Trust Me, It’s WORTH It!

Brandon Inge remains one of the most controversial topic’s in Detroit sports, and it seems like everyone has an opinion on whether Inge should be a part of the Tigers or not. To me it’s time for the Brandon Inge saga to finally end, and it’s best for both sides to move on. The guy is a career .235 hitter, and his struggles have continued this spring, posting a .174 average. Manager Jim Leyland has made it clear that Cabrera won’t be replaced late in games for defensive purposes. With that being said, Inge’s value drops dramatically because his defense has probably been the one thing that has kept him on the roster. Inge finally saw the writing on the wall, and decided to throw his hat in the ring at 2nd base. This gives him more value, but Ryan Raburn has been one of the hottest hitters in spring training and doesn’t seem to be giving up his spot. Ramon Santiago is going to be on this roster without question because of his ability to play 3 infield positions and ability to handle the bat from both sides of the plate. The guy who I see emerging as the candidate to replace Inge on the final 25 man roster is Danny Worth.

Danny Worth has been on the Tigers MLB roster a few times in the past and has seen his fair share of big league pitching. Worth has proven this spring by batting .313 with five doubles and one homer in 32 at-bats.Worth is a guy who can play 3 infield positions and might have best hands on the team. Danny Worth could be valuable piece in the long 162 game season for the Tigers.    This spring Danny Worth has proven that he has earned the job over Inge and Inge has done nothing to say otherwise.

Brandon Inge is the longest tenured Tiger, he has been here when the team was dreadful, losing 106 games, and he was here when the team went to the World Series. Jim Leyland has shown his loyalty Inge by giving him as many chances as he can to earn the job outright this spring. He has given Inge 46 at-bats, and also has batted him up in the lineup to get more chances to swing the bat and get back on track. For a team that is not only competing for the Central division, but a World Series, the ultimate goal is to assemble the best 25 man roster to get the job done. This decision will be a tough one for Jim Leyland personally, but Danny Worth has flat out earned the spot over Inge and has proven to me, he truly is WORTH a spot on the 25 man roster.

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Author: Dan Stone

The Not so Saintly Saints

As we look forward to another season of NFL football, we’re in the most unpredictable time in recent NFL history. The Saints, in 2006, were a team that was looking for a new identity, and they were trying to find that identity during a time of chaos and uncertainty. Hurricane Katrina had just devastated the city of New Orleans, and some were looking to the Saints to be a bright spot in an otherwise hopeless environment. During that time, the Saints acquired new head coach Sean Payton, and became exactly that. The Saints looked promising, with their high octane offense that featured the electric Drew Brees. However, despite their explosive offense, the Saints were unable to solidify their reputation as an elite team, largely due to their struggling, “soft,” defense. To fix those negative defensive perceptions, the Saints decided they needed a new Defensive Coordinator, one that would bring an attitude of toughness to the team, and that man was Gregg Williams.

Sean Payton wanted Williams so badly that he actually paid for part of Williams’s contract out of pocket. Good thing too, because the fit was perfect. The Saints became a blitzing machine and were soon 2nd in the league in turnovers. This new, aggressive defense, accompanied by the already explosive offense, led the Saints to a Super Bowl Championship over the Colts in 2009. The future of the Saints looked bright and Gregg Williams seemed to be the man that could finally pull the Saints defense together.

But then, rumblings of a bounty system came to the media’s attention, and the Saints’ world would never be the same.

The Saints were accused of having a system that encouraged players to intentionally injure some of the NFL’s top players, through monetary rewards. They even had a reward for a “cart off,” which is when a player is so badly hurt that they can’t leave the field under their own power, and thus have to be taken off in a cart. This gives you an idea of how committed Williams was to changing the perception that the Saints had a “soft” defense. When NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell first heard about these allegations, he was quick to try to find answers. He met countless times with the Saints, and warned Sean Payton that there can be no more reward system. Unfortunately, Sean Payton did not heed the Commissioner’s advice, and as a result, the Saints were hit with penalties that were among the harshest in NFL history.

Roger Goodell made it clear to the Saints and other NFL teams that they were not to “cross the boss,” and he struck with an iron fist. Saints Head Coach Sean Payton was given with a 1 year suspension and would lose out on around $5 million dollars. The team was fined half a million dollars, and their two second round picks for the next two seasons were revoked. The General Manager Mickey Loomis was also suspended for 8 games. As for Gregg Williams, the man who is considered responsible for the Saints bounty system, he faced most severe punishment of all. Williams was suspended indefinitely, and there is the possibility that he may never again work in the NFL.

The Saints were the ultimate underdogs, they came from a city of dispair and rose above it to become 2009 Super Bowl Champions, and a beacon of hope for New Orleans. Now, the future of the Saints looks uncertain, at best. It will be interesting see how the Saints handle the absence of their leader on the field, Head Coach Sean Payton, and the absence of their leader off the field, General Manager Mickey Loomis. There are rumors of former coaching legend Bill Parcells, who coached teams such as the Giants, Jets, Patriots, and Cowboys, coming in for a year to help the Saints. I believe this would be a good fit because of the friendly relationship and experiences that Sean Payton and Bill Parcells have together.  As an NFL legend, Bill Parcells would bring stability to a team that right now is anything but stable. However, even a coach like Parcells would have a hard time finding success considering the harsh environment that is surrounding the Saints organization. Also, things could get a whole lot worse if the talked about suspensions of players who had a hand in the system end up being carried out. The Saints seem to know that something big is coming with the signing of former Atlanta MLB Curtis Lofton as a potential replacement for Jonathan Vilma if he ends up getting suspended.

There is no question that the NFL is a physical league and I am sure that the Saints weren’t the first team to have a bounty system in place, but that doesn’t make it ok, and the NFL needed to make an example out of them as a warning to other teams. I applaud the NFL’s aggressive approach and feel like they did what was necessary  in order to send a message that they will not tolerate lying and intentionally trying injure players. With all the research on concussions and the lasting effects football injuries can have, we’re in an era where safety needs to be a priority in order to ensure the longevity of the National Football League.

Shocking audio from Gregg Williams, likely crushing their chances at any appeal:

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Author: Dan Stone