With the trade of Justin Upton to the Los Angeles Angels, it appears that the Detroit Tigers are in rebuilding mode. Upton has been the team’s best hitter this season, leading in homers and RBIs. It was pretty clear that Upton would exercise the opt-out clause in his contract and head to free agency. Any player in their right mind would do the same in the this situation: head to a team with that has a goal of winning.
The front office has hinted at rebuilding dating back to last year, but didn’t implement it. Now there is no reason not to. With Upton gone, this team has no chance of competing next season. There is an almost certainty that other veterans will follow him out the door. In the off-season, the Tigers will move Justin Verlander and Ian Kinsler, leaving the only names recognizable in Miguel Cabrera and Mike Fulmer left.
The front office further implemented their plans to rebuild by notifying their season ticket holders of what will be going on in the foreseeable future.
With a little more than a quarter of the regular season left, the postseason participants are becoming clearer. Two teams, Houston in the American League and Los Angeles in the National League, appear to be head and shoulders above the rest of the teams in their respective leagues.
Houston, with 71 wins and 13 games ahead of their nearest competition in the American League West, are on a pace to win a 102 games. In the National League, Los Angeles has 80 wins and is 15 and a half games ahead of second place Colorado in the National League West. They are a pace to win an amazing 115 games.
If the season were to end today, the ten teams participating would be New York, Seattle, Boston, Cleveland and Houston in the American League and Colorado, Arizona, Washington, Chicago and Los Angeles in the National League. The one division that appears to be up for grabs is the National League Central with Chicago leading, but St. Louis and Milwaukee both a game and a half behind and Pittsburgh three and a half games behind.
Before Brad Ausmus arrived, Jim Leyland haunted this city. In 2006 Leyland was the hero. Seemingly every year after, he was made the villain. Looks like Ausmus is on track to get the axe as well in Tigertown. To be honest, it’s not all his fault. This is the team he inherited that was basically put together by the previous GM and owner. The team now sits in last place in their division with a 36-45 record at the midpoint of the season. It will be interesting to see how many of players will be dealt by the trading deadline.
As I watched the show 30 for 30: Best of enemies, which highlighted the rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers during the eighties. This rivalry was heightened even more so because of the Larry Bird and Magic Johnson rivalry that began with the 1979 NCAA championship game between Bird’s Indiana State team and Johnson’s Michigan State team. These two were the best players in college basketball then and everything just stemmed over into the NBA when they both entered the league in the 1979-80 season.
The show presented in-depth the three years that the two teams played for the NBA title; 1984, 1985 and 1987. It was a very good program and worth watching again and again. I was always a Lakers fan going back to when the Lakers had Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Elgin Baylor. I never was a Celtic fan, but I did respect the fact that they had Bill Russell back in the day and won all of those championships. This is a show that any basketball fan should watch.
When was the last time you saw an NBA player forcibly knocked to the ground after going up for a lay-up or dunk? It rarely happens nowadays. But back in Bill Laimbeer’s playing days, it was comically commonplace. That was an era when the NBA game was a lot more physical. Such physicality is outlawed in today’s game. The Celtics played a physical game, which the Pistons picked up on and took it to another level, which eventually led to that style being phased out of the game.