Tuesday, November 15, 2016

World Series Shorts

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

1. The only living relatives I knew that were around when the Chicago Cubs won their last World Series in 1908 were My Great Grandparents Morris and Celia Kroll.

2.  The last time the Detroit Lions won an NFL Title was on My Birthday, December 29, 1957--Five years before I was born. Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein was born on December 29, 1973 in New York City. Epstein was the architect of snapping the Boston Red Sox's 86-year drought and now the Cubs 108 year dry spell.   Epstein's alma-maters are Yale University and the University of San Diego School of Law. Theo's a born genius.

3. Cleveland Sports has been on the right and wrong side of 3-1 leads in championship rounds. The Cavaliers overcame a 3-1 deficit to defeat the Golden State Warriors and won the NBA Championship in June. Meanwhile, the Indians blew a 3-1 lead and lost to the Cubs to lose the World Series here in early November. The Indians World Series drought is now 68-years.

4. I just received an e-mail from an old Tampa Tribune Colleague Charles Jackson, as he saw an article on our website. In March, I wrote a Spring Training Story in Kissimmee, FL mentioning Rick Nelson, as I recollected a tough situation where I wasn't able to send a story from Osceola County Stadium, due to technical difficulties to the new facility as I was covering The Florida State League All Star Game in 1985.

Nelson and I were able to work through the situation by getting a deadline extension as both stories were published as I dictated them to Rick and he typed them into the computer.

Jackson Googled Nelson's name and wanted to tell me that Rick was a diehard Cubs Fan that would have been happy his team made it to the World Series. Jackson added that Nelson would be ecstatic the Cubs are the 2016 World Series Champions. Jackson told me that Nelson died of Cancer in his 50's and is now in heaven.

Through the years, I've always had Rick in My Mind because we worked well together. He was a great editor and became a great friend. I'm always proud of when I get a chance to mention former colleagues in my stories. Rest in Peace Rick. You were a champion with me and now with The Chicago Cubs.

5. During the World Series, not one starting pitcher recorded an out in the seventh inning. Baseball's become a sport which is so specialized that it overworks the bullpen. I have to admit that it was refreshing to see Cubs Closer Aroldis Chapman's clutch performances.

In Game 5, he earned an eight out save, then added a seven out save in Game 6 of The Fall Classic. Without his clutch performances, there wouldn't be a Game 7, and you can rest assure that he will make a lot of money during free agency.

Growing up in My Era, it was common to see relievers earn two and three inning saves. Chapman's performance was refreshing to witness, especially with the majority of his pitches hitting 100 MPH.

6. Who really had home field advantage in The Fall Classic? It seemed as though there were as many Cubs fans as there were Indians fans in Cleveland. But the Cubs benefited by the Designated Hitter as Kyle Schwarber's bat added a powerful punch to Chicago's line-up.

7. Do you know who the Detroit Tigers All-Time leading HR leader is in the post-season? It's Delmon Young with a total of nine. On October 3, 2014, Young haunted Detroit coming in as a pinch-hitter by hitting a base-clearing double to give the Baltimore Orioles a 7-6 lead. Baltimore defeated the Tigers in the series.

Another former Tiger Rajai Davis had a huge moment on the Big Stage as he hit a three-run homer off Chapman which tied the game at 6-6 in Game 7 versus the Cubs. With Chicago leading 8-6 in the 10th inning, Davis drove in another run cutting Chicago's lead to 8-7.


The bottom line is even though Young and Davis don't have big names, their clutch performances in the post-season made them known quickly especially during the fall.

8. Tigers fans can thank the Cubs for roughing up Indians Pitcher Cory Kluger. Only thirteen pitchers have won three games in a single World Series. The last starting pitcher to accomplish this feat was Detroit's Mickey Lolich, in 1968 against the St. Louis Cardinals. Lolich now remains the last starting pitcher to win three games in the Fall Classic.

9. Lolich's battery-mate Bill Freehan was complimented by legendary Sports Personality Roy Alan Firestone. Roy said he views Freehan as one of the most  underrated, great catchers of his generation.

10. If Cleveland had won the World Series, the Tigers shouldn't have felt that bad. Detroit was 5-12 against the Tribe this season.

Cleveland breezed through the post-season steamrolling past Boston and the Toronto Blue Jays only to lose a Classic World Series to the Cubs.

The bottom line is that the Indians performed at high levels and were good with former Tigers Davis and reliever Andrew Miller.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com and is a member of the Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association.

Denard Robinson Returns To Southeastern Michigan

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

When I approached former Michigan QB Denard Robinson in the locker room after the Jacksonville Jaquars 27-23 loss to the Green Bay Packers on September 11 at Everbank Field, I told him we have a lot in common.

First, I'm from Metro Detroit where he had great memories playing for the Michigan Wolverines as their starting signal caller. 

In 2012, he played quarterback as well as running back and wide receiver during the second half of the season.  He was a First-Team All American (2010) and two-time First Team All Big Ten (2010,2011).

Second, and perhaps just as important, he is from Deerfield Beach FL where he played for the Bucks.  My current residence for the past 14 years has been Deerfield Beach, which is five hours away off I-95 from Jacksonville.

Therefore, this was a natural angle both for Metro Detroit and Deerfield Beach.

Robinson, 6-0, 210 pounds is a 26-year old, who acts much more mature than his age. 
He's also a polite, likeable and enthusiastic young man as you see in this photo jumping in the air.

He's also smart because when he sensed that it might be difficult to get drafted as an NFL quarterback, playing three positions would enable him to increase his pro value.

In 2013, Robinson was drafted in the fifth round of the NFL Draft, 135th overall.

There are two other former Ohio State QB's that realized they needed to become hybrid players.

Terrelle Pryor Sr. of the Cleveland Browns and Braxton Miller of the Houston Texans are both wide receivers, in addition to emergency signal callers. All three of these players realize how difficult it is to make a 53-man roster. 

Players like this make scouts look like geniuses and are considered hidden gems.

Robinson and I talked for a few minutes in this Exclusive Interview.

Q:  Let's talk about playing on September 11, what was that like for you knowing this was an emotional day for everybody around the country?

A:  It was an honor.  It was honorable to be able to play in the league on a day like this. It's a very impactful day because of what happened.  But now when it all came together and it was all good, it was impactful, it's an honor playing on this day.


Q:  Let's talk about your career thus far.  Has it gone well knowing that you are a hybrid player who can play multiple positions?

A:  Things have gone real well.  I've been in the league for four years, used to playing all these different positions, even though running back is my main one, but it's just been an honor just being a part of this team and working at it and glad to keep going on the highest level.

Q:  Do you have any particular position you enjoy playing the most?

A:  I play running back. I enjoy it, I enjoy playing running back, I look forward to it.

Q:  Everybody knows what you are like on special teams and when you get out in the open, you run like a gazelle. How do you like playing on special teams trying to outsmart the defenders?

A: Ya, Ya definitely I mean but I got to make the most out of these opportunities and just get through and keep going.
Q:  Let's talk about the Jaquars for a moment obviously today was a tough loss with the Green Bay Packers, but you were in it the whole way.

A:  Oh yeah definitely.  I think this just what we needed. What we respect more we expect to finish the game and finish the last drive so that when it came down to it we feel kind of mad about it. You know we should have finished the game, man finish the way we wanted to finish.

Q:  In your few years that you have been here do you feel this is the one year that  the expectations have been much higher then in the past?

A:  I won't say that, we all have high expectations but I think this year we've put more pressure on ourselves and we want to take it upon ourselves. I think the biggest thing our mindset is so much different than when I first got here.

Q:  What was it like when you first got here?

A:  I mean the mindset was still you want to be the best team you possibly be, you want to win the game, you want to keep going.  You want to be the best you can be so I think that hasn't changed but the talent level here now is better.

Q:  Well that is where I was going, looks like the talent level is starting to increase.  I can tell with you in the running back and Bortles is a much better upgrade at quarterback and your starting to have a couple more good receivers and your offense to me looks pretty darn dangerous. Do you agree?
A:  That's the things man, we got so many receivers so many tight ends, you got the quarterback, you got the running backs, you got the whole offensive line to keep the quarterback thin we got so many guys here to make this team and the offense go and the defense that we've built it up and we got some good cover guys.

Q:  Ok, Let's talk about the Wolverines, how do we not talk about the Wolverines, I know you have to keep an eye on it from a eyes distance.

A:  Definitely I watch the games Saturday, they are looking good, they looked good  They are playing well.  Harbaugh's got the guys playing hard and you know we knew they had the talent they just started to put it forward, show what's going on.

Q:  Do you ever talk to Harbaugh once and a while?

A:  I talk to him when I go up for camps and stuff but not too much.

Q:  You had another fellow alumnus in Chad Henne that's on this team, do you guys get along pretty well?

A:  Oh yeah definitely, Chad Henne. James Patrick my man, Richard Ash we got a couple of guys that actually went to Michigan.

Q:  Finally, how about some of your best memories. I know you played in Deerfield Beach, is that correct and thoughts about playing high school ball in Deerfield Beach, where I live now?

A:  That's my home city, I love representing my city it was an honor playing at Deerfield Beach High School. Representing the Scarlet and Gold. It was always good.

Robinson will return to another one of his home areas as Jacksonville pays a visit to Ford Field Sunday Nov. 20 to face The NFC North leading Detroit Lions (5-4) at 1 PM.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com and is a Member of The Detroit Sports Broadcasters Association.

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