Guilty Partner

by Matthew Stollak on Thursday, June 10, 2010

Growing up, my favorite baseball player was Paul Molitor. As a youngster, I remember heading to Kobs Field on the Michigan State campus to see the Gophers play the Spartans, and was awestruck at how Molitor destroyed MSU pitching. I remember looking at the free agent draft results in 1977 at my grandma’s house in Milwaukee and getting excited that the Brewers drafted “The Ignitor” with the 3rd pick. I made many a trip to County Stadium to watch Molitor and Robin Yount, Gorman Thomas, Ben Ogilvie, Sixto Lezcano, and Cecil Cooper lead the Brewers to many a successful season including a trip to the World Series in 1982, as well as cheering “Molly” on as he chased DiMaggio’s hitting streak culminating in 39 in 1987.

So, my mouth was agape when he decided to take the free agent route and sign with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992. I was Shocked! Outraged! Aghast! He was a Milwaukee Brewer! He had always been a Milwaukee Brewer! He was my Milwaukee Brewer. How could he abandon all his fans and switch to another team? How could he betray my allegiance? It was nearly enough to make me give up watching baseball.

Fast forward 17 years, and the saga of Brett Favre, my favorite player on my favorite football team, the Green Bay Packers. Those familiar feelings rose up once again. While the circumstances may be slightly different, it was hard to see Favre put on another uniform, particularly that of the Purple and Gold (ugh!).

This week, I am yet again seeing another icon in my life think of changing jobs. This time, its Michigan State coach Tom Izzo. He is truly the face of Michigan State University. He turned a slightly better than average basketball program into the best in the country according to ESPN writer Andy Katz. Since 1999, Michigan State has won 6 Big Ten Titles, been to 7 Elite 8s, 6 Final Fours, and a National Championship. Now, he is possibly going to leave the MSU campus and take the head coaching job with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Strangely, I am not so upset. People change jobs all the time, particularly in sports. Loyalty and long career tenures with one organization are not so commonplace anymore. I see the relationships I build with students diminish as students graduate and move on to the next chapter of their lives. Perhaps, it is because it hasn’t actually happened yet. He could still remain in East Lansing. Perhaps, I am thankful for the past 12 years under his watch.

Perhaps, it is simply just maturation.


no gorman thomas mention?!?!?!?!

by Anonymous on June 10, 2010 at 12:34 PM. #

@Carl So noted. Changed to reflect your comment.

by Matthew Stollak on June 10, 2010 at 12:39 PM. #

Or Gumby, the heart of the infield?

by Spartan in Iowa on June 10, 2010 at 1:23 PM. #

I must tell you my Paul Molitor stories at #SHRM10 - my absolute favorite Brewer ever! (sigh)

by Robin Schooling on June 10, 2010 at 6:54 PM. #

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