Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sam The Man

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH


Three weeks ago, I just received word from my mother that the man who made My Journalist Passion a reality died on August 17, 2012 in Walled Lake, MI.

On December 29, 1979, My father asked me if I wanted to go see WXYZ Sports Talk hosted by Ron Cameron with a friend of mine. This 17th birthday present was made possible by a man that was a regular guest on the show named Sam Greenblatt.

Greenblatt (78) was the Manager of My Fathers sporting good store All Pro Sporting Goods in Oak Park, MI.

Sam spent over 30-years as one of the leaders in the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association. He was inducted into the Michigan Jewish Sports Foundation Hall of Fame in 2001.

Greenblatt has been in My Hall of Fame for 33 years.

Unfortunately, I saw him once at My Grandmother Sophie Morganroth's funeral in April of 2000 for five minutes after he departed All Pro Sporting Goods in the early 1980's.

It was too bad we couldn't talk longer because I was editing my grandmother's eulogy after taking a cross country red-eyed flight from Phoenix, AZ.

Still, I hope that over the years that Sam had a chance to see My Stories with the Detroit Monitor, the occasional work I did on the radio as well as the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association Blog.

I'll never know that.

But I do know that without Sam, there wouldn't be my first major interview with Tommy Lasorda, the Los Angeles Dodgers Hall of Fame Manager. There would be no opportunity to write about the greatest fighter of All-Time, Muhammad Ali.

Without Sam, I wouldn't have covered four Super Bowls and have seen the Final Game ever at Tiger Stadium in 1999.

I wouldn't have had close relationship with Ernie Harwell that began in 1983 along with the good times that I enjoyed with the late Joe Falls, who was a father figure to me.

I wouldn't have had the opportunity to write about all of Detroit's four major sports teams and the great relationships that were created with these classy franchises. There would be no great times at the Michigan International Speedway.

What was figured to be just a one-time visit to Sports Talk Show turned out to be a lifetime full of memories.

What occurred on December 29, 1979, was a dream that would shape my life both in Metro Detroit as well as on the National Sports Scene.

Besides the gift of doing what fans would dream of doing, that birthday gift enabled me to create the best relationship one could ever imagine.

My best friend and older brother George Eichorn and I have teamed up on an infinite amount of projects. We've had a blast doing it and continue to find more quality things to create.

Thanks to Sam, while this writer never had a chance to play high school, collegiate or professional sports, at least I had the opportunity to sit in numerous press boxes, at court-side and have been in plenty of locker-rooms.

I enjoyed listening to press box announcers telling us that we weren't allowed to cheer and to be professional otherwise we'd be removed from the premises. Though I wonder how many media people were paying attention at Lions games at the Pontiac Silverdome when Barry Sanders was carrying the football.

Thus far, this has been a tough year losing close people starting out with a woman named Doris Burks, a former housekeeper but great friend that was a mother figure that died at the age of 76. Pearl Zivitz followed on June 17 and now Sam is gone on August 17.

Yet, all of these individuals made their mark on me in unforgettable ways.

In Sam's case, the word legendary in my eyes, would be the biggest understated word on the planet because of the tremendous magnitude of the unforgettable moments that I've experienced.

There wouldn't be the nickname that Gus Pantelides tagged me with, "Scoop."

I would be a normal fan and after covering sports for so many years, I could never fathom being a fan having been a professional media guy for years.

All I can say is God Bless Sam and I hope you rest in peace. Thanks for everything and if you've ever Googled yourself, at least you know that I've never forgotten you and never well.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33@aol.com.

Good Riddance Notre Dame

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Now that Notre Dame has decided to end their rivalry with the Michigan Wolverines because of their five game commitment to the ACC, it's time to find the Maize & Blue some new opponents.

Before I do, I want to mention that Michigan won't miss Notre Dame because the Irish are giving up a chance to play the No.1 winningest program of All-Time in the FBS Division.

With the addition of Nebraska to the Big Ten, the Wolverines versus Cornhuskers is a rivalry waiting to heat up.

But here is a list of some of the match-ups that seem quite appealing to me that could even make national sense.

1. Lets replace one FBS Independent for another with the addition of Brigham Young University. Lets not forget that the Cougars only National Championship occurred in 1984. BYU (12-0-0) faced the Wolverines, who were 6-5-0 in the Holiday Bowl and defeated U-M 24-17. BYU concluded the 1984 season with a 24-game winning streak. The Cougars aren't a member of the Bowl Championship Series Coalition therefore, adding Michigan to it's future schedules will enhance BYU's strength of schedule plus increase name recognition.

2. Do you think that former Michigan alumnus Stephen M Ross would dream of having the Wolverines play in Joe Robbie Stadium, the home of his Miami Dolphins? A Michigan versus Miami Hurricanes match-up would be a natural. I've seen enough Hurricanes games over the years and I do believe that the Wolverines would pack the 70,000 plus seat stadium. In an area dominated by folks from the Northeast, I've seen the Red Wings play to capacity crowds when they face the NHL's Florida Panthers in Sunrise, Florida. I could see the same thing happening here as well. U-M has recruited well in South Florida.

3. Would current Arizona Wildcats Coach and former U-M boss Rich Rodriguez have the guts to play the Wolverines? You know that he's boasting that last year's U-M success is attributed to the players he recruited. But if the Wolverines want to recruit into the State of Arizona, this would be a good vehicle to get them into the Southwest.

4. Boise State will be joining the Big East in football in 2013 and did face the Michigan State Spartans in their opener this year. For a program that is looking for respect, facing Michigan would be the way to do it. If Michigan ever played on the Blue Turf in Idaho, Bronco Stadium, which has a capacity of 37,000, could easily double it's capacity if the Wolverines came to town. My advice to the Boise State athletic department is to get temporary seating and raise the capacity to at least the 50-60,000 mark to make it worth U-M's worthwhile to go to Idaho.

5. This would be a dream for myself but whether it becomes a reality remains to be seen. Raymond James Stadium is a place where the Wolverines have played in the past for the Outback Bowl. My University of South Florida Bulls occupy the building during the regular season and yes, I bleed Green & Gold especially for this game. Michigan used to play Lou Holtz when he coached at Notre Dame. His son Skip Holtz would love to see U-M pack this place as I'd predict that the upper and lower levels of the stadium would be jammed and loud. There are lots of Midwest transplants in the Tampa Bay Area. The Lions always have a great following when they play the Bucs while the Red Wings jerseys out number the Lightning when the face off with each other.

6. The Pittsburgh Panthers would be an easy commute for the Wolverines. Pittsburgh has a great building that it shares with the Steelers in Heinz Field. Both programs have had great players over the years. Major League Baseball has designated the Pirates as the Tigers new rival. The Red Wings and Penguins have a great Stanley Cup history with each team winning one title against the other squad. The Steelers won a Super Bowl over Seattle at Ford Field as they had a prohibitive home field advantage. Need I say more.

In the meantime, good riddance Notre Dame. Perhaps the only time Michigan will see you on the field is in a Bowl Game.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at scottsports33.com.

About Me

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My Super Passion: In 40-years in the Sports Media Business, I’ve been fortunate enough to experience some Great Moments with Championship People. I look forward to any feedback you readers have. I encourage you to look at the MOTOR CITY MAD MOUTH HALL OF FAME ON August 8, 2012 because these people have made the Journey in Sports Media as fun as it's been.

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