Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Last Night on the "The Knee Jerks": We Got Literary, Then Cranky (As Usual)

He was a little late, but our guest, author Marty Appel, showed up on "The Knee Jerks" Monday night, to enliven my weekly sports gabfest with Big Al from The Wayne Fontes Experience.

Appel's new book is "Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankees Captain," and it's a terrific recollection of the great Yankees catcher who died in August 1979, when the private plane Munson was piloting made a crash landing in Canton, Ohio.

We spent a fun 30 minutes or so with Marty, who regaled us with stories of Munson and the "Bronx Zoo" days of the Yankees, circa 1976-79, along with his project.

After Marty's segment, Al and I tackled, so to speak, the current situation in Ann Arbor with U-M's football program. I got a little hot under the collar when the notion was brought up about Michigan not being a top program anymore, much to Al's surprise and glee.

After Michigan, we discussed the Tigers and why they're unable to run away with a horrible division; the Red Wings' signing of Todd Bertuzzi, Jason Williams, and Patrick Eaves; and, of course, the Lions as they prepare for the start of the regular season.

Some highlights:

Big Al

On U-M football:
"Rich Rodriguez is a square peg in a round hole. But Michigan is still a top five job. But if he wins...winning covers a multitude of sins."

On the Tigers: "They're contenders at home and pretenders on the road. They've won one of their last 11 road series. It's hard to think that a team that bad on the road can be a playoff team, but the division is so bad."

On the Red Wings: "I see where the Red Wings are coming from with the Bertuzzi signing. He can go into the corners and muck it up. And the price is right. But when Jason Williams was here, he had the reputation as a whiny underachiever."

On the Lions: "Daunte Culpepper is the safest option. NFL coaches are a notoriously conservative bunch. Matthew Stafford has the best arm of any Lions quarterback I've seen, bar none. But Culpepper gives the Lions the best chance to win."


On U-M football:
"Lloyd Carr won nine games in his last year (in 2007). So how come Michigan's not a good job anymore? It's not a good job anymore because the people running the show like (President) Mary Sue Coleman and (AD) Bill Martin are MAKING it a bad job!"

On the Tigers: "They'd have to completely tank not to win this ridiculous joke of a division. The fact that they're not running away with it is an indictment of them and their offense."

On the Red Wings: "All I know is, the Red Wings seem to have this knack of resurrecting the careers of veteran players. And Bertuzzi and Williams still know a lot of the people with the Red Wings and they know how to play 'Red Wings hockey.'"

On the Lions: "I think the Lions will start Daunte Culpepper in New Orleans. I think cooler heads will prevail. And I don't think you want Matthew Stafford to get into a gunslinging match with Drew Brees."

You can listen to the episode by clicking below!

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