Mike Medders-R.I.P. Son, brother,friend, Shoremen

September 30, 2008

Fletch’s thoughts on the tragedy…

About Mike
I am not 100% sure how many of Frankly-Sports’ readers are former Shoremen or Shoregals, but last week we lost a member of our family. Army Cpt. Mike Medders lost his life while serving in Iraq. I have heard the usual Avon Lake rumor-mill about how he died, but that to me is the least important issue. Mike was 25, and graduated a year after Jon and I. He was a teammate with us on the football team, and someone I personally knew for many years.

I don’t know if I feel comfortable calling Mike a friend, because it has been so many years since I have talked to him. I met Mike when we were in our early teens, he was dating a close friend’s neighbor, a girl that we both had a crush on at the time. He was an extremely nice guy, who over the years developed into an excellent football player.

During Jon and my senior year, Mike was a member of the highly regarded offensive line. Much has been said about his ability on the field, but it would be sad if he was only remembered for his high school football career, even though it was impressive.

He was a very bright and open guy, who we knew as “Dars”, and his decision to fight for our country is something that I respect a great deal. Anyone who has the desire to be in the military and risk his/her life makes them a better person than I am. To hear the news that he died hit me, because for the first time the war and its affects hit way too close to home.

Sadly, the other day I was thinking about how everyone that I knew who had served in the war had come home. Ironically, the day that I was called with the sad news of Mike’s passing, I was standing in the midst of 400 friends and family members waiting for their loved ones to return home from Iraq. I watched as the soldiers poured off the buses and pushed through the crowd to get to their families.

Mothers and wives and children cried as they all embraced, relieved that they would not have to feel the pain that Mike’s family is feeling right now. My heart and my prayers go out to the Medders family, because they won’t get the same chance.

I am proud to have known Mike for the time that I did. I am proud to be able to call him a teammate, because he is the type of man that I only wish I could be. Mike will always be remembered by those who knew and loved him. Thank you Mike, you will be missed


Fletch looks back at season, and his predictions

September 30, 2008

The 2008 MLB Season (A look back)

               

As the regular season comes to a close, I took a moment to look back at one of the first things I wrote for this fine blog. I thought I’d show off my ability of prognostication and tell everyone just how the season would go. I, as I’ve been told a million times, am a complete moron. First, a quick look at my standings as they were to stand at the end of the season.

 

AL EAST (X denotes a playoff team)                                                              

X – Boston            94            68                                                                           

NY Yankees          85            77                                           

Toronto                 85            77                                           

Tampa Bay            75            87                                           

Baltimore               1              161                                         

 

AL CENTRAL                                                                     

X – Cleveland       98            64                                           

X – Detroit             97            65                                           

Chi Sox                   80            82                                           

Minnesota             75            87                                           

Kansas City          70            92                                           

 

AL WEST

X – LA Angels     100          62

Seattle                    88            74

Texas                      70            92           

Oakland                 63            99

                                                                               

NL EAST

X – NY METS       95            72

Philedelphia          88            74

Atlanta                   85            77

Washington          80            82

Florida                    72            90

 

NL CENTRAL

X – Chi Cubs        90            72

X – Cincinnati       88            74

Milwaukee             80            82

St. Louis                70            92

Houston                68            94

Pittsburgh             0              162

 

NL WEST                                                                                             

X – Arizona            95            67

San Diego              87            75

LA Dodgers          85            77

Colorado                80            82

San Francisco       75            87

 

               

 I’ll start with the AL East and say that if anyone out there expected the Rays to come together this season and do what they are doing, I applaud your vision. The Rays have gelled, in part because they have one of the best managers in the game, and also because they are stock piled with talent. That many high draft picks HAS to work out eventually. Evan Longoria has become a top tier 3B and will be an All-Star for many years to come. The pitching has been outstanding, and they showed that they are a mature team when team leader Carl Crawford went down for the season. I also have to toot my own horn, because I didn’t buy into the Yankee hype. They have to lose the rest of their games to have the record I predicted, but an October without the Yankees is a great thing. Lastly, I have to apologize to THE fan in Baltimore. I underestimated the talent on that team. They still finished in the basement, but they have legitimate ball players on that team, and they played teams a lot tougher than expected.

               

Let’s just skim through the AL Central…the Tribe imploded…the Tigers couldn’t pitch…the Sox are playing like they should have been the past 3 years…the Twins are a complete surprise…and the Royals still really really stink.

               

 Now the AL West, the Angels are the best team in baseball. They have good pitching and good hitting. The July trade for Mark Texierra made them a force at the plate. They are the only team in the league that has a legitimate shot at breaking 100 wins and are my pick to win the whole thing. My next pick was…well…a total miscalculation of a real dump of a team. The Mariners are TERRIBLE. They may not win 60 games this year. They couldn’t hit…couldn’t pitch…couldn’t do anything well. As for the other teams, they did what you expected. The A’s sold off their top players and the Rangers were fun to watch, but couldn’t put it all together. I did, however, become a Josh Hamilton fan.

             

To the NL East and the yearly collapse of the Mets, they are still in the hunt for the pennant, but they have the worst bullpen in all of baseball, including AA and AAA. The Phillies are again surging for the pennant as they should with that much offensive power. The surpirse to me is Florida. Is there ever a time when this team isn’t winning? They get rid of their best players and they just replace them with more talent. This team, if they can solidify some pitching will be very tough to beat next yearr. As for the Braves and Nationals…they aren’t good….period!

               

 The NL Central has been a one horse race all season. The Cubs are the best team in that mess, but the late season struggles should worry everyone in the Windy City. I overplayed my hand with the Reds, hoping that they got it together. Instead, they traded away Griffey to the White Sox and Adam Dunn to the Diamondbacks. They look to be rebuilding again, but have a couple real talented young arms in their rotation, but my 88 wins is laughable. The Brewers have been much better than I expected, and partly due to their acquisition of CC Sabathia. They are fading a bit, and not because of Ned Yost, but they have played extremely well this season. I don’t think highly of this division, but everyone has been competitive. Okay, not the Pirates, but who expects them to be? They unloaded their best players and seem to enjoy losing in an beautiful empty stadium.

               

The NL West was last year’s darling division. It was so competitive and so wide open. This year…ehh. The Dodgers have become a playoff team with the addition of former Indians, including Manny Ramirez. My belief that they finish with 85 wins is very doable, but the rest of the division is so poor, that will win it. The Diamondbacks have fallen apart in recent weeks, and if it weren’t for Brandon Webb, they would be totally out of it. They are tettering at .500, and that is the best they can do. The Padres stink, the Rockies where a flash in the pan, and the Giants did what everyone figured they would.

               

I predicted that the Indians would beat the Red Sox in the ALDS and then beat the Angels in the ALCS. The Angels would have beaten the Tigers. In the NL, the Diamondbacks would beat the Reds in the NLDS and the Mets in the NLCS. The Mets beat the Cubs in their NLDS. In my fantasy World Series, the Indians outplayed and outlasted the Diamondbacks for their first Championship in 60 years. No dice!

 

               

So, I’m going to take this last opportunity to make predictions. These are the guys that I have picked as the award winners for this season. I can’t believe the year went this quick, but that just mean we are getting closer to the 2009 Opening Day.

 

 MY PICKS

AL MVP: Francisco Rodriguez, LA Angels. (Call me crazy, but it’s only been 16 years since Eck did it).

NL MVP: Albert Pujols, St. Louis Cardinals. (How long before he wants out?)

AL Cy Young: Cliff Lee, Cleveland Indians. (He deserves it! A year for the history books)

NL Cy Young: Brandon Webb, Arizona Diamondbacks. (Sorry CC, you had to be perfect to get it)

AL Rookie of the Year: Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay. (An immediate Super Star).

NL Rookie of the Year: Geovany Soto, Chicago Cubs. (Fukodome’s collapse opens door for teammate.)

AL Comeback Kid: Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers. (What he’s overcome is truly amazing)

NL Comeback Kid: Lance Berkman, Houston Astros. (Catalyst to surprising Astros club).

AL Breakout Player: Carlos Quentin, Chicago White Sox. (Throw away player becomes All Star)

NL Breakout Player: Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants. (Will have a Cy Young in next five years.)


What a weekend…Upset city

September 29, 2008

Well, well, well, what do we have here?  Last week many sports writers started the rumblings about the BCS and what was going to happen when all of these teams finished the season undefeated.  We certainly took a nice chunk out of that idea this weekend didn’t we.  The AP and USA TODAY polls will certainly look juicy with Georgia(3), Florida(4), Wisconsin(9),  Wake Forest(16), Clemson(20), and East Carolina(23) all laying an egg this weekend. 

A couple of things did become undeniable true though for the college football world.  Oklahoma is darn near unstoppable and has the best offense in college football, Alabama is legit and there is no stopping that freight train, Penn State has got more play makers then its ever had, Philip Fulmer is done at Tennessee after this year and Freshman QB Terrelle Pryor is the real deal.

So here is what I think the poll should shake out to look like on Monday morning:

  1.  Oklahoma
  2.  Alabama
  3.  Missouri
  4.  LSU
  5.  Texas
  6.  Penn State
  7.  BYU
  8.  Auburn
  9.  Ohio State
  10.  Georgia

You could probably make an argument for Alabama and Missouri to be #1, but we’ll have to wait until next weekend.  Missouri got off easy because they were idle.  F.Y.I for Missouri, stay idle, your days could be numbered.

Nick Saban’s Crimson Tide is showing the world what it means to play defense.  The Tide stifled the Georgia Bulldog offense and held them scoreless in the first half.  Meanwhile his offense they were running all over the Dawgs, as Glenn Cofee, Mark Ingram, and Roy Upchurch all ran for scores.  I was impressed with both star frosh WR’s in this game, Julio Jones of Alabama, and A.J. Green of Georgia.  Green made a critical mistake with a fumble, but made up for it with a touchdown catch later in the game.  Alabama takes on Kentucky next, which after the physical battle with Georgia, could be a trap game.  Uh, probably not.  The Wildcats will definately be the next victim.


Beer makers got it wrong with Yost

September 20, 2008

So they finally hit a rough patch…The answer, rather then mix up the line up, fire the coach.  That is what the Milwaukee Brewers organization did with Ned Yost this week.

Currently the Brewers are coming off a long losing streak of 11 games the last two weeks.  They quickly decided to fire Yost, who had them only 9 games out of the central, and a 1/2 game back of the Mets for the Wild Card at the time.  After the firing, they won finally, only to turn around and start another losing streak that currently stands at 2 games.  Nice work.

Yost had coached his team to winning records at home and on the road.  Management did him a favor by getting prized free agent CC Sabathia(he still looks funny in their uniform though), who is currently 15-9, with a 2.88 ERA and 230 K’s in 231.1 innings.  He has by far been one of the best free agent acquisitions at the trading deadline ever.

Look the Brewers are still a pretty young team.  Young teams run out of gas, and that is exactly what Milwaukee did last year.  So, your probably saying, “what’s your point man?”  My point is that things take time, especially with a young team.  With stars like Sabathia, Sheets, Fielder, Braun, Cory Hart and JJ Hardy, they are loaded to bear for the long term.  So, why give up that quickly?  You never heard about any problems in their locker room.  You always hear about how good of a coach Yost is.  I think that the man got jobbed.  Someone needed to take the fall, and rather then your players, you whack the coach.

So here’s the situation for Milwaukee as the season ends. There are 9 days and eight games left for them.  Two against the Reds, a three game set against Pittsburgh, and the grand finale series, a three game set with the Cubs for the entire shooting match.  The Mets have 10 games in 10 days and play the Cardinals in two, the Mets for four, the Brewers for three, and a single game against Houston to end things up.  Houston is white hot right now.  The Brew Crew could very easily slip into win the division in the last week.  I hope for our old pale CC Sabathia that they do, but will anyone remember that Yost coached them most of the year?

I know if they win it all, they certainly won’t be sizing him for a ring.


Callin’ em’

September 19, 2008

Ok, so here is week 2 of my Callin’ Em’ series at Frankly Sports.  Last week I was 4-2.  I had faith in Buckeye Nation and it let me down(You failed me again Star Scream).  This is a beer drinking, bbq’n, stay up all night kind of college football Saturday.  So, here goes…

LSU@ Auburn(ESPN 7:45)-This one is gonna be a knuckle buster.  Charles Scott is in the top 10 for rushing this season so far.  I look for Auburn to load up the box and for Andrew Hatch to have opportunities down field.  Auburn has been sputtering on offense, so this one will be close. 14-10 Tigers…err…The LSU Tigers that is…

Georgia@ Arizona State (ABC 8pm)-West coast, meet Knowshawn Moreno…This has all the makings of a “trap game,” but I like Stafford and his crew. 24-10 Dawgs

Florida@ Tennessee(CBS 3:30)-Let the Phillip Fulmer farewell tour begin.  The Vols haven’t looked great in their two games, and Percy Harvin is 100% finally…Not good…With Superman taking the snaps, this could get ugly.  Only advantage is that is at Rocky Top. Florida big 35-13

Fresno St.@ Toledo-I have a few friends that think this is going to be close. I couldn’t disagree more. Pat Hill always has his team ready, and I can’t always say the same for Tom Amstutz.  The Glass Bowl is a tough place to play though, and the crowd will be up for it.  It won’t be enough, 35-17 Fresno.

Ohio@ Northwestern-Frank Solich has showed that his team can get up for the game. Northwestern is just bad enough to make this a game. I’m going out on a limb here, OU 24-21.

Central Michigan@ Purdue-Joe Tiller’s squad is trying to play their coach to a Big 10 title during his swan song.  Dan LeFleur might have something to say about that.  Boilermakers win, but its close 24-14.

ND@ Michigan St-I hate this game. MSU is running the hell out of the ball, and ND has had tons of issues stopping it.  MSU has won 8-11, but ND has won the last 3 at Spartan Stadium.  This might be the break out/ND is for real game if they win on the road against a good MSU team. The last few have been decided by 7 points or less. Irish prove they can win the close one, 24-21.  Go Irish!

Bowling Green is off this week, trying to get healthy.

Get home tonight, cut the grass, do the dishes and break it to you wife/girlfriend(s)/boyfriend/whatever that you’ll be checked out for the day.  The football Gods are shining down on us this weekend.


Fletch Rants-Browns, Indians and College Football

September 17, 2008

I want to apologize to everyone, it has been a few weeks since I’ve written anything and I know how much you all love to read the complete nonsense coming out of my head. So, here goes…

 

BROWNS

After two weeks this team looks, well, bad. The defense looked pretty good against the Steelers, and that is a huge improvement over last year, but what the hell happened to the offense? I understand that injuries do happen, but where is the fire. We have been told all off-season what a multi-player attack this team has. Braylon, Winslow, D-Anderson, etc. but so far I’ve seen nothing. I know that guys have missed time with injuries, but there is no energy with this team. The most disheartening thing is watching these guys going through the motions against the STEELERS! Back in the day, it didn’t matter how good or bad these teams were, they played each other like it was the last game they would ever play. They HATED each other. If anyone listens to the pregame on WMMS, listen to the hatred in the voice of Al “My restaurant is really good” Baker when talking about the black and gold. That is what this team is missing. In the first two games of the season they have played uninspired and flat. I don’t know if it is Romeo Crennel or what, but watching these guys walk off the field after a 3 and out shrugging their shoulders like it’s no big deal makes me sick. I love this team, and they have a chance to really make some noise and they are acting like its still the preseason. Braylon Edwards has been on my radar for many years, since he was with Michigan, and right now I would rather have a guy like Santonio Holmes out there. Watch Holmes make catches and make plays, then watch Braylon go half speed to a ball and then drop it. Things have to change here soon, or they are going to go back to being a 5 or 6 win team. If I was Romeo, I’d be a little worried about having a job next year.

 

INDIANS

A recent interview with Mark Shaprio really made my stomach knot up. He made the comment that he felt that the team needed to focus on two positions this off season…closer and infielder. He then stated that he felt “comfortable” with the outfield depth that he has. First, I agree with his belief that the team needs to upgrade in the infield and with a legit closer. Problem is, closers are in high demand and they don’t come cheap. You know the word “cheap”, because it is Larry Dolan’s favorite word. I wouldn’t take a run at K-Rod, because he reminds me way too much of guys like Gagne, Mesa, and well Thigpen. All these guys had seasons for the history books, but they fizzle out just as fast as they arrived. Remember that just a few years ago, Eric Gagne was the man. No one could hit him, and everyone in the league wanted him. Now, he can’t get an out, let alone a save. I would also, however, not go into the season expecting someone to “step-up”. Jensen Lewis has done a good job in the role, but whether or not he is ready for that as his long term gig is yet to be seen. I wish I had the answer here, but I don’t. Next, for the love of GOD, please get Jeremy Sowers out of the rotation. He has had a season to prove what he can do, and he can be really affective…for four to five innings. Once he hits that sixth inning, he is done. Maybe he would be a better fit in the bullpen, but his time as a starter needs to be over. He can’t do it, let’s move on. Which brings me to Andy Marte…enough all ready. I believe that Shapiro is smart enough to know when a move of his is a dud, and this one is a massive one. He can’t hit, and his fielding is not major league. The one item that scares me the most is the outfield. Didn’t he learn this season that it is NOT a good outfield. Saying he is comfortable with it worries me because that means that we are going to have Delucci, Francisco, Choo, and Gutierrez back there with Sizemore. We need a consistent outfield. We need a consistent lineup that will have the same guys in it day after day. Not this rotating platoon junk. I may be one of the only, but why not make a run at a guy like Adam Dunn. He hits the hell out of the ball, and in a park like Jacobs Field that is a great asset. He hits for a low average, but so does EVERYONE ELSE ON THIS TEAM! A two time MLB Executive of the Year should be able to realize that this team isn’t the answer.

 

MICHIGAN/NOTRE DAME/THE BIG TEN

UUUGHH!! Rich Rodriguez may have been a genous in West Virginia, but he needs to figure it out in Ann Arbor. His biggest mistake is thinking he could come in to a tradition rich school like Michigan and change everything over night. He is trying to put in his offense, which worked in W.Va., because they were his players and guys that were built to play in the Spread Option. Welcome to Ann Arbor, Rich. These guys were recruited by a Michigan guy, Lloyd Carr, and built to be Michigan players. Linemen weighing over 300 pounds, running backs who can run all day, receivers who like to stretch the field, and a QB who can get the ball to his players. Sounds simple, but that is Michigan football. “Smash Mouth” is an overused word, but it is what it is. Now Rich is here trying to turn pocket passers and the big uglies into a run all over the damn place and try to wear out the D. NOT WORKING RICH! These are Michigan guys, not West Virginia guys. And why is that? Because Michigan can get Michigan guys. This was a very risky move bringing in a non-maze and blue guy into the mix and so far it’s been an embarassment. He is in danger of ending some very impressive streaks that a lot of guys have worked very hard to achieve. They haven’t had a losing season in 40 years and have been to 33 straight bowl games. If those streaks are ended, Rich may not have a chance to get his offense into place. He made the arrogant mistake of believing he could make this work. Can it work? Sure, it can. Once his recruits are in place he will be fine, but are the people of Ann Arbor going to be patient. Because as it is now, its embarassing. They look terrible, and his dismissive attitude toward the team’s performance is making him a few enemies. I want his to do well, but he should have been smart enough to know that he had to EASE into this transition, not force it.

As for the Golden Domers and the Big Ten…congrats Jon, the Irish look to be on the upswing. And the Big Ten and especially Ohio State…you need to change the bed sheets, because someone just crapped…

 

 

 


Callin’ em’

September 13, 2008

A couple of big games on this weekend in the college football world.  I haven’t done this yet on Frank-ly Sports, so I thought that I would harness my inner prophet.

Oregon at Purdue-Defenses need not apply in this game…  38-35 Ducks

Michigan at Notre Dame-This game could be really bad.  Lou Holtz gave a pep-talk tonight so I’m going with the Irish. 27-17

Georgia at South Carolina-The Ol’ ball coach will give the Dawgs everything but the kitchen sink, unless he finds a QB overnight, it won’t be enough…33-21 Dawgs

Ga. Tech at Va. Tech-Beamer’s squad is still hurting a little from the ECU loss.  Paul Johnson’s squad is hitting on all cylinders rigth now…And how can you pick against the option attack.  21-17 Ramblin Wreck

Bowling Green at. Boise State-  Broncos are 59-2 on the smurf turf.  That’s not good for my alma mater.  If the Falcons can take care of the ball, they have enough fire power to do it. 38-35 Broncos

OSU at USC-Wow, what a game.  The Buckeyes have a nasty habit of playing to their competition.  If that is the case USC is in for a pretty good scrape.  No Beanie Wells to help the Buckeyes slow the game down.  It will be on Todd Boeckman.  I can’t wait to see what they do with Terrelle Pryor.  The Stable at USC should be busy all night.  Tressel, is such a big game coach. The big Ten finally gets a piece of USC, 24-21.

Its going to be a great week.  I’ll be at a wedding for some of the games, so I’ll need my readers to post some scores, highlights and information when the games are over so that I can stay updated.  So, if your going to be at home, wake up early, get the fridge stocked, cut the lawn, get a shower and watch some football!