When Jim Campbell was president of the Tigers, the running joke was the next person who smiled was going to be ushered from Tiger Stadium by one of the old guys wearing those weird-looking orange uniforms. Baseball was serious business. It was like attending church. Or spending a night in the pokey. They played very little music over the PA system. When the Tigers hit a home run, their elderly organ player would play the "Mexican Hat Dance." Suffice to say when the Tigers hosted the All Star Game in 1971, Wayne Newton wasn’t invited. Heck, they booed Jose Faliciano’s guitar rendition of the national anthem during the ‘68 World Series. At the first Super Bowl in Los Angelos, the big pre-game entertainment was college marching bands and these two guys who dropped onto the field from the sky wearing battery-powered rockets on their backs. It’s not that I clamor for the old days. And I do understand that entertainment and sports are national partners. But Wayne Newton at the NBA All-Star Game? That was ridiculous. I know he is Mr. Las Vegas, but it made about as much sense as having Nathan Lane play Jake LaMotta in a Broadway rendition of "Raging Bull." When he went "Hey, James, this one is for you..." The Godfather of Soul" immediately began spinning around in his casket and screaming, "I don’t feel good..." And was that really Wayne Newton? Or was that some guy wearing a mask? His face could have passed for the entertainment wing of the robbers in "Break Point." I am just glad they spared us Joan Rivers breaking out the one liners, sticking her fingers down her throat and hawking trinkets like she does on QVC. But where was Shecky Greene? David Stern blew it. If "Shaq meets Shecky" isn’t fodder for a reality show, then what is?
- It took awhile, but finally Tommy Amaker’s Michigan team showed some competitive character during its victory over Indiana on Saturday. It could spur the Wolverines on during the stretch run.
- The Tigers prospect I have never been able to quite figure out is reliever Eulogio da la Cruz. A right-hander, he has great stuff. On several occasions he has hit triple digits with his fastball. He has the makings of a major league-caliber breaking ball. Yet, his numbers have never been that good. He will be at Toledo this year and could provide the Tigers with a bullpen lift if they need it - especially if Fernando Rodney struggles - this season. But he needs to start dominating minor league hitters first.
- Just my opinion, but the most underrated Lions player of all-time was Larry Hand. The most underrated Piston was the "Man with the Golden Arm" Eddie Miles. The most underrated Red Wing was and still is Tomas Holmstrom and most underrated Tiger was Auerlio Lopez. Willie Hernandez got all the credit, but without Senior Smoke setting him up, 1984 doesn’t happen.