Monday, January 29, 2007

Back To My Youth

I used to talk to my father all the time about baseball. It was one passion we shared. To me, the Tigers I grew up with, and remember the most, were those from the late 1960s and the early 1970s. For my father, it was the Tigers of the 1930s - that team that won back-to-back American League pennants in 1934 and 1935 - and beat the Cubs in the 1935 World Series. He would talk about Charlie Gehringer, Hank Greenberg, Mickey Cochrane, Tommy Bridges and the epic World Series loss to the Cardinals in '34 a lot. It helped fuel my love of baseball. As a kid, I loved the Tigers of late 1960s and 1970s. I remember the World Series in 1968 and the 1972 team that won the division and took Oakland to the limit in the ALCS. My favorite player was Willie Horton. So, even though I have been in this business a long time and have been fortunate enough to meet a lot of famous people and all that, a part of me is still enthralled by the Tigers of that era. That is why being down in Lakeland this week writing columns from the Tigers Fantasy Camp is a thrill. When I see Gates Brown or Horton or Mickey Lolich - or any of those players from that era - it reminds me of my youth when I loved baseball so much it was an obesession. This is going to be fun. I will doing a four-part series in The Oakland Press starting Thursday. Oh, and I guess baseball is still my obesession.

Random Thoughts

- I thought Michigan State was teriffic at Ohio State Saturday. Just one clutch shot here or there and the Spartans would have pulled it off. Certainly they sent a message to the rest of the nation - and Ohio State - they are for real.

- Chris Webber is making a huge difference for the Pistons. I do not care if they lost to Washington Friday. The Wizards were just hot that night. The Pistons are clearly the best team in the Eastern Conference.

6 Comments:

Anonymous sportznut said...

Webber has done exactly what I expected him to do. He has rejuvenated Sheed, grabbed rebounds, made many beautiful passes, and taken some pressure off the rest of the starters.

Yes Chris isn't the player he once was, and has his deficiencies, but there is no doubt the Pistons are a better team with him in the lineup.

They are once again in a position to make a run in the playoffs.

This year they won't be the prohibitive favorite, but at least they have a chance.

Another gem of a move by Joe Dumars.

Speaking of Joe, I always remember a quote of his he had awhile back.

"Its not about being right. Its about getting it right."

Joe may not always come out and say he was wrong, but he's not afraid to be proactive and fix something that didn't workout for the team for whatever reason.

As much as I enjoyed watching Isiah play, I thank my lucky stars that he ran his mouth and never got the job.

I'm not an NBA fan at all, but I've always been a Pistons fan, if that makes any sense.

I stopped watching the NBA years ago, but I will watch the occasional Pistons game and most of their playoff games.

I look forward to the Webber/Wallace/McDyess trio putting them deep into the playoffs and allowing guys like Tay, Chauncey, and Rip more space to get their shots.

12:02 PM 
Anonymous Trevor Layton said...

Pat, I too can't help looking forward to baseball season. As a younger fan, this Tigers team sealed my passion last year. I have a non-Tigers baseball question (warning--it's a conspiracy theory) that's been on my mind the last year or so:

Is there any suspicion about Roger Clemens' (potential) pattern of refusing to sign on with a team until midseason despite an obvious desire to play?

I saw that he is officially undecided once again and would not be back before May (http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news;_ylt=Aun4dqlPZHKXLdcliPggnRwRvLYF?slug=ap-clemens&prov=ap&type=lgns). I mean, he's going to play. Everyone knows he's going to play.

What I'm curious about is whether he's he still subjected to the league drug-testing policy while in limbo?

If "retired," he could theoretically juice all winter and get off in time to come back clean in July, right? He's a legend, so this is a difficult question without the slightest amount of proof that he could be guilty. But I can't help wondering if he's found a loophole that allows him to be the best "prepared" for yet another hall of fame half-season.

2:29 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Sportznut,
He is not the Pistons savior, but he has definitely given them a lift. I like the Pistons chances a lot. My only question is whether they have the right coach for this type of team.
caputo

5:24 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Trevor Layton,
A lot of baseball people quietly have had questions about Clemens. I don't know if that is fair, but it's impossible not wonder about it during this era.
Caputo

6:49 PM 
Blogger ThinkingMan said...

Pat,

I'm always interested to talk people who have seen baseball from years gone by. Did your dad ever talk about the players from the 1930-40s in terms of how they'd measure up to "modern" ballplayers?
Did he ever see Ruth or Gehrig play at Tiger Stadium?

12:23 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Thinkingman,
I don't believe he saw Ruth, but I have to believe he saw Gehrig, but I never asked. Mostly, he talked about the Tigers players. How Bridges had a big curveball, Greenberg's power, how flawless a player Gehringer was. He used to talk about Paul Foytack, of all players, how he'd fall behind in the count and then get hammered when he'd come in with a fastball down 2-0 in the count. But that was later on.
Caputo

1:44 PM 

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