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March 15, 2009

Unconditional Support

A good friend of mine recently sent out an email with a story, and some of his view points that got me a bit fired up, and reminded me of a couple of stories that I thought I would blog about.

This friend has some more consertative views such as my own.  He believes like I do that no one is going to do anything for you, if you want anything in life, the best way to get it is to go after it and get it yourself.

Here is the piece from the email that I 100% agreed with, and what got me to thinking about this post:

"He also talked about accountability and how no one has to be accountable for anything anymore.  Basically its ok to fail, someone will take care of you.  In my opinion its now traveled down to kids sports  - "Everybody is a winner"  there are no loosers in some of the kids sports anymore -Bullshit, get out there and compete.  Its what drives us to be better at anything we do." 

As I already mentioned, I agree with my friends comments that the "there are no loosers, everyone plays, regardless of how good they are, we don't keep score in this league" mentality that society seems to be adopting, actually hurts kids in the long run.  His little rant caused me to think of several things.

The first was an article I read a while back about how college professors and employers are becoming increasingly frustrated with kids entering school and the work place, because they can't take any critcism of their work.  They've never had it before.  It has always been, "good try", or "as long as you did your best, that's what counts"  There was no accountability for failure or sub-par work.  As anyone who works in the real world knows that shit won't work, and leads to short term employment.

The second thing I was reminded of was a scene from Meet the Faulkers (the second Meet the Parents) when Gay Faulker's Dad is showing off his sons trophy's and accomplishments.  He shows Robert Dinero a 5th place ribbon.  Dinero replies, "I didn't know they gave out ribbons for 5th place."

The next thing I thought of was an interview with GM's Bob Lutz, you know, the Current Vice Chairman of Global Product Development for GM, almost single handedly responsible for the development of the Volt.  The guy who over saw the Viper, Prowler, and LH vehicles at Chrysler (even if you didn't like the Intrepid and Concord, they saved Chrysler once again in the early 90's) while he was president of the company.  He also was responsible for initiating the Ford Explorer, which Ford sold a few of over the years.

In the interview, a question was asked to him how he got into cars.  He said as a kid he liked to draw sketches and concept vehicles.  As he got older he started to show them to his dad, and his father would basically tell them that they were ok, or pretty mediocre, but he didn't think he had much of a future as a car designer.  One of the DJ's was taken aback by his dad's answers and said, "nice support from your dad." in a sarcastic voice.  Lutz's reply was that he was glad his dad was honest with him, it made him realize that he WASN'T a good designer, and therefore he didn't waste anytime pursuing it in college, and instead went into engineering, production, and management.

It would appear, from the outside looking in anyway, that things worked out ok for him.

The final story takes me back to a field day at Country Elementary when I was in 3rd or 4th grade. 

My Dad made the trip to watch, which was a pretty big deal, since he worked in Detroit, and had to take the better part of a day off to make the hour drive to Pinckney in time to watch the events.

I had entered into a bunch of races, and did not have a good day from a ribbon standpoint.  I don't remember exactly how many races I entered, but I don't think I got one ribbon.  I was pretty pissed about not winning anything, and was sulking and pouting during the ride home with my dad (another bonus of him showing up, I could skip the bus).  He would try to talk to me, and I wouldn't say anything, because I was upset about not winning.

What I remember my Dad telling me wasn't "well you did your best", or "you'll get em next time", or any type of an attaboy.  Instead I remember him asking me what I was going to do to get better for next time.

Two comments stick out to me from this short ride home, that I remember to this day.  Actually I don't know if they were comments, or life lessons, is maybe a better term.

The first was him telling me to remember this feeling that I had right at this moment.  How upset I was, and how I didn't like loosing like I did.  Use this feeling to work harder, practice, do what I could to try to get faster, so the next time I entered a race, I would have a better chance to win.  Don't use a loss to pout and cry, use it to work even harder, and strive to not let a loss happen again. 

The second was him telling me that maybe entering all running races wasn't the best plan.  At first I didn't understand what he was saying, who cared what I entered, I lost, that was the point.  He mentioned to me that maybe I wasn't the fastest kid in my class.  Maybe my strength wasn't my flat out running speed.  Maybe I should have entered some different events, maybe a throwing event, maybe an obstacle course, or a jumping event, something to that effect.  Something that plays on my strengths, and not my weakness of being a slow ass kid. (ok, that last part was my words, my Dad might have been trying to teach me a tough lesson, but he didn't call me a "slow ass kid")

I still use these two lessons to this day.  I've been chewed out by a boss, or a customer before.  My instinctive reaction is to try to learn from the ass chewing, try to figure out exactly what they were expecting from me, what I failed to do for them, and use that for the next time I have to do something for them so I don't get chewed out again.  I use the feeling of humility and embarassment in the moment, that helpless feeling you have as your boss belittles you, to try to never let it happen again.

I also think I recognize things that I'm good at and try to tackle those tasks.  Tackling tasks that I know I'm good at will utlimately make me more successful, at what I do, and (hopefully) people will notice these things.  At the same time, when I'm asked to do something that I know I might not be as strong at, I try to recognize this as soon as possible, and do things to eliminated the weakness.  Research online or in books, ask co-workers for help, call suppliers, or trade organizations, etc, anything to try to make the task more successful.

We are raising a generation of wimps, and people who expect things to be given to them or done for them, beit from thier friends or family, or from the government.  For the sake of the country (no I don't think I'm exaggerating) this has got to stop...quick!

Thanks for Stopping by - Dan

March 05, 2009

Lets Help Procello Find an Apartment in Erie, PA

Since it is a well know fact that Leyland, Dombrowski, Rick Knapp Al Avila, Glen Ezell, several scouts and Detroit Tiger Personnel read this site on a regular basis, I'm going to start my campaign to make sure that Porcello doesn't make the trip from Lakeland to Comerica, at least not at the start of the season.  Regardless of his stuff and his maturity, he is not ready.  Below is why.

First off, I hope that he gets a bunch of shit from the veterens at spring training for allowing the photo above to go to print.  If he doesn't, I have no confidence in the clubhouse chemistry for the Tigers this year.

So how do we convince him that Erie is the place for him come April?  Well, he is from New Jersey, so he already knows about the deliciousness that is Yuengling.  Plus, he is only 20 years old, so that won't legally work anyway.

I've never been to Erie, but have driven through, and did't see anything to really draw anyone there, especially a 20 year old millionaire.  Not that Detroit is all that, but it is that enough to beat Erie, pretty much hands down.

There is Lake Erie...oh wait, never mind, scratch that.

So I'm not sure what, but we got to think of something, and quick, camp breaks in less than a month.

Quick check of Procello's stats, and the first thing that jumps out to me is IP, or innings pitched.  The most innings he has pitched in a season was last year in the Florida Coast League when he pitched 125.  He was also on a 75 pitch count last year.

He is not physically ready for the show, at least not a full season in the show.  By all acounts his stuff might be, and his mental make up seems to be, but he is not ready for the 175 - 200 innings that might come with a full MLB season.

"Well, it worked with Verlander." is what the more passive Tiger fan might say.  Verlander played in college, and then had a full season in the minor leagues.  He had some years with some extra work, and he was a couple years older than Porcello.  Maybe his drop in 08 was because of his workload in 06 (don't forget to add in all the post season games) and 07, who knows?

I'm not against him coming up this year, don't read this post that way.  Call him up after the all star break if he tears things up in Erie (and/or Toledo).  If someone gets hurt (Bondo, you listening?), call him up then.  If anyone just has the wheels fall off (Willis and Robertson, you listening?), call him up.  Make him a September call up, just don't put the burden of a full season on him this year.

There is a scenario where I might allow this:

Limit him to 75 - 85 pitches a game, and keep Miner around to come in for Porcello, almost every start.  If he has a no-no going into the 7th, but has thrown 82 pitches, in comes Miner, NO EXCEPTIONS!  It would almost be like two starters, Porcello will get you to the 5th or so, and Miner will get you to the "bullpen".

This also gives you a security blanket if something goes wrong.  If he has trouble with big league hitters, insert Miner, if his pitches and innings start to climb, shut him down, and bring in Miner to start.  You could also let Miner spot start here and there to limit Porcello's work.

I truely believe the best thing is for him to start things off in Erie to watch his development.  The problem is that Willis and Robertson have been a horrific mess so far this spring (I know it is early yet) and Porcello has looked very good (I know it is early) that you hear more and more that he will be the 5th guy.

So lets hope my previous prediction is correct (I still have faith in you D-Train) and that Willis gets if figured out by the end of this month and wins that spot.  With his contract, I feel if he is at least part of the way decent, they are going to bring him north and give him a crack at it.  If he is shakey, then lets talk at that point about who they should get to replace him.

Chances are good the name will still be Porcello.

By the way, some of you might be asking who is Al Avila and Glen Ezell?  That would be the assistant General Manager, and the Director of Player Development in the Tigers organization.  Yes, I'm that big a baseball snob.

Thanks For Stopping By - Dan

March 01, 2009

Random Thoughts Randomly Running Through My Random Brain

Recently trying to come up with something to post, I would think of something I thought might be worthy of a blog topic, but then realized the idea could not fit what I think is a "full blog".  My wife...who thinks my blogs are too long, said they could be short, but...as some of you might have already figured out...I feel my posts need to have some "substance". 

So stealing an idea from Sports Illustrated's Peter King's 10 things I think I think, I went with Random Thoughts Randomly Running Through My Random Brain.  I may do this from time to time in the future, just various items that have drawn some of my interest since my last post.

So with no further adeiu, here is Random Thoughts Randomly Running Through my Random Brain for March 1st, 2009:

1.)  I saw a bumper sticker on an Explorer on my way to work on Satruday that was for the Mystery Spot in St. Ignace, MI.  My thought was, did this person visit the Mystery Spot, and think that it was so over the top fantastic, that their first thought was, "Oh, I have to get a bumper sticker to put on my Explorer!!!"

2.) One button on a pair of pants is plenty.  I recently purchased some new casual pants for work that have two buttons.  I become 1/2 as efficient as I could be every time I go to the bathroom the instant I put them on.  These are almost as bad as butterfly 501 jeans.

3.) There is no such thing as reverse discrimination.  Sometimes when African Americans exhibit hatred towards Caucasians people will say that is "reverse discrimination".  Discrimination is discrimination, no matter who it is towards.  Reverse discrimination would be the opposite of this, essentially meaning you are overly nice to someone of a different race, and this really isn't a bad thing.

4.) An outfit is not sexy.  No article of clothing should be marketed as "sexy".  It is not the clothing that is sexy, but the person that is wearing the clothing that is sexy.  A person makes an outfit sexy, not the other way around.

5.) I'm probably late for half my appointments.  At work (for meetings and such), this number probably drops to 25%.

5a.) My wife is going to tell you that my half estimate above is way too low!

6.) I love the smell of diesel exhaust, have since I first smelled it in middle school when some of Pinckney Community Schools new busses were diesel powered.  This might be when I started to like diesel engines.  That, and the fact that one can easily produce over 1000 ft-lbs of torque at around 1500 RPM...incredible.

7.) I have mixed emotions about the ban on smoking in Michigan bars and restaurants.  I hate going to bars, having trouble breathing, and coming home with clothes and hair that reeks of smoke.  I also hate the government telling us what we have to do.  Actaully as I type this, I realize that although I'm not a smoker, I'm against the ban.  If you don't like smoke, don't go to bars with bad smoke.  Let the bar and restaurant owners decide if they want to allow smoking or not.  If it is a good idea, the places that ban smoking will thrive, dropping business at their competition, who will follow suite, or close.  If it doesn't work, thier business will drop, and they will allow smoking again.  It sounds pretty simple, and like the way the free enterprise system is suppose to work.

7a.) When did society begin to think the government is there to provide us with everything we need?  Healthcare, college tuition, housing, income, where does it stop?  It seems to have gotten worse in my lifetime.  Every person should be responsible for their actions, and providing for themselves, and children until they are old enough to do so for themselves, and the cycle repeats itself.

7b.) I remember that a girl in Ms. Cavanaugh's 3rd grade class could spell restaurant correctly, I never could, and I was jealous of her.  Now, 25+ years later after typing it a few times in number 7 above I realize that I still can't spell it and had to look it up.  This no longer makes me feel jealous, I just feel dumb.

8.) I believe in aliens.  If we the people on earth are the smartest people in the universe, then the universe is in big trouble!  There has got to be something else out there.

9.) I have wanted a tool shed since I bought my first house in 1999.  I'm very excited because it looks like I will get one this spring! 

10.) I really wanted to come up with 10 things, and will be slightly short, but since I have a "5a", and "7a", and a "7b", I technically have 12, so I'm stopping for the night.

Thanks for Stopping By - Dan