Craig Remsburg column: Ishpeming, Negaunee matchup on horizon

Thinking out loud on a Sunday morning:

It’s early in the Upper Peninsula high school football season and a lot can happen from here on out, but local fans should mark their calendars on Oct. 11.

That’s when the Negaunee Miners take on the host Ishpeming Hematites.

The clash will likely decide the Mid-Peninsula Conference champion and might enable the winner to go undefeated this season.

The game will no doubt draw a huge crowd at the Ishpeming field, with the Hematites looking to avenge their only loss (20-8) during the 2012 campaign that ended in a state Division 7 title for the Blue and White.

In the last 10 games between the neighboring rivals, Ishpeming holds a 6-4 lead after winning three of the last four games.

-If I were Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland, I’d have pitcher Justin Verlander miss his next scheduled start to get his game back on track.

The 2011 Cy Young winner and American League Most Valuable Player, Verlander is just 13-12 to date this season with a 3.66 ERA.

He has struggled all season and his ERA is the highest he has recorded since 2008 when it was 4.84.

Skipping a start may give Verlander a chance to do something with his pitching mechanics and rest up for the coming postseason.

– Also with the Tigers, I don’t know why Leyland continues to play Matt Tuiasosopo over rookie Nick Castellanos, who’s supposed to be the organization’s top prospect.

Tuiasosopo, hitting just .260 with seven homers and 30 RBIs, twice left the bases loaded this past week against Seattle, striking out one time and grounding out the other.

Castellanos, meanwhile, is hitting just .250, but has appeared in only seven games since being called up to the big club on Sept. 1.

Tuiasosopo is obviously a veteran and the Tigers are trying to clinch a postseason spot. But if Castellanos is as good as club executives say, he needs to get some Major League games and at-bats under his belt.

– The Detroit Red Wings re-signing free agent left wing Dan Cleary to a one-year, $1.75 million contract raises some concerns.

Cleary’s feisty, knows how to play defense and is reputed to be good in the locker room.

But he’s also 34 and scored just nine goals to go with six assists in an injury-plagued 2012-13 season.

Does he have anything left in the tank?

By signing Cleary, the Wings are reportedly $637,000 over the salary cap and will have to cut a couple of players.

If signing Cleary forces the Wings to waive a young prospect or two, the team might gain something this season with Cleary but lose in the long run by letting a young player go.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is