The Detroit Tigers have been awarded an additional draft pick

Embed from Getty Images Major League Baseball has awarded what they call the competitive balance draft picks since 2012. That is the good news. The bad news, the extra draft pick goes to the worst team in baseball. That team last season was the rebuilding Detroit Tigers.

The Detroit Tigers received an early Christmas gift this week, landing the 69th overall pick in the 2020 MLB Draft. The draft slot is sandwiched between the end of the second round and beginning of the third round. This is the first time Detroit has been awarded the competitive balance pick in the organizations history.

In the 2020 MLB Draft in which the Detroit Tigers hold the No. 1 overall pick  they will also receive an additional pick in competitive as a means of speeding up the teams rebuild.

By receiving a competitive balance pick it includes a built in bonus of receiving extra international bonus pool money, The Tigers, picking in round B, will get a minimum of $5.75 million, as opposed to the normal $4.75 million.

Coming off of their worst year since 2003, the Tigers have been in a downhill slide since 2015. Fans want to know when the team will be competitive again. It is probably safe to say 2020 will not be a whole lot better for the Motor City Kitties.

All will not be lost however. 2020 could be the year that Detroit sees top prospects like Casey MizeMatt Manning, and Isaac Paredes at the major league level during the season.

After the 2020 season, the Detroit Tigers have a lot of old bad contracts coming off the books. That is when the team will begin to add players for the next title run.

It will not be until 2021, when all the organizations top prospects are in Detroit that the team will go after big name free agents. So, if Detroit’s prospects and free agent signings are not complete busts, 2022 is the year that Detroit will  start looking competitive again.

This season and next  look to be rough, but if everything goes well, these tough years could pay off in a big way. Starting in the 2020 MLB season it will be worth checking the progress of the top prospects as they take the next step in development.

 

**Spoiler** Supreme Leader Snoke adds a twist to “The Rise of Skywalker”

Embed from Getty Images ***This is a spoiler first and foremost*** it has been confirmed. Stop reading if you do not want anything spoiled for the upcoming Star Wars film that will conclude the Skywalker saga.

Still with me? Great! This is a juicy spoiler that will add a rather deep twist to all of Star Wars. The twist is so big it actually takes the focus off the Skywalkers and directly onto the Sith.

“The Rise of Skywalker,” Opens with Kylo Ren landing on the planet Exegol. Ren walks across the stormy plane of the dead world, and passes a cube about thirty feet in the air. There are some small creatures that are working on some capsules or maybe barrels called The Relics.

This is where the twist come into play. Inside all of these barrels, Kylo sees the bodies of former Supreme Leader Snoke. However, he was killed and disposed of. These are all clones!!

The implication is Snoke has always been a clone. There  many barrels full of dead Snoke clones to count. Kylo Ren next comes upon an old man in a bed. The old man claims to be non other than Darth Sidious himself. Kylo does not believe him and ignites his lightsaber and holds it to Sidious’ throat and the old man laughs at him. The old man looks up and reveals the Sith fleet of Star Destroyers that waits for him above the planet as seen in the trailer.

Back to Snoke, Snoke was a puppet of Palpatine, a proxy. Palpatine cloned him to lure Kylo Ren to him. Needless to say it worked. This to me is a game changer. The Emperor  whom we were lead to believe died in “Return of the Jedi,” has been calling the shots all along. Ever since “The Phantom Menace.”

It will be exciting to see how it all plays out December 20 when “The Rise of Skywalker” hits theaters.

The Detroit Tigers name Tom Price manager of the Toledo Mud Hens

Embed from Getty Images Doug Mientkiewicz, was fired October 31 after two season with the Mud Hens. Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila, cited discipline as the reason for the move without any elaboration. The Tigers made it clear they wanted someone who had experience in developing high-level talent . Enter Tom Price.

Tigers vice president of player development Dave Littlefield, said  “It was clear from the beginning that Tom Prince fit that mold perfectly, and we’re thrilled to have him lead our staff in Toledo.”

Price spent the last three seasons as the Major League bench coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates, after serving as the club’s Minor League Field Coordinator in 2016.

What attracted Tigers front office to Price is his blend of Major and Minor League coaching experience which is well respected throughout baseball. With the Detroit Tigers preparing to send many top prospects to Toledo, a strong leader was needed.

People across baseball have noticed the young core of talented players the Tigers have built over the last few years. Price’s job is getting players to  focus on playing fundamentally sound and winning baseball.

Last season, the Detroit Tigers hired former Pirates hitting coach Jeff Branson as the organization’s roving hitting instructor. Branson has received positive marks for his contributions in 2019. This is all setting up the porganization for post rebuild success.

Upon learning he was getting the Mud Hens manager job. Tom Price said, “This is a tremendously exciting time to be in the Detroit Tigers organization, especially playing a role in what’s grown to be a top-tier player development system.”

This is a very solid move for the Tigers to make. The Tigers are confident that Price’s leadership both in the clubhouse and on the field will be impactful and will prepare them to excel at the Major League level. Many around MLB applauded the move that can do nothing but prepare the team to lay the foundation of winning.

 

The Rise of Skywalker will have direct tie-ins the Star Wars Rebels and The Clone Wars

Embed from Getty Images In a calculated move by Disney, when the mega company launched  Disney Plus streaming, it did so with specific shows in mind. It has now been confirmed, that the December 20 release of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” will directly be tied in with “Star Wars Rebels” as well as “The Clone Wars.” Both shows are on Disney Plus.

Star Wars Rebels is an animated television series set during the time frame between the films Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope.

The Rebles series followed a  group of rebels who live on the starshipGhost” as they fight  the evil  Empire. The rebels include Ezra Bridger, a young orphan from Lothal who learns the ways of the ForceKanan Jarrus, a Jedi who survived Order 66Hera Syndulla, a pilot and veteran resistance fighter; Sabine Wren, a Mandalorian explosives expert; Garazeb “Zeb” Orrelios, a Lasat warrior; and the cantankerous astromech droid C1-10P, also known as Chopper. The show was highly successful.

Star Wars: The Clone Wars is a series set between the events of Star Wars: Episode II Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith. The series aired on Cartoon Network for five seasons from 2008 to 2013. It then found new life on Netflix.

Star Wars creator, George  Lucas said he  expected The Clone Wars to run for four or five years, but planned to produce at least 100 episodes regardless of ratings. The show exploded. It was a huge hit.

When the show was cancelled, many graphic novels were released the continued the story. The show proved so popular with the die-hard fans, who repeatedly petitioned for the revival of the series, often using the social media hashtag #SaveTheCloneWars.

The show will indeed have a seventh season due to the relentless fans. Now with the final Skywalker film set to be released, it is said to connect both the film series as well as the popular shows.

Fans have hit Star Wars fever-pitch, with what looks like and epic-ending.

Ohio State stomps Michigan again, as the Wolverines look for answers

Embed from Getty Images Jim Harbaugh was brought to Michigan to close the gap on Ohio State. Talent, coaching, recruits scores and wins. He has not delivered on that yet. In fact one might say it has worsened. The Michigan Wolverines lost on their own field 56-27. This on the heals of losing last season in Columbus, Ohio 62-39.

Two schools headed in different directions. Ohio State to the Big Ten title game, with a shot at the College Football Playoffs, Michigan will head to a bowl game with it’s psyche shattered again. It is a yearly broken record.

To examine why Ohio State has beaten Michigan over and over, the first place to look is in the coaching. Be it Jim Tressel, Urban Meyer, or Ryan Day for Ohio State or Rich Rodriguez, Brady Hoke or Jim Harbaugh for Michigan. Ohio State has been better prepared for this game, “The Game” over the years.

Sure the Michigan fan base and media has heard how serious the Wolverines take this game, but the on-field production does not match the empty words spoken. It takes more than words and players walking around in T-shirts with last seasons score on it to get ready to play.

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields put it as plainly as could be “I just think we take it more serious than they do.” TRUTH! Michigan has regained dominance over Michigan State. Ohio State does not seem that important to the Wolverines based on the play they have shown on the field for a while now.

Michigan defensive end Aiden Hutchinson said “I didn’t see this coming.” That is telling. He thought his team was ready to compete. Everyone thought Michigan was ready to compete. Instead fans chose to believe the hollow words and not the facts.

The Ohio State coaching staff made some very good in-game adjustments and were very disciplined. Michigan made no in-game adjustments and were not as disciplined. That did not hurt the Wolverines as much as poor execution. 9 dropped passed, as well as turnovers killed Wolverines offensive drives.

Still Michigan has beaten Notre Dame and the Spartans this season. For people who say Harbaugh can not beat his rivals, he beat two of them. To beat Ohio State changes need to be made starting with the approach.

Oliver Bjorkstrand has found consistency and may be the Columbus Blue Jackets best player

Embed from Getty Images That shot! That unbelievable, beautiful shot! It is a weapon Columbus Blue Jackets forward Oliver Bjorkstrand has always possessed. It forces defensive players to overcommit while goalies hope it does not find the back of the net. Bjorkstrand is a finesse hockey player. He needed to find a physical edge to his game and improve in the defensive end. Oliver Bjorkstrand has done that.

Columbus Blue Jackets head coach, John Tortorella has seen the Danish forward take a huge step forward in his game. Bjorkstand who in previous seasons would be hesitant to jump into the mix on the boards now leads the charge. He is playing the puck harder.

In 2017-18 Oliver Bjorkstrand’s first NHL season, he put up 11 goals, 29 assists in 82 games played. The 2018-19 season the young forward had 23 goals and 13 assists. The reason, Bjorkstand was asked to pass less and shoot more. After all he is a pure goal scorer.

Oliver Bjorkstrand, projected as a 30 goal 60+ point player when he was selected by Columbus in the third round of the 2013 NHL draft. He carried the Cleveland Monsters (Blue Jackets minor league affiliate)  to the Calder Cup with 15 points in 16 games played during the 2015-16 AHL season.

The always smiling Bjorkstrand has been called “The cold-blooded Danish assassin” by his Columbus Blue Jackets teammates. Oliver was challenged to step up by the Blue Jackets coaching staff. Bjorkstrand got to work. His intense work ethic and drive to be even better has lead to Bjorkstrand beginning to live up to his draft day projections.

This is good news for the Columbus Blue Jackets, as I said before, Bjorkstrand has the ability to put the team on his back and carry them. He is that good and that talented.

In a league full of good young talent, fans of other teams are taking notice of Bjorkstrand. His game has come so far in a short amount of time. The sky is the limit for Oliver Bjorkstrand and the young Columbus Blue Jackets.

Why the Detroit Lions should not fire Matt Patricia

Embed from Getty Images While I have given reasons for the Detroit Lions to fire head coach Matt Patricia, I would like to flip the coin and explain why Patricia should not lose his job. While he does make some head-scratching in game decisions at least once a game, he actually has the Lions on the right path.

Despite the disappointment after high expectations, Detroit Lions head football coach Matt Patricia has his team showing progress. It is not the kind of progress that shows up in the win column. Patricia was quoted as saying “I’m always disappointed when we don’t win, I also know that this is a process. I know there’s a lot in play that we are going through, and trying to build.”

The Detroit Lions have had numerous injuries, every NFL team does. The Lions roster depth has been tested to largely mixed reviews. The Lions fan base is up in arms that Patricia who by all accounts was a very good defensive coordinator has that unit playing so poorly this season.

Matt Patricia says the defensive issues are based on poor fundamentals and not the scheme he likes and has the Lions currently playing in. Patricia sights a lack of fundamentals, that is hurting the overall production of the defense.

The Lions head coach is correct on this matter. Fundamentals are a lot of pieces that make a big difference. It is pad-level, hand placement, footwork, dropping into zone coverage, reading the quarterback getting a break on the ball, tackling, taking good angles and other ingredients that make or do not make a team.

Patricia has acknowledged he and the Detroit defensive coach’s need to do a better job. The Detroit Lions players are all backing their head coach. No one doubting Patricia’s ability in the locker room. Which is good news.

There seems to be both truth and traction to players speaking highly of the teams coach. That reason is this, the team has played hard for the coaching staff all season. The Detroit Lions have had the lead in every game they have played in this season and have seen the lead washed away.

I believe Matt Patricia should get another year as head coach based on the fact his team is grinding and hanging in games. The team has played better as the season has gone along, leading me to believe  a breakthrough is coming.

 

Disney Plus’s ‘The Mandalorian” is the top streaming TV show

Embed from Getty Images It was never going to be easy to dethrone Netflix original streaming show “Stranger Things,” which enjoyed a 21 week run as the top streaming show. Yet, in three short weeks Disney Plus has stuck gold with the Jon Favreau, created Bounty Hunter show “The Mandalorian”  from some place in the Star Wars galaxy.

Parrort Analytics measures “demand expressions,” it is a company that standardized TV-demand. The company looks at desire, engagement and viewership as weighed by importance.

From November 17 through November 23 “The Mandalorian” had over 100 million viewers. Compare that to Netflix’s 81 million viewers for “Stranger Things.”

The Jon Favreau hit show is offering Star Wars fans some real hope as to the future of the beloved franchise. As Favreau and Dave Filoni, are said to be taking over all things Star Wars.

“The Mandalorian” is not simply a hit with Star Wars or Disney fans. It is a hit with critic’s as well. The streaming show has a 90% rating on Rotten Tomatoes through three episodes.

The show which premiered November 12, shot up the streaming chart, due in large part to a solid story and a strong cast. Die-hard Star Wars fans like the fact that a different story is being presented. It is a total departure from any of the franchises films to date.

Sure there are Jawa’s. Not the kind in the movies. “The Mandalorian” Jawa’s have red eyes and wear charcoal colored cloaks, not the yellow eyes and brown cloaks we see in the Star Wars films. Then there is the baby Yoda character that has put the fan base in a frenzy.

Again, to say Star Wars fans are pleased that Disney is handing the galaxy over to Favreau and Filoni, is an understatement. These two director, animator, actor are HUGE Star Wars fans and make no bones about it. In my opinion, this is both a solid move and a move that will help drive Star Wars into a brighter future.

If you have not seen “The Mandalorian,” you need to. The Force is strong with it.

Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines look to crack the Buckeyes

Embed from Getty Images Ohio State has won 14 of the past 15 meetings, that is well documented within the Michigan Wolverines football team and fan base. Yet, Jim Harbaugh made a tough, yet honest assessment of his offense, and he brought in first-time coordinator Josh Gattis. Harbaugh, made it clear Monday he knows the rules. Until he wins this game, his record is partly hollow.

Jim Harbaugh told a sideline reporter for ESPN that his Wolverines were “about to have their finest hour.” A very daring statement to make considering the Wolverines trailed Penn State by 14 at the time.

The Michigan fan base sounded off. Jim Harbaugh, doesn’t worry about such noise he never has. He was not a mad scientist,crazy or delusional the Michigan Head coach had seen something in his team three games after losing badly at Wisconsin. Harbaugh also had seen something in his team during practices. That his team was close to finding itself.

Now looking back Harbaugh was clearly was on to something, and he knew it.  On Monday Jim Harbaugh was asked about his team, he used his favorite word to describe it. “Ascending.”

The smooth play of quarterback Shea Patterson as well as the Wolverines wide receivers have given the offense a lift. Will it be enough against Ohio State? That is a good question.

The Buckeyes have one of the best defenses in college football.  Yet,  Ohio State has not seen an offense as good as Michigan’s. They also have not seen a defense playing as well as the Wolverines. Something that was unthinkable four or five weeks ago, But Michigan should be able to compete with the mighty Buckeyes.

Jim Harbaugh was not hired to take Ohio State into the fourth quarter and compete. He was hired to beat Michigan State and the Buckeyes and get to the Big Ten title game and take Michigan to the College Football Playoff.

While the team will not hit those two goals this season, a win over the Buckeyes is critical. A changed offense and defense and Michigan is right where it’s head coach said they would be.

Harbaugh’s Wolverines, are playing it’s best football of the season, as ready as it they ever been heading toward Ohio State. Harbaugh told everyone this was coming. This Saturday at noon in Ann Arbor, Jim Harbaugh gets his chance to make good on that statement.

Michigan, Ohio State week

Embed from Getty Images 62-39, you do not have to tell anyone associated with the Michigan Wolverines football program. 62-39, players, coaches, media, fans all know it. 62-39, it was put up in the Wolverines locker room by head coach Jim Harbaugh as a means of inspiring his team to get to the next level. For those who do not know, or may have forgotten, last season in Columbus Ohio, the Ohio State Buckeyes beat the Michigan Wolverines 62-39.

In what could have very well been a “trap game”, the Michigan Wolverines went into Indiana and beat the Hoosiers soundly, 39-14. That was refreshing to see. Jim Harbaugh had his team locked to the task at hand.

Next Saturday, unbeaten Ohio State pays a visit to Ann Arbor with a lot on the line. Sure the Buckeyes have secured a spot in the Big Ten title game. The team had a close game at home to Penn State. Penn State kept in close by running the ball up the middle and quick outs to the receivers.

The Michigan Wolverines quarterback Shea Patterson has thrown for 750 the past two weeks. He returned to Michigan for his senior year because of 62-39. “There is no way in hell I’m leaving this place on that note.” Patterson last December.

Jim Harbaugh is winless against in four tries against one of the schools rivals. They have not beaten Ohio State since 2011 when Luke Fickell was named head coach for the fired Jim Tressel.

This seasons game promises to be another hard fought game. If Michigan can run the ball like Penn State right at the heart of the Buckeyes defense and get the ball to the outside to the playmakers, it should be a close game.

One thing to watch for is Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, who has had a very good season to date. There is one small glitch in his game though. Fields takes too many sacks. That is not just me saying it. Ohio State coaches have been saying it. Ohio State fans have said it is frustrating at times and he should throw the ball away.

The Michigan Wolverines, use different defensive formations to hide the blitz. It is something to watch for.

62-39, can Michigan wash the bad taste out of their mouth? We will soon find out.