Grass-Clippings, Transistor Radios & Ernie Harwell – Summer Memories of Tiger Baseball

“On summer nights, before anyone had air-conditioning,” recollects my friend Tony Shaieb, “you could walk down the street and listen to Ernie Harwell call the entire ball game through the open windows.” Tony’s memories are quite a bit more romantic than the eerie bluish-glow from my neighborhood’s 60″ plasmas tuned to Fox Sports Detroit My wife and I were taking the dog for a walk last night and I had a similar flashback to the legendary Tigers broadcaster. A few of my more enthusiastic neighbors who foolishly believe in fertilizer found themselves already mowing the young grass—and what better time to run the Toro than 8:30 pm?  (When our kids were toddlers, our considerate neighbor Thad would wait another 90 minutes before he’d begin.) A breeze blew to me the perfume of lawn-harvest and gasoline fumes. Despite my allergies I was in heaven– I only needed a tall thick Pepsi bottle and my dad’s transistor to… Read More…

Kicking Oscar Out of the Bingo Hall: Creating February Madness for the Academy Awards

I knew last night seemed familiar as the Academy Awards dripped by.  I was once again trapped in the living room of my grandmother’s 1974 Florida mobile home.  The room was stuffy; there was nowhere to go, even shuffleboard or laps on the awesome giant tricycles were forbidden to all under 65–and the pond had gators, reportedly. Last night I watched my 40th consecutive Oscars.  It began when I was in fifth grade with One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest sweeping the major awards.  With the advent of cable TV’s 400 more channels, Twitter-feeds and on-demand viewing a lot has changed.  Except for the Oscars. Stuck in Lawrence Welk-Land It still starts at 8:30 pm, still runs past midnight due to the the Death Valley of songs, oddball tributes and eternal commercials somewhere half-past “It’s-gotta-be-over-soon” o’clock.  There is still the same generally awkward monologue/opening number—with a brief 1990s hiatus of Billy Crystal between rotating comedians who all get trashed the next day.  Every year there are minor tweaks—for example, last… Read More…

What Do They Know? Bandwagon Fandom and Arm Chair Coaching – Super Bowl 49

I watched this year’s NFC Championship Game with my brother and even with my new-found appreciation for Lambeau Field and the Green Bay Packers, I stood tall rooting for the Seattle Seahawks. My brother was rooting for the Packers and Oliva Munn’s boyfriend. The Packers took a 16-7 lead into the fourth quarter of a game where the Seahawks, uncharacteristically, had more turnovers than your neighborhood bakery shop. Regardless, I told my brother—with Richard Sherman-esque confidence—that the Seahawks were going to win the game. And when a perfectly gift-wrapped pigskin express package landed into Jermaine Kearse’s mitts to seal an overtime win, I looked at my brother and said the phrase that every younger brother lives for: “Toldja so.” JOINING THE BANDWAGON I don’t think I’ve held such care for an NFL team not called the Lions as I have for the Seahawks, and I can’t shy away from my ever-growing… Read More…

Turnaround Pistons Team Looks to Stay the Course on Heels of Leader’s Injury

Achilles was the grandest warrior of the Trojan war. With godlike looks to match his skills on the battlefield, Achilles lead Agamemnon’s forces to legendary status. Achilles was a man to emulate and any athlete would be floored to be compared to—if not for the frailness in which his rival Paris disposed of him. It’s why on Saturday night when I received a text from my brother that said, simply, “Jennings f#$@ed,” my heart sank. I wasn’t watching the game. I was at a bar and it was loud and there were too many people there and I couldn’t see the TV screens, but eventually I saw the replay of Brandon Jennings falling back on his heel and my deepest fears aligned with that of Homer and The Muses when Paris’ arrow penetrated Achilles’ foretold only weakness. Then I took to Twitter— Out for the season; a season that began as the… Read More…

New Podcast: OSU’s Urban-Renewal, Harbaugh & the Tigers (with MMD Writers Kale Davidoff & Steve Mitzel)

On the two-year anniversary of MyMediaDiary.com, featured writers Kale Davidoff (a MSU Spartan) and Steve Mitzel (a UofM Wolverine) cover the following sports topics with host Kevin Walsh: Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes national title The new NCAA playoff system Jim Harbaugh’s arrival in Ann Arbor–and likelihood to stay? The Big Ten’s return to power Is the SEC hurt by the new system? Different venues, different fans Being a stranger in a hostile stadium The Tigers and Justin Verlander (and will they ever win the Series) Read Kale’s posts on MMD Read Steve’s posts on MMD

My Trip to Green Bay: Experiencing America’s Most Primal Football Fan-Base and How it Made Me a Bigger Lions Fan

Stadium Strangers It was 2008. We decided to take a family vacation to New York at the end of July. By we, I mean: my mother and my father wanted to take a trip to New York and my brother—Chicago’s newest citizen and most eligible bachelor—and I—readying my venture of four years in East Lansing—agreed to go on one more family trip before I officially became a co-ed. Part of the lure, though, was the opportunity to see one of America’s most treasured landmarks: Yankee Stadium; which was especially important, since Yankee Stadium was about to see its final turnstiles turned that fall. The Davidoffs have, are, and will always be a baseball family at heart (much like Detroit is a baseball city at heart). There’s been something special ingrained in our pop culture souls that guides us to the baseball diamonds every summer. And in baseball, perhaps more than other sports,… Read More…

Meet Your 2015 Detroit Tigers

As a displaced Detroit Tiger fan in New England and more specifically right on the Mason Dixon line of the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry, I need the Tigers to desperately win a World Series championship. The Red Sox have won three championships in ten years and the Yankees won in 2009 and have won 27 of them. I’m starting to need Marty McFly’s time machine to get me back to even remembering 1984. There’s been much angst with fans about our new manager, Brad Ausmus, and how he managed the worst bullpen in baseball. And there’s been the same angst towards Dave Dombrowski, our General Manager, who failed to solve the bullpen problem that prevented the 2013 Tigers from advancing (and causing me much pain and suffering in New England losing to the Red Sox). Some of the criticism is correct and some is displaced. This is a Tigers’ team that… Read More…

Defining the 2014 Detroit Tigers’ Regular Season

Perspective Somewhere amid Derek Jeter’s fourth or fifth finale on Sunday afternoon, John Farrell spent most of his time faking a smile, trying to be a part of all the pomp and circumstance as another baseball season came to a close. In many ways, the season for Farrell and his Red Sox ended months ago. No doubt the sting hurt more on Sunday, as mathematical elimination and inevitable closure became a physical reality as the sun finally set on Fenway Park, its home players and Beantown’s most faithful. I imagine John Farrell muttering about in his mind of what went wrong; surveying the field on the last day of the season, questioning and second guessing every decision and asking himself how the Red Sox went from the top of the world to the bottom of the barrel. He’s been there before, looking up from the basement as the manager of Blue Jays…. Read More…

My Friends Call Me Tex Cobb: a Personal Contemplation of Bravery and Loyalty

Someone who knows me as well as anyone in the world–someone I’ve known since the playground–once told me he didn’t think I was someone who “had his back.” In a difficult time, I was not a guy he would turn to for help. The context of his comments is forgotten. Maybe it was just a mean thing someone says during an argument to get the last word. Maybe he was recalling a specific incident when he said it, although I can’t imagine what.  The comments hit me like a jab to the temple.  I believe this guy would always have my back. Whatever the context, when someone says something like that, you have to soul-search, you have to contemplate who you really are. Are you brave?  Loyal?  If a friend is in need, are you there? Here’s another thing the same guy said, although not to me. He said it to an… Read More…

Lebron’s Legacy

Not 1… Not 2… But 3. Three losses in the NBA Finals has pushed LeBron James into uncharted waters in his quest to join the all-time greats atop the NBA’s Mount Rushmore. This latest loss puts his current finals record at 2-3, but the losing record isn’t the biggest blow to LBJ right now..it’s the way the 3 losses have happened. LeBron can undoubtedly escape his losing record but there’s no escaping his disappearances in the losses. People are likely to omit his first loss with Cleveland and rightfully so, but ’11 & ’14 are two kinks in the king’s crown. First off, I will preface my assessments of LeBron with the following statement: I am not a LeBron hater. It’s time for people to criticize this guy on the level of an all-time great rather than making a host of excuses. The biggest excuse for LBJ’s latest failure is that he didn’t have any… Read More…

Delta Tweet Shows Perils of Real-Time Marketing

Another week, another social media snafu for an airline company. Two months after US Airways posted what will surely go down as the lewdest tweet from a business account of all time, it was Delta’s turn to take flight on the runway of incompetence. The moment came after Monday’s World Cup soccer match between the United States and Ghana. The US won the game, 2-1, behind a last minute goal by John Brooks, AKA The Greatest American Since Abraham Lincoln. In the opening minute of the game, Clint Dempsey stunned the world with the fifth-fastest goal in World Cup history. Twitter lit up like a hippie at Bonnaroo, and brands were determined to inject themselves into the conversation. That’s when Delta stumbled into the room like a drunk uncle and unfurled this astonishing gem: We’re sorry for our choice of photo in our previous tweet. Best of luck to all… Read More…

An Open Letter from God to the Pious Athlete

My children, I realize you may find it odd I chose this means to communicate with you. Given the nature of my message, I thought mymediadiary.com, a site in which such issues are addressed, would be perfect.  I enjoy the site…I particularly like that geeky Star Trek guy, I forget his name.  Yay, verily I say unto yo, I chose this alternate media to communicate with you for a simple reason: while the sin I would like to address is serious, I admit, my usual methods of communicating my irritation–floods, pillars of salt, Christian rock–may be disproportionate punishment. Before I criticize, you should all understand that I love you all with an infinite love that you cannot comprehend. The span of the universe cannot contain it. Be aware that all of you are equals in my eyes.  Regardless whether you are rich or poor, whether you live a pious life or you steal, whether you come… Read More…

35 Years of Lions Draft-Butchery (including 10 Missed Super Bowl QBs): A Masochistic NFL Draft-Day Guide

* 4/30/15:  A year later, but still relevant as the Lions celebrate the one-year anniversary of drafting a (so-far) underwhelming tight-end in the first round.  Let’s hope they actually address needs over the next few days!  –Kevin The last time the Lions won a title I was  just a few months past my negative-seventh birthday.  Sure, it would be unfair to point out that there has been only one playoff win for our sad NFL franchise since 1957–against the 1991 Dallas Cowboys who had an injured Troy Aikmann. So instead, I’m going to celebrate on the best day of a Lions fan’s year–NFL Draft Day.  But to be fair, I’m not going to analyze their ineptitude identifying talent since the Eisenhower years–again, that would be cruel.  I’m just going to start when I began following this incredibly consistent team. Two teams that didn’t exist until 1976 have since won Super… Read More…

MLB Strikes Big with Snapchat. What’s on Deck?

Can Snapchat make baseball more relevant to Millennials? Major League Baseball’s marketing team sure hopes so. The league, stuck in a rut of plummeting ratings and ever-increasing apathy among younger audiences, is counting on the trendy social application to stop the bleeding. Or at least slow it down. The league announced in February that it would incorporate Snapchat into its social strategy, and so far it’s delivered on that promise. MLB and some of its teams have embraced the platform as a new way to engage fans and humanize its players. While MLB isn’t new to the social space – the league has nearly 9 million combined fans on Facebook and Twitter – its use of Snapchat is somewhat surprising. The league is painfully slow at adapting to social and technological paradigms (it didn’t even implement instant replay until 2014), so embracing an app that’s still in its nascent stages qualifies as a… Read More…

Where’s the Roar? Golf without Tiger

Bubba Watson stands over his par putt on the 18th green, he gives it a firm tap and knocks it in, sealing his second major victory. The crowd roars in excitement, but something is missing. Even before Bubba Watson stepped to 18th tee, it was a foregone conclusion that the coveted green jacket would be placed on his back for a second time in three years. However, it is not his back that the golf world needs to restore the trademark roar that echos through the trees at Augusta National. That back was noticably absent at Augusta, as it goes through rehab from surgery that hopefully repaired a pinched nerve. As Tiger Woods nurses his latest ailment back to health, the golf world seems hushed as it awaits the return of one Eldrick Woods. Despite his recent struggles on and off the golf course, it remains clear that Tiger is the… Read More…

Taking Back Boston

I made a commitment immediately after I experienced the terrorist attacks in Boston last year that I would be back this year.  It was so important for me to take back Boston after running 4 marathons for Dana Farber.  In addition, it was the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge’s 25th anniversary and my 5th consecutive Boston Marathon.  Hell yes I was going back! For those of you who know me, I don’t run for me. I run because I can and I run for the greater cause of eradicating cancer.  Ok…maybe selfishly I run so I can have the occasional beer or Oreo and not feel so bad about it. Every year the day before the marathon, DFMC has a pasta dinner for its runners, families and friends.  This year was an especially emotional event due to the 25th anniversary and the bombings in Boston.  Darby Stott who ran in the… Read More…

Joe D’s Final Countdown: The Going to Work Pistons, a Retrospective

Ten years after the Detroit Pistons won their second NBA Championship Title, all looked dull and dreary for the then teal and blue (and sometimes purple?) ‘Stones. They had talent. They had a new arena. They had Grant Hill and they had Jerry Stackhouse. But it wasn’t enough for them to compete for championships, or even playoff spots. The NBA was a bottleneck of a select few dynasties who seemingly controlled the league with free agent superstars. Two-time championship owner (and world’s biggest Pistons fan) Bill Davidson needed some sort of spark to bring another group of winning guys together. His answer was appointing recently retired Detroit star guard Joe Dumars as President and General manager of the organization. Joe D would take the all-but-irrelevant Pistons and fix them up with some new jerseys, new players and a new formula; a formula that would result in another championship for Bill… Read More…

The Quarter Million Dollar Student Athlete

College is fun.   It’s a time of liberation and discovery.  It’s a time to develop self-awareness, accountability, empowerment.  What any of us wouldn’t give to go back to college? Watching March Madness always reminds me of that liberation, joy and jubilation.  It propels me back twenty plus years to a time when we were students and the Fab Five were rocking at Michigan. We jammed into Crisler Arena bouncing up and down, partying at our friends’ houses and storming South U at our victories or near victories.  What pride we had in watching our fellow students represent our great University in the hunt for a title. The debate as to whether or not to pay college athletes has been ongoing for years.  At its core it’s a simple argument.  Student athletes bring so much revenue from the two big sports of basketball and football and they deserve to share in… Read More…

Old Passions in New Hands: The Ausmus-Abrams Effect on the Tigers and Star Wars

Opening Day has always been much more than the start of a new baseball season. For the players and teams, it marks a new opportunity. For some, it is a chance to put physical or statistical shortcomings behind them. For others, it’s finding someway to harness past success and release it in time for a brand new campaign. And for many, it’s the first taste of playing in front of the tall buildings. From the fan perspective, Opening Day is a celebration of the past, and a time to party and look towards the possibilities of the future. Who will surprise? Who will disappoint? Is our team destined for play in October? Here in Detroit, I don’t think there’s been a more intriguing Opening Day than this year’s in 2014. Considering what Jim Leyland did here in his eight seasons of managing and considering what he didn’t accomplish, Brad Ausmus… Read More…

New Podcast: The Hoops & Hype of March Madness

Contributing writer, Kale Davidoff, joins Kevin Walsh and media professionals Aaron Lebovic and Matt Moss to analyze the opening weekend of March Madness. Topics include: – Why is this event so special? – What non-basketball part of the event do you like/dislike most? – Review of brackets busted and intact – Best/Worst of CBS coverage – What changes would you make to either the tournament itself or its programming?