these GMs from drowning the league in loser, undeveloped (but POTENTIALLY great) players who for the most part, make the game unbearable to watch, but that is a rant for another day.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Here's the text of the email I received on this past Wednesday that was forwarded from the U of M Kinesiology Depatment.
Turner Sports is looking for some help with a guerilla marketing campaign at the NASCAR race this weekend and they can earn a free ticket plus $100.
Here's the description from our Marketing Manager:
7-10 responsible young adults willing to hand out NASCAR.COM/TNT promotional items to ticket holders at Michigan International Speedway this Sunday (6/15) from 11am - 1pm. We will be able to provide 1 Sprint Cup ticket per person as well as $100 per person.
So, I figure this is a pretty good opportunity to make some money and experience something new. I got a couple friends to sign up with me and on Sunday we headed out to the Michigan International Speedway at 7 in the morning to make sure we got there by our new 9 AM start time.
We were expecting a huge crowd and along with it, a huge traffic jam, but MIS officials did a good job of converting US-12 - a two-lane highway - into a three lane road with all three lanes leading towards the racetrack.
We were also expecting there to be a lot of domestic cars and domestic beer at and around the track. This was confirmed when we passed the first tailgate about 10 miles away from the track complete with burgers, eggs, and of course bud light.
When we got to the track, we met up with the TNT guy who pointed us to a pile of boxes that needed to be hauled to the various guest service tents that surrounded the track. Ryan, from TNT assured us that the boxes weren't heavy which sounded good to us since the track was 2.5 miles long, meaning the walk around the outside of the track had to be at least three miles.
Turns out the boxes were heavy. Very heavy. Who would have known that paper fans (which consisted of a circular paper cut-out stapled to a popsicle stick) would weigh so much? We figure we hauled around about 25,000 of these fans to the tents over the course of about an hour. Lucky for us, we were able to hitch a few rides on golf carts passing by to save our backs from completely giving out.
Part of our compensation for this back-breaking (literally) work was a ticket to the race. None of us had ever seen a NASCAR race, whether it be live or on TV so we briefly considered staying and watching, however common sense kicked in and we decided to sell our seats.
To gauge the market value of our $85 face value seats I went up to a guy trying to scalp his and asked how much he wanted for it. His seats had a face of $95, his asking price was $75. I said no thanks, I wasn't looking to spend that much and started walking away.
"How 'bout $50?" he asked.
"No, no thanks"
"$30?" as we keep walking. "20? 10?" he pleaded to our backs.
This was a very discouraging sign as we began our quest to scalp our tickets. We thought we could make some good money since the race was sold out and there were about a million people milling around in their campers in makeshift campgrounds set up around the track's perimeter.
Eventually, after 45 minutes of walking around MIS we were able to sell all three tickets for a combined $85. While we were disappointed that we couldn't get more than 1/3 of face value, we were all pretty content that we just made $128 for about two hours of actual work (including the work of selling the tickets).
All-in-all, it was a pretty interesting experience. There is a TON of money pumped into the sport from advertising and sponsorship. Just about every type of product imaginable was being marketed at the track. Some examples:
Vault energy drink (made by coke)
The Discovery Channels's "Ice Road Truckers"
The National Gaurd
LifeLock - the overall sponsor of the race. Apparently they sell identity theft protections. I'd never heard of them...
those are just a few of the sponsors that had booths set up selling or giving away products before the race.
Preconceived notions going into the race and how they turned out:
1) Lots of rednecks
It turns out NASCAR does a pretty good job reaching people from many demographics. There were a pretty good balance of men and women and what surprised me was the age range that the race drew. There were not a whole lot of kids (which was definitely a good thing since preconceived notion #2 was definitely accurate).
2) Lots of drinking
And as expected, everyone was drinking bud, bud light, with a few scattered coors light. Kyle pointed out that if we had brought a few garbage bags and collected empty cans we would have made another hundred dollars by returning them for the $.10 deposits.
Ironically enough, I read the next day that Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the race under caution which came when another driver spun out trying to avoid a beer can that a fan had thrown onto the track.
3) Lots of Fords, Chevy's, and GM's...and not just on the track
My Toyota was one of the few foreign makes in the lot. It seemed like everyone drove either a camper, pickup truck, or SUV. In fact, my car probably got twice the gas mileage than the majority of cars in the lot.
4) The literacy rate of the NASCAR fans would be less than we were used to
Well, to sum it up, the following sentence was just about the only line of text on the promotional fan that we were distributing:
"Are you the biggest RaceBuddy Fan out there? Upload your pictures with you're RaceBuddy "Fan" by going to NASCAR.COM/TNT and share them with others!"
Obviously someone working for TNT's NASCAR crew did not take grammar 101. There is no reason that fan should be capitalized and despite using your properly at the beginning of the sentence, they screwed it up the second time around. We figured about .5% of people there would notice the error.
All in all, it was a great experience. We got to see a totally different culture and despite not staying for the race, I think we got a pretty good feel for what race day is like at a major NASCAR track. I recommend giving it a try if the opportunity presents itself.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
The BTN and cable carrier announced a multiyear agreement Thursday that puts programming on expanded basic on Aug. 15 in states with Big Ten schools. After the 2008-09 basketball season ends, Comcast has the option to shift the network to its digital service.
The Good News: All televised Michigan athletic events (except for some of the weird broadcasts for hockey) are now available to Comcast customers.
The Bad News: The UM/App State game is now available to be seen on re-runs.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
- Zach Putnam: Rawlings All-Mideast 1st Team Utility, 2nd Team All-American Utility (American Baseball Coaches Association, Baseball America, Ping, National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association), National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association Region V Player of the Year
- Nate Recknagel: Rawlings All-Mideast First Team 1B, 2nd Team All-American DH (Baseball America, Ping Baseball), 3rd Team All American 1B (ABCA)
- Chris Fetter: Rawlings All-Mideast First Team P, 2nd Team All-American P (ABCA)
Also, after scouring team blogs, I have an update on the five Wolverines who were drafted (in order of draft position)
- Jason Christian Jr. SS - 5th Round (154) Oakland Athletics: Signed a deal, no terms released
- Zach Putnam Jr. SP - 5th Round (171) Cleveland Indians: has not signed
- Adam Abraham Jr. 3B - 13th Round (411) Cleveland Indians: has not signed
- Nate Recknagel Sr. 1B - 19th Round (591) Cleveland Indians: Signed a deal, will report to Winter Haven after rehabbing his elbow
- Michael Powers RS Jr. RP - 31st Round (944) New York Mets: has not signed
- Casey Close C (incoming freshman) - 47th Round (1,408) Oakland Athletics: has not signed
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
The football team was led in the pitching circle by southpaw ace, Zoltan Mesko who pitched well in the first three innings before losing his control in the fourth. Despite a very generous strike zone, Mesko walked three in the inning and also surrendered a three run triple that could have been avoided had he waited for Artis Chambers to return to his position in left-center field before pitching.
Given the way the football players mashed home runs all season long, the game was never out of reach until team CWare and Co. put up an eight spot in the fifth to give them the 20-5 lead. Greg Matthews stepped up to lead off in the bottom of the fifth and popped out to first. Instead of running it out, Matthews headed straight to the dugout, drawing the ire of first base coach, Brian Wright.
Matthews response? "F*ck it, it's F*ing softball"
Perhaps the Barwis workouts are taking effect.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Tiger has now won all 14 times that he has had at least a share of the lead going into the fourth day of a major tournament. Interestingly enough, Tiger has NEVER won a major that he did not lead after three rounds.
This was an amazing tournament from start to finish. Tiger made his run on Saturday with a pair of eagles, a chip-in that would have gone 10-20 feet past the hole had it not hit the stick and dropped in the cup.
More on this to come...
Originally, the BTN was asking $1.10 from Comcast per subscriber, but reports are that they will only receive $.70-$.80 in the final deal.
A deal has yet to be reached with Times Warner Cable which is the provider for most of Ohio, including Columbus.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
It's a bit of a reach to be publishing a story criticizing the university for not wanting to talk about a scandal that no matter how hard the AA News tries, just does not exist.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Hicks is from Riverview, Michigan and played collegiate golf at the University of Michigan.
Some other notable scores:
UPDATE: Some guy named Tiger has officially taken over.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Monday, June 9, 2008
The Directors Cup is awarded by the National Association of College Directors of Athletics to the school that accumulates the most points across 10 of the most popular NCAA sports for men's and women's teams. Points are awarded based on order of finish at the end of the season with 100 points going to the team that finishes first. Five "participation" points are awarded to all teams that finish 65th or lower.
Looking at the top 25, it's nice to see seven Big 10 teams listed, including three in the top five.
Here's the breakdown of schools that made the top 25 by conference:
Big 10 - 7
Pac 10 - 5
SEC - 5
ACC - 4
Big 12 - 2
Here are the current top 25:
|12.||Louisiana State U.||764.50|
A state of Michigan side note - Grand Valley State University ran away with the Division II cup, edging out second place Minnesota State Mankato by 212.75 points.
More information on the cup and full standings can be found at the NACDA website.
Michigan should hold on to the second place position as rowing finished 11th in the nation, softball made the super regionals (top 16) and baseball reached the regional round (32). UCLA might creep up the standings with good showings in both softball and baseball. Ohio State and Penn State will not accumulate more than the five point minimum in those sports, so those schools could slip a few slots as the SEC and Pac 10 make up ground in their strong sports.
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Even Jones wasn't expecting the offer, “I was shocked,” he said in response to the quick offer.
Jones has been kicked off the team and out of school the past few years due to disciplinary issues, but has been given a second chance and hopes to make the most of it
Spartanburg plans to run a similar spread-style offense to that of the Wolverines under Rodriguez. Apparently Rodriguez saw enough from a five minute video to offer a full ride to a guy who has never taken a snap in a real game. A guy who wasn't even in school this spring and missed the last few seasons due to off-field incidents. A guy who Rodriguez hasn't even talked to, let alone met in person.
Step back and think about it. The University of Michigan is an academic institution, and a pretty good one at that. Here they are offering a full ride to a kid who wasn't even going to school this past semester!
Friday, June 6, 2008
The Indians now have the Big 10 pitcher of the year in Putnam as well as the Big 10 player of the year in Recknagel.
Christian and Putnam are both good as gone with these quotes from Putnam in today's Ann Arbor News, "I am very confident that the Indians and I will be able to work something out, because I'm looking forward to playing for them. The Indians are in a very small group of organizations I've been told are the best in the business, and so obviously it was a thrill for my family and me when they picked me."
I would guess that Abraham leaves as well, as last year Pickens gave up his final year of collegiate eligibility and signed with the Indians even though he was drafted in the 50th round. Abraham says he will consider Cleveland's offer but if it isn't appealing, he will go play in the Cape Cod League this summer and return to Michigan for his senior year.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
On a sour note, MLB.com has no idea who Zach Putnam is. First of all, they have him listed "Steven Putnam." Second of all, they wrote the following about him:
Comments: Some see him as a pitcher, others as a hitter. He's got raw power in either spot. On the mound, he's got the potential to throw three to four quality pitches, though he'll have to correct some flaws in his delivery first. Those issues have caused some command issues, though scouts remained intrigued about the potential.
Zach Putnam is a middle round prospect as a hitter, to be completely frank. From the plate, he had a good year, not a great year, in a bad baseball conference. As a pitcher, he had a great year and has a world-class performance (one-hitter against Oregon St. in last year's Super Regional) under his belt. He was picked by the Indians to be groomed as a pitcher, and nobody thinks that he's being drafted to hit the baseball.
Interesting that fellow Junior, Jason Christian was drafted higher than Putnam. Christian went at pick # 154 to Oakland. I think that this means Christian is gone for sure, Putnam...we'll have to wait and see. He was drafted out of high school and turned that down. I think he goes pro because how much better can he get? He was 9-0, Big 10 Pitcher of the year...I think his performance is peaked and he knows he can't improve much statistically so he goes and joins the Indians organization.
Next to go from Michigan:
Adam Abraham (3b/p?)
Nate Recknagel (1b)
Abraham had a tremendous season, hitting around .350. He did not pitch much this season, but was named the closer before the year started and threw 35 innings with a 3.52 ERA last year.
Recknagel was one of the most prolific hitters in the country hitting around .400 for much of the year before a late slump dropped him to .370. Nate set the Michigan single season record for homer runs with 23. The Big 10 player of the year suffered a wrist injury in last week's regional against Kentucky which could drop him a bit in the draft.
Also, I noticed that MLB.com also messed up Kentucky's Sawyer (not Swain) Carroll. They need to get their act together and get the names right!
UPDATE: Apparently MLB was right, Putnam's real name is Steven Zachary McGuire Putnam.
UPDATE #2: And I guess the MLB is the MLB for a reason. Swain Sawyer Carroll it is.
Patilla didn't go quietly as he accused the new staff of "not caring" about his health issues. Maybe Carr and company held his asthma inhaler for him when he needed to use it. Losing the third string fullback and convicted felon shouldn't hurt the Wolverines too much.
Smith began the season as the starting point guard, however academic issues led to suspensions and missed road trips before he was eventually dismissed from the team in December. Smith averaged 4.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, and 2.7 apg. Smith will be reunited with former Wolverine guard, K'len Morris, who transfered earlier this season to GVSU.
Former Michigan PG Jerret Smith has reportedly accepted an offer to play basketball at Grand Valley State University. Smith, a junior guard who was kicked off the team for not meeting Coach John Beilein's academic standards, will have eligibility for the 2008-09 season and will suit up for the Lakers this fall. He averaged 4.2 pts and 2.7 assists in 65 games as a Wolverine.
Expert Analysis from Matt Boyer: This is a good pick-up for GVSU. They get a PG with experience playing against some of the strongest teams in the nation. The biggest knock on Smith while in Ann Arbor was his lack of focus and defense in clutch situations. His poor decision-making often led to defensive break-downs and turnovers that Wolverine fans remember all to well under the Tommy Amaker regime. I think Smith will have success at a smaller school (GVSU is D-II) playing against weaker competition, but I don't think the move will hurt Michigan any, even if Smith returns with Grand Valley to face Michigan in the pre-season it won't come back to bite the Wolverines (Remember, GVSU beat Michigan State last year in an exhibition game). Kelvin Grady appeared to have way more hunger and drive than Smith did as a freshman. This should only translate to Grady steadily improving and Michigan fans forgetting all about Jerret Smith.
Side Note #1: CONGRATS to the DETROIT RED WINGS! 2008 STANLEY CUP CHAMPS! Tony, enjoy the celebration b/c this has to be the sweetest graduation present of all.
Side Note #2 : I know transferring to Grand Valley allows for more playing time, but why would you want to trade the classy block M logo for that thing? What is that?
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
19:32: The would have been kind of disappointing if they scored so quickly. After that 15-minute intermission, I want at least five or six minutes of solid hockey before the winner
16:41: I forgot, I don't have to comply with the NCAA blogging policy of just three posts per period.
15:43: It's making me tired just watching these guys.
14:25: Matt Boyer and I were talking about how this game is reminding us of the last OT marathon we watched earlier in the playoffs between Dallas and San Jose that went into the 4th OT. I hope this one ends soon, I've gotta get up in a few hours.
13:10: Tony, I hope your heart was up for this challenge. I wonder how the fans are holding up down there at the Joe
11:44: Franzan had a good look there...wide open in front. The Wings have definitely been the more aggressive team, you can't keep giving them all these chances and expect to live another game if you're the Penguins
10:39: Wow! Horrible penalty to take, it'll be a four-minute advantage for the Penguins. If they don't score here, the Wings are going to win it.
10:03: Well, he called it. Sykora said earlier in the period that he was going to get the game-winner and he backed it up, beating Osgood glove-side to force game six back in Pittsburgh.
Monday, June 2, 2008
The Wolverines would come within three at 9-6 on Zach Putnam's three-run shot to left center but that would be as close as it would get. All-American, Sawyer Carroll would blast a two-run homer to put the game out of reach at 11-6 in the sixth inning.
It was a big year for Michigan as they opened up a renovated Ray Fisher Stadium as part of the Wilpon Baseball and Softball Complex. The Wolverines hosted a NCAA regional for the first time since 1985 and set a Big Ten Conference record for wins with 26. That record may never be broken as the Big Ten teams will play just 23 games in the future.
Also, i'd like to point out that I was PERFECT 6-6 on my regional picks and correctly nailed the order of finish. None of our poll voters chose Michigan to finish third...