Monday, November 5, 2007

Weekend Sports Wrap-Up: Wolverines, Lions, and McCosky's Anti-Blogger Column

A big sports weekend in Michigan leaves everyone happy, well, outside of East Lansing anyway. The Pistons are 3-0, Michigan stages a big fourth quarter comeback, and the Lions dominate a game in a way they haven't in over a decade. And Detroit News Pistons beat writer and columnist Chris McCosky took bloggers to task for something they didn't do, while practicing the very type of journalism he lambasted the nonexistent bloggers for. But, let's get to the good stuff first.

** Michigan Defeats Michigan State 28-24 ** Michigan State looked like they had it cold. Michigan's best player, running back Mike Hart, was out of the game, and quarterback Chad Henne probably should have been, both due to injury. Michigan couldn't move the ball, and Michigan State could, scoring two touchdowns to take a 10-point lead with just under eight minutes to play. But then, as they always seem to do (see last season's game against Brady Quinn's Notre Dame team or Michigan's incredible Big House comeback in 2004), Michigan State couldn't finish. Chad Henne, showing a lot of heart fighting back both shoulder and knee injuries, drove the Wolverines for two touchdowns on Michigan State's prevent defense, giving the Wolverines the victory, and giving them a chance, by beating Ohio State in two weeks (no matter what they do next week against Wisconsin) to win the Big Ten and go to the Rose Bowl. Unbelievable considering the start Michigan had to the season.

The game itself was pretty boring for the first half, lots of punts on both sides, but the second half, with the Spartans taking the lead, and then Michigan's incredible fourth quarter comeback, was worth the price of admission. Henne and Manningham have hooked up before in big games (like 2005's Penn State game where they thrilled the Big House crowd by scoring the game winning touchdown with one-second to play) but nothing may top their game Saturday. Aside from a victory over Ohio State of course.

** The Detroit Lions Defeat the Denver Broncos 44-7 ** That's not a typo either. Neither was Shaun Rogers having a 66-yard interception return for a touchdown that you may have seen in the box-score. The Detroit Lions finished the first half of their season 6-2, an amazing, incredible, words-can't-describe-it start, and while I don't want to look toward the play...Nah, I won't even say it yet. One snap at a time, right? We all knew the offense would be good this season, and with Kevin Jones back and healthy, the offense is really humming (I don't think it's a coincidence that the Lions are 3-0 and that quarterback Jon Kitna has not thrown an interception since Jones became the full time starter after returning from his Lisfranc fracture) but the defense. You can't say enough about them. The supposed Achilles Heel, and all they do is lead the league in turnovers, disrupt kickers knocking them out of their rhythm (when they aren't blocking kicks), and score touchdowns.

Shaun Rogers was a monster Sunday, with 2.5 sacks, 4 quarterback hits, and the INT return. He was unblockable despite double coverage and he had Ford Field rocking when he stiff-armed his way into the endzone for his touchdown. The secondary may not be the best in the league, but when your front-four gets that much pressure on the quarterback, it doesn't matter. And give the Lions credit for being agressive. Their onside kick attempt may have failed, but it was agressive, as was a fourth down call early in the game. And Kitna, as earlier mentioned, isn't making mistakes. ANd with 3-5 Arizona next, the Lions have a chance to get another win before the final seven games of the year against some very tough teams (7-1 Green Bay twice, 7-2 Dallas, 6-2 New York Giants, and a trip to San Diego).

** Detroit News Columnist Chris McCosky Rips Bloggers ** This has been talked about a lot in the Detroit Tigers blogosphere this weekend and I don't have much to add to the great posts in response by Billfer at the Detroit Tigers Weblog, Kurt at Mack Avenue Tigers, and Ian at Bless You Boys (many others had great responses too and Billfer's got the full list) but a few comments which repeat some of theirs.

First, McCosky, who for those who have not read the article yet, wrote a column saying that "bloggers are not journalists" because they aren't educated the way most newspaper journalists are and because they don't have access to teams like most journalists do. Specifically he took Detroit Tigers blogs to task for reporting a rumor that Joel Zumaya injured his shoulder not moving boxes as he and the Tigers claim, but in an ATV accident.

McCosky wrote that "Bloggers are having a field day speculating on how Joel Zumaya really injured his shoulder. Nobody believes a heavy box fell on him. So the Internet is rife with stories about how he fell off his dirt bike." Problem for Chris is, as the numerous stories responding to his post have pointed out, no Detroit Tigers blogs talked speculated like Chris claimed. Comments left on an AP story speculated about Zumaya's injury, and the Tigers blogs, which are very professionally written, by some who are employed as journalists, never treated the comments as fact.

I mentioned the story at my Detroit Tigers blog but in a post titled Don't believe the rumors about Zumaya's injury, yet. I talked about the speculation about Zumaya's injury, and cautioned readers that:

Now, while the moving boxes story isn't very exciting, there is no reason, without substantial proof to the contrary, to believe Zumaya injured himself on a dirt bike or participating in any other extreme sport. The poster's numerous misspellings and other inconsistencies notwithstanding, unsubstantiated rumors are just that until proven otherwise. If it's me, I give Zumaya the benefit of the doubt until something more concrete contradicts his original story.

Mike Stone, of WDFN and WXYT's 7-Sports-Update gave Joel Zumaya the "Stonehead" of the week award and brought up the ATV rumors (though he said they were unsubstantiated) as he did on the Stoney and Wojo radio show on Friday. Yet, McCosky doesn't seem to find Stoney talking about the issue, only bloggers, who, stayed largely away from the issue.

I like McCosky's work covering the Pistons, and his segments on WDFN. He should stick to that, because here, he's completely off-base, largely because of his own inaccurate reporting about whom was talking about the Zumaya rumors. If he had his facts right, and cited blogs which he found so objectionable, and still wrote that he didn't think "bloggers were journalists," I could respectfully disagree with that. But here, because he mischaracterizes Detroit Tigers blogs and what they were (or, in this case, were not) talking about, his column rings hollow.

Guess I did have something to say about that after all.

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