Tuesday, October 18, 2016

2008 Detroit Tigers Caravan Showcases Dontrelle Willis

The Detroit Tigers annual Caravan Road Trip took place Monday, January 14. One of their stops included the Henry Ford’s Anderson Theatre located in Dearborn Michigan. About 450 fans gathered in the theatre an hour early to see the group of Detroit Tigers at the free event.

The event began at 3:00 PM, when the fans in attendance were treated to a film clip reminding them of the 2007 season. Highlighted were the errorless play of Gold Glove winner second baseman Placido Polanco, the impressive fielding, base stealing and hitting of centerfielder Curtis Granderson, the 300 saved games mark of Todd Jones, the climbing total of 2007 Gold Glove winner Pudge Rodriguezs’ games played at catcher, Justin Verlanders’ first career no-hitter of June 12 and the remarkable batting talents of Magglio Ordonez the 2007 MLB Batting Champion. The highlights film would send goose bumps up the back of any true Tiger fan and sparked a buzz in the crowd, who were just about to be introduced to the team members in attendance on the caravan trip.

Rod Allen, a member of the 1984 World Champion Detroit Tigers Team, was the emcee and started with the introduction of Jim Leyland, followed by the bullpen coach Jeff Jones, pitchers Jeremy Bonderman, Dontrelle Willis, Clay Rapada and Nate Robertson. Rod Allen reminded us of who the 2007 Tigers were and also added news about them, saying Nate Robertson and his wife were now expecting their first child and had recently relocated to Dearborn. Allen then told the fans about their newest Tigers Team members, Dontrelle Willis and Clay Rapada.

The program layout also allowed six lucky fans in attendance to ask questions of the group. When Dontrelle Willis was asked how it feels to be a Detroit Tiger, his response was “It feels like Christmas”, Dontrelle went on to say that the Marlins, his former team, did not have a fan base like the Detroit Tigers have. Jim Leyland was posed with a question asking who decides who gets a number when a player comes to a team where another player already claims it. Leyland commented , “That’s a good question” and continued to say that the number usually, but not always goes to the veteran player and a younger player usually but not always offers the veteran the number. Leyland told the crowd that it was not that long ago that scenario occurred in Detroit when Kenny Rogers came to the team and Nate Robertson gave up his number to Kenny. Leyland also noted that some veteran players are not attached to the numbers, he said “some guys have the feeling that they are on a new team and they have no problem having a new number”.

The end of the event seemed to come quickly and a 3:45, Rod Allen thanked the fans for coming, applause followed and you could almost feel Spring (Training, that is) in the cold January air.

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2008 Detroit Lions Training Camp Preview

The Detroit Lions open their 2008 training camp in Allen Park, MI with another new slogan: “Believe in Now.” But the fact of the matter is that not many Detroit Lions fans can trust the team. Especially not with Matt Millen running the show. Still, the Lions have a shot to be a little better this year. They go into their 2008 training camp with more veterans in the secondary and a more basic offense that fits with Rod Marinelli’s philosophies as a head coach.

Here is what to watch for in the 2008 Detroit Lions Training Camp:

Dizon to sign?

2nd round pick Jordon Dizon of Colorado is a potential starter at either middle linebacker or outside linebacker. But there’s only one problem: he still hasn’t signed. Detroit needs to sign him ASAP and start tutoring him on the fine points of the cover two because Paris Lenon won’t cut it in the middle of the defense any more for the Lions.

Bodden to step up?

Leigh Bodden came over from the Cleveland Browns in the Shaun Rogers deal and got a 4-year extension already. He is undersized but a lot of people in the NFL have raved about his overall talents and big-play ability. Do the Lions finally have a quality no. 1 cornerback? They’d better hope so.

Offense taking shape

Jim Coletto talks a good game as new Detroit Lions offensive coordinator but this training camp is big for him as he attempts to put in a new offensive style. Coletto vows to run the ball more, which should be easy to do because the Lions didn’t run the ball at all last year.

But Coletto doesn’t have a whole lot of experience as an offensive coordinator, and the Lions don’t have a great offensive line to run the ball either. Rookies Gosder Cherilus at right tackle and Kevin Smith at running back will have to play big for the Lions to have a good running game in 2008.

Pass rush a concern

Rod Marinelli is a defensive line coach at heart but the Lions are short on talent in that area. Cory Redding is a good defensive tackle and Dewayne White is a good all-around defensive end. But the Lions need to generate a pass rush badly or their defense will get torched.

Can last year’s second-round pick Ikaika Alama-Francis be molded into a good pass rusher by Marinelli for the Detroit Lions in training camp this year? Hopefully, because there aren’t too many other players who can step up and provide speed off the edge in the pass-rushing game.

Cliff Avril of Purdue is a rookie with some potential but he lacks size. The Lions need to get good play out of this unit or it could be a long year on defense.

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2008 AL MVP Dustin Pedroia

Dustin Pedroia has made it as an AL MVP. The MLB MVP had been a contender for such a title to the delight of Boston Red Sox fans everywhere, many of who are not surprised at all to find him now a 2008 AL MVP. Dustin Pedroia has been called “scrappy” (he is 5’9″ and weighs 180, according to Yahoo! Sports), but that didn’t keep him from earning his proper respect.

Most people seemed pretty impressed with Pedroia regardless of loyalties, although according to Mark Feinsand of the NY Daily News, Pedroia was left off of one ballot in this running– that of Evan Grant from the Dallas Morning News. The only thing Feinsand felt truly hurt Dustin Pedroia’s chances were the fact that deciding between he and Kevin Youkilis, also an important player for the Red Sox, posed something of an obstacle. In the end it was no matter- because David Pinto from Baseball Musings claims that Pedroia’s win was easy, capturing 16 first place votes.

While I’m very happy for Pedroia, I’m an odd duck. See, I’m a girl who comes from Boston and has no true interest in professional sports. Undoubtedly I’ve got plenty of friends and relatives that are pretty happy about this outcome back home, but I could never actually get into it, myself. In fact, people I knew as chioldren to never really be into sports so much, either, are now full grown and die hard Red Sox fans. What happened? Is this phenomenon something that would have occurred to me if I stayed back home and grew up more in the Boston area? My only real inclination to love teams like the Red Sox, Patriots, and to a lesser extent the Bruins and the Celtics, is for nostalgic hometown pride. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost considered purchasing some kind of Celtics gear just because it’s pretty, it’s green, it’s Celtic (like me), and it represents Boston– becoming an identifier of my former home. Not wanting to be a big phony always stops me.

Sorry to disappoint my fellow Bostonians out there reading this, but I’m very happy for your win today. Maybe you can tell me something about the thrill of loving the Red Sox to convert me and change my mind. ‘Til then, I’d still be more interested in playing a sport than watching a bunch of rowdy, potentially drunk people cheer at a TV or stadium sporting event. Anyways, congrats to you guys and Dustin Pedroia, too.

Mark Feinsand, Blogging the Bombers– A Look At My MVP Ballot, NY Daily News

David Pinto, Pedroia MVP, Baseball Musings

Boston’s Tiny Dustin Pedroia for MVP?, MLB Sports Rumors– Yahoo! Sports

Tags:2008 AL MVP Dustin Pedroia

2007's Lineup on Dancing with the Stars: Do You Know Who's Dancing?

The new season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars starts on September 24, 2007. Do you know who’s dancing? And even if you’ve heard the names, do you know who they are? Use this list while you watch the preview to know who’s who during the competition.

Mark Cuban-Mark is the current owner of the NBA franchise, the Dallas Mavericks. He was born on July 31, 1958 and graduated from Indiana University with a degree in Business Administration in 1977. According to Forbes magazine’s list of the World’s Richest People, Mark has a net worth of $2.3 billion.

Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Floyd is a professional American boxer (he in fact comes from a family of boxers), and has created his own record company, called Philthy Rich Records. He was born on February 24, 1977. In 1996, Floyd won the bronze medal at the summer Olympic games in Atlanta, GA.

Wayne Newton-Also known as “Mr. Las Vegas,” Wayne is a singer/entertainer that was born on April 3, 1942 in Roanoke, VA. Over the last 40 years, Wayne has performed over 30,000 solo shows in Las Vegas, NV. One of his most popular songs is “Danke Schoen.”

Melanie Brown-Probably better known as “Scary Spice,” Melanie performed in the popular girl group from the 90s, the Spice Girls. Born on May 25, 1975, the British singer has made huge news recently in America. On April 3, 2007, she gave birth to a child she claimed to be fathered by actor Eddie Murphy. In June 2007, a DNA test proved Eddie to be the father.

Sabrina Bryan-Sabrina is best known for her role in the Disney Channel’s Cheetah Girls films. She was born on September 16, 1984 and appeared in a number of episodes of The Bold and the Beautiful before joining the Disney Channel. She will star in the third installment of the film series, which will begin filming in early 2008.

Helio Castroneves-Helio is a two-time winner of the Indianapolis 500. He was born on May 10, 1975 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. His fans call him “Spider-Man” because he is known to climb the fence that separates the race track from the fans after he wins.

Jennie Garth-Jennie is probably best known as “Kelly Taylor” from Beverly Hills, 90210, but she currently stars in What I Like About You. Born on April 3, 1972, Jennie has some dancing in modeling experience in her background. However, at age 15, she turned her full focus on acting.

Josie Maran-Josie is a model/actress, perhaps most notably known for her deal with Maybelline Cosmetics. Born on May 8, 1978, Josie has acted in a number of commercials, as well as a music video for the Backstreet Boys. In her spare time, Josie has said that she enjoys taking dance, violin and speech classes, among many others.

Cameron Mathison-Cameron currently plays the role of “Ryan Lavery” on ABC’s All My Children soap opera. He played the role from 1998 to 2002, returned in 2003 and has been in the role since. In the role, he has been nominated for two daytime Emmy’s. He was born on August 25, 1969.

Marie Osmond-Marie is known for many things, including her career as a country singer in the 70s and 80s, as a co-host with her brother on the show Donny & Marie (beginning in 1976 and ending in 1978) and as a creator of porcelain dolls. She was born on October 15, 1959.

Albert Reed-Albert is a model that has appeared in a wide variety of high-end fashions. He made his “big break” in his modeling career when appearing on the front of Abercrombie & Fitch Co.’s 2004 catalog. He was born on March 6, 1985.

Jane Seymour-Prior to playing the starring role on Dr. Medicine Woman, Jane played a Bond girl in the James Bond film Live and Let Die in 1973. The English actress has since played in a number of other films, including 2005’s Wedding Crashers. She was born on February 15, 1951.

Of the four previous seasons, only one female has ever won. Do one of these six have what it takes? Or, will a male win the trophy yet again? Now that you are familiar with the new lineup of Dancing with the Stars, be sure to watch the new season beginning on September 24, 2007.

Tags:2007’s Lineup on Dancing with the Stars: Do You Know Who’s Dancing?

2008 & 2009 - Top Ten Toys for Girls

There are a huge number of new toys for girls in 2008 – and many types of toys to choose from. Even though it’s great for kids to have so many different choices it can be quite confusing for those who are shopping to pick out the perfect toy that a certain little girl will love. With the assistance of “Toy Wishes” magazine as well as some research into the most highly rated toys from the hot-sellers lists, I’ve compiled a list of the 2008 & 2009 Top Ten Toys for Girls:

1. Elmo Live from Fisher Price – This toy is supposed to be the hottest selling toy for kids the entire year of 2008! Following the tradition of earlier Elmo toys, this Elmo is a “higher level” toy – it’s even more animated than previous versions and is incredibly lifelike. He moves, sits, talks – even has the same expressions that he does on Sesame Street and has stolen the hearts of many small children. It’s a great pick for a girl (or boy) age 18 months or older.

2. Bratz Girlz Really Rock Dolls – For little girls age 6 and older, the Bratz Girlz Really Rock Dolls are extremely popular. The dolls (including Jade, Cloe, Sasha and Yasmin) are in rock-star fashion and come with their own rock and roll instruments. The dolls are based on the popular movie, Bratz Girlz Really Rock! which is a story about girls who live out a dream of becoming rock stars and rising to fame.

3. Hasbro Fur Real Friends Biscuit My Lovin’ Pup – The newest and much-loved pup from the Fur Real Friends line for kids. Biscuit is a very special puppy that responds to kids, is playful and very huggable too. Part of his response includes voice recognition, so he responds appropriately to various commands such as lifting his paw when told to “shake”. He also wags his tail when he’s being particularly playful. An adorable toy, and a great choice for a girl 5-8 years of age.

4. Playskool Kota the Triceratops – Another adorable toy and a brilliant invention from Playskool. Kota is also a very lifelike and animated toy, and has been dubbed the “Twentieth Century Dino” for kids. He responds to voice and touch, he wags his tail, moves his head and is sturdy enough for small children to sit on and play. A great toy for kids around 3-5 years old.

5. Jakks Girl Gourmet Cupcake Maker – This is a great choice for girls who love to be in the kitchen, and is a simple introduction to baking. The cupcakes are easy to make and come with decorating kits so girls can get as creative as they want. Various kits to choose from (some include more refills and tools than others) and there are several different flavors of cupcakes to make. For girls age 8 and older.

6. Sing Together Dolls: High School Musical 3 – Many, many girls love the High School Musical movies and toys. These dolls are the most recent hot-sellers from the toy line, allowing children to participate and sing along with the doll. Dolls include Gabriella, Sharpay and Troy and are either sold separately or together as a set. For girls 6 years and older.

7. Littlest Pet Shop VIP Toys – If you’ve ever heard of Webkinz, these are quite similar – they have a “dual life” as a real stuffed pet toy as well as having their own home online. A special code is included in the pet’s collar, and after the toy is purchased the code can be used to log in online so kids can care for the pet and play games with it. Littlest Pet Shop VIP’s have large “love me” eyes and are very sweet. For girls around 10 years and older.

8. Vtech Kidizoom Pink Digital Camera – A special digital camera created just for kids. It’s durable and has larger buttons that are simpler to use than an adult digital camera. Kids can take pictures and see them on the camera right after they are taken. This camera has been on the “hot seller” list for a while, and probably will stay there for some time – after all, what child doesn’t like to take pictures? A great toy for girls 3 years and up.

9. Liana and Alexa Barbie and the Diamond Castle Dolls – These two dolls are based on characters from the hit kids movie, “Barbie and the Diamond Castle”. The dolls dresses can magically transform into beautiful sparkling princess dresses, and have a jewel necklace that lights up as well. The dolls sing songs from the movie, and when purchased as a pair they can hold hands and sing together. This is a great choice for a girl who loves Barbie Dolls. For kids 3 to 8 years.

10. Calico Critters Family Dolls – Cute and cuddly little dolls that come in complete families including the Norwood Mouse Family, Fisher Cat Family and more. They all live in a little town called Cloverleaf Corners and have fun together as friends. Each family is unique, all posable with removable clothing. Many little girls love to collect the Calico Critters, and any of the families available would be a great addition to any girl’s collection. For kids around 3-5 years of age.

These 2008 & 2009 Top Ten Toys for Girls are a fun mix of 21st century technology and just plain fun. I hope that this list helps to simplify your shopping efforts for the 2008 holidays and into 2009!

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