Thursday, September 22, 2011

Mayo and the Mickeys gave Detroit a real fall classic

Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera is working out at third base, his old position, in the event the American League Central Division champions get all the way to the World Series.
Manager Jim Leyland is trying to find a way to keep the bats of Cabrera and designated hitter Victor Martinez in the lineup when the Tigers would play in a National League park, where the DH won't be used in the World Series.
Cabrera could play third and Martinez first, the Leyland thinking goes, in an NL venue.
People who follow the Tigers know something about this kind of personnel juggling.
In a move that worked to perfection, but was indeed a huge gamble, Tigers manager Mayo Smith moved center fielder Mickey Stanley to shortstop for the 1968 World Series.
Stanley's position change sent to the bench light-hitting shortstop Ray Oyler and opened a spot in the lineup (there was only one round of post-season play back then, and no DH in any World Series games) for all-time Tigers great Al Kaline, who missed a good portion of the season with an injury.
Imagine a move that brassy in today's sports media climate.
Blogs, talk shows, roundtables and social media would be abuzz with guesses and second-guesses over Smith's decision to mess with a lineup that had carried the Tigers to their first pennant since 1945.
Stanley played well at shortstop, even against the speedy Cardinals lineup that featured Lou Brock, and Kaline delivered at the plate as the Tigers won the World Series in seven games.
Left-hander Mickey Lolich, a long-time Macomb County resident, turned in three complete-game victories, had a 1.67 ERA and was named MVP of the series.
Outstanding as Justin Verlander has been for the Tigers this summer, it is unlikely he'll pitch 27 innings in any post-season series to match what Lolich did in the Year of the Tiger.

Detroit Mercy to name court for Dickie V

Dick Vitale, the shy, softspoken, reticent (just kidding) ESPN college basketball analyst who in the 1970s put the University of Detroit on the college hoops map, will have his day on court when the Titans play St. John's on Dec. 5.
The Detroit Titans will that day dedicate Dick Vitale Court at Calihan Hall to honor the man who brought  players such as Terry Tyler and John Long into the program and led the school into the NCAA tournament.
The installation of a new hardwood court is part of a $1.6 million renovation project at Calihan Hall, an intimate arena that has for years been one of the better places in southeast Michigan to watch basketball.
The game against Big East Conference member St. John's, set to begin at 7 p.m., will be telecast by ESPN2.
Tickets are $20 and $10. A portion of ticket sales will go to the V Foundation, a Detroit spokesman said.
The V Foundation, started by the late Jim Valvano, a friend of Vitale who coached North Carolina State to the 1983 NCAA tournament championship, raises money for cancer research.
Detroit's home schedule includes games with Butler, Cleveland State, Milwaukee, Valparaiso and Western Michigan.
The Detroit ticket office is at (313) 993-1700.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Super Sunday match-up on U-M, MSU hoops slates

Michigan plays at Michigan State on Feb. 5, 2012, which will be better known as Super Bowl Sunday.
That Big Ten match-up, to be telecast by CBS, was one of the feature games of the schools’ men’s basketball schedules that were announced Wednesday.
Michigan State plays North Carolina on an aircraft carrier in San Diego on Nov. 11, and then the Spartans fly across the country to play Duke at New York City on Nov. 15.
State’s Big Ten opener will be against Indiana at East Lansing on Dec. 28. The Spartans play Big Ten newcomer Nebraska at Lincoln on New Year’s Eve.
Michigan’s non-conference schedule includes a trip to the Maui Invitational, where the Wolverines will open against Memphis.
U-M starts the Big Ten season Dec. 29 at home against Penn State, and plays Minnesota at Ann Arbor on New Year’s Day.
The Big Ten tournament will be March 8-11 at Indianapolis.
Nov. 14 Towson
Nov. 17 Western Illinois
Nov. 21 Memphis (Maui)
Nov. 22 Duke or Tennessee (Maui)
Nov. 23 TBA (Maui)
Nov. 29 at Virginia
Dec. 3 Iowa State
Dec. 10 Oakland (Palace)
Dec. 13 Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Dec. 17 Alabama A&M
Dec. 22 Bradley
Dec. 29 Penn State
Jan. 1 Minnesota
Jan. 5 at Indiana
Jan. 8 Wisconsin
Jan. 11 Northwestern
Jan. 14 at Iowa
Jan. 17 Michigan State
Jan. 21 at Arkansas
Jan. 24 at Purdue
Jan. 29 at Ohio State
Feb. 1 Indiana
Feb. 5 at Michigan State
Feb. 8 at Nebraska
Feb. 12 Illinois
Feb. 18 Ohio State
Feb. 21 at Northwestern
Feb. 25 or 26 Purdue
March 1 at Illinois
March 4 at Penn State
March 8-11 Big Ten tournament
Nov. 11 North Carolina (San Diego)
Nov. 15 Duke (N.Y.)
Nov. 18 Texas Southern
Nov. 20 Arkansas-Little Rock
Nov. 23 Milwaukee
Nov. 27 at Eastern Michigan
Nov. 30 Florida State
Dec. 4 Nebraska-Omaha
Dec. 7 Central Connecticut State
Dec. 10 at Gonzaga
Dec. 17 Bowling Green
Dec. 19 Missouri-Kansas City
Dec. 22 Lehigh
Dec. 28 Indiana
Dec. 31 at Nebraska
Jan. 3 at Wisconsin
Jan. 10 Iowa
Jan. 14 at Northwestern
Jan. 17 at Michigan
Jan. 21 Purdue
Jan. 25 Minnesota
Jan. 31 at Illinois
Feb. 5 Michigan
Feb. 8 Penn State
Feb. 11 at Ohio State
Feb. 16 Wisconsin
Feb. 19 at Purdue
Feb. 22 at Minnesota
Feb. 25 Nebraska
Feb. 28 at Indiana
March 4 Ohio State
March 8-11 Big Ten tournament