WHAT’S IT TAKE~~~~To get a Daryl Rogers (RIP) response on TUS?
Jul 12th, 2018 by Kindle

Daryl Rogers died Tuesday in Fresno, California, in his sleep, at age 83.


Former Detroit Lions and Michigan State football coach Darryl Rogers is dead at the age of 83.

Rogers coached at MSU from 1976 to 1979 and then at Arizona State from 1980 to 1984. He then jumped to the NFL to coach the Lions from 1985 to 1988.

Rogers also coached collegiately at San Jose State and Fresno State, his alma mater.

Next time they show the video of Kirk Gibson rounding first base at Dodger Stadium, cranking his right arm back and forth in a moment of sublime baseball glee after Gibson had just won Game 1 of the 1988 World Series with a home run, remember the celebrities and Hall of Famers who made that slice of baseball history possible.


Dennis Eckersley.

Tommy Lasorda.

And yes … Darryl Rogers.

Indirectly, a football coach set it all in motion.

A football coach who died Tuesday in Fresno, California, in his sleep, at age 83.

Rogers coached the Lions from 1985-88 after running the Spartans from 1976-79. He was a coach who, like one of his California brethren, Don (Air) Coryell, believed the fastest path to and end zone was by way of a forward pass.

But, ah, the difference in Rogers, the difference in his work and in his life, the reason he is most remembered today by a football-turned-baseball player, and by a sports writer who covered him nearly nightly during that amazing 1978 season, is the goodness he regularly displayed, as he did on a chilly January day in East Lansing just ahead of that ’78 season.

Gibson was then playing football and only football, as he waded through the winter of his junior year. He was an All-American. He was a 6-foot-3, 220-pound beast who had run for NFL scouts the 40-yard dash in, yes, 4.28 seconds.


Gibson, who now works as a Tigers analyst on FSD telecasts, recalled the moment Wednesday.

“Darryl walks up to me out of the clear blue,” Gibson remembered, “and says: You want to be a top-five, first-round pick?’”

“And I said, sure. And he says, ‘Go out for baseball.’

“I said: How does that make me a top-five NFL pick and player?

“And he explained.”

Rogers, who had grown up tough in Long Beach, California, was both smart enough and decent enough to appreciate two of life’s realities.

Gibson was of such excellence as an athlete Rogers knew he could play Big Ten baseball, especially after MSU’s baseball coach, Danny Litwhiler, had mentioned Gibson’s work in some earlier American Legion games when Gibson was a teen in Waterford. Gibson could help Litwhiler and, most of all, likely raise a 20-year-old’s market price if he had two sports cooking.

But even more fundamentally, the quality that spurred Rogers to offer baseball as an option was inherent in a man who, quite truthfully, remains one of the best people I’ve known in 40-plus years of covering sports.


Rogers wasn’t about to get proprietary with Gibson. There was no ownership in the head coach’s mind. There was, rather, an easy sense of stewardship he extended to everyone, every day.

Gibson quoted Rogers, who had decided spring football was going to be well, superfluous, for a player of Gibson’s celestial skills.

“I don’t want to see you in football this spring,” Gibson remembers Rogers saying. “You’ll be ready for football next fall. Play baseball and you’ll increase your leverage.”

Gibson went out for baseball. He hadn’t played seriously for a few years. He soon was slamming pitches beyond the Red Cedar River. The Tigers got him that June in the first round, with the 12th overall pick, all because they and Gibson had done an artful job convincing clubs in front that Gibson was going to play in the NFL.

In fact he was going to be the first overall pick in the ’79 draft, which was confirmed when, after he signed with the Tigers, after he had a first summer of minor-league baseball at Lakeland, Florida, he returned to East Lansing, to his teammates and to his coach, and helped the Spartans win that autumn’s Big Ten co-championship by way of individual plays that yet remain among the most remarkable dynamics some of us ever have seen on a football field.

Rogers had unleashed Gibson when he arrived in East Lansing in April of 1976, a few months after MSU had gotten all but a NCAA probation lift-sentence. Rogers had been airing it out as head coach at San Jose State and MSU’s new athletic director, Joe Kearney, who had been at the University of Washington, knew all about the coach who might bring a new brand of football to the grind-and-groan Big Ten.

Rogers spotted, on the first day of spring drills, a quarterback from Pittsburgh, Eddie Smith, who was buried on the depth chart and had been planning on transferring. Rogers asked all of his quarterbacks to line up and throw the football. He decided in a nanosecond that Smith, then a sophomore, was his new QB.

It was Smith who for the next three seasons hooked up so often with Gibson on pass plays that were straight from Cape Canaveral.

A year later, in 1979, everything was upside down. A new president, Cecil Mackey, who wasn’t from the region and who had no love for the sports sphere, had taken charge in East Lansing. Kearney and Rogers jumped together to become the new AD-football coach tandem at Arizona State.

Six years later the Lions called. Rogers wasn’t interested. That is, until he got word a day later about budget cuts, big ones, coming ASU’s way.

Rogers called Russ Thomas, then the Lions’ general manager.

“Is that job still open?”

“Sure is.”

“I’ll take it.”

It wasn’t a great interlude, for any of the parties. The Lions were the Lions and by autumn 1988. Rogers, who had flippantly said after one loss. “What’s it take to get fired around here?” was gone.

The “what’s it take” remark was, for those who knew Rogers, on a par with another line oft-quoted that earned him the enmity of University of Michigan fans.

It came during a an MSU football banquet when Rogers quoted one of his assistant coaches, saying of Michigan, that the Wolverines were “arrogant asses.”

Rogers meant it jocularly, for a captive MSU audience, and even if he should have known better, it wasn’t said with any venom. It was Rogers being Rogers in a way Gibson remembered Wednesday.

“He had a smart-alecky way of getting his point across,” Gibson said. “There were always these great lines. Let me tell you, Darryl was a special guy. He cared about football, but he cared about you, as well.

“There are special people in your life who you want to make sure are not taken for granted,” Gibson said. “Things happen, and it’s disappointing, because I’ve had such a great experience with Darryl Rogers. If you could see some of the emails flying around from some of my teammates.”

The relationship continued. Each year, The Sparty Party, an annual golf reunion arranged by one of Gibson’s old MSU teammates, Mark Tapling, was a staple at some splashy national resort. Rogers was always there, as he was this spring, with one of his old staffers and one of the ’78 team’s favorite assistant coaches, Bob Baker.

Rogers had been there last autumn at Spartan Stadium, the last time I saw him, the last conversation enjoyed with a man who was indelible, when Gibson was celebrated by the Spartans for being inducted in the College Football Hall of Fame.

The ’78 gang turned out that night. Their kinship assured it. The coach flew in from Fresno, with wife, Marsha.

“After that game,” Gibson said, speaking of the night when MSU played one of its few clunkers from 2017, against Notre Dame, “we said to him, ‘We might go over and have a drink at Kellogg (Center).’

“And then I said, ‘Might you come over and have one with us?’

“So, sure enough,” Gibson recalled, “it’s now 12:30, 1 o’clock, and here comes Darryl.

“We loved it.

“And he loved it, too.”

Twitter @Lynn_Henning

2017 World Series
Oct 23rd, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck


A little over 101 years ago the Dodgers appeared in their first World Series at Ebbets Field.  The cost for Reserved Seat in the Lower Tier was $3.00. After a bit of time trying to map Dodger Stadium for a similar location the asking price on Stub Hub is $1,755.  Using U.S. Inflation metrics suggest the $3 ticket in 2016 should cost $67.13 in 2017.

TUS reached out to MLB Official Spokesperson Pat Courtney for comment on the disparity.  Courtney says the reason for the increase has little to do with baseball itself but other factors:

  1. The cost of development of Jet Fighter’s such as the F4 for the U.S. Military.
  2. The cost of salaries for pilots to man the F4.
  3. The cost for restoring suspended drivers licences of the pilots.

Courtney says that if baseball did not have to pay their portion of this cost, tickets for Game 1 would be only $48.84

Who wins The World Series and Why?

If True, Your Thoughts on Tigers With Ron Gardenhire as Manager?
Oct 20th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Various media outlets are saying former Twins Manager and current Diamondbacks Bench Coach Ron Gardenhire, is to be named Manager of the Detroit Tigers this afternoon at Comerica Park.

If true what are your thoughts on the hiring and its implication?

Georgia Pine Smells Good and MSU Looks Great: Women’s Golf Advances to NCAA Championship Finals
May 10th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Georgia Pine Suits MSU Fine

The MSU Women’s Golf team seems to excel when playing in the neighborhood of the Tall Georgia Pine. Continuing its trend of solid play under pressure MSU advanced out of the Athens, Georgia Regional to the 2017 NCAA National Championship Round to be held in Sugar Grove Illinois on May 19th-24th. A full recap is [here].

Meanwhile the Detroit Tigers of MLB continue their West Coast Trip, taking on the Snakes in Phoenix.  Detroit beat Arizona 7-3 on Tuesday night with newly designated Closer Justin Wilson pitched a perfect 9th – although not a Save situation.  The Tigers are 3rd in the American League Central 1.5 Games behind Cleveburgh.

MSU Women’s Softball (seeded #7) takes on Indiana tomorrow to begin the B1G Tournament Championship.  The game will be broadcast on BTN at 4:30 PM (EDT).  The background story is [here].

For the first time in decades, no Red Wings in the NHL Playoffs.  However, there is a Game 7 being played with the winner advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals.  Follow [here]

42 Day
Apr 15th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

On this day 70 years-ago. Jack Roosevelt (Jackie) Robinson from Cairo Georgia made his debut as a major league baseball player.  In front of 26,623 ticket holders at Ebbets field in Brooklyn, NY. Robinson and his Brooklyn Dodger teammates defeated the Boston Braves (5-3).  Robinson played 1st base and went 0-3 at the plate.  Howie Schultz replaced Robinson for defensive purposes in the 9th.  The plate umpire was Babe Pinelli and the game took 2:26 to complete.  The game was broadcast via Radio on WHN with Red Barber making the call and Connie Desmond providing commentary.

Robinson would garner his first hit in the next game (two days later).  Robinson would play 10 seasons in the majors – all with Brooklyn – wearing the number 42.  Robinson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on the first ballot.  He had a career batting average of .311.

This day was named for #42 twenty years ago and his number retired from use by all major league baseball teams.

Note:  in 1948 the Dodgers would trade minor league catcher Cliff Dapper from Montreal to the Atlanta Crackers for announcer Ernie Harwell. It is the only such trade of its kind.  Harwell would replace Red Barber who had been hospitalized with a bleeding ulcer.  Harwell would leave the Dodger radio booth after the 1949 season.  Vin Scully would start his career with the Dodgers the following season and be their principle announcer through the end of the 2016 season.

On this date:  Terrorists explode bombs during the Boston Marathon killing three (2013), The Titanic sank on its maiden voyage (1912), The 16th President of the United States; Abe Lincoln was assassinated (1865), and the U.S. ratified a peace-treaty with Britain (1783).

So what are your thoughts about Jackie, barriers (artificial or not) and breaking them, National Days honoring people or events, announcing baseball games for 67 years for the same team, baseball games completing in 2-2.5 hours on average and the fact that major league baseball tracks and references almost everything – including visits to the White House?

College Basketball National Championship Thread
Apr 2nd, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

As for college basketball March is over, but maybe not the madness. We have reached the National Championship Final. Today it is the ladies and tomorrow the men.


Other items of note for TUS Membership.

  • Guard Tori Jankoska received All-American Honorable Mention over the week for those that missed it.  Hmmm… 15 players better than Jankoska?  Really?
  • The MSU Baseball team lost to Minnesota 9-4 in East Lansing.  The Spartans (15-10) swept by the Gophers (18-8).  I knew Minnesota was good but I truly thought MSU would at minimum take the series and possibly sweep.  Good thing I only bet some of the Marine’s golf winnings and not my own.
  • The Spartan Women’s Softball Team won all three games against Maryland in East Lansing.  Granted Maryland (7-26-1 0-6) is not much this season, but the series sweep is encouraging. MSU (19-11 3-3) has not had a winning season since 2007 and went  winless in the B1G in 2012 (0-23).
  • Going into the last round of the Clemson Invitational MSU’s Womens’s Golf Team stands in fifth place at -1 PAR.  MSU’s Sarah Burnham is 8th overall.
  • Yesterday GoSt8Go successfully completed his first competitive race at the 10K distance (Monument Ave.).  I propose TUS change his name to Run GoSt8Go Run.

Who do you think will win the basketball games?  And what about those Tigers?

Read the rest of this entry »

USA Name in the Title: The Marine Will Watch. Will You?
Mar 22nd, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

The United States takes on Puerto Rico for the Championship of the World Baseball Classic.  The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 at 9PM (EDT).

The Marine says this championship is silly, but will watch because it has the USA involved.  What are your thoughts?

The Tiger’s Ian Kinsler is on the USA squad and starting at 2nd base.  Tiger Pitchers Michael Fulmer and Alex Wilson were named to the team.  Fulmer is injured.

Former Tiger’s Jim Leyland (MGR), Tom Brookens, Jeff Jones and Alan Trammel are on the coaching staff.

TUS Member Tony DeMarco is in Los Angeles, California covering the event. Tony’s pre-game report is located [here]

300 for a Spartan
Mar 18th, 2017 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Coach Jake Boss Jr. has so much respect in college sports and general that he was willing to pose with The Usual Suspects.

Michigan State University Baseball Head Coach Jake Boss Jr. earned his 300th career victory as the Spartans blasted the University of Richmond Spiders 13-4 on Saturday at Pitt Field in the Capitol city of the State of Virginia. MSU sits at 12-4 in 2017 and ranked #8 nationally in the RPI. In nine seasons under Boss, the MSU baseball program operates with great success in terms of respect, win-loss percentage, and national standing presence.

A full report on the game is [here].

Cubs or Tribe? Western Michigan New Years Six?
Nov 1st, 2016 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Three questions for Membership!

Will the Chicago Cubs take game six or are the  Cleveland Indians going to celebrate a World Series Title?

Will the Broncos of Western Michigan run the table and represent the state of Michigan in a New Years Day Six Bowl?

What would be the worst thing revealed by a hacking of TUS Foundation emails?

Major League Baseball’s One-Month Sprint
Sep 6th, 2016 by Jeffrey Lubeck

Five of the six month regular season is in the books.  Unless there is some unprecedented collapse, the divisional races are pretty much over – except for the AL East and maybe the NL West.  The Wildcard races are wide open, with the Detroit Tigers in the middle of things in the American League.

Division Leaders

AL East – Toronto – title still completely up for grabs.  How close? Two bad series in a row could take them from 1st to out of the post-season.

AL Central – Cleveland – not losing much ground even with the Detroit Tigers having the best record in MLB since the all-star break.

AL West – Texas – in a walk.

NL East – Washington – if only congress could have a similar record or the presidential nominees of the two major parties have similar favor-ability ratings.

NL Central – Chicago – Can the curse be ended?

NL West – Los Angeles – Dodgers starting to creep away from Giants.

So who do you think is going to make the post-season as a wild-card?

Which teams in the American League will be the Wild-Card Entries (Select 2)

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Which teams in the National League will be the Wild-Card Entries (Select 2)

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