Monday, July 9, 2007

Tigers Sweep Red Sox; Granderson Makes Catch of the Year

Detroit finished off its home sweep of the Red Sox in spectacular fashion last night, winning 6-5 after tagging Daisuke Matsuzaka for six earned runs in the first four innings. Gary Sheffield, Carlos Guillen and Marcus Thames all hit home runs for the Tigers, with Thames' mammoth 440-foot shot hitting the camera enclave in dead center. Detroit also overcame five errors and a couple late home runs by the Red Sox to hold on to what was a four-run lead in the fourth.

The highlight of the night, however, came with Detroit on defense. In the top of the fourth inning, Boston's Wily Mo Pena turned on a Nate Robertson fastball and sending the ball deep to left-center. Curtis Granderson gave chase from center field, but the ball looked destined to land in the visitor's bullpen. Not so fast, my friend...


Also of note in this game: Thames now has 10 homers in 131 at-bats this season. His 13.1 at bats/home run would be good for third in the American League if he qualified, just ahead of Minnesota All-Star Justin Morneau and the Tigers own Gary Sheffield. Does anybody not think that he deserves the left-field spot over Craig Monroe right now?

Detroit also won this game without starting any of their three All-Star starters: Magglio Ordonez, Placido Polanco and Pudge Rodriguez. Only Pudge made an appearance, grounding out after pinch-hitting for Mike Rabelo in the eighth.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Chauncey Agrees to Contract with Pistons

Chauncey Billups has agreed to a contract with the Pistons, according to's A. Sherrod Blakely. And yes, this time the source is his agent, Andy Miller, who had this to say:
Re-signing with Detroit was what Chauncey has said he wanted to do all along. We're happy that we were able to reach an agreement today.
Players cannot actually sign contracts until July 11, so the deal is not official until then. Terms of the deal were not released, although I would assume they are somewhere close to the 5 year, $60 deal that was reported (and refuted) on Tuesday.

Update: Terms of the deal are reportedly 5 years, $60.5 million, according to the Detroit Free Press. The fifth year of the deal is a team option.

Speaking of Players Who Absolutely Crush the Ball...

Magglio Ordonez has joined the field for Monday night's Home Run Derby. Ordonez joins Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard, Justin Morneau, Miguel Cabrera and Vladimir Guerrero in the Derby field, and two more players before Monday. Ordonez has 13 home runs so far this season, and is second in the majors with a .613 slugging percentage.

This should be a great All-Star weekend for the Tigers, who will send five players to the All-Star Game and now have a player to root for in the Derby as well.

Neifi Perez Suspended

According to the official site of Major League Baseball, Neifi Perez has been suspended 25 games for testing positive for a banned substance. This comes as a shock to Tigers fans, who have watched Neifi bat .172 with a paltry .266 slugging percentage this season as a utility infielder.

The Tigers were expected to call up outfielder Ryan Raburn, who is batting .292 with 17 home runs in 85 games with the Toledo Mud Hens in AAA ball. I'm not sure if he's tabbed to replace Perez, or if the Tigers will move Vance Wilson to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Raburn on the 40-man roster.

Update: Folks, we have a history-maker on our hands. Neifi Perez is officially the first Major League player to be suspended for the use of amphetamines. According to MLB policy, a player is suspended after he tests positive twice for amphetamines, meaning Neifi is not only a terrible hitter, but an idiot as well. Hooray Neifi.

It looks like Raburn is the man to replace Perez, meaning Omar Infante will be seeing more time in the infield and less time platooning with Curtis Granderson in center. Raburn can also play in the infield, which means he could even see time there (possibly at second?). Overall, this is probably a blessing in disguise (or maybe not even in disguise) for the Tigers, who now get to see what a AAA All-Star can do at the big league level while not playing a guy who might as well be swinging a whiffle bat.

Hasek Agrees to 1-year Deal with Wings

Dominik Hasek has agreed to a 1-year contract with Detroit that will pay the 42-year old netminder around $2 million in base salary and up to $2 million in playoff-based incentives. Hasek was a welcome surprise for the Red Wings last season, posting a 38-11-6 record and 2.05 goals-against average in the regular season and a 10-8 record and 1.79 GAA in the playoffs after being injured for much of the 2005-06 season with the Ottawa Senators. As long as Dom can stay healthy, he was certainly the best option for Detroit in net next season.

In other Red Wings news, Detroit also signed restricted free agent Jiri Hudler to a 2-year, $2.03 million contract. The talented 23-year old forward tallied 15 goals and 10 assists in limited ice time last season.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Chauncey Re-Signed?

Chris McCosky of the Detroit News is reporting that Chauncey Billups has agreed to a 5 year, $60 million contract with the Pistons. However,'s A. Sherrod Blakely reportedly talked with Billups' agent, Andy Miller, and was told that the deal is still "far from done." I'm going to stay cautious on this one and believe the agent, although I guess this is a good sign considering the lack of reported interest from other teams for Billups and the fact that there is a contract figure out there now. Hopefully more (good) news will come soon.

Air Georgia, Harlem Globetrotter?

According to the Detroit News, former Michigan basketball player Brent Petway was drafted Monday by the Harlem Globetrotters. While this may seem like a match made in heaven, Petway's agent Geoffrey Craig stated that Petway is an "NBA-level talent" and that he would pursue his dream of playing in the NBA or some other form of competitive basketball. Petway will play for the Atlanta Hawks' summer league team in hopes of earning a roster spot on an NBA team.

While I certainly won't hold it against Petway that he wants to pursue a career as a competitive basketball player, I would love to see him play for the Globetrotters. Anyone who saw his performance in the college dunk contest last season knows he is quite the showman (and dunker). Anyone who saw him play at Michigan also knows his NBA-level athleticism is not matched with an NBA-level skill set. Unless NBA GM's are looking to sign a player for the sole purpose of entering them in the dunk contest (not that I would complain if the Pistons do this, I'm pretty sure that would be better than having Ronald Dupree), it may be tough for Petway to latch on to an NBA squad. If Air Georgia decides he doesn't want to become Air Slovakia or Air Fargo, it looks like he'll still have a place to play and showcase his unique set of skills. Namely, the skills to do this:

Monday, July 2, 2007

Weekend Roundup

There's been a decent amount of activity on all Detroit sporting fronts recently. Here's a quick rundown on the weekend's biggest news:
  • The Tigers had five players selected for next week's All-Star Game in San Francisco. Pudge Rodriguez, Placido Polanco and Magglio Ordonez were voted in as starters, while Justin Verlander and Carlos Guillen were also selected. Jeremy Bonderman also has a chance to participate if he is voted in from the American League "Final Vote".
  • Speaking of Bonderman, he threw eight shutout innings last night to lead the Tigers to a 1-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins. Marcus Thames hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth to break a scoreless tie and gain the victory for Bonderman, who is now 9-1 on the season.
  • The Tigers also traded for some bullpen help over the weekend, acquiring Brewers righty Jose Capellan in exchange for single-A pitcher Chris Cody. Capellan boasts a 4.50 ERA in only 12 IP so far this season.
  • The Red Wings signed New Jersey defenseman (and Dearborn native) Brian Rafalski to a five-year, $30 million contract the same day they lost veteran defenseman Mathieu Schneider to the Anaheim Ducks. Rafalski is a three-time All-Star who is known for his skating ability and skill with the puck, and should fit in well on Detroit's back line and first power play unit.
  • Yesterday was a huge day for Michigan football recruiting. Tuscola (Ill.) quarterback John Wienke, a three-star prospect who will compete in the Elite 11 quarterback camp, committed Sunday afternoon after a strong showing at Michigan's summer camp two weeks ago. Wienke, a 6'5", 215 pound lefty, is rated the #17 pro-style quarterback in the nation by Rivals.
  • The big recruiting news came late last night, however, when Fort Bend (Texas) Dulles wide receiver Darryl Stonum announced his commitment to Michigan. Stonum is a highly regarded four-star prospect and ranked as the #54 overall player in the country by Rivals. It was also announced that Stonum will be the first Michigan player to wear the #1 jersey since Braylon Edwards moved on to the NFL in 2005.
  • While the Pistons are still trying to sign Grant Hill to back up Tayshaun Prince, new rumors also have Detroit going after former Michigan State star and current Toronto Raptor Morris Peterson. Peterson averaged 8.9 points and 3.3 rebounds in 21.4 minutes per game last season.
  • It also appears that, with the selections of Rodney Stuckey and Arron Afflalo in the first round of last Thusday's NBA Draft, Lindsey Hunter and Flip Murray are unlikely to be suiting up for the Pistons next season. Hunter will probably retire and take a position in Detroit's front office, while Murray will most likely be dealt to another team.
Certainly a newsworthy and exciting weekend for the Detroit sports scene. The commitment of Stonum is certainly great news, and has me excited for the prospects of this year's recruiting class. Hopefully, the rumblings that Cy-Fair (Texas) RB Sam McGuffie (he of the linebacker hurdle) may commit in the near future hold true. Also, don't forget to vote for Jeremy Bonderman for the last spot on the AL All-Star team!