Motown Woes: a never-dull summer in Detroit.
Sometimes, I think I need a vacation out of Michigan to get a much more well-balanced grip on the world of sports from coast-to-coast.
Obviously, the biggest sports news as of late has been that the upcoming NFL season will indeed happen. The players and owners agreed to a deal over the $9 billion per year they had been fighting over.
Here in “The Mitten,” there has been barely a day that goes by without a big sports story either breaking or continuing to develop.
It all started back in May when Brian Rafalski announced he would retire from the NHL. The announcement came well before the 2011 NHL Draft in which the Red Wings drafted a number of young players. Shortly after the draft, on July 1, free agency started. The two big acquisitions by the Wings were Ian White and Mike Commodore.
Osgood’s retirement put pressure on Red Wings management to find a solid backup to Jimmy Howard. That led to signing a familiar face to Wings fans, Ty Conklin. Conklin most recently played for St. Louis after having been in Detroit for the 2008-2009 season. The addition of Conklin after re-signing Joey MacDonald gave the Wings some significant depth in goaltending.
Howard will retain his position as starting goaltender with Conklin as backup. MacDonald will continue to play in Grand Rapids and will be the first goaltender called up if any injuries should plague Howard or Conklin.
The Red Wings added even more depth in goaltending by re-signing Jordan Pearce, who is putting off medical school for another two years to play for the Griffins.
On July 20, a “shocker” of sorts came out of Comerica Park. The Tigers acquired Wilson Betemit from Kansas City for prospects Antonio Cruz and Julio Rodriguez. The acquisition of the third baseman added some power to the Tigers lineup. Brandon Inge, the last occupant of that position, is hitting just .177/.242/.242 this season, leaving many to call for the “end of the Inge era.” Inge has even been ranked as #1 in a list of the Top Ten Mediocre Tigers of the 2000s.
As of this afternoon (Tuesday), Inge had cleared waivers and was assigned to Toledo. Inge says the assignment will be beneficial to him getting out of his slump and back into the playing style Detroit needs in order to remain a post-season contender.
Also today, the Red Wings saw another long-time member announce his retirement. 40-year old Kris Draper officially announced that he will retire after playing over 1,000 games for the Red Wings. Like Osgood, Draper will remain with the organization, although no job title has been set.
There’s no doubt it’s been a crazy summer so far for Motown.
But there is a break from the humdrum summer of baseball on the horizon: XGames 17 starts on Thursday and runs until Sunday.