Category Archives: Glove with Love

From the Glove, with Love

Contributed by S. Jacobs

Featuring Michigan-born athletes from all sorts of sports

Michigan has snow.  Sochi has snow.  You can snowboard all over Michigan.  You can snowboard all over Sochi.  You don’t have to worry so much about wildlife interfering with your day of snowboarding in Michigan.  You have to fear for your life about wildlife interfering with your day of snowboard in Sochi.

This guy’s got previous Olympic experience, X Games notoriety, a State Champion Wrestler, Multi-sport extraordinaire, and all around Michigan Outdoor Badass.  He’s Nick Baumgartner.

Baumgartner

The weather today in Iron Mountain, MI is 9 degrees with 3 feet of snow on the ground; pretty typical for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.  So what’s a Yooper to do with these conditions growing up?  Shred, obviously.  Many of us Michiganders can relate to making it through winters by finding some cold weather activity to pass the time.  Many of us also don’t make a living from said activities.  Check out this resume:

  • 2012: X-Games Silver
  • 2011: X-Games Gold
  • 2009: World Championship bronze (SBX)
  • 2008: Visa U.S. SBX champion
  • 2008: First World Cup win (Lake Placid, N.Y.)
  • 2007 U.S. SBX champion
  • 2007: 2nd at World Cup Finals
  • 2007: 3rd at Copper Mountain Revolution Tour
  • 2004: 1st in SBX at USASA nationals
  • 2004: 1st at U.S. Extreme Boarderfest

You can’t hate these stats.  This year Nick seeks retribution against the 2010 Olympics (and possibly communism) where he didn’t take home any medals.  Nick’s event, snowboard cross, takes place on Monday the 17th.

High School Nick spent his days at West Iron County High School where he did typical high school jock things, just on another level.  This guy has all-state honors in 3 sports, wrestling, football, and track.  His mother, Mary, was actually the coordinator for the local wrestling club.  Which is genius on her part, having 5 kids, and letting them beat the daylights out of each other in an organized fashion.  Kudos Mary.  His dad, Bob, well the guy had 5 kids, what more do you need to know?..because if there’s two things to do in the U.P., its make babies and drive them around to sporting events.

College Nick played a year of football for the Northern Michigan Wildcats before deciding to take his talents to the real world.

Grown-Ass-Man Nick is now an adrenaline junkie that stays humble in his roots.  He’s a skilled tradesman by day and an Olympic caliber athlete by night.  He still lives in northern Michigan, close to family.  He works just like the rest of us to support his hobbies, two of which are Demolition Derby and Truck Racing.   He has a 9 year old son, Landon.

What I like about this guy the most: he’s not a career athlete.  He’s a career dad.  Family will always be first, and being an Olympian is just a hobby.  It’s outstanding to have priorities like that.

I’d also like to point out that his favorite movie, as well as his mustache, is “Rad” with Laurie Loughlin and bunch of BMXs.  If you haven’t seen it, you haven’t lived.  You can pick it up on VHS at your local cinematic medium rental establishment.

LoughlinRad

Follow this guy on Twitter: @nickbaumgartner and show him some love!

Best of luck in Sochi, not only getting that Gold, but getting out alive!

From the Glove, with Love

Featuring Michigan-born athletes from all sorts of sports

Contributed by S. Jacobs

2 days late, and around five dollars short, this half man/half bear/half Ottis Redding, comes to us by way of Rockford, MI…

He’s Joe Staley!

Staley

“Joe who?” Seriously? You don’t know Joe Staley? I’m your average, run-of-the-mill, football fan, and even I’ve heard of Joe Staley before I set out on my quest to write this.  I was happy to find that this guy is a Michigan-Born tackle extraordinaire.  Too bad for the 49ers; they will be watching the Super Bowl from their couches (I called it weeks ago.)

Before protecting the likes of Trent Dilfer, Alex Smith, Chris Weinke, and our beloved Shaun Hill, Joe Staley, or “Joe” as many acquaintances and friends call him, was a track star at Rockford High School, just a few miles north of Grand Rapids.   According to multiple sources, he set records for the 200m, the 4 x 100, and 4 x 200.  His 4 x 200 time, 1:27, eclipses my high school time of DNQ.  I wasn’t even on the team, I was just lost after school one day during a track meet and saw some very unnerving, pasty, white thighs chasing me; but I digress…

The oldest of 3 kids, Joe was destined to be athletic based on nothing more than his parent’s names:  Butch and Jan.  It doesn’t matter which is which.  Butchs and Jans don’t raise accountants or science teachers.

How fitting that last week’s FtGwL (From the Glove, with Love) was a Bronco, and this week’s is a Chippewa (Fire Up!) Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the contributors to MotownMeltdown, myself included, had a beer with this guy at Reggae Fest.  Typically a Tight-end, Staley converted to Tackle his Sophomore year at Central.  His now QB, Colin Kaepernick,  owes then coach, Brian Kelly, a nice dinner at a fancy seafood restaurant and a hug. In 2005, with Staley as a left tackle, CMU gave up no (none, zero, ziltch) sacks! Unfortunately, the headline “Joe Staley Doesn’t Have A Sack” doesn’t capture the proper audience when it comes to newspapers. But maybe if you read filthy, filthy blogs it does…

Big Train, a college nickname, has made a name for himself in the NFL.  He was the 3 OT taken in the 2007 draft; rightfully so after Cleveland’s Joe Thomas and arguably after Arizona’s Levi Brown.  Nonetheless, being taken in the first round (28th overall) is impressive.  I love my Lions.  I love my Lion’s Tackles.  To put some perspective on it (because we did look hard at Staley, who would have been a steal in round two) our first three picks, respectively, were: Calvin Johnson (2nd overall); Drew Stanton (42nd overall); Ikaika Alama-Francis (58th overall).  Draft analysis is another article for another time.

Some reasons why Joe Staley is “The Man”:

  • All-MAC First Team Selection
  • 3 time (consecutively) Pro Bowler
  • 1 time NFC Champ
  • Adopts less fortunate families at Christmas
  • Supports the Smile Train ( smiletrain.org )

Finally, he’s just a dude, from Michigan, who worked his ass off to become a contender on an elite level.  He seems to be a down-to-earth guy, liked by his team off the field; and especially by #7 on the field.  When he’s not remixing Tag Team’s ‘Whoomp There It Is’, he is trolling around the locker room locking for his next victim; just doing regular dude things with regular dudes.  There’s too many links, but just look up Joe Staley on YouTube.  He also managed to find a good-lookin’ soccer player that’s into dudes who could be on a Top 50 WAG list if she upped her Twitter (@carriedew19) game. Come on already!

From the Glove, With Love

Featuring Michigan-born athletes from all sorts of sports

For the inaugural post to this blog, I’m going to lay out a few ground rules before we dive in…

1.       Set talent and record-setting aside
2.       I don’t care what team/club/organization you play for now…this is From the GLOVE, With Love
3.       I’m opened to suggestions…but please keep it relevant.   I support local, but your middle schooler that is running over the tween tennis circuit is not what this is about…unless they beat Andre Agassi straight up…for money; it’s not for me.
4.       I’m going to do my best to give you impactful, weekly updates.  Once this engine gets rolling, I plan on going full on web journalist.  You can watch this blossom like a beautiful chia pet of Uncle Si.
5.       Lastly, I hope to make you think, or say aloud (if you are into talking to yourself) “I didn’t know that” or give a legit LOL.  

Let’s get started…

Standing slightly above average at 6’3”, weighing in at 198 LBS, hailing from Clay, Michigan, still in search of a nickname that is going to stick, with light brown locks of fury…

Detroit Redwings’ Danny DeKeyser gets the honor of being ‘From the Glove, With Love’s first feature.

Image

Younger than every blogger that Motown Meltdown has to offer, Danny DeKeyser is “livin the dream” that many of us had growing up; wearing the Red Winged Wheel, playing with legends.  Dekeyser’s story is a simple one.  He skating on the same ice that many of us metro Detroiters did growing up.  He graduated from De La Salle Collegiate.  He spent some time playing in the Midwest Elite, British Columbia, and United States Hockey Leagues before landing in Kalamazoo, MI as a WU Bronco.  All of which are pretty typical when you eat, sleep, and play hockey in this area.

Danny has earlier ties to Red Wings too.  I seriously doubt playing Midgets with the (at the time) assistant GM’s kid land you on Ken Holland’s radar, but Dallas’ now GM Jim Nill can say that he know Danny since day one.  It just goes to show that the big time is attainable.

#65 isn’t padding the stat sheet, nor has he really ever.  You have to the kid play.  Some claim there are flashes of Lidstrom when he’s out there.  To that I say, “pump the breaks.”  While I love his style of play, his solid hockey IQ, and his determination, he hasn’t created that separation from the pack…yet.  Being a CCHA’s second & first team All American, respectively in consecutive years, doesn’t happen my mistake.  To cap that off, he was named the CCHA’s Best Defensemen in back-to-back years as well; the first Bronco to ever do so…and first person since Mike Weaver to win the honor twice in 15 years.  *Side note: Mike Weaver plays for the Florida Panthers currently.  He’s only had two NHL seasons in which he finished in the + column.  Who ever said college is the same as the pros?

Lastly, I’m excited for this kid.  He may not be getting much, if any, national hype, but did smash Corey Perry in grill last game; something we’ve all wanted to do for long time.   It may important to note that he is on pace to have a comparable 2nd season that that on one Mr. Nicklas Lidstrom.  He’ll be a few assists short at this point, but for the offense we’ve had lately, that speaks volumes to me (and should to all the true Wings fans out there).  Danny Dekeyser, I hope, is on this team for the long haul.  If only the Wings knew anything about late round, or no round (like DeKeyser) picks and had a minor league development program worth mentioning…just kidding.

 Thanks for Reading,

Steve