Saturday, April 30, 2005

Sixers Get some Hot Spicy Home Cooking

It amazes me that veterans in the media make the same mistake in every NBA playoffs. They watch a home team demolish a underdog at home in the first two games and they immediately say the series is over.
They wax poetically over and over how the series will be a sweep and look forward to the next series. My brothers in the media did it in print and on radio and I kept telling them to hang on. Wait a minute.
Here is my philosophy on the NBA playoffs. I never feel a team is in control until it wins a road game. The Pistons won Games 1 and 2 handily at The Palace, but dropped a 115-104 decision in Philadelphia Friday night.
And did you see how handily Miami handled New Jersey in South Florida, yet needed double overtime to win in New Jersey?
The Pistons loss does not surprise me. In this league magical pixy dust is waved over home teams. You cannot explain it. It just happens. Young teams like the Sixers thrive off the home crowd. They have pride and at least for one or two nights are able to play beyond their talents.
Can you really explain the way the Sixers shot the ball Friday?
I certainly can't although the Pistons were lazy on defense.
The key was Allen Iverson.
At the Palace he drove into trees and got caught inside too often when the Pistons clamped down on defense. On Friday it was almost as if the Pistons implemented a no touch policy. They let Iverson penetrate and shoot or penetrate and kick out to open shooters.
Yes, the Sixers were energetic and hot and all feisty. But the Pistons did not respect their opponent and began taking short cuts.
You can tell the Pistons can score at will on the Sixers. They must be willing to put forth the effort on defense to win Game 4 in Philadelphia. It is as simple as that.
I expect the Pistons to recover and win Game 4 in Philly. They realize their mistakes and will make adjustments. But if they don't win then there are plenty of other consequences to deal with.
All of a sudden you have a Philly team that did not believe, thinking it can win at The Palace. It is a can of worms you do not want to deal with.

Friday, April 29, 2005

The Hot Miami Heat and Hot Radio Numbers

The Eastern Conference Finals unofficially began Thursday night when the Miami Heat stole a double overtime victory over New Jersey Thursday night at the Meadowlands.
The Heats 108-105 victory should put the Pistons on red alert. The win was significant in two ways. It came on the road and it placed Miami in a commanding 3-0 edge in the best of seven series.
The Eastern Conference has boiled down to a collision course between the Heat and Pistons. They are clearly the class of this conference. And in a way they are already playing one another.
The goal is to get to the Finals with as few games and as few playoff minutes as possible. The Heat took a giant step toward rest and relaxation with Thursday nights win, even though it took longer than they would have liked.
That puts a premium on the Pistons who must match with a victory tonight in Philadelphia and another on Sunday.
Every time the Miami Heat step on the court it allows a few more grains of sand to slip through Shaquille O'Neal's hour glass. It is one more chance for a slowly breaking down center to become injured. It takes away 30-40 more minutes of freshness.
Every time the Pistons take the court it gives Rip Hamilton or Rasheed Wallace one more opportunity to twist an ankle or break a hand. It is one more chance for Ben Wallace to curl his leg on a fluke play.
Championship teams get rid of bad teams quickly. They know eventually the playoff road will become a land mine against a team just as good if not better than them. The goal is to be as fresh as possible.
If the Pistons are indeed a championship team they should overcome the emotions of the Sixers playing at home and begin the process of a sweep. Even Allen Iverson said his team had no answers against the Pistons.
It is up to the Pistons to keep Philly questioning itself.
Friday's game should be the toughest of the series. But once emotions wear off the Pistons should take command and win.


** As many of you know I do a talk show with Mike Valenti on AM 1270 The Sports Station called the Sports Inferno. We battled one another Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. and it is a very enjoyable show to do. I know Mike and I get on each others nerves from time to time, but we tolerate those rare moments in the name of quality radio.
We received very good news this week from Arbitron, the company that measures who and how many are listening to the shows in Detroit.
Our show posted the biggest numbers in The Sports Station's history and obviously the best numbers in our time slot. In sports raio the male 25-54 demographic is key. It is what advertisers look at and this demo is our life blood.
We scored a 4.6, which ranked our show sixth in the entire market. That is quite an accomplishment because there is stiff competition and many view sports talk as a niche market where only a few key people listen.
Of course our main competition is WDFN and our time slot beat our competition for the second time in the last three books.
Here is how the numbers came out hour by hour.
10 a.m. -- The Sports Inferno 4.7, WDFN 2.5
11 a.m. -- The Sports Inferno 4.9, WDFN 2.7
Noon -- WDFN 4.9, The Sports Inferno 4.4
TOTAL -- The Sports Inferno 4.6, WDFN 3.4
Jim Rome is a very powerful and good national show. Even though we lost to him we made significant strides in closing the gap. He used to crush us by a 3-1 margin. It is reason for us to celebrate now. However, we must keep things in prospective. I am sure every sports talk show will take a hit in the spring book. The numbers were almost too good to be true for many of us. So we must remain humble.
But we want to continue to do quality radio and move up the ladder. We cannot do it without you. We once again thank you for your support and we hope you stick with us because we cannot do it without you the listener.

Thank you once again.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

RASHEED WALLACE TEAM PLAYER

For the last two playoff games we've watched Pistons forward Rasheed Wallace become a scoring machine in the third quarter. He sensed that guards Chauncey Billups and Rip Hamilton were struggling with their shots.
So Wallace took over as Pistons gunner.
He poured in 29 the opening night and followed that with an efficient 15-point night in Game 2. He appears to be able to score whenever he wants.
So why isn't Rasheed Wallace a consistent scoring machine on a team that so often in the past needed a big time scoring machine?
The answer lies in Philadelphia where Wallace returns to play his first playoff game in his home town. The Pistons face the outmanned Sixers holding a 2-0 lead in this best of seven Eastern Conference laugher. Game 3 is Friday night and the series could conclude Sunday.
This is Wallace's home town. It is where he does plenty of charity work in the offseason. He spent time here with his family last summer after turning down a chance to play for Team USA in the Athens Olympics. Few people know the story, but Wallace told me several weeks ago that home, family and rest in the summer mean more to him than anything else.
"They asked me and I said no," Wallace said of his Olympic opportunity. "I value my time with my family. That is a two year commitment. The summer before the Olympics and then the actual games. That is a lot of time away from my family. I could not do that. And then two years of playing? As much pounding as we take on our bodies? No."
He also loves to return to Philadelphia.
And this is where we unlock the mystery of Rasheed Wallace the basketball player. He was taught at early age to share the basketball and look for ways to win and not make himself look better.
He played on talented high school and AAU teams where he often was not the first option despite wonderful talents.
Wallace was taught to read games. He knows he can do so many things on the court but his main focus is what does the team need, not what he wants. If he sees that Hamilton or Billups are shooting the lights out, then Wallace concentrates on rebounding, defending and passing.
If Ben Wallace is having an off night then Rasheed hits the boards more and helps out with interior defense.
Fans from Portland and Detroit have screamed for him to take over games offensively. They believe he is not asserting himself. He is simply being himself.
In a game where so many are so selfish, Rasheed Wallace is one of the most team oriented guys in the NBA.
"I learned that you accomplish more as a team than just play as one person," Wallace said. "Look at one of the best persons to ever play the game. Michael Jordan had tremendous talent, but he could not win a title without the other four guys on the court and his bench. So he had to set aside some personal accolades for the betterment of the team.
Plus growing up in Philadelphia I played with tremendous collegiate type players and we just played team ball all the time."
Wallace views himself as a piece of the puzzle, not the center of attention.
So if you are standing around waiting for him to demand the ball like so many in this league do, then you are in for a disappointment.
Then again if he senses teammates struggling with their shots, then that is when Rasheed Wallace turns gunner

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

The Answer is out of Answers

AUBURN HILLS -- Allen Iverson sat at a podium looking over the group of journalists who scribbled in note pads and held recorders to chronicle his every word.
He spoke. They listened. He tried to explain. The media tried to understand.
He finally threw up a hand in resignation.
It was painfully obvious that "The Answer" had no answers to journalists' questions or the pounding he took from the Pistons.
The Pistons grabbed a commanding 2-0 lead in this best of seven Eastern Conference series because the power of five is better than the sum of one -- even when that sum of one of the most dangerous players in the NBA.
The Pistons fumbled through their usual slow start, but the ending was so complete that even Darko Milicic got playing time. The Sixers can only question themselves after this 99-84 loss. When you couple that with Game 1's 106-85 Pistons victory it is easy to see why Iverson looks lost.
Iverson said.
We've seen this series before. Let's travel back to the late 1980s and early 90s when The Pistons Bad Boys used to do battle with the upstart Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan.
Jordan used to put up fantastic numbers although he paid for every point by getting knocked down and tossed around. He got a little help from folks like Bill Cartwright and Scottie Pippen. But the bottom line is when crunch time came around everybody in Bulls red awaited magic from Jordan.
He'd come close, but the end result was Pistons victories until they became too old and disjointed to compete with him.
Iverson didn't even make it close. He fired up 24 shots and misconnected on 17. He scored 19 points on a night he needed 49.
He needed Kyle Korver to be his Craig Hodges, but he is a fresh face child out of Creighton playing as if he is a rookie. Korver the sharp shooter is just 3-for-13 from the field because he cannot guide the ball through the long outstretched arms of Tayshaun Prince.
Prince said.
We are also seeing a new version of the Jordan rules. The Pistons are funneling Iverson into traffic. In his mind he is driving toward the hoop for easy layups or passes to open teammates. In reality the Pistons are luring him into a black hole of land mines and booby traps.
When Iverson penetrates he becomes lost in the massively long arms of Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace and Tayshaun Prince. He sometimes looks like a bug stuck in a spider web.
Early on he found success by kicking the ball inside to Samuel Dalembert (14 points, 11 rebounds) but once that dried up the Sixers offense was stamped null and void.
Now here is the most dangerous thing for the Sixers. As the series shifts to Games 3 and 4 in Philadelphia, the Pistons say they have a few more tricks up their sleeves, a few more land mines for Iverson to think about.
Ben Wallace said.
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Pistons guard Chauncey Billups said.
The Pistons have actually made this series Mission Impossible for Iverson.
Sometimes people criticize the Pistons for being so defensive. They say they ugly up the game with their swarming defense. Yet when you see the spiders bottle up a water bug like Iverson, it is a beautiful thing to see. You can see Iverson has all the talent in the world. He has world class moves that would net him 50 point nights against the Bulls or Wizards.
But these are the Pistons. The only thing he is getting is a world class headache trying to figure out what the Pistons are throwing at him.
And the Answer appears so confused he doesn't even know what the question is.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Earl Wilson -- Former Tigers Pitcher

I finished my Monday taping with Fox Sports Net and flipped on the radio to keep me company for the commute home. The news came on and I knew immediately something bad had happened.
"Former Detroit Tiger pitcher Earl Wilson died of a heart attack. He was 70,." the voice said.
Sadness filled me. Wilson has been a friend of the family since I was seven years old and he provided an afternoon I will never forget.
It was the summer of 1967 and I was one of the biggest Tiger fans around.
I sat behind the Tigers dugout with the late Lindell A. C. owner Jimmy Butsicaris. It was a nice warm Saturday afternoon and after the game Jimmy took me to the Tigers club house to hang with Earl Wilson.
I was his guest and it was a big thrill walking through the club house admiring my favorite Tigers. But the biggest thrill came later.
Wilson took me out on the field and we talked at home plate. We all know Tiger Stadium as a band box, a place where sluggers came to pad their home run statistics.
But the stadium looked so huge to this young kid. No one could convince me that the Grand Canyon was any bigger. I'd never seen this much plush green grass in all my life.
It looked like an outdoor museum. I was in shock and awe.
On the drive to the Lindell I thanked Wilson a million times over. He simply laughed and said "No problem."
He was one of my first heroes. Wilson not only could pitch but he could hit also. He blasted 35 home runs and won 121 games in his career. Wilson was a power pitcher who was a bit wild also. Maybe his unsteady arm caused batters to be unsteady at the plate.
He was a trail blazer in that he became the first black player to be signed by the Boston Red Sox and he was also the first black pitcher to pitch in the World Series for the Tigers.
The last time I saw him was last summer at Arts, Beats and Eats in Pontiac. It was a brief meeting because there were so many people jammed around us. He got to meet my kids Celine and Brandon and he seemed pleased to see me as a father.
And he was proud to see me make it in the field of journalism. Wilson would call now and then and leave a voice mail of encouragement. He wanted me to always know that at least one person was reading me and his voice always seemed to hit my voice mail when times got tough.
We were not close at the end. He was running a business and I was establishing my life. But if he only knew the joy and memories he gave me on that fine Saturday afternoon by home plate at Tiger Stadium.
Rest in peace my friend.

Larry Brown Leaving Town?

It might be true that Larry Brown did not talk to the Cleveland Cavaliers about taking over the team after the season.
However, he won't be the Pistons head coach next season and here is hoping President Joe Dumars is at least thinking about replacements. Brown looks like a man who needs a break. He has health issues. He is tired and he needs to take at least a season off -- if not retire all together.
Brown has been telling his buddies in the league that he has had enough. This was before health issues slowed him. This was even before the brawl at The Palace.
Brown does not even like coaching games. He admitted that to me during a preseason interview. If he had his way he would run practices, conduct coaching clinics and watch Pistons games on television in his living room. But NBA coaching does not work that way. Teams make you do it all, that includes going to games.
Brown is a heck of a coach. He is exactly what the Pistons need. But we knew he was a quick fix. He would only be here for two or three seasons. I won't be player hating on him when he does leave.
My advice for Dumars is to get his ducks in a row. He should be calling potential coaching candidates now before they are all hired. That includes people like Phil Jackson (rumored to be taking the New York Knicks job), Maurice Cheeks and Flip Saunders.
There are good candidates and Dumars must land one of them.

The Candy Store

I've owned a candy store and coffee shop at Lakeside Mall for about a year and a half now. I have always wanted to go into business ever since I graduated from Central Michigan University back in 1981.
It has always been important for me to own something, to call something mine. It meant more to me than anything just about anything in the world.
The first year we lost money. A combination of high rent and low foot traffic made it difficult to make ends meet. Now we enjoy a better lease and lower payroll and we've found a way to make ends meet.
Most businessmen would want to buckle down after getting through the difficult part and make this thing profitable.
Not me. I want to sell the store.
Why?
Little B.
Little B is my three year old son. And he hates when daddy leaves the house on weekends to go run the store. He's tugged at my leg when I try to leave and more importantly he has tugged at my heart.
"Don't go daddy. Lets play."
I try to explain it to him, but I am his guy. And the most important thing in life for him is to hang with daddy. I got into this business to help pay for my daughter Celine and Little B's college education. But the only education that matters to him is when we do our alphabets or count to 10.
Little B and my family means more to me than anything, that includes the dream of owning a business.
So Candy Express/Seattle's Best Coffee is on the block. It is a good set up for someone who does not have a Little B at home and wants to run the place themselves. It is not a good set up for someone who writes for The Detroit News, works at AM 1270 The Sports Station and does twice a week commentary at Fox Sports Net.
I realize I am trying to juggle too much. There are not enough hours in the day. I need to drop something and devote more time to watching Little B ride his bike, feed the ducks and use my stomach and chest as a trampoline.
You are still invited to check out our store. It is located by Sears near the food court on the second level of Lakeside Mall. You can also check out our web site at Detroitsweets.com.
We'd love your business and support. And if someone ends up buying it please show them some love also.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

THE BIG TWO AND LITTLE SIX

Do you remember the old days of the Big Two and the Little Eight?
Those were the days when Michigan and Ohio State lined up every November to decide the Big Ten title. It was all about Woody and Bo and Scarlet and Blue. The other teams did not matter.
Iowa, Michigan State and Wisconsin had the same chance of winning the Big Ten as Eastern Michigan.
Well the Eastern Conference playoffs remind me of those days. The Big two are the Pistons and Miami Heat. We saw the Pistons wake up from a 16-point deficit and body slam Philadelphia. And the Heat did the same to New Jersey, a team some experts tried to tell us was somewhat dangerous because of the addition of Richard Jefferson.
This is not to say no one will beat the Heat or Pistons in a game or two. But we all know where this is headed.
These teams will blow past bewildered opponents, losing a road game here and there. But none of their series will be in doubt until they face each other.
And I don't care what type of regular season the Heat had. The Pistons are clearly the best team in the East and will represent the conference in the NBA Finals.
They have the best starting five and if Antonio McDyess continues to play well they won't have a worry in the world.

THREE AMIGOS

Herman Moore. Brett Perriman. Johnnie Morton.
We remember the names. And we remember their fame. They formed the greatest group of wide receives in Lions history. Moore was the 100 catch man. He was big, strong and deadly on fade patterns in the corner of the endzone.
Perriman was the feisty and confident guy from the University of Miami. He was a possession receiver who always felt he should be the featured guy. And Morton was the speed guy. He could go up field for the big play. Sometimes he lacked maturity, but he was still dangerous.
The Lions may have a better group of receivers now.
Many of us were shocked when the Lions used the 10th pick in the 2005 NFL draft to select wide receiver Mike Williams from USC. At 6-foot-4, he is big and physical and could become a post up possession receiver in this league. But the Lions already have young big play receivers in Roy Williams and Charles Rogers. What did they need Williams for?
Personally I would have gone for Texas linebacker Derrick Johnson because the Lions can use as much help on defense as they can get.
However, I am not going to sweat them over the Williams pick. Isn't it about time the Lions had the best something in the NFC North Division?
In time this will be the most dangerous and productive trio in the division. That is if they all stay healthy.
I've already heard from some who say the Williams pick is in direct correlation to the Lions not trusting the health of Rogers who has barely made a blip because of two early season ending injuries the last two seasons.
That could be partially true. We cringe every time Rogers falls on his shoulder. And one of my boys in the media loves to call him China Doll.
However, the Williams pick might be more of a signal that the Lions want to get greedy rather than always staying needy.
My problem with the past Lions teams is they were always adjusting to other teams. They fielded teams to adjust to Randy Moss with Minnesota and Brett Favre with Green Bay.
Now teams must adjust to the Lions who can hurt teams with their trio or wide receivers along with young running back Kevin Jones.
The Lions proved they are not quite ready to be a championship caliber club by not thinking defense first.
But you know something. It sure is going to be exciting at Ford Field the next few years.

T Foster

The greatest group of wide receivers in Lions history featured Herman Moore, Johnnie Morton and Brett Perriman.
Posted by Hello

Saturday, April 23, 2005


Here is the man behind the words. I hope you return and enjoy.
Posted by Hello

Welcome

I no longer have a column, but I like to let you know what is on my mind any way.
And besides I want to stay in writing shape in case I get the call again.
It is not much. It is just a start, but I hope you all enjoy what I have to say.
This is Terry Foster, former columnist at The Detroit News, talk show host at AM 1270 The Sports Station and Fox Sports Net commentator.
I still work at the News as a sports feature writer. However, I get dozens of emails each week asking me what I think about certain issues. I am unable to tell you in the paper. However, I can here. This is my way of letting you know what is on my mind. That is if you care.
I do want to thank people who stepped wrote and called The News to protest the loss of my column. I was stunned by the outrage and outpouring. Even people who hated me called.
I hope you all in Detroit can check out my show that I co-host with Mike Valenti. The Sports Inferno is hot every day and can be heard from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. on AM 1270 The Sports Station.
I am the voice of reason on the show as I try to keep this young and talented buck in check.
Also check me out Monday and Friday night on the Fox Sports Report. I rap about the latest happenings in sports on Monday night (10:30 p.m.) and I have a segment called Friday's With Foster (10:30 p.m.) on Friday.
I promise to post daily and let you know what is going on in the world of sports.
Some of you also know I own a candy store. I have made a decision to get out of the business. I am looking for a buyer.
There is simply not enough time in the day and I need to devote more hours in the day to family. I have a daughter named Celine (5) and a son named Brandon (3) and they miss dad and I miss them. It is more and more difficult to leave them and not return home until they are asleep.
I need to get my priorities straight. But I was not doing radio when I began the business. My day was not as taxing as it is now. It is tough enough making time with them with newspaper, radio and television.
I want to be with my PEOPLE.
That's it for now. I hope you can check me out and please leave messages.

T Foster