Volume 2, Issue 3


March 2012 “I enjoy being around the sport because even now, when you’re doing the PA, you get to see the ex players who were scouts and some of the media guys I’ve known through the years. It’s a heckuva relationship.”
Budd Lynch

Detroit’s Newest Tabloid Sports Publication




The venerable Red Wings’ PA announcer still going strong at 94 years old

Photo by John Raffel for Sportz Detroit magazine

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Sportz Detroit Magazine


Publisher’s Note …
Greetings Sports Readers,
Hello Sportz readers. Welcome to the Spring of 2012. Exciting things are happening on the local sports scene. The finals, playoffs, and the start of a possible World Series bound, Detroit Tiger team. Does it get any better !! I don’t think so. Enjoy it while it lasts. Speaking of enjoying it, I hope you like this months edition of Sportz Detroit Magazine. Tell your friends about us. Remember, we are distributing into 194 CVS stores in the South Eastern Michigan area. And, we’re also in many of the area sports bars, restaurants, and advertiser lobbies. If you have a story idea or would like us to cover an event which you are hosting, email us at frank@sportzdetroitmag. com. Well readers, till next month( our special baseball season edition), enjoy the beginning of spring and enjoy the reading of Sportz Detroit Magazine. May God bless our State, City, and You, the reader and your families.


Frank Allen, Founder, Publisher/Editor Terry Darling, Executive Sales Manager


Mark Wasserman, Kevin Alan Lamb, John Raffel, Terry Darling, and Terry Foster Designer: Karri Cherry Distributed by: Distributech

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— Publisher and Editor Frank Allen


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Sportz Detroit Magazine

5 Cover story: Budd Lynch, still going strong

8 Get the Puck Outta Here: Hocketown lives up 16 Kevin Lamb to its name interviews Mitch Albom 9 Soundoff: Will the Red 17 Opening Day always Wings win the 2012 Cup? special in Detroit 11 New Piston Brandon Knight excels on court 13 U-M, MSU March Madness preview 13 Terry Foster: Foster’s Feast 20 Tigers’ pitcher Doug Fister a star in Detroit 21 Loretta’s Laughter: A woman’s look at sports 29 Lions likely to draft a cornerback first

14 Tigers Preview: Expections high for the 2012 season!

Copyright© 2012 Sportz Detroit magazine. All Rights Reserved. Contents may not be reprinted in whole or in part without written permission of the Publisher. The material in this Magazine is designed for information and entertainment purposes only. Sportz Detroit Magazine assumes no liability or responsibilities for editorial content or advertisers’ claims or offers.

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4 Sportz Detroit Magazine

Venerable Red Wings’ PA announcer going strong at 94
By John Raffel


“Last minute of play in this period.”
What would a Red Wings hockey game be without that announcement from Budd Lynch? In fact, what would a Red Wings hockey game be without Budd Lynch? He joined the organization in 1949 as the team’s play-by-play announcer, and later became public relations director and has been on the PA since the mid 1980s. Lynch said he has not missed a home game since being with the team. “He’s brought tradition with us,” said Jim Nill, the Red Wings’ vice president and assistant general manager. “He was here before any of us from the front office. He’s a voice that people in the arena sitting in their seats hear all the time. They have a connection with him. He’s one of those guys who has carried on the tradition. He’s a great person on top of it.” Frank Joseph James “Budd” Lynch was a native of Windsor, who joined the Essex Scottish Regiment of the Canadian forces during World War II and lost his right arm and shoulder during combat in France a few weeks after the Allied invasion of Normandy. When Lynch returned from the war, he was the play-by-play announcer for the Windsor Spitfires hockey team, a farm club for the Wings. “In Hamilton, Ontario, when I was in high school, I did baseball that one summer with the Pony League,” Lynch recalled. “I did the Hamilton Tigers one year too. I played hockey as a juvenile, but not too good as a left winger.” Jack Adams, Red Wings’ general manager, sent Lynch to Sault Ste. Marie for training camp the following year. Lynch started out doing the color commentary on radio before doing play-by-play. “I did the six television games that year. Wouldn’t you know, it, that was the year (1950) they won the Stanley Cup. That’s when they only had the six (NHL) teams.” Lynch stayed in broadcasting for 25 years. He retired when Alex Delvecchio, the general manager at the time, wanted Lynch to be Director of Publicity. He retired from that in the 1980s but then in 1985 was asked by owners Mike and Marian Ilitch to take over as public address announcer, his current position. “I’ve never missed a game although I got by with laryngitis one game,” he said. “I guess it’s the luck of the Irish too. I was at the right place at the right time. I enjoy being around the sport because even now, when you’re doing the PA, you get to see the ex players who were scouts and some of the media guys I’ve known through the years. It’s a heckuva relationship.” Lynch was the recipient in 1985 of The Foster Hewitt Memorial Award, which is presented by the Hockey Hall of Fame to members of the radio and television industry who have made outstanding contributions to their profession and ice hockey during their broadcasting career. “He’s a great ambassador,” Nill said. “He’s first class. He has a great sense of humor. He always has a smile on his face. He’s been through a lot over the years.

Every time you see him, he has a smile, shakes your hand and gives you a pat on the back.” Lynch still plays golf and says he’s able to drive. He has six daughters, with all but two living in Michigan. “I have no sons but when I lived in Dearborn, I had a backyard full of boys looking for playoff tickets,” he laughed. He now lives in Wyandotte close to downtown Detroit. His first wife, Frances, died of cancer 19 years ago and he later remarried. His second wife, Thelma, died of cancer nine years age. Both wives were hockey fans. “The Ilitches gave Fran a surprise birthday gift one year, tickets for home games,” Lynch said. “Thelma inherited those when Fran passed away. A very good friend of mine has those tickets now. She and her son are my designated drivers. They drive me to every game. I drive all the time, but since they have the tickets, for home games, they pick me up and drive me back.” Erich Freiny is in his first season with the Wings as a public address announcer and has been with the club five years overall. “Budd’s great, the guys’ a legend,” Freiny said. “He’s the first and last voice you hear at the The Joe every night. I fill in with some of the heavy lifting. Budd’s a great teacher. Obviously everyone in hockey knows the guy.” Lynch recalls that while he did play-by-play, he strived to avoid being a fan. “When you’re on TV, you describe what’s happening and when you’re on radio, you paint a picture,” he said. “The irony of it all is you feel the fans’ resentment when they have a bad year and they had a few bad ones. But there’s always hope for the future.” Looking at the past, Lynch will always cherish having broadcasted Detroit games from Olympia Stadium. fel for Sportz By John Raf “They had chicken wire around (the rink),” he said. “The fans could hear the conversation on the ice and the players could hear the fans yell at them and the referees too. That was before the plexiglas.” Lynch also cherishes memories of Gordie Howe’s career. “He was a great credit to the game of hockey and a great family man too,” Lynch said. “He’s still comes up to the pressbox. He’s a playful guy. One night, he reached in when I was on the air during a commercial and took the script right away from me. I had to ad lib it.” Lynch’s durability despite his age amazes Nill and others. “He’s seen a lot more hockey games than we ever have,” Nill said. “He’s seen it all and he lives through it all. He lives his life the right way.” Lynch sustained his war injury July 1944 in Caen, France, when he was hit by a small German rocket in the right shoulder. “About 10 hours later, the Canadian medical team had pulled forward and two young doctors made the decision they had to take it off,” Lynch recalled. “I knew I was injured and it could have been a lot worse. I stayed and worked for the BBC six months.” Continued on page 9

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6 Sportz Detroit Magazine



Born: December 23, 1979 in Vetlanda, Sweden. Position: Winger. er in the third History: He was draft . He resigned with round by Detroit in 2004 3-year deal worth the Wings in 2006 to a n signed a contract ex $2.825 million. He the n. years, $43.5 millio tension in 2009 for 11 s n by fans and teammate Nickname: He is know to him by me was given as “The Mule.” The na e Yzerman who praised former teammate Stev handles him for the workload he l in 2006 World Highlights: Gold meda Cup in 2008; Championships; Stanley the NHL reWas 2 seconds shy of hat trick. cord for fastest playoff

Photo courtesy Wikipedia

Sportz Detroit Magazine




“Last minute of play in this period,” is what Lynch considers Continued from page 5 the line most fans would rememLynch didn’t let the loss of ber about him. the shoulder and arm impact his But others will always reenjoyment of life. member Budd Lynch in different “I couldn’t break 100 the first ways that are still very special. time I played golf,” he smiled. “I’m pretty active with the “The first time I played after the amputees, too,” he said. “I spend war, I had a 99.” a lot of time helping those who He had been right-handed. “The have lost their arms and legs.” first letter I wrote home to my Lynch, when he’s made aware mother, she kept it. When I got of a certain situation involving home, I couldn’t believe it. The a certain amputee, will speak writing was exactly the same as if words of comfort and encourageI had the right arm.” ment to the individual. It’s the computer age, but don’t “I always say, don’t be emtell Budd that. barrassed if you have an empty Lynch still types his notes for sleeve or an empty pant leg,” he the game at the Joe and types letsaid. “Go out and be seen. Don’t ters. He still uses three typewriters hide. I’ve had an empty sleeve in his house including a portable. for 67 years and I’m pretty visBefore a pronunciation guide ible with it. People know I have of names was provided on each an empty sleeve. So what?” player, Lynch recalls having to get There are many reasons why By John Raffel for Sportz Detroit the correct pronunciations the old When not behind the microphone, Budd Lynch stays active helping amputees. Budd Lynch remains a remarkway. able figure in Hockeytown. “Years ago, we used to ask the from a few years back. “It’s his stamina. The guy has trainers how the boys wanted their names announced,” “I also had an 85 once. That’s not bad for a onebeen a big name in hockey for over 60 years,” Freiny he said. armed bandit,” he laughed. said. “What impresses me is he knows everyone’s name At one time, Lynch played golf three times a week when they come up here, whether he’s seen them once “From Normandy to Hockeytown,” Lynch’s life and now averages two rounds a week. He is a member story, edited by Bob Duff, a hockey writer from Wind- or for 50-plus years. Not only is he an avid golfer but of Grosse Ile Country Club. His best score is an 82 he’s been to every hockey game. He’s unbelievable.” sor, was published two years ago.

Jessica Taylor

“No doubt! They have played great hockey all season and there is no doubt in my mind they will take it to even a higher level in the playoffs. It is their year for sure.”

Sound oFF dETRoIT!
Question of the Month
Bradley carTer
“They should, but I’m concerned about injuries and the goalie situation. As long as the Wings can stay healthy, yes, they will win the Cup.”

Sportz detroit Magazine Readers Say What?
Will Red Wings win the Stanley Cup?
Mr. ocTupus
“They better. I’m hungry for some competitive hockey. All those home wins were fun, now let’s see it happen in my arena during the playoffs!”

The sTanley cup

“Um, have you SEEN how many Wings are listed on me. I’m sure by the end of they playoffs you’ll be seeing even more! My cup runneth over with excitement for the Wings!”


Sportz Detroit Magazine

Hockeytown lives up to name

GEt tHE puck OuttA HERE!!!

Photos by Terry Darling for Sportz Detroit Magazine

During the last weekend of February Nick Andrews competed in the MAHA Squirt Major State Tournament, as a member of the Little Caesars Major travel team. At 10 years old he just fell short winning his third consecutive Squirt Major state title.

“Get the Puck Out of Here” The last month has been quite an eventful in the world of Hockey Town. The “Battle on the Bay” pond hockey tournament, after several delays, actually came off. Although in a much abbreviated form, which was more a pond hockey showcase than a tournament. None the less, approximately 80 players ranging in age from 18 to 65 took to the ice on Walled Lake, Sunday February 19th, for a day of skating and friendly competition There was a grudge match between two local over 40 teams. The over sixty group which was made up of some of the most elite players in this category had a vigorous match that lasted an hour. Buddy COLUMMNIST Williams, from walled lake was there, TERRY fresh from a gold medal performance DARLING in the Michigan over 60 Senior Olympics. Six other players from that Gold Medal team also skated that fine day. Terry Fadina, the MVP of that tournament skated in spite of a case of severe bronchitis. We were blessed with 33 degree temperatures, sunshine, and ice that some said rivaled indoor surfaces we regularly skate on. To complete the day were retied to the beautiful Bayside Sports Bar for food and drink, and we managed to raise over $700 for children’s cancer research through TEAMKENDALKIDZ.ORG. The day represented what true hockey culture in Hockeytown is really about! Once again a huge thanks to all who came out and supported this event! A sad note from the senior hockey world, Ken Deane, a true hockey legend in Detroit passed away, January 23rd. He died at 83 standing at the end of the bench at Canfield Arena coaching his over 60 team.

Andrews family Russ, nick, uncle Marty, grandpa Denny. As I stood looking at him at the funeral home, I heard another hockey colleague say, “You can say what you like about Ken, but he sure got his monies worth.” True that Ken! The best story of the month has to be about The Andrews family. Let’s call it the 3 peat story. Denny Andrews is a goalie in the Michigan Masters Hockey League, and 30 year hockey buddy of mine. Denny is the proud grandfather of Nick Andrews. During the last weekend of February Nick competed in the MAHA Squirt Major State Tournament, as a member of the Little Caesars Major travel team. At 10 years old he was seeking his third consecutive Squirt Major state title. Denny invited me out to see the championship game against the Bell Tire squad. The game was played Sunday February 26th at the Taylor hockey Center. It was outstanding hockey game, and I was amazed at the level of skill of all these fine young players! Nick and his line mate Tag Bertuzzi fought hard, with their goalie pulled, in remaining 50 seconds of the game, but in the end Nick lost his bid for the 3 peat. Bell tire won the game 5 to 4, in spite of being outshot 34 to 15. Nick’s dad Russ the third member of this great hockey family was there with to support his son. Last year, Russ was the MVP in the national Senior Open Tournament in Las Vegas. Like his dad Denny , he’s a goalie. This is what hockey is really about in this town we call Hockeytown! We understand what it means to start playing the game at young age. To appreciate the culture associated with this great game, and take with us the great lessons in life that it provides us with!

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10 Sportz Detroit Magazine


A good KNIGHT for the Pistons


By John Raffel

randon Knight knew he was on his way to the NBA when he was in high school. It didn’t take long for the newest Detroit Piston to make the journey. Knight, after one college basketball season, was the eighth selection out of Kentucky by the Pistons in the 2011 draft and had quickly established his credentials as an NBA star. He scored 23 points against Cleveland in December in the Pistons’ home opener. Knight’s fast start has been no surprise to his coach. He play(s) with great energy, he’s on the floor and makes some nice plays on the pick and roll,” Lawrence Frank said. “Everyone can see he is going to be a very, very good player. That’s the great thing about this league, every year it turns out great young players.” Knight’s determination has also impressed his coach. “He’s worked extremely hard,” Frank said. “He doesn’t leave the gym until 11:30 at night. He has great work ethic and super high character.” “You can always get better,” Knight said. “I’m going to watch tape and see the areas I can improve in, not just me but as a team and how I can make the team better.” Knight started playing the game seriously when he was 7 years old. Within seven years, he started thinking seriously about pro basketball. “By high school, I thought I probably might have a chance,” he said. “It’s kind of overwhelming. But it’s a part of life. A lot of people have been in my shoes, just adjusting to it.” The speed of the NBA game is much to Knight’s liking. “This is what I kind of expected,” he said. “Now it’s just about getting better, getting more reps and adjusting to an actual game rather than practice.” “He came in on the run by himself and definitely is a good spark for us,” said center Greg Monroe. When Knight had six points against Indiana in a New Year’s Eve win over the Pacers, he was impressive as a playmaker with six assists. “As long as we win, that’s what matters,” he said. “It’s a learning experience every game. I’m getting used to everybody, what people like the basketball, where they like it.” “It’s great to see him come out and give us the lift we need,” said veteran teammate Ben Gordon. “We’ll need more performances like that from him

By Mark Wasserman for Sportz Detroit

After 32 games, Brandon Knight was the third leading scorer for the Pistons at 12.9 points per game and No. 2 in assists at 3.4 per game. throughout the year if we’re to be the team we want to be. It’s very encouraging to see him play the way he did. He’ll give us a boost when we need it.” “I’m trying to find a way to keep my teammates energized. I want to make sure whatever I do individually I try to lift my teammates up,” Knight said. Knight admits he learns from experienced players like Rodney Stuckey, especially when he attacks the paint area. “Coach says try to get in the paint,” Knight said. “I’m able to knock down shots; when they collapse to me, I kick it out to others... trying to see the guys and run the team.” He’s not all basketball, although he’s close, but outside of the sport, Knight enjoys the simple things, such as watching TV. “I just like to relax and doing something other than basketball,” he said. “We have to have time to ourselves.” He’s a long way from home. Knight attended Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. He was cited in 2009 and 2010 as the Gatorade National Boys Basketball Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year, the first student-athlete from Florida to win that distinction. An advisory board from

around the country selected Knight, who maintained a 4.3 grade-point average. As a junior, Knight led his team to its second consecutive Class 3A state title, averaging 31.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 5.6 assists and three steals per game during the season and netting 27 points, nine rebounds and four assists in the state finals. He beat his own school singleseason record by more than 200 points and set a school record with 127 threepointers. He was the 2009 Florida Mr. Basketball. For high school basketball in Florida, Knight had a staggering 3,515 points and is No. 2 on the state’s all-time scoring list. On March 4, 2010, Knight played his final high school basketball game. He injured his groin in the state semi-finals, but led Pine Crest to the championship game for a third consecutive Class 3A state title. But Pine Crest lost 70-46 to Rickards High School of Tallahassee. It didn’t take long for Knight to establish his NCAA credentials. In his Kentucky debut, Knight had 31 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists, and 0 turnovers in a 95–62 win in an exhibition game in Canada over the Windsor Lancers. Knight had 17 points and 5 assists in his first actual game. Knight topped all freshmen in the nation in scoring, averaging 18.3 pp. on 47 percent from the field and 40 percent from the 3-point line. He averaged 33 minutes a game, 4 assists and 3 rebounds and was SEC freshman of the week three times. Knight was one of 20 players selected as a finalist for the 2011 Bob Cousy Award, given to the year’s best point guard in the college basketball and made fifth Team All-America by Fox Sports. He was among the final 10 candidates for the Bob Cousy Award. He led his team to an SEC championship victory and a berth in the Final Four. After one college basketball season, Knight figured he was ready for the pros. Prior to entering the NBA, Knight had listed his favorite team as the Phoenix Suns and favorite NFL team as the Colts and the Rams. It’s no secret who his favorite NBA team is now. “I’m not sure how far (the team has to go),” he said. “I just know every day we come in here and work overtime, we’ll see results. You can see excitement around the see the fan support is exciting. The main thing is get wins. That’s the main factor for us.”

Sportz Detroit Magazine



Sportz Detroit Magazine

Foster’s Feast
Terry Foster will eat ’em up and spit ’em out with his perspective on sports!
Michigan State is the pit bull, the bully on the block that eventually knows your block off. The Spartans are led by forward Draymond Green who might be the Spartans best leader in team history. Yes, better than Mateen Cleaves who helped lead the Spartans to the 2000 NCAA championship. They both have one thing in common. They were top notch college players that may not have a long NBA career. Michigan can sink its teeth in you also. The Wolverines just do it in a different way. MSU grinds while Michigan flies. Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke, Zack Novak and Stu Douglass can fly and let fly. They are not the greatest show in turf but they can sure be dangerous in the tournament, just as long as they avoid the more muscular teams. Michigan-Michigan State hoops matters again. his isn’t North Carolina-Duke but there is a growing interest in Michigan-Michigan State hoops again. Both programs are good and that is good news for the state of Michigan. Michigan State remains a better program but at least the interest level is heightened when the two play. They both won on their home courts, fought for the Big Ten regular season title and both teams are young enough and good enough to do it again. They might not be finished. They could meet again in the Big Ten tournament and who knows, both programs are capable of making runs in the NCAA tournament. Could a fourth meeting be around the corner? That would be sweet to see the blue and green hook up during March Madness.


The Wolverines are players again, sporting new facilities and a new attitude. Even the old blue guard is excited. For years they huffed and puffed that basketball didn’t matter. That mostly meant they had a team that could not compete with the Spartans. Now they can compete and now Crisler Arena is the Crisler Center. The students are down on the floor creating havoc and anxiety for opponents. They are not the more established Izzone, but it does not hurt having quarterback Denard Robinson in the middle of the crowd. Michigan-Michigan State is not just another game. It means something and I would love to see them go at it again.

Spartans, Wolverines pursue a lengthy postseason trip
Draymond Green and Trey Burke. They’ve given Michigan State and Michigan fans plenty to celebrate during a season in which they shared the Big Ten Conference championship with Ohio State. Now they’re hoping for much more as the two teams pursue a lengthy stay in the NCAA tournament. Green was the Big Ten’s player of the year after averaging 16.2 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. He was the league’s top rebounder and No. 6 in scoring as the only conference player to rank in the top 10 in all three areas. He’s the first MSU Player of the year in the Big Ten in school history and the first since 2009. Green’s last appearance March 4 at the Breslin Center was a memorable one. He scored 19 points and 12 rebounds for MSU in his final appearance at the Breslin Center March 4. But the loss to Ohio State forced the Spartans to share the title with Michigan and the Buckeyes. “Before the game, I told Draymond he is one of my favorite Big Ten players,” Ohio State coach Thad Motta said. “It was funny because as the game started and they were getting ready to do the introductions and the tip off and I saw his body and just the commitment he has made to his body over four years and you know, the player he is and all the things he can to do impact the game.” Green is hoping he and the Spartans can put together their best basketball for the postseason. Obviously, that means the likes of Keith Appling, Brenden Dawson, Derrick Nix, Adreian Green, Justin Thornton and Brandon Wood will


By John Raffel

Photos courtesy MSU and U-M media departments

Draymond Green of Michigan State was the Big Ten player of the year. Zack Novak and Michigan coach John Beilein are hoping to be looking for a long post-season in the NCAA tournament. have to step up also. But Green remains the key figure. “That guy has a great future ahead of him and he is going to be a great player, as he is now,” Motta said. “He will take that thing to the next level.” Burke was named by the media as the Big Ten’s Freshman of the Year. He averaged 14.6 points and 4.6 assists per game. He led all freshmen in assists and is the program’s first Freshman of the Year since 2003.Burke would actually have preferred scoring more points but accepts the fact that it hasn’t been his main role with the Wolverines. “I know that will come with the flow of the game,” he said. “I’m not worried about shots.” His role, Burke said, has been getting the ball in the hands of such productive scoring teammates like Tim Hardaway Jr., Jordan Morgan and Evan Smotrycz. “We’re not used to seeing 2-3 zones. At one time, we got into shooting perimeter shots and didn’t go inside as much as we should have,” Burke said during the season. “It’s my job to give them the ball. Next time I see that, I’ll go low.” He was the 2011 Mr. Ohio Basketball but it didn’t take long for Burke to make the transition from high school to Big Ten basketball. “I feel comfortable right now,” he said. “I feel I’m doing a good job of giving everyone the ball. My role is to get everyone involved, take the open shot, get in the paint and get everyone going and get open in the perimeter.” Burke played a critical role in his team’s drive to the Big Ten title. Now, a successful venture in the NCAAs is on his mind. Motta smiled at the notion that Michigan fans would be eternally grateful to the hated Buckeyes for having defeated the Spartans and putting the Wolverines in a three-way tie for first. “I thought going into the season, six losses could win it,” Motta said. “But 13-5 was good enough.” But for Tom Izzo, the Spartans, who had a two-game lead with two games

left in the Big Ten race and lost twice — forcing them to share the title with the hated Buckeyes and Wolverines — the NCAAs is a whole new ballgame. “Like any coach, you’re going to look at what you did right and what you did wrong,” he said. “The question is, and I think they will be ready to play, is the team that plays the game ready? And you know, if you learn from a mistake or if you learn from somebody else taking it to you in a certain way, then you have grown. If you don’t then you just blow it off as something and you don’t grow. “This team, for the most part has grown. And yet, we have some things to improve on.” But regardless of how much the Spartans improve or don’t improve, Motta points out that MSU still has the league’s best players. “You know they are going to run a cross screen for Draymond Green and you now it’s coming and he still catches and shoots a layup,” Motta said. “We have got to get that corrected.”

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deTroiT Tigers 2012 schedule
Thu, 4/5 Sat, 4/7 Sun, 4/8 Tue, 4/10 Wed, 4/11 Thu, 4/12 Fri, 4/13 Sat, 4/14 Sun, 4/15 Mon, 4/16 Tue, 4/17 Wed, 4/18 Thu, 4/19 Fri, 4/20 Sat, 4/21 Sun, 4/22 Tue, 4/24 Wed, 4/25 Thu, 4/26 Fri, 4/27 Sat, 4/28 Sun, 4/29 Mon, 4/30 Tue, 5/1 Wed, 5/2 Fri, 5/4 Sat, 5/5 Sun, 5/6 Mon, 5/7 Tue, 5/8 Wed, 5/9 Thu, 5/10 Fri, 5/11 Sat, 5/12 Sun, 5/13 Mon, 5/14 Tue, 5/15 Wed, 5/16 Thu, 5/17 Fri, 5/18 Sat, 5/19 Red Sox Red Sox Red Sox Rays Rays Rays at White Sox at White Sox at White Sox at Royals at Royals at Royals Rangers Rangers Rangers Rangers Mariners Mariners Mariners at Yankees at Yankees at Yankees Royals Royals Royals White Sox White Sox White Sox at Mariners at Mariners at Mariners at Athletics at Athletics at Athletics at Athletics at White Sox at White Sox Twins Twins Pirates Pirates Pirates at Indians at Indians at Indians at Twins at Twins at Twins at Red Sox at Red Sox at Red Sox at Red Sox Yankees Yankees Yankees Indians Indians Indians at Reds at Reds at Reds at Cubs at Cubs at Cubs Rockies Rockies Rockies Cardinals Cardinals Cardinals at Pirates at Pirates at Pirates at Rangers at Rangers at Rangers at Rays at Rays at Rays at Rays Twins Twins




Sun, 5/20 Tue, 5/22 Wed, 5/23 Thu, 5/24 Fri, 5/25 Sat, 5/26 Sun, 5/27 Mon, 5/28 Tue, 5/29 Wed, 5/30 Thu, 5/31 Fri, 6/1 Sat, 6/2 Sun, 6/3 Tue, 6/5 Wed, 6/6 Thu, 6/7 Fri, 6/8 Sat, 6/9 Sun, 6/10 Tue, 6/12 Wed, 6/13 Thu, 6/14 Fri, 6/15 Sat, 6/16 Sun, 6/17 Tue, 6/19 Wed, 6/20 Thu, 6/21 Fri, 6/22 Sat, 6/23 Sun, 6/24 Mon, 6/25 Tue, 6/26 Wed, 6/27 Thu, 6/28 Fri, 6/29 Sat, 6/30 Sun, 7/1 Mon, 7/2 Tue, 7/3


Wed, 7/4 Thu, 7/5 Fri, 7/6 Sat, 7/7 Sun, 7/8 Fri, 7/13 Sat, 7/14 Sun, 7/15 Mon, 7/16 Tue, 7/17 Wed, 7/18 Thu, 7/19 Fri, 7/20 Sat, 7/21 Sun, 7/22 Tue, 7/24 Wed, 7/25 Thu, 7/26 Fri, 7/27 Sat, 7/28 Sun, 7/29 Mon, 7/30 Tue, 7/31 Wed, 8/1 Fri, 8/3 Sat, 8/4 Sun, 8/5 Mon, 8/6 Tue, 8/7 Wed, 8/8 Thu, 8/9 Fri, 8/10 Sat, 8/11 Sun, 8/12 Mon, 8/13 Tue, 8/14 Wed, 8/15 Fri, 8/17 Sat, 8/18 Sun, 8/19 Tue, 8/21


Twins Twins Royals Royals Royals at Orioles at Orioles at Orioles Angels Angels Angels Angels White Sox White Sox White Sox at Indians at Indians at Indians at Blue Jays at Blue Jays at Blue Jays at Red Sox at Red Sox at Red Sox Indians Indians Indians Yankees Yankees Yankees Yankees at Rangers at Rangers at Rangers at Twins at Twins at Twins Orioles Orioles Orioles Blue Jays Blue Jays Blue Jays Angels Angels Angels at Royals at Royals at Royals White Sox White Sox White Sox Indians Indians Indians at Angels at Angels at Angels at White Sox at White Sox at White Sox at White Sox at Indians at Indians at Indians Athletics Athletics Athletics Twins Twins Twins Royals Royals Royals at Twins at Twins at Twins at Royals at Royals at Royals


Great expectations


By John Raffel

By John Raffel for Sportz Detroit

2011 American League MVP Justin Verlander hopes to be smiling all season on the mound for the Tigers.

Wed, 8/22 Thu, 8/23 Fri, 8/24 Sat, 8/25 Sun, 8/26 Tue, 8/28 Wed, 8/29 Thu, 8/30 Fri, 8/31 Sat, 9/1 Sun, 9/2 Mon, 9/3 Tue, 9/4 Wed, 9/5 Fri, 9/7 Sat, 9/8 Sun, 9/9 Mon, 9/10 Tue, 9/11 Wed, 9/12 Thu, 9/13 Fri, 9/14 Sat, 9/15 Sun, 9/16 Tue, 9/18 Wed, 9/19 Thu, 9/20 Fri, 9/21 Sat, 9/22 Sun, 9/23 Tue, 9/25 Wed, 9/26 Thu, 9/27 Fri, 9/28 Sat, 9/29 Sun, 9/30 Mon, 10/1 Tue, 10/2 Wed, 10/3



lenty will be expected of the Detroit Tigers this season, and rightfully so. Plenty will also be expected of Jim Leyland and rightfully so. The venerable Detroit Tiger skipper has a ton of talent on his team, led of course with the acquisition of Prince Fielder who, thanks to Mike Ilitch, became the franchise’s richest player of all time. And with Miguel Cabrera, Justin Verlander, Jose Valerde and everyone making it one of the most talented rosters in baseball, plenty is expected. Making the playoffs is now a mere afterthought. But as was shown in 2008 when it appeared the team was loaded, there are no guarantees especially with injuries and the distinct possibility someone is going to have an offseason. Leyland did what he had to do a year ago by taking the team to the playoffs and winning a divisional title. That’s the least of the expectations he’ll face this season. It’s a long season and anything can happen. But the Tigers do appear to have enough talent to


overcome any possible adversities which almost always strike a team. The Yankees don’t win all the time although most of the time is good enough. But Leyland likes to tell the media that basically, it’s all in a day’s work. “We’re working, that’s what we do,” he said. “This is what we do for a living.”

The starting pitching could be as deep as ever. Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer and Doug Fister don’t have to be as effective as they were last year for the Tigers to compete but all three should be solid again. Rick Porcello continues to mature as a younger starter, but his development will be critical to being a solid No 4 starter. A mediocre season from him could hurt the team. “He’s a fine, fine pitcher, I think he’s going to be an excellent pitcher,” Leyland said. “He’s got a ways to go now, but he’s good.” “At times it went well,” Porcello said of the 2011 season. “Other times, I had some struggles. I’m still learning how to be consistent

over the course of the season. I had some stretches where I threw the ball really well and some stretches where I didn’t throw the ball well. Obviously I have high expectations for myself and I don’t think it was nearly as well and I’m capable of pitching over the course of an entire year. I learned a lot and I’m just going to keep improving and working hard to get things right.” Whatever the team picks up from the fifth starter is a bonus. Andy Oliver or Jacob Turner could really help with breakthrough seasons. Long relief was a concern last year and it might be again. An improved Phil Coke and a healthy Al Alburquerque would help plenty. Picking up Octavio Dotel for relief help was a bargain. Joaquin Benoit needs to stay healthy. As for Jose Valverde, it’s probably too much to expect him not to blow a single save again this year. Willie Hernandez, after his MVP season of 1984, never regained his form although Sparky Anderson stubbornly kept using him in relief. Leyland may have to keep an eye on Valverde if his closer’s abilities become suspect. Continued on page 22

Sportz Detroit Magazine



n the time since undertaking the magnanimous yet intimidating task of profiling one of, if not the greatest journalist of our time, numerous individuals have posited the question, “who is Mitch Albom?” Like fireflies in the night sky, any number of possible responses sprinted their way to the forefront of consciousness, all the while, disbelief perpetuated silence. Mitch Albom, the New York Times bestCOLUMNIST selling author, amassKEVIN ALAN ing sales upward of 14 LAMB million copies with one of the top selling memoirs of all time in Tuesdays with Morrie. Mitch Albom, the sports journalist and regular on ESPN’s the Sports Reporters, responsible for co-writing BO: Life, Laughs, and the Lesson of a College Football Legend Bo Schembechler, also a New York Times bestseller. Mitch Albom, philanthropist, responsible for the creation or increased awareness of eight charities, including S.A.Y. Detroit and the Dream Fund. Mitch Albom, executive producer and screenwriter, with his latest release being “Have a Little Faith”, starring Laurence Fishburne, which chronicles the author’s life lessons gleaned from an aging rabbi and a redeemed pastor. Mitch Albom, radio host, honoured on numerous occasions by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters as the top afternoon talk show host for his work on The Sunday Sports Albom.. Mitch Albom, musician and member of the Rock Bottom Remainders, a band of writers highlighted by Stephen King whose performances raise funds for various children’s literacy projects across the country. But despite all of these identities often associated with making Mitch Albom the man and icon he is today, none of these individual endeavors that when standing alone, equate and even surpass the efforts of most careers, make him the living legend he is today. Mitch Albom’s words have transcended paper to become a prolific provider of hope and faith, because his dreams were realized by embodying the diligence realizing dreams warrants. “I am walking proof of that,” Albom told Sportz Detroit Magazine. “Take a look at my laundry list of jobs: factory worker, social worker, Pinkerton security

guard, ice cream scooper, all the while trying to write and make music. Thank god for caffeine.” Like the myriad of artists from his generation and the next, Albom walked the fine line of love and lunacy chasing his dream above and beyond the cosmos. “I worked an eclectic set of jobs during the day and then I’d write until three in the morning. Making ends meet is part of doing what you love,” Albom said. “God makes us flexible so we can fall over and not feel pain when we’re young.” Nothing was given to the nationally syndicated native of Passaic, NJ, named best sports columnist in the nation a record 13 times by the Associated Press. Albom’s ascension from freelance writer at SPORT MAGAZINE to the most decorated journalist of all time is a direct result of his humble nature and hustle. “I believed I had made it when I sold my first freelance piece to a newspaper in Queens. I aspired to see my name in print− it was so cool. I still remember thinking I couldn’t do any better. The thrill of it− I made 100 Xeroxes, I didn’t have a computer then; they cost a dime each. I remember thinking ‘this might be the only time I was ever published,’ I’ll never forget it,” Albom said. In an era when too many utilize god’s gifts as a means of acquiring fame and fortune, Albom employs his abilities to shed light in loom of darkness and provide means for those without them. “We have an annual (14) Christmas party at Booth Evangeline Salvation Army for A Time to Help,” Albom said .“In that time homeless children and their parents have come to rely on us. It’s the only Christmas party a lot of them will ever get.”


Meet Mitch Albom, world renowned writer
The Have Faith Haiti Mission bids farewell to Mitch Albom (bottom row, fourth from right) under their new sign.
Photo courtesy the Albom family

The middle of three children to Rhoda and Ira Albom, it could be argued that his tremendous good will and giving nature stem from his passion to create and share music with the world. Musicians are born with the ability to make order out of disorder, harmony in the place of dissonance, and ultimately, hope in those that are otherwise hopeless. “Wow, well first I try to evoke perception and life lessons that line up with my faith that a person of any faith could agree with and believe. I avoid dirty words that might offend and focus on the hope and faith element. Hope and faith are very closely tied together,” Albom offered as the most immediate difference his faith has made in his writing. Albom played in a number of bands in high school and college, in addition to studying jazz piano under the renowned Charlier Banacos at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. After graduating in 1979, Albom traveled to Europe where he found work as a piano player and singer in taverna on the Island of Crete. “Begrudgingly,” Albom described his parents’ support of his musical pursuit. While his mother recognized his passion for the creative, his father was a traditional business man, who was less than thrilled at the idea of his pursuit of another uncertain “artsy profession,” Albom said. “Everyone doubts their talent and ability to make it as a writer. Every day is spent hoping people will still want to read you and you never lose that insecurity,”Albom offered as advice to aspiring writers. “You can’t write if you don’t read. Through osmosis, find writers you like to emulate and find your own voice by listening to others.”

In 1983 Albom was hired full time as a feature writer for The Fort Lauderdale News; almost 29 years later it’s safe to say he found his voice. His books have collectively sold over 28 million copies worldwide and have been published in forty one territories and in forty two languages around the globe. “I try to avoid writing from an orientation that’s just mine, at least in the first three books,” the sage said. “It doesn’t matter what your background is if you can make sense of the humanistic and spiritualistic view of the world.” Albom’s ability to permeate the soul of an individual amongst the masses makes him truly unique and awe inspiring. His philanthropic work reveals the inner workings of a man who continually chooses to make the world a better place by combatting the degree to which people mistreat one another. Four years ago when Detroit hosted Super Bowl XL, Albom was disturbed by how the homeless were being treated to a “party” as a means to clean the streets of their occupancy, only to be herded back onto the streets come Monday morning. As a result, Albom founded S.A.Y Detroit (Super All Year Detroit), an umbrella program that funds shelters and cares for the homeless. Albom spent a night in a shelter to call attention to the issue, and as a result was able to raise over $350,000 in less than two weeks. While the rest of the country sees Detroit for its corruption, desperation and despair, Albom continues to hold on hope and believe, like many proud-Detroiters, that the worst has come to pass and a once great city will rise again. “I know that he cares about what he writes and is a great example for people that want to get into the industry. I wish him many more years on the air,” said 55-year-old president of G1NBC TV, Joe Malik, of Brighton. In these times of economic downturn a man like Mitch Albom offers faith, love and unity in place of fear, dissonance, and doubt. Few individuals have made a greater commitment to the advocacy of this city, than Albom. He is often perceived as a Detroit native because his words weigh heavy with their honesty and perpetual demand for positive change in the interest of the community he has made a home in. “Dreams have rocket-fuel and cannot wait. You’re tired by the time you’re 50− there’s a time and a place,” Albom said. Continued on page 18


Sportz Detroit Magazine

Opening Day is always special in Detroit
By John Raffel gatherings will make downtown Detroit the place to be for another day. For those not at the park on opening day, TV coverage is set for Fox Sports Detroit, ESPN 2 and MLBTV. After a day off Friday, the Red Sox come back on Saturday for a 4:05 p.m. start with a national TV audience on FOX. The Red Sox also are in Comerica on April 8 for another day game. Following a day off April 9, the Tampa Bay Rays come for day games April 10-12. The first night game at Comerica is set for April 19 at 7:05 p.m. vs. the Rangers. “This is a great baseball town,” says 2011 American League MVP Justin Verlander. “It’s definitely one of the best in my opinion.” Manager Jim Leyland calls Detroit “one of the two best baseball towns in the Major League, along with St. Louis.” The Tigers staged their first game as a major league team at home against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 25, 1901, with 10,000 fans at Bennett Park. The first game at Comerica was April 11, 2000 against the Seattle Mariners. Grounds crews had to clear snow off the field from the previous night. Verlander himself has expressed amazement at resiliency of Tiger fans to fill the park under wintry conditions in past seasons for opening day. The Red Sox will help open what the Tigers hope will be lucky season No. 13 at Comerica. Bobby Valentine will be making his managerial debut for the Red Sox at Comerica. It will be the first time the Red Sox will be in action since their dramatic collapse in the final days of the regular season last year which left them out of the playoffs. The club returns 36-year-old designated hitter David Ortiz, still one of the most feared hitters in the Major Leagues. Comerica will also be hosting many events leading up to the 2012 hockey town Winter Festival between the Red Wings and the Toronto Blue Jays at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. But on April 5, baseball is back in Detroit where it belongs for yet another season. t’s unlike any other sports day in Detroit: Opening Day. It’s a holiday of sorts and it comes this season on April 5 when the Tigers open their regular season at Comerica Park against the Boston Red Sox. Whereas past season openers have been on the road, the 2012 season opens at home. It will give Tiger fans a chance to watch the defending American League Central Division champions try for the first back-to-back divisional titles in team history. The preseason officially ends on April 4 when the Tigers play at Toledo against their Triple A affiliate, the Mud Hens. The games start counting the next day. A sellout crowd in the 41,255-seat facility will be watching as the 162-game schedule begins with major off-season acquisition Prince Fielder making his Comerica Park debut. It’s also a chance for Tiger fans to shine in the spotlight. Pregame tailgating and




n Opened: April 11, 2000 (against the Seattle Mariners) n Surface: Grass n Capacity: 40,000 (2000); 40,950 (2005) n Architect: HOK Sport (Kansas City); SHG Inc. (Detroit) n Private financing: $185 million, or 62 percent,

from Tigers owner Mike Ilitch n Dimensions: Left field: 345 feet (2000); leftcenter: 395 feet (2000), 370 feet (2003); center field: 420 feet (2000); right-center: 365 feet (2000); right field: 330 feet (2000); foul territory: small. n Fences: 8 feet, except in right-center field, where the fence is 11 feet tall.


n Site of the 2005 All-Star game. n The center-field flagpole was in play, like at Tiger Stadium, until 2003, when the fence was moved closer to home plate. n The bullpens are beyond the outfield fences. n When the Tigers hit a homerun, the two tigers atop the scoreboard roar and the fountain in centerfield shoots water in the air.

Sportz Detroit Magazine



Continued from page 16 Despite an appointment book that rivals the president’s, Albom is committed to taking the necessary time to ensure his endeavors be treated with care. “Mitch sat in my audition and he was really nice. He was on the set each day I was there and it seemed like he really cared about how the story was being told,” Arthur said of his experience on the set of “Have a Little Faith”, where he played Henry Covington’s son, played by Laurence Fishburne. Have Faith Haiti Mission is an extraordinary place of love and care, dedicated to the safety, education, health and spiritual development of Haiti’s impoverished children and orphans. The goal of the mission is to provide a safe, nurturing environment for Haitian children who aren’t fortunate enough to have one. In the aftermath of the crippling earthquake in January of 2010, the mission experienced hardship before being taken over by Albom, and his A Hole in the Roof Foundation. Inspired by his book, “Have a Little Faith”, the name changed to Have Faith Haiti Mission. Mark Mendelsohn, 54, of Birmingham, plays a critical role behind the scenes in the mission’s efforts. “The kids are amazing. When we get out of the van they are eagerly anticipating our arrival and mob us,” Mendelsohn said with a brimming smile. “A majority of the young kids taken in last spring spoke no English, and there they were, ‘Hi Mr. Mark’, I can remember the first things they learned, ‘How are you?’”. The “Detroit Muscle Crew” set out on their first trip to Haiti a little over a month after the quake, three years ago. “I’ve been back 14 times in two years, 15 after I leave tomorrow,” Mendelsohn said.

“The best story was six weeks ago, the kids were playing when an older kid picked up a little kid and he said, ‘Let me go! Let me go!’ It was unbelievable… they were thinking in English, not Creole. It is amazing how quickly they learn.” Despite people’s willingness to help in the form of donated goods, due to limited resources insofar as transportation, the Have Faith Haiti Mission can benefit most from monetary donations. “I don’t like to be crass, but bottom line, we need money. We don’t have the facility to distribute truckloads of donations to Haiti,” the humanitarian said. Roger Penske’s contribution in the form of the Penske company jet, to transport the Detroit Muscle Crew, four times annually, make the mission’s efforts possible. When asked who he would choose to tell the story of his life and what he has left behind, Albom paused with careful consideration, and responded: “My two parents, my wife, my dear friend and radio producer Rosie, whom I’ve known since I was 12, and Morrie.” Mitch Albom reminds us of the dreams we had as a child, yet seem to have let slip away in an effort to be the person the world often insisted upon us being. His genuine and gentle nature towards those stricken with misfortune make him vulnerable and thus tangible for readers throughout the world to identify with. His unparalleled success despite humble beginnings inspires those who have too often been reminded of their origins and alleged potential. Mitch Albom will be written about for decades to come because at the end of the day, he chose to make a difference: he chose to be different: he chose to care. Contact Kevin Alan Lamb at 248.752.1103


Would you like to try Florida living before you retire there? i have an idea, you may rent my house down here for the month of June, while i an old widower, try living with my family up north. if we are both satisified with the idea, we may work out something for next winter. i am living in a very nice doublewide manufactured home in club Wildwood, an adult park with all the goodies — pool, tennis court, nice clubhouse, etc. which would be at your disposal. your cost for the month would be $1200. I’ll leave everything, except the food in the freezer, so you don’t have to bring anything, except your toothbrush. club Wildwood is located in Hudson, Florida just north of newport ritchey on the Gulf on Mexico.

Call: 248-818-1510
18 Sportz Detroit Magazine


Each month Publisher, Frank Allen, researches interesting articles that ran in his other Sports Publications in year past...
“Ted Williams” story reprint from Sportz Detroit Magazine April 2011 | Story by Joe Falls
It features his Hitters of Hall of Fame, and the displays are excellent, as fine as anything at Cooperstown. Admission is a buck, youngsters 50 cents, and any money they make goes to promote kids’ baseball programs. It is run strictly on a volunteer basis. Williams considers Babe Ruth the greatest hitter of all-time, but Willie Mays the greatest player. “The game has changed,” he said. “I had dinner one night with Wade Boggs and Don Mattingly. I asked them if they ever smelled the smoke off a baseball. They looked at me like I was nuts. “I told them, `It’s like when you foul one back on a fastball, when the edge of the bat and the tip of the ball just go `pfffft’ when they come together. It causes smoke. They said, naw, they never smelled any smoke. “What could I do? Jimmie Foxx and Al Simmons — sluggers like that - they could smell the smoke. But what could I do with Boggs and Mattingly? I just dropped the subject. Don’t you love the way Frank Robinson could hit the ball?” “Well, yes.” “What a man,” Williams said. “He could drive it anywhere and do it when it counted. When Al Kaline came up, he could see the ball great. That’s why he led the league in hitting at such an early age. As he got older, the pitchers started taking advantage of him and got him to swing at pitches he should have left alone. He became too anxious. “There are two things wrong with hitters today. One, they swing at too many bad balls. And two, they’re trying to hit too many homers. The only way you can hit a lot of homers is to pull the ball, and these guys are trying to pull so many pitches, they look bad when they start swinging at the wrong pitches.” He misses fishing Williams was asked if he would have to make any changes in his batting style to handle the pitchers of today. “None,” he said, his voice growing loud again. “I’d do everything the same. I would try to get off to a decent start but I’d wait for June, July and August, when it got hot. That’s when I’d feel limber and do my best hitting. “Of course, it could get too hot, and that could get to you. But I always told myself if I was feeling the heat, the pitchers were feeling it more than me.” He was asked about fishing, whether he’d been able to get out in a boat and take part in his favorite hobby. A look of sadness crossed his face. “No, I haven’t been out for a year,” he said. His friend, Lewis Watkins, said, “We’re going out next Tuesday.” Williams did not seem to hear him. At least he showed no emotion at his comment. He also is getting a little hard of hearing. “I think Willie Mays is the greatest athlete who ever lived,” he said. “You have to play more than one sport to be great, and I think he could have been a great football player.”


ERNANDO, Fla. — The Dalmatian came Hall of Fame?” bounding to the back door to greet the “Well, uh, yes. I’d vote for him.” visitors. “You bet he should be in the Hall of Fame. What a “Easy, Slugger. Easy.” hitter. He was never convicted of anything in a court The voice came from the living room. It was a of law. Now, Pete Rose. That’s something else. I say soft but filled with command. The dog stopped in his let him in after 20 years. That’s punishment enough. tracks. But he should be in, too.” Slugger. It was good to see Williams so vital, so much alive. Who else would own such a dog than Ted Williams He is 76 years old and has lost little of the old fire. himself? He lives in a lovely house on a high hill overlookThe Kid. ing the countryside. He has a friend and a therapist The Splendid Splinter. who care for him. They are very protective of him. A The Slugger. woman keeps house and does the cooking. Slugger, “I love this old guy,” said Williams as the dog nuzzling close, brings Williams nothing but love. leaped into his lap on the sofa. “When I first got him eight years ago, I said, `What do I need something like this for?’ Now, every day of my life, I pray to God that he takes me before he takes Slugger because there is no way I could live without him. Right, boy?” The dog looked up at him, his eyes shining at his master. Ted Williams, gone soft? He has been afflicted with several illnesses in recent years. Two strokes. A broken shoulder. They said he needed a cane to get around and even used a walker. They said he’d lost his peripheral vision. The mighty Ted Williams reduced to a mere shell? It was a difficult vision to imagine. But, soft? Smile lights up room Forget it. His voice started booming all over his living room, and nothing ever sounded better. He looked and sounded terrific. His face was clear, those eyes as alert as ever. He was wearing the usual open-collar sports shirt and that boyish smile was lighting up the whole room. One might have thought he’d just put one 12 rows up in the right-field bleachers of Fenway Park off Bob Feller or Bob Lemon. Hall of Famer Ted Williams Or Phil Marchildon of the Philadelphia A’s “Helluva pitcher, that man,” Williams said. “I He goes through daily therapy and tires easily. He was just telling someone the other day that he threw takes mid-afternoon naps, but otherwise - well, he is the forkball before all these modern-day guys ever as animated as ever. He talks with his hands and his thought of it. He was a tough one to hit. Great stuff. arms as much as he does with his mouth. All are going How much guessing do you think hitters do?” at once. “I don’t know.” “What do you know about Josh Gibson?” he asked. “Well, I was talking to Tony Gwynn last week, and “I saw him play as a kid when my father would take I asked him that question. He wanted to say he didn’t me to see the Black Yankees, but I don’t remember guess, but they all guess. I told him, `I guess that you much a about him. They used to call him `The Black guess,’ and he started laughing and after we talked Babe Ruth.”’ some more, he came around to admitting that he did “That’s it!” Williams said, sitting up on the sofa. “I some guessing.” wanted to put him into my Hitters Hall of Fame but A vote for Shoeless Joe I couldn’t find out much about him, anyone who saw A lifetime later, and the man can’t get hitting out of him play. I guess I’ve got to talk to Buck O’Neill and his mind. get the straight dope.” “Basketball, basketball, basketball . . . that’s all “Game has changed” there is on television,” he said. “That and the Daytona There is a Ted Williams museum at the entrance to 500. I’m tired of basketball, and I don’t care about his country club community, and it - like the man it auto racing. Do you think Joe Jackson should be in the honors - is a first-class operation.

Sportz Detroit Magazine


t’s a bird… it’s a plane… it’s “Super-Fist!” Since being traded from the Mariners before the midseason deadline, Doug Fister and his lanky 6-foot-8 frame were embraced by Detroit fans with clenched fists, inducing nothing short of what can be depicted as “Fist-mania.” The 27-year-old native of Merced, Calif., was nothing short of brilliant, compiling an 8-1 record over 10 starts, with a minuscule 1.79 ERA, earning him the honor of American League Pitcher of the Month for September. In a trade that sent Casper Wells, Charlie Furbush, Francisco Martinez and Chance Ruffin to the Mariners, the Tigers acquired David Pauley and one of the game’s most underrated and genuinely nice rising stars. “Doug is truly the nicest guy you’ll meet,” Chris Pedretti said, Fister’s family friend and Head Coach at Merced Junior College. “He’ll do anything to help. We had a charity golf tournament last Saturday and he took over the raffle without even begin asked,” Pedredtti said. Despite a towering mound presence, Fister did not rely on a plus fastball to pitch effectively, rather his ability to locate and change speeds in all counts. “He was a tall, skinny kid. He didn’t overpower batters with his fastball. He was around 80-83 (MPH) his freshman year, and 85-86 (MPH) his sophomore year. He learned how to pitch, how to locate, and use his changeup,” Pedretti said. As a child Fister threw a tennis ball against the garage door until his mom made him stop. He moistened the ball so it would leave a mark that he could aim at and hitover and over again. Despite its common application in real estate, the phrase “location, location, location” should be ingrained into all aspiring pitchers minds. Something as simple as firing a tennis ball at a mark on the garage can go a long way in explaining the tremendous emphasis the right hander puts on regimen and routine, no matter the magnitude of the occasion. “I focused on keeping everything the same,” Fister said, on his approach leading into his first postseason start versus the Yankees. “The same anticipation, the same excitement, I kept the same routine for the same game I’d pitched a thousand

TIGERS PREVIEW Tigers pitcher Doug Fister sizzled onto the scene as a star in Detroit
By Kevin Alan Lamb opportunity for a grudge match,” Fister said excitedly. Those close to Fister liken his success to an outstanding work ethic learned from his parents, Larry and Jan Fister. Larry is a fire captain that played football at Fresno State, where Fister transferred and in 2005 lead all Fresno State pitchers with 7 wins, and 77 strikeouts, in 93 2/3 innings pitched. He majored in construction management. Raised in a family that understands the value of diligence, it comes as little surprise that the 6-foot-8 righty’s favorite player growing up was none other than “Mr. Ironman” himself, Cal Ripken Jr. Located just 80 miles southwest of Yosemite National Park, in the San Joaquin Valley of Northern California, Merced is known as the “Gateway to Yosemite.” “It’s a beautiful drive, I recommend it to any of my Detroit fans who are visiting,” Fister said. Fister has made his home in Merced along with A’s relief pitcher Brian Fuentes and Dusty Ryan, a catcher in the Mets organization. “It’s phenomenal that these guys have made the decisions to live in their hometown. The fact that Doug, Brian, and Dusty have chose to live in Merced says a lot about this town,” Pedretti said. “They’re regular guys. They workout with our team, it’s special,” Pedretti said. Regular guys you say? What is more regular than raking leaves? “Doug is one of a kind,” Fuentes said. “He has a great head on his shoulders. He has an unbelievable work ethic. He was a hot commodity coming out of high school, between basketball and baseball, but has always been humble and down to earth. I actually just saw him like 10 minutes ago at Lowes. He was getting supplies to rake leaves,” the former All Star closer said. Given the opportunity to challenge a single NBA player to a game one-onone, Fister doesn’t want to fool around. “Michael Jordan. It’s like growing up and watching Griffey, you want to know what it is to be on the same court as the best there is,” the fast-growingDetroit-fan-favorite said. Continued on page 22


Photo Credit Mark Cunningham/Detroit Tigers

Doug Fister was 3-12 with a 3.33 ERA before going to the Tigers. where he produced an 8-1 record with an impressive 1.79 ERA. times before,” Fister said. His ability to attack hitters, and work quickly, make Mr. Fister a righteous reverie for position players from the Pacific to Lake Huron. “The thing about Doug, he is a position player’s dream. He works quickly. He’s a great athlete that holds runners and fields his position very well,” Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones said. “He’s a great kid,” Jones said. With less than three full seasons at the big league level under his belt, Fister has demonstrated poise that hasn’t been hindered by the good fortune of pitching in the same rotation as three Cy Youngs: Felix Hernandez, Cliff Lee, and Justin Verlander. “I was talking with my father last night about how special it has been for to pitch with three of the game’s best. Discovering what makes them tick. To see them shag BP (batting practice), their attitude, the way they carry themselves: chin held high, shoulders back. I take their characteristics and input them in my game,” the latest Detroit sensation said. In just three short seasons Fister has been blessed with impeccable timing. In his first full season in Seattle, “The Kid,” Ken Griffey Jr. returned as the prodigal son in the twilight of his career. Like so many other baseball players of his generation, the conversation of the game’s greatest is for not, without Jr. “I was lucky enough to be his teammate. He is the epitome of what it means to be a baseball player. He teaches everyone, young or old. He took me under his wing and said, ‘this is the way you play the game.’ One of the most memorable moments was when we lifted him up and carried him on our shoulders in Seattle before a standing ovation. You can’t ever reenact that,” Fister said. In addition to pitching the 6-foot-8 righty played first base while at Merced Junior College. Both of his career hits came as a Mariner, a single and a double. “Oh goodness, that’s tough to say,” Mr. Fister said as to who he’d rather face if he had one at bat, Felix Hernandez or Justin Verlander. “They both have some good stuff, but personally, I’d say Felix. We joked around about it a lot. It would be a good


Sportz Detroit Magazine

Loretta’s Laughter
t’s time to play ball. There is a certain Zen-like tranquilty to a ball park. It’s not in the raucous, crowded, bundled coats, and huddled bodies of football stadiums. No hovering over a Styrofoam cup of hot chocolate to stay warm. The baseball field is wide open, each player visible, in their own spotlight on base, at bat or lording over the pitcher’s mound. The announcers are clear, audible yet hused in tone. Among sports, baseball is the boy next door — clean cut, smiling, helpful to neighbors in need of mowed lawn. With that irresistible boy come the accoutrements of baseball that give it the feel of a family barbeque. The hot dog plays the starring role. It is sacrilege to eat anything else before the dog. Mustard and onions smothered on a Ballpark frank with a cold drink, sitting in the sun an dwatching the slow to fast pace of ballplayers articulating with a slight nod, hand gesture or effortless swing: it might be better than an opera or art museum. That’s crazy talk. Who wouldn’t prefer hours starring at Van Gogh’s to watching the red-stitched white leather ball spin wildly across the green field and snap crisply against a wooden net? Baseball transcends teh word game: it is physics in motion; it is personality and character at each plate. The ball itself, held together by 108 raised wax-coated red double stitches, is designed precisely to creat friction, defy air resistance and make possible futher flight in a straight or curved line of travel. The first and last stich is made by hand. The author Mark Twain described the sport as, “The very symbol, the outward and visible expression of the drive, and push, and rush and struggle of the ragin, tearing, booming nineteenth century.” In our own century, on our own fields, baseball still remains a symbol of what is great about America, a raging, burgeoning, restless country defying friction and forever spinning toward the snap of glor, the crack of freedom. Loretta Hauser is an English instructor at Oakland Community College, a freelance writer and artist. Ms. Hauser lives in Milford, MI, along the Huron River with her husband and two daughters.

A look at sports from a woman’s perspective

Say what?
• A nickel isn’t worth a dime anymore

Memorable quotes from Yogi Berra

3/4 cup all purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 1/2 teaspoon salt 20 chicken wings 1/2 cup melted butter 1/2 cup hot pepper sauce
line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease with cooking spray. place the flour, cayenne pepper, garlic powder and salt into a resealable plastic bag and shake to mix. add the chicken wings, seal and toss until well coated with the flour mixture. place the wings onto the prepared baking sheet and place into the refrigerator for at least one hour. Preheat over to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Whisk together the melted butter and hot sauce in a small bowl. dip the wings into the butter mixture and place back on the baking sheet. Bake in the preheated oven until the chicken is no longer pink in the center and is crispy on the outside (about 45 minutes). Turn the wings over halfway during cooking so they cook evenly.

• Baseball is ninety percent mental and the other half is physical • If you ask me, anything I don’t know I’m not going to answer • Congratulations. I knew the record would stand until it is broken. • I just want to thank everyone who made this necessary. • I never said most of the things I said. • Half the lies they tell about me aren’t true

Sportz Detroit Magazine


Continued from page 15


Continued from page 20 The Tigers’ no. two in the rotation takes great pride in his hometown and is grateful for the everlasting support the people of Merced continue to offer. “Everywhere I go: the grocery story, hardware store, I run into someone I know and they say, ‘hey, good job!’ It is a warm thing to know that the whole community is backing us. It doesn’t go unnoticed,” Fister said. Although the Tigers stood atop the standings at the All Star break, a recent history of second half collapse instilled a brooding doubt amongst both media and fans in the D. While it was not a household name, the announcement that Fister had been acquired went great lengths to relieve that doubt. “I felt a whirlwind of emotions. I was unsure what to expect,” Fister said on his reaction of being traded to the Tigers. “I will never forget that moment. They embraced us with open arms, it was the kind of welcoming we hoped for. With the reputation of this clubhouse we knew we wouldn’t be strangers, it made things easier,” Fister said. In just 13 appearances with the Tigers between the regular season and the playoffs, “Super-Fist” soared to a 9-and-2 record with a 2.36 ERA surpassing plateaus that a number of pitchers go careers without achieving. Fister pitched at least seven innings and allowed two-or-fewer runs in 7 of the 10 starts he made for the Tigers during the regular season after making his debut with the team on August 3rd. The only other American League pitcher to make seven such starts in that time was James Shields, of the Rays. On September 5 Fister mowed down a career high 13 batters versus the Indians upping his previous of 9 strikeouts. “Looking back, I couldn’t have asked for more. It’s about being a good teammate, taking care of the guys next to you, and trusting them enough to do the same. When you do that, winning will take care of itself,” Fister said. “It’s about brotherhood. My numbers could have been better or worse, my focus was on my new family,” Fister said. In addition to the stellar play of both Delmon Young and Wilson Betemit, Fister’s downright filthy performance down the stretch for the Tigers helped boost the team to 95 wins and a 15 game lead over the Indians in the Central when it was all said and done.

“You can’t do much better than what he’s done,” Leyland said while watching Valverde last season. “So we feel real comfortable with him.”

Alex Avila’s excellent 2011 played a key role in the Tiger’s divisional title run. His bat was sweet but getting back Gerald Laird to spell him for defensive purposes late in the game was not a bad idea. Avila, like any other catcher, can take only so much punishment.


By John Raffel/Sportz Detroit

How many hitters with speed will try to bunt their way on with Miguel Cabrera at third and Prince Fielder at first base? Both should have solid years at the plate and will help fill up Comerica practically every night with their exciting bat power. But how long Cabrera might stay at third depends on how determined he or Fielder are to not be designated hitters. Jhonny Peralta is a solid shortstop. It could be Brandon Inge at second but Ramon Santiago could prove to be the most important defensive infielders for the squad.


It’s season No. 7 for Tiger manager Jim Leyland who will be expected to take a talented team a long way. “Just watching the way Doug goes after hitters, he doesn’t do anything crazy,” Porcello said. “It’s just that he just executes pitches and gets guys out quick and pitches deep into games. Just watching him and his competitive nature out there as well as something that (I’m) definitely trying to pick up on a little bit.” Leyland credited Tiger general manager Dave Dombrowski for picking up Young. “He’s one of the big RBI guys down the stretch,” Leyland said. “We thought it would be a nice addition. Dave was fortunate enough to get him for us.” PREDICTIoN: Usually, World Series winners are hard to predict in March. How many predicted St. Louis to win it last March? How about the Giants in 2010? How many predicted the Cardinals to win it in August when it appeared they wouldn’t even be in the playoffs? It’s hard to say now who might be hot in October. The safe prediction is the Tigers should win their division with Cleveland being the biggest threat. It could be an interesting October. Right now, April through September should be very entertaining.

n Thursday, April 5: Justin Verlander no-hitter DVD (20,000 fans) n Saturday, April 7: 2012 Magnet schedule (10,000) n Saturday, April 21: Detroit Tigers wall calendar (10,000) n Monday, April 30: Miguel Cabrera AL batting champion banner (10,000) n Saturday, May 19: Austin Jackson bobblehead (10,000) n Sunday, May 20: Doug Fister ‘growth chart’ (14-under) n Thursday, June 7: PAWS mask (14-under) n Sunday, Aug. 5: Jose Valverde replica glasses (14-under) n Sunday, Aug. 5: Prince Fielder bobblehead (10,000) n Tuesday, Aug. 21: Detroit Tigers allstar poster (10,000) n Saturday, Sept. 22: 2013 magnet schedule (10,000) n Thursday, Sept. 27: Detroit Tigers team photo (10,000) Theme Nights n Saturday, June 2: Star Wars Night n Friday, July 6: Country Night n Wednesday, July 18: Christmas in July n Saturday, Aug. 18: Elvis Night


There shouldn’t be a worry here. Brennan Boesch, Austin Jackson and Delmon Young have proven they can be counted upon for consistent seasons, Andy Dirks, Don Kelly and Ryan Raburn have proven their worth in the past and give Leyland the ability to do something he enjoys more than anything: tinkering with his lineup and listening to the second-guessers having their day. Fister and Young were two late-season acquisitions that helped the Tigers move from the status of divisional contenders to champions.


His storybook season continued into the playoffs where he earned two victories, including a decisive-game-5 on the road at Yankee Stadium. “There’s nothing quite like it,” Fister said on winning the Division Series versus the Yankees. “Nobody can take moment away. Knowing, that group of guys will always have that celebration, is why we play the game,” Fister said. Perhaps then it is fate that Mr. Fister found himself traded to the Tigers, with the ball in his hands, when a city that needed a reminder of triumph a bit more than the rest, was against the odds. “For Love of the Game,” he offered without hesitation as his favorite baseball movie. “It’s really something. I say the same things to myself on the mound,” referring to Kevin Costner’s character Billy Chapel, also a starting pitcher for the Tigers. “Now I’m in Detroit,” Fister said in awe. It is only fitting in the aftermath of a season that produced a full-onfisting of the American League that the cult-classic cheer, “Eat-em-upTigers, eat-em-up,” started by James Van Horn, a homeless man outside of Comerica Park, be taken one step further and transformed into, “Fistem-up-Tigers, Fist-em-up!” Fists-up-Detroit! Kevin Alan Lamb dictator of diction & moral muse Shaggy Lamb Productions Good Sign Productions 248.752.1103. Sharing is caring, collaboration is key.


Sportz Detroit Magazine


Grand Prix unveils new web site


Sportz Detroit

ETROIT, Mich. — Accelerating its promotional efforts while preparing for the “fastest weekend of the summer,” the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix (CDBIGP) recently unveiled its revamped official Internet website, The enhanced site incorporates social media, cool video content, the latest racing news and the rich history of the Grand Prix while creating excitement for the June 1-3 event on Belle Isle. The new is very interactive and easy to use. From the moment fans log on to the site, the excitement surrounding the Grand Prix builds as a countdown clock lets users know how much time is left until the engines roar to life at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park road course. The most recent news from the four racing series competing at the CDBIGP — the IZOD IndyCar Series, the GRAND-AM Rolex Series, the Pirelli World Challenge Championship Series and the Firestone Indy Lights are also featured on the home page along with an overview of the weekend race schedule. The Grand Prix’s social media platforms also take center stage at the online home of the event. With an increased focus on its Twitter, Facebook and YouTube portals, the Grand Prix incorporates all of its social media energy on its new home page to create a gathering place for fans. It’s been 30 years since Detroit hosted its first Grand Prix event and the new pays homage to this heritage with complete race recaps and photos from the previous events on the streets of Detroit and Belle Isle in its History section. There is also an area that focuses on Belle Isle itself and its history and landmarks. Fans can also purchase tickets online through and those interested in volunteering for the event can sign up through the site as well. A special area of the site is dedicated to all of the event partners that help sponsor the Grand Prix. A complete breakdown of all the entertainment acts performing during race weekend, a list of things to do in and around Detroit and detailed transportation information on the best way to and from the Grand Prix will also be featured at In a

WHAT: The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix returns to the Motor City on June 1-3, 2012. The event will feature the cars of the IZOD IndyCar Series, the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, the Firestone Indy Lights Series and the Pirelli World Challenge Championship Series. The weekend collectively is referred to as the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. WHEN: Friday-Sunday – June 1-3, 2012 WHERE: The Raceway at Belle Isle Park road course (2.1 miles)


Saturday, June 2 Chevrolet GRANDAM 200 at Belle Isle presented by the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers (GRAND-AM Rolex Series) Live national television coverage: SPEED (Time - TBA) Live national radio coverage: MRN Radio Networkand Sirius satellite XM Radio Channel 90 Sunday, June 3, Chevrolet Indy Grand Prix presented by (IZOD IndyCar Series) Live national television coverage: ABC (Time – TBA) Live national radio coverage: IMS Radio Network and Sirius satellite XM Radio Channel 94


Below is the basic schedule of events for the 2012 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. A more detailed schedule will be posted closer to the race date. June 1: IZOD IndyCar Series practice, GRAND-AM Rolex Series practice and qualifying, Pirelli World Challenge Series practice, Firestone Indy Lights Series practice June 2: IZOD IndyCar Series practice and qualifying, GRAND-AM Rolex Series practice and race, Pirelli World Challenge Series qualifying and race #1, Firestone Indy Lights Series qualifying and race, IZOD IndyCar Series and Firestone Indy Lights autograph session June 3: IZOD IndyCar Series warmup and race, Pirelli World Challenge Series race #2.

special section called “Detroit Pride” the new site will feature positive stories and coverage of the Motor City. The Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix is a 501(c)3 organization and a subsidiary of the Downtown Detroit Partnership. The event will be held June 1-3 and will include the Chevrolet Indy Grand Prix presented by featuring the cars of the IZOD IndyCar Series, the Chevrolet GRAND-AM 200 at Belle Isle presented by the Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers with the sports cars of the GRAND-AM Rolex Series, the Cadillac V-Series Challenge presented by the Metro Detroit Cadillac

Dealers featuring the cars of the Pirelli World Challenge Championship Series and the Firestone Indy Lights Series. For more information, visit and follow the social media pages at www.facebook. com/detroitgp and detroitgp.


Be a volunteer!

Sign up to be a Detroit Grand Prix Association (DGPA) Volunteer today! Become a member of one of the most dedicated and prestigious volunteer organizations around and you be a part of the 2012 Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix.

Tickets are now on sale for the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix. To view information on ticket plans and to purchase tickets, please click here. Tickets may also be purchased by calling 866-464-PRIX (7749) or visit the Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix office in the GM Renaissance Center, 300 Renaissance Center Drive, Suite 2311, Detroit, Mich.

Sportz Detroit Magazine



Sportz Detroit Magazine

Draught Choice

Area’s Best Sports Bar for Food, Spirits & Atmosphere
By Hawke Fracassa


Doc’s Sports Retreat is THE place for March sports!

oc’s Sports Retreat in Livonia is a sports fan’s fantasy world and the perfect place to spend Super Bowl Sunday. There are players’ uniforms hanging from the ceiling and pictures of important Detroit athletes on the walls. There are at least 100 flat-screen televisions showing scores and games in the bar and dining area. This way fans who are eating a meal or drinking from the menu of 30 beers on tap can keep abreast of the latest sports developments. Doc’s is THE choice to spend your Super Bowl Sunday because you can get a wide selection of great appetizers and entrees and you can drink without a hassle with your friends. And you can cheer and “awww” and “ohhh” all you want. Watch the Patriots and Giants compete without feeling your mom is shushing you in the library. Super Bowl festivities heat up at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 5 and kickoff is 6:30 p.m. There will be free popcorn, raffle tickets on sale and Jell-O shots sold by cute servers in referee outfits for $1. Beer is 2 bucks a glass and potato skins, fried shrimp and sliders will be sold at halftime for 75 cents each. Eight-ounce prime rib dinners will sell on this day for just $8. Sportz Detroit sampled several entrees and everything was scrumptious. Our personal favorite: the onion rings. Patrons at Doc’s are encouraged to be festive and enjoy themselves. They clap heartily and eat and drink just as heartily. There are about 800 seats to be had, from a tall stool at the bar to a table or booth in the dining area to elegant seating next to a beautiful pond outside the establishment.

Photos by Mark Wasserman for Sportz Detroit magazine

Doc’s Sports Retreat features at least 100 flat-screen televisions, so it is an excellent choice for sports fans to enjoy Super Bowl Sunday, March Madness or any other big sporting event. Doc’s also offers wireless Internet, a game room for video poker and a busy charity poker room. Every Monday is family night. Themes include Dora the Explorer and Elmo. Happy Hour is always 4 to 7 p.m. To make reservations to watch the Super Bowl at Doc’s Sports Retreat, call 734.542.8162 today to reserve your seat. Or email if you have a question are think you might like to hire Doc’s for a catered event. Doc’s is located at 19265 Victor Parkway in Livonia, north of Seven Mile and east of Interstate 275. Doc’s is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 2 a.m. on Sundays.

Directions to Doc’s
Victor Parkway seven Mile rd. 19265 Victor parkway I-275

Sportz Detroit Magazine

newburgh rd.

haggerty rd.


Daily Hours
Mon-Fri: 7am-7pm Sat: 8am-6pm Sun: 9am-4pm

Check out our website or add us on Facebook at

(Dogs & Cats) Our full service grooming includes a thorough brush out or shave, paws and nails trimmed, sanitary shaved, eyes and ears cleaned, prior to the bath and blow dry, re-brush and/or re-shave, followed by light hand scissoring (scissored styling additional charge), topped off with a scarf or bow. Playtime is included with any full groom.

(Dogs Only) Doggy-Daycare at Li’l Nell’s offers everyday convenience for you and your pet. You can drop off your pet to play anytime within our business hours. No appointment is required. The First Day of Daycare is always FREE for new customers.

This service simplifies the grooming process for both you and your pet. Our self-serve petwash is available every day within our hours. Service rate is $15 per pet. We provide everything you need to fully groom your pet; — waist-high tubs, shampoo/conditioner, towels, brushes, and blow dryers. Walk-ins are welcome. Please arrive at least one hour before close.

We ask that you bring your pet’s up to date RABIES vACCINE information upon your first visit.

$5.00 off any FULL Service Grooming
new customers only. returning customers will receive free teeth

ONE Free Day of Doggy-Daycare
Not Valid with any other offers
Expires 4-30-12

Not Valid with any other offers
Expires 4-30-12

($5 value)

Team colors of your choice. Either Michigan or Michigan State Free feather extension with purchase of any Full Grooming Not Valid with any other offers
Expires 4-1-12

$5.00 off Self-serve Petwash
Not Valid with any other offers
Expires 4-30-12

10% off Mini Groom
• Feet • Nails • Ears • Teeth • Cologne Spritz

Not Valid with any other offers
Expires 4-30-12


Sportz Detroit Magazine

Sportz Detroit Magazine


Dandy Acres Vet Clinic
Adopt me! Precious pets looking for your love!!!

CAlAhAN is a magnificent lab. he is large, playful and is seeking a forever home that has an endless supply of tennis balls and enthusiasm. Calahan will be neutered the week of March 12 and will be current on all vaccines and is heartworm preventative.

APAChE is a big, beautiful husky mix dog. We would like someone familiar with this breed of dog, a fenced yard is a must. No small children, cats or small dogs. he is neutered and current on vaccines and heartworm preventative.

CAllIPoE is a darling Terrier, Boxer mix. She is a cuddler, but could use a little obedience and structure in her life. She gets along with some other dogs and is very gentle in her play. She is spayed and current on vaccines and heartworm preventative.
(All of our adoptable pets are sterilized and current on all vaccines and heartworm preventative.)

Call Michigan Animal Rescue League • 790 Featherstone, Pontiac, MI 248.335.9290 • Open Tuesday through Saturday — 10:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. • Dogs, cats, puppies and kittens Always looking for volunteers: dog walking, fostering, cat care program and more. Volunteers can email:



Sportz Detroit Magazine


Lions likely to draft cornerback
raft day in April is obviously the biggest moment during the offseason for NFL fans. It’s also the most unpredict2013 SUPER BOWL ODDS
New England Patriots 5-1 Green Bay Packers 11-2 Pittsburgh Steelers 6-1 Philadelphia Eagles 6-1 New York Giants 8-1 New Orleans Saints 10-1 San Francisco 49ers 10-1 San Diego Chargers 12-1 Houston Texans 12-1 Chicago Bears 17-1 Detroit Lions 18-1 Atlanta Falcons 18-1 Dallas Cowboys 20-1 Baltimore Ravens 20-1 New York Jets 20-1 Indianapolis Colts 25-1 Tennessee Titans 30-1 Cincinnati Bengals 30-1 Buffalo Bills 50-1 Kansas City Chiefs 50-1 Seattle Seahawks 50-1 Denver Broncos 50-1 Carolina Panthers 50-1 Miami Dolphins 50-1 St. Louis Rams 50-1 Oakland Raiders 60-1 Minnesota Vikings 60-1 Arizona Cardinals 60-1 Cleveland Browns 75-1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 100-1 Washington Redskins 125-1 Jacksonville Jaguars 150-1


By John Raffel

able day. The Detroit Lions drafted 23rd in the first round, 22nd in the second round, 23rd in the third, 22nd in the fourth, 23rd in the fifth, 22nd in the sixth and 23rd in the seventh. Because the team showed so much vulnerability defensively against the pass against excellent quarterbacks, the initial thought has been that a defensive back will be chosen. It definitely won’t be quarterback, running back, wide receiver or defensive lineman, which have been top priorities in the past. NFL draft expert Mel Kuiper shares the sentiment with most experts that it would be stunning if Detroit didn’t pick a corner at least in the first two rounds. But depending on who is available, Kuiper wouldn’t be surprised to see an offensive lineman or a linebacker. Cornerbacks Janoris Jenkins of North Alabama and Stephon Gilmore of South Carolina have been offered as possibilities. There’s also a chance the Lions could add Cortland Finnegan of the Tennessee Titans as a free agent. One or two capable D-backs are likely to be picked up by the Lions along with any available talent player that is still available when their selection comes. After his team lost to the Saints in the playoffs, head coach Jim Schwartz speculated on how much turnover the Lions might see. “I think every year we will see less turnover. I think that is obviously a good sign. There was a lot to turn over from 0-16,” Schwartz said. “It didn’t really show in the record the next year going 2-14, but each step along the way you have seen a little less turnover and that comes from drafting well and signing free agents that are with you for a long period of time. Not just guys that are there for one and done, but guys that you can move forward with. I think we have a good nucleus here. We have a good group that we can go forward with. “I think we have had continuity, not only from a front office standpoint, but from a coaching staff standpoint. We haven’t been starting over on special teams, offense, defense the last couple years. That and getting players that fit in a philosophy that works when you are not changing your philosophy every year. So I think in that case, there is

By John Raffel / Sportz Detroit

Matthew Stafford was the Lions’ No. 1 draft pick in 2009. something to be said about the young players that we have and the position we are in to be able to continue to put seasons together like we just had.” Schwartz acknowledged that the last two games of the season, when the Lions pass coverage struggled, it was an eye opener of sorts especially for what needs to be done via the draft and free agency. “I think it’s more than the last two games; it’s probably the last six other than the San Diego game. There’s a lot of ways (to look at it),” he said. “We lost a lot of depth on our D-line; we lost a couple key players in our secondary. We didn’t adjust well to dealing with those injuries. I think you look at the injury situation: our offense, other than the running back position, was relatively healthy over the course of the season. Defensively, I don’t think we could say the same. “It’s the same defense, I think, after about week 8, 9, 10, whatever it was, that was a top-10-type defense. Obviously we didn’t finish that well. We did well in certain areas. Takeaways were still high and sacks and third-down percentage were all still good. But over the last, I don’t know how many games it was – six – we gave up way too many points, other than San Diego. That comes from keeping those guys on the field, developing some more depth. We certainly still have work to do there.” That’s why the draft remains a critical aspect for the Lions in their bid to be a serious championship contender. “Every year’s a new year and, when we lost players defensively, we weren’t as consistent as we were when we had our full complement. That’s something we’re still working on,” Schwartz said. “If you keep drafting well, you keep signing good free agents, you develop young players — not all of them high draft picks — but you develop young players and do that and you’re going to have some of those decisions. But, again, it’s too early to even be more than just a glance talking about that. We’re talking about middle of March before some of those things come up. We’ve got a long way to go before then.” Schwartz was asked at the end of the season if the Lions had reached a point

that they could target specific players and positions rather than taking the best player available in the draft. “I think it’s a lot easier to see the needs that we have, but I don’t think it changes your philosophy,” he said. “I think it’s a little bit like we talked about before: you can fall into a trap there. ‘Hey we’re 10-6, all we need is this and keep everything else the same.’ Well that doesn’t work in this league. You’ve got to have philosophy, you’ve got to be able to stick with it and be able to keep going. There’s a lot of other ways to improve. You see other teams in the league that have weaknesses and things like that and they draft positions that people don’t necessarily think are there need and things like that. “I think that the key there is that we have a lot less needs than we’ve had in the past. It would be easier to fill some of those, but I doubt very seriously if that will go into our thinking when it comes to draft and free agency and things like that. What’s served us well is having descriptions and matching guys with talent and not passing what we consider are better players. It’s tough to do that sometimes, but if you want to be built for the long haul, if you want to have some guys for (Matt) Stafford in 2022, you have to be able to stick to that philosophy.”

Sportz Detroit Magazine



Canton native likes the life of a Packer


By John Raffel

rank Zombo had a chance to briefly spend Thanksgiving 2011 in his hometown. That’s because Zombo’s Green Bay Packers were playing the Detroit Lions. But life as a Packer continues to be rewarding for the second-year Green Bay linebacker out of Central Michigan. Because of injuries, he had seen action in only two games prior to coming to Ford Field where he did not dress for the game. “I love being here, it’s first class all the way,” he said. “We have a lot of respect for each other in the locker room.” Being in the NFL has been a dream for Zombo but even more rewarding playing for a Green Bay team that was 4-0 in the playoffs and started off the season 12-0. A knee injury in preseason, followed two weeks later by a hamstring injury, curtailed his playing time in 2011. “I started off this year projected as a starter,” he said. “I”m trying to get back into football shape again.” He wound up playing five games and had five tackles. Zombo joined Green Bay as a free agent in his rookie season but played a key role for the Super Bowl champs. He was third among rookies in the NFC with four sacks, trailing only a pair of first-round picks, Detroit’s Ndamukong Suh (10) and the N.Y. Giants’ Jason Pierre-Paul (4½). Zombo got his chance to start in 2010 when two Packers, Brad Jones and Brady Poppinga, went down with knee injuries. Zombo also topped Green Bay rookies and was sixth on the team with 67 tackles (45 solo), appearing in 13 games with eight starts. When he sacked quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in Super Bowl XLV, he was regarded as the first non-drafted rookie to have a sack in a Super Bowl since it became an official statistic in 1982. He finished his Central Michigan career ranked second in school history with 25½ sacks and was one of three non-drafted rookies to make the opening-day Packer roster in 2010 but during the preseason, he topped the defense in tackles with 18 and solo tackles with 12. He led the defense in tackles (18), solo tackles (12) and sacks (two). In four years at Central, Zombo saw action in all 55 games with 39 starts and was All-Mid-American Conference first-team honors as a junior and senior. Zombo was in his hometown the Wednesday before Thanksgiving to celebrate the holidays with family and

Photo courtesy Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packer’s Frank Zombo plays defensive end as he did for CMU. flew back to Green Bay after the game. Growing up as a Lions fan, Herman Moore was his favorite player. At Sterling Heights Stevenson, Moore was all-state by the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press as a senior. He also lettered twice in basketball. “We went to the state finals my senior year and lost to Rockford,” he said. The school recently retired his No. 84 which he wore as a wide receiver, while eventually being named Macomb County Player of the Year. Joining Zombo for the ceremonies were his mother and father Debbie and Frank; brother Zack; fiancé and Stevenson graduate Jessica Koliba and other family members. Zombo wears No. 58 with the Packers. He played end on defense and also was a defensive end at Central. In his senior season, Central was 12-2 and defeated Michigan State and was a Top 25 team. “I was recruited as a tight end and defensive end,” Zombo said, noting that at linebacker “you have to drop into coverage. One play you’re covering a receiver down the field. The next play you’re battling a 300-pound offensive lineman. It’s a pretty challenging position but it’s a lot of fun.” During the offseason, Zombo trains in Canton at Dynamic Athlete Performance. “This summer was pretty cool,” he said. “There was a Memorial Day parade there and they asked me to be in it.” Zombo won’t soon forget his high school football experiences. “I remember just playing hard and having fun,” he said. “I started in fifth grade with flag football. My parents were involved in all sports. I narrowed it down to football, which is where I was best at.” Rick Bye was Zombo’s high school coach. “Frank was tall, a big kid but not slender,” Bye said. “He played a lot of soccer when he was younger. He was very skilled and athletic. He went to Central Michigan and they used him as a defensive end.” During spring break in 2008, Zombo went to Atlanta where he built houses and also was a tutor for inner-city kids. He also enjoys hunting and playing cards, golf and tennis.

“He comes back here and works with our kids,” Bye said. “He’s a good influence on the kids.” Bye realized Zombo had enormous potential while he was playing at Stevenson. “Realistically, I don’t think many high school coaches can project a player that might become an NFL player,” he said. “A lot of things can happen. You do hope a player can continue on (to college) to pay for his education. “With us, he was determined and driven. As an 11th grader, we knew he had potential.” Bye especially liked Zombo’s potential as a wide receiver even though his collegiate and NFL spots have been on defense. “He’s a perfect example of a someone with hard work and perservance who was at the right spot at the right time sand seized his opportunities,” Bye said. “It depends on how you pace yourself when the opportunity arises.” Zombo has fulfilled his dream of being in the NFL but is excited over his future. “The Packers like me and I’d like to stay here as my career goes on,” he said. Kevin Kilgo is Zombo’s best friend and a former football teammate at Stevenson who played tight end and defensive end in high school “He was naturally gifted,” Kilgo said. “He didn’t have to work as hard as the average kid.” But Zombo worked hard enough to get to the collegiate and pro levels, said Kilgo, who recalls that his friend was disappointed at not hearing his name called on draft day. “How many guys go from being an undrafted free agent rookie to being Super Bowl champ his first year?” Kilgo said. But Zombo, Kilgo said, remains one of the boys in Canton. “He doesn’t think he’s above anyone else,” Kilgo said. “He’s hanging out with the guys and going to their homes. He’s a personal guy.” Zombo admits having a unique feeling when he plays for the Packers at Ford Field against the team he grew up watching. “I played there last year and started against the Lions,” he said. “It’s pretty cool playing against your hometown team. Obviously now, I’m a Packer fan.” But he’s not the only convert. “All my family and close friends are Packer fans,” he smiled.


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