Sunday, July 31, 2005

HEARNS SLUGGISH IN COMEBACK

John Long looks like me.
He is bald, light skinned and out of shape.
That is who Tommy Hearns beat Saturday night in his come back boxing match at Cobo Arena. The fat guy got his licks in, but Hearns stood in triumph, when Long the boxer and not the former NBA player refused to come out for the ninth round.
It was a sad night. Hearns did not look good. He got clocked early, but came on late because Long was out of shape and lacked talent.
Afterwards Hearns poised 45 minutes for photos with family and friends. The amazing thing is that a post-fight photo session could last that long. Fewer than 3,000 people showed up at Cobo Arena. Hearns' entourage was bigger than that during his hey day.
Why?
Why did Hearns need this night? Why does he talk about future bouts? Even his son Ronald Hearns asked that question after the evening was over.
Why?
No damage was done Saturday. Hearns found a tomato can. My fear is that he beats up on a couple dudes from the east side and then tries to fight a legitimate fighter looking to make a name for himself.
Lets hope this come back never comes to this. My fear is Hearns could suffer serious injury.
If this is about love and respect then Hearns should quit. He has both here in Detroit. He accomplished plenty in the ring.
He brought pride to Detroit and most Detroiters felt Tommy beat Sugar Ray Leonard in the rematch.
Hearns will never get the recognition he wants by stepping into the ring.
Give it up. Ronald is the boxer in the family now.
Sit back and enjoy his career.

Friday, July 29, 2005

LARRY BROWN MIGHT PLAY THE PALACE IN DECEMBER

The NBA schedule is not out yet, but mark Dec. 2 on your calendar. That is when Larry Brown and the New York Knicks are scheduled to play the Pistons at the Palace for the first time. But don't bother purchasing tickets.
My guess is Brown won't show. He is scheduled to visit the Mayo Clinic for more test in December. Why not have them in early December to freshen up for Christmas and of course miss this emotion-packed game at The Palace.
You can also look for the Pistons to play on the road Christmas Day during the NBA's unofficial kick off to the regular season. The conference finalists will play in a doubleheader. The Pistons will play San Antonio or Dallas from the Western Conference. The team that does not play the Pistons will play the Miami Heat.

WHEN THE CATS AWAY THE MICE WILL PLAY

I go away for a week and look what happens.
There is a commercial for the Stoney and Wojo Show here. I want compensation by the way.
There is a debate about Detroit sports talk and folks are still talking about Larry Brown.
I did not listen to the LB interview on Stoney and Wojo. The gang and I were at Cedar Point and the Great Wolf Lodge.
I don't need to listen to him to know he is lying. If he caught wind of the Pistons wanting to move in a different direction in March I simply say he was making phone calls in November. I don't want to get too deeply into LB because we've debated it too much and it is dividing us.
Go through the archive here and you will know how I feel.
Let him go. He did his thing here. He accomplished what he was hired to do and I wish him well with the New York Knicks.
It is time for all parties to move on.
As far as sports talk radio is concerned, there is more quality programming than the Sports Inferno. I appreciate the support and I do believe we are one of the best shows in Detroit, but that is not my decision.
The best is decided by you the listeners. You vote every day by listening to your favorite shows. Your vote counts more than what I have to say.
And what you are saying is WDFN is the best sports station right now. I am not going to fight the public over that. I simply want people to sample our show and give it a chance. We will win you over.
Some criticize sports talk because it is not all sports. Once again your vote counts. Shows that do all sports don't get high ratings in the day time. They do at night when a more specialized audience tunes in.
But if we did all sports we would be doomed.

CEDAR POINT WITHOUT ROLLER COASTERS? ONLY IF YOU ARE A DAD WITH SMALL FRY

I made a grim discovery this week.
There is a Cedar Point without roller coasters and other high wire rides.
That's what happens when you attend with small fry. Celine, 5, is too scared to ride a roller coaster, and Brandon, 3, too small.
It's impossible to leave the gang for an hour to stand for the drag race ride that propels you to speeds of 120 miles per hour and jets you 20 stories into the air. It sure looked neat. But there was no way I could ride in my current situation.
That left me clapping on the sideline while the small fry rode on plastic air balloon rides, cars that went in circles and the junior Gemini.
The best part about Cedar Point is discovering my son is a real man. He wants to go on the big rides. They won't allow him because he falls short of the 46 inch minimum. One guy let us on this ride that jerked you all over the place and Little B loved it. He screamed and laughed as if he were having the time of his life.
That can only mean one thing. Dad is destined to hit the roller coasters in a year or two whether I want to or not.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

LOOKING FOR T-SHIRT DESIGNER

Does anyone know of someone who could help us design T-shirts or a logo for a T-shirt and then design it for a reasonable price?
I want somebody creative and innovative.
If you do can you drop me a line at Fosternews@aol.com or post it here so I can call them.

D-MAC IS RELEASED BUT HE WILL AWAYS BE A DETROIT RED WING

This is the ugly part of the new NHL. Beyond the rule changes that should liven up the game, comes the harsh reality of player removal that should darken it.
Heroes are leaving. It hit us Tuesday following the release of 11-year veteran Darren McCarty for salary cap reasons. Money is a bigger consideration for teams and that includes the former salary heavy Wings. Now come tough decisions by owner Mike Ilitch and General Manager Ken Holland.
D-Mac is one of us. He was tough and willing to do anything the team asked of him. He is a Red Wing for life although he will play elsewhere this season. Even as he was being booted out the door he asked Holland to remember him down the road should a reunion make sense.
It won't.
D-Mac's game no longer fits in. He is too slow and cannot provide the grit that made him so dangerous around the league. The Red Wings also know he is out of shape and his love for music has consumed him. It didn't make the decision to cut him any easier, but it just made more sense.
D-Mac remains one of my all-time favorite players. He cared about people and he cared about the fans of Detroit. We are not losing Darren McCarty. We simply are losing Darren McCarty the hockey player. Grinder will continue to grind in Detroit and the McCarty Cancer Institute will continue here also.
The man who brought us the historic butt kicking of Claude Lemieux in March 1997 is etched in Detroit sports lore. He was loved more than his talent on the ice. But his desire can never be matched.
D-Mac will be missed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

WHO FACES THE MOST HEAT? MOOCH? OR PAL JOEY?

The boys were standing around debating another sports topic. This time it involved the Lions and typically it revolved around Lions quarterback Joey Harrington.
Here is the question.
Who has the most pressure on them? Is it Lions head coach Steve Mariucci or Harrington?
It is a no brainer to me. It is Harrington in a romp. Surprisingly many of my debaters said Mooch faces the most heat.
I disagree.
Harrington's replacement stands about 12 inches to his right. Jeff Garcia is the hand-picked choice by Mariucci to save the day if Harrington flops. You rarely hear Mariucci say a kind word about Harrington.
He must also win over his dressing room because a number of players felt Harrington hung them out to dry last season with errant passes.
And who are you going to boo first? Will it be Harrington after his first interception or Mariucci after his first conservative play call? My guess is Harrington. Remember this is a town that puts more blame on the Red Wings goalie and Lions quarterback than any other sports job.
Finally, who owns the team? There is little or no pressure coming from the Ford family. Mariucci came here to become a savior and the Fords still believe him to be that. The Lions can go through three quarterbacks in a season. It takes them a half century to go through head coaches, no matter now bad they are.
Mariucci is safe and secure in the Ford's eyes. The only way he could lose his gig if he pulls a Darryl Rogers and screams "What's a guy got to do to get fired around here?"
They are already looking for excuses to fire Joey.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

HERE COMES THE LAW. WILL TY SIGN WITH THE LIONS?

The debate the next few days could be where do the Lions play corner back Ty Law in a crowded secondary?
That's if Law passes his physical Monday with the Lions and looks good during a planned work out at the Lions practice facility. If every thing checks out it appears as if the Lions will sign Law, who has been telling reporters this signing is not as much about the money as it is about playing for a contender.
The Lions would upgrade their secondary if they sign Law and he's 100 percent following an injury that forced him to miss more than half the season. Law struggled during early workouts but he recently said he was close to 100 percent and was ready to make one team a contender.
Let's hope he is 100 percent because Law could slide right into the left corner spot next to Dre' Bly and replace Fernando Bryant who struggled last season in part because of injuries. Bryant did not meet expectations and would give the Lions some nice depth coming off the bench along with Chris Cash and R.W. McQuarters.
If Law plays safety he'd play along side Kenoy Kennedy and it would mean reduced playing time for Terrence Holt who I think is going to be a terrific player. The problem is some on the coaching staff are not convinced he is physical enough.
It appears as if Law is turning down offers from the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs. He seemed destined for New York because of the retirement of corner back Donnie Abraham.
So does this mean Law believes the Lions are a contender or just playing the most money? I spoke to a front officer person today outside the Lions organization who told me to chalk up a Lions NFC North Division title.
Maybe this will be an interesting season after all.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

HUGE WEEKEND SERIES FOR TIGERS

I am hearing the weekend Tiger games with Minnesota will be huge with respects to what the team might do before the trading deadline. If the Tigers sweep the rest of the games General Manager Dave Dombrowski may determine the team to be legitimate contenders and might give up something for a pitch like A.J. Burnet. If they fizzle the Tigers may stand pat or offer Rondell White in a trade.
My gut tells me the Tigers are not contenders for the wild card any way. I am not willing to give up too much of the future for a snow ball in hell's chance of making the wild card this season. I am still looking toward the immediate future, which is next season.

I just wanted to let everybody know that I behaved myself Friday night at Cheli's Chili in Dearborn. My radio partner Mike of the Sports Inferno jokes that I am a ladies man. That is not true but he tells the story so much that people believe him.
Of course there were two tiny stories that would support his argument. One of our listeners brought condoms just in case and a woman did offer to take her top off for a T-shirt. Of course I told her what anyone would in that situation.
This is America and I cannot stand in the way of people's right to choose.

Friday, July 22, 2005

TERRY'S TIDBITS

Before you panic about Flip Saunders and the seven first-round playoff knock outs do your self a favor. Look at the rosters that surrounded Saunders and super star Kevin Garnett. Trust me when I say none will make the basketball Hall of Fame. Heck, most would not even make the Minneapolis Hall of Fame.
So lets give this guy a chance before you panic.

** The good news is the Tigers have hovered around five to six games out of a wild card berth. The bad news is there are enough teams between them and the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins to create a traffic jam on the Lodge freeway. There is no way the Tigers can pass this log jam and get into the post season.
So are they buyers or sellers? I say the Tigers should be buyers for next season. Pitcher A.J. Burnett sure would look good here.

** If you have time check me out tonight at Cheli's Chili in Dearborn. I will be there from 8-10 p.m. for an AM 1270 The Sports Station appearance. You could win a trip to Toronto during our on going rock 'em sock 'em robot boxing tournament. I did a few of those last year and they are a riot. So come on out, hang out and we can chat a bit.

** Lance Armstrong is about to win his seventh straight Tour de' France. A part of me applauds his efforts. And a part of me believes he is a cheater. There is too much smoke surrounding him. I believe in a few years it will come out conclusively that he cheated his way toward the top.

** During the Flip Saunders press conference some of us writers got into a spirited debate about the Detroit Lions. Who has the most pressure on them? Is it Head Coach Steve Mariucci or quarterback Joey Harrington?
I voted for Mooch because Harrington could lose his job and I believe you are going to boo him louder if things don't work out. Yes, many of you were disgruntled with the coach's play calls but Harrington will get the brunt of fan complaints at Ford Field and on talk radio.
Mooch's job is safe too. The Lions are owned by the Ford family which has a history of letting people hang around too long.

** I admit I will be watching Harrington and Mariucci closely. But I also want to see what happens with receiver Charles Rogers. Can he hold up physically? If he does I still say he is the Lions best receiver until further notice.

** Hey did you see the Tigers ghastly 10-5 loss to the Minnesota Twins Thursday? Of course you didn't. It is beyond me how a town this big and with baseball tradition this rich can have 52 games not televised by any one.
I spoke to a source who told me Channel 50, not the Tigers, did not want to broadcast games. It seems as if 50 is trying to save money and didn't even want to spend money on production. The Tigers offered them the package for free and 50 still turned it down.

** Excuse me for a bit. The family and I are going to Cedar Point for a couple days and I just saw how much tickets for a one-day pass are. I am not hunting for discount tickets.
See you at Chelli's tonight.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

PISTONS PLAYERS SAY THEY CAN WIN WITHOUT BROWN. NOW PROVE IT

I cannot begin to tell you about the low grumbles and side way rumbles in the Pistons dressing room If you think this bitter Pistons divorce is simply between former Coach Larry Brown, Pistons President Joe Dumars, Owner Bill Davidson and big mouth agent Joe Glass you are mistaken. The children are upset too. The children in this case are the players. Now I don't want to identify them because these were confidential and private conversations. But trust me on this one. There were grumblings about Brown. I've had the luck to run into a few guys at social functions and during other events around town. After the what up dude what's happening greetings came the complaints about Brown. What Can Brown Do for You? A number of Pistons players took the high road publicly but privately they hoped he'd take one of those left over Bobby Ross one way bus tickets out of town. They were tired of all the Brown courtships. They were tired of the drama and suspense. Davidson may have put it best during an interview with WDIV when he said it was all about Brown and not the players and the organization. Obviously, Mr. D has a spy in the dressing room. That is exactly what these guys were complaining about. One more refrain played out amongst players. Privately, they believe they can win an NBA title without Brown. Well guys prove it. Prove that it was you and not Brown. Prove that you are an elite team without Brown and not just an elite team because you had an elite coach. But let me put this in. These guys respected the hell out of Brown. They admit he made them better and played a large role in their development. They are simply saying the rest of us did not give them enough credit. Now they want to prove they will remain an elite team. Here is the problem. It is going to much more difficult to advance to the NBA Finals than it was the past two seasons. And yes it was tough as nails winning the title in 2004 and it was even rougher getting past Indiana and Miami in 2005 to face San Antonio. The Eastern Conference will be better. Let's assume that the entire Indiana Pacers bench won't bounce into the stands this season to beat up fry cooks and accountants. They should be better. Let's assume the Miami Heat return with the same team in and Dwyane Wade is healthy during the playoffs. That will make them tougher. New Jersey upgraded with the addition of Abdur-Raheem Shareff. Cleveland is adding nice pieces and the Chicago Bulls are a year older and will be better if players don't revolt against Coach Scott Skiles. Last year you had a two horse race to the finish in the East. Next season you have at least four major players. We will all put a lot of pressure on new coach Flip Saunders. And that is fair. But I am looking at the players in the dressing room and saying you got your wish. Now produce.

CHECK THIS NEW YORK POST STORY ON BROWN

WHY '83 NETS BAGGED BROWN By FRED KERBER


Rumors swirled for weeks back in April 1983. Larry Brown, who had coached the Nets to their first-ever 40-victory NBA season the previous year, was leaving to take the Kansas job. No way, Brown assured ownership. But with six games left in what would prove to be the best Nets' regular season until a fellow named Jason Kidd arrived, Brown went missing for about 10 hours on April 7. The team faced a one-game trip to Detroit, and Brown arrived in the locker room with the Kansas claim check still affixed to his bag. The team departed for Newark Airport and a commercial flight to Detroit (yes, Virginia, teams once flew commercially and even consumed something called "airline food"). But Joe Taub, then the Nets owner, learned about the claim check. "I'm not going to let Larry get away with this," he said and ordered a member of the public relations staff to drive him immediately to the airport. "As I recall, we were at Newark Airport and Joe Taub had him paged and they went back to the office," Mike Gminski, one of the Nets players on that team, said yesterday. "Larry finally admitted, 'OK, I'm coaching Kansas.' That night, we had a meeting with assistants Mike Schuler and Bill Blair. "We had heard the rumors, so it didn't catch us completely by surprise," Gminski said. "But we had the sense he would finish out the season. We kind of limped through the rest of the year. No disrespect to Blair or Schuler; they weren't Larry Brown. Things came unraveled." At the airport, Taub was driven to one end and then sent the employee to fetch Brown, away from crowds and the departure gate. "Is it true, are you going to Kansas?" Taub asked Brown. Brown, who came to the Nets from UCLA, excused himself, went to a public phone and called the Kansas athletic department. Moments later he walked back to Taub. "Yes, I'm going to Kansas when the playoffs are over," Brown said. Taub had a different idea. "If you're going to Kansas, you're not coaching this team," said Taub, who fired Brown right there at the airport. The Nets were 47-29 when Brown was axed. Under Blair, they went 2-4 and then were swept out of the playoffs in a best-of-three by the Knicks. "
The team faced a one-game trip to Detroit, and Brown arrived in the locker room with the Kansas claim check still affixed to his bag. The team departed for Newark Airport and a commercial flight to Detroit (yes, Virginia, teams once flew commercially and even consumed something called "airline food"). But Joe Taub, then the Nets owner, learned about the claim check.
"I'm not going to let Larry get away with this," he said and ordered a member of the public relations staff to drive him immediately to the airport.
"As I recall, we were at Newark Airport and Joe Taub had him paged and they went back to the office," Mike Gminski, one of the Nets players on that team, said yesterday. "Larry finally admitted, 'OK, I'm coaching Kansas.' That night, we had a meeting with assistants Mike Schuler and Bill Blair.
"We had heard the rumors, so it didn't catch us completely by surprise," Gminski said. "But we had the sense he would finish out the season. We kind of limped through the rest of the year. No disrespect to Blair or Schuler; they weren't Larry Brown. Things came unraveled."
At the airport, Taub was driven to one end and then sent the employee to fetch Brown, away from crowds and the departure gate.


"Is it true, are you going to Kansas?" Taub asked Brown.
Brown, who came to the Nets from UCLA, excused himself, went to a public phone and called the Kansas athletic department. Moments later he walked back to Taub.
"Yes, I'm going to Kansas when the playoffs are over," Brown said.
Taub had a different idea.
"If you're going to Kansas, you're not coaching this team," said Taub, who fired Brown right there at the airport.
The Nets were 47-29 when Brown was axed. Under Blair, they went 2-4 and then were swept out of the playoffs in a best-of-three by the Knicks.

I AM HANGING AT CHELI'S CHILI FRIDAY NIGHT

I am making a Friday night appearance at Cheli's Chili sports bar in Dearborn Friday night from 8-10 p.m. This is an AM 1270 The Sports Station appearance and should be a good time. I really like this place and I plan on getting there early for a little chili no matter how hot it might be outside.
Come on down. Let's rap and have a good time. I would love to meet some of the web log contributors. You can also enter the rock 'em sock 'em robots competition and win a trip to Toronto for four.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

ITS OFFICIAL. FLIP SAUNDERS IS NEW PISTONS COACH

Flip Saunders is the new Pistons head coach. The team is still denying it but Joe Dumars and Saunders reached an agreement after six hours of negotiations. He is expected to be named officially as the new coach during a 10 a.m. press conference Thursday at The Palace.
The press conference will be carried live at the beginning of The Sports Inferno on AM 1270 The Sports Station.
What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them.

FLIP IS THE GUY

Hey gang. Look for Flip Saunders to become Pistons head coach as early as Thursday. Team President Joe Dumars and Saunders are involved in intense negotiations that could end in an agreement by Thursday or Friday. Dumars admitted Saunders is his first and only choice for the gig.

JOE DUMARS REPLAY ON THE BIG SHOW

in case you missed it. The Big Show will replay the Joe Dumars interview first heard on the Sports Inferno today.
I am not sure when they will air it but check it out and feel free to respond.

T Foster

Joe Dumars at 10 a.m. and noon on the Inferno

I am leaving this space open for you to comment about the Joe Dumars interview.
He will be on the Sports Inferno at 10 a.m. and we are going to replay the interview at noon.
Listen to us on AM 1270 The Sports Station.
Tell us what you think?

BOTH SIDES LOOK SILLY BUT IT IS TIME FOR BROWN AND THE PISTONS TO PART

Here is the other dirty little secret in this Larry Brown saga. It comes from the dressing room at The Palace where Ben Wallace, Chauncey Billups and Rasheed Wallace prepare for games.
From that room comes anger. It boiled during the playoffs. It got hotter after every Brown press conference where he proclaimed he wanted to coach the Pistons the following season.
Players were not buying it and privately hoped their coach walked or was forced out.
This isn't to say a mutiny was on the horizon if Brown returned, but there was a strong possibility.
I've run into players here and there and they privately talked about their anger. Some even wanted to show their displeasure during the playoffs, but were told by President Joe Dumars to keep quiet.
He did not want off-court emotion to affect on court results. The Pistons were locked in life and death series and Dumars thought the Pistons needed every ounce of energy to get past Indiana, Miami and San Antonio.
We will never know the fall out if Brown had returned. But this firing or buy out or whatever you want to call it is probably best for both parties.
The Pistons need to look toward the future because Brown would not have coached beyond this season any way. And even if he returned Brown could not assure 100 percent commitment. The Pistons told him to walk.
The New York Knicks are willing to wait because they don't have a championship caliber team who felt betrayed by their coach. Brown will probably take nearly $60 million in compensation and start fresh.
If he returned to Auburn Hills he had a lot of explaining to do. While Brown could not guarantee he would give the Pistons his all, there were no guarantees players would play the right way for him.
Secondly, Brown and his agent Joe Glass played Dumars and the Pistons like a fiddle. As soon as the Pistons made a decision on Brown Glass was out giving the Brown spin. Dumars was caught flat footed and will give his side of the story today during an interview on my radio show The Sports Inferno 10 a.m. on AM 1270 The Sports Station.
Dumars said he does not want to trash Brown. He simply wants his side of the story out. And then it is up to the people to make up their own minds.
Everybody is a loser in this because the Pistons are the best team Brown will ever coach. And Brown is the best coach the Pistons will ever have. It is a shame they could not work out their differences.
But this is probably best for both sides even though both sides look silly.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

JOE DUMARS ON THE SPORTS INFERNO at 10 A.M.

Pistons team President Joe Dumars has agreed to come on the Sports Inferno Show to tell his view of the Larry Brown saga a little after 10 a.m. on Wednesday
Dumars is angry with the way he and the organization has been protrayed and wants to set the record straight. He indicated to me that Joe Glass, Brown's agent, flat out lied when he said Brown was fired and the Pistons did not want him back.
And look for the Pistons to take a beating in the New York Press Wednesday because Glass did a masterful job of painting the Pistons out as the bad guys.
So check us out at 10 a.m. on AM 1270 The Sports Station.

THE FULL BROWN-PISTONS STORY

If you look below you will see a web log I wrote on the Detroit News site back in November. I published it with the intention to republish it again this summer to let you know that the Larry Brown drama has been going on longer than you think.
I wrote the blog the day after I talked to one of his buddies in the league. He told me back then that Brown was going to retire. Now I did not say his buddy told me Brown was thinking of retiring. He told me he WAS going to retire.
It already was a done deal. Brown just needed to figure a way out.
The word filtered back to the Pistons and they began making mental notes for a contingency plan for life without Brown.
Brown will tell you he won't coach the Pistons because Pistons President Joe Dumars and owner Bill Davidson did not want him. He wants it to seem as if he is being pushed out.
The way I look at it is Brown already had one leg out the door. The Pistons gave him a forceful push into the streets when he did not guarantee he would sit at the dinner table.
You all came in on the story late. This has been brewing for eight months. After publishing the web log Mike and I did a full Sports Inferno Show (10-1 on AM 1270 The Sports Station) on how Brown was not returning next season. A bunch of you did not believe us. Many of you did. It wasn't until weeks later that others picked up on it.
The Pistons were agitated with Brown and refused to wait him out following his health issues. You can argue that they could have given the best coach in the NBA more time. They were not willing because in their minds Brown was leaving any way. Dumars and Davidson felt they had waited long enough.
Davidson demanded that Brown guarantee that he could give his all to the Pistons next season.
Brown said he planned on coaching the Pistons.
He said he wanted to coach the Pistons.
But he could never guarantee he would be there for training camp, 82 games and the playoffs.
That is when interrogation turned to buy out. And that only happened over the weekend.
The Pistons know they are taking a step down by having Flip Saunders coach the team rather than Brown. This is not a debate of Brown against Saunders. The Pistons were fearful that if they waited too long they might have to settle for Flip Wilson.
You will hear many versions of Brown vs. Pistons. I respect what others have to say. But this is my version.
My version is based on an eight month squabble between the Pistons and Brown, not the one you've heard about the last three months.

THE BROWN SAGA HAS GONE ON LONGER THAN YOU THINK

Wed, Nov 17, 2004 at 5:45 AM
Terry Foster
SAY SO LONG TO LARRY BROWN?
I expect Pistons Coach Larry Brown to retire at the end of the season. He's had enough and wants to rest.
Brown is down now. He cannot coach because of painful hip surgery. But that is not why he will leave the game after the season. He dreads coaching games and if you cannot get yourself up to coach games any more that is a strong sign you've had enough. An 82-game season plus playoffs is tough enough for players, let alone for a man who is in his 60s and needs a break from the game.
Brown told me a few weeks ago that he loves running practices and loves being around the team. However, game days are difficult for him. And in the NBA it seems as if every day is a game day.
He is at least contemplating retirement. My gut is telling me he has already made the decision and will wait for the appropriate announce it to the rest of us.
If this was the case was it worth drumming Rick Carlisle for Brown? Yes it was. The Pistons won an NBA championship -- something they would not have done last season under Carlisle.
But who replaces Brown? Stay tuned

Sunday, July 17, 2005

MY RESPONSE TO JASON WHITLOCK

A number of you asked me to respond to the Jason Whitlock column that attacked the Pistons and accused some Detroit journalists of being in the Pistons' hip pocket. Here is my response.

Jason Whitlock is right on many accounts. The Pistons do throw mortars at people they want to get rid of.
They sneak behind people's backs and leak every mistake the person they want to get rid of has made. They did it to Don Chaney, Isiah Thomas, Billy McKinney, Doug Collins and Rick Carlisle. They are also doing it to Larry Brown.
Yet here is where Whitlock and I disagree. Larry Brown is the biggest culprit in this slow dance that seems to never end.
And by the way I am not a Pistons apologist and I am not in their hip pocket. In fact I was banned from all Pistons productions for a number of years. They felt I was too harsh on the organization when Tom Wilson ran the place. They wanted me fired but the editors at The News stood by me and asked if any of my damaging columns were filled with errors.
They were not.
I base my opinion on Larry Brown not on snippits of information from inside The Palace. I base it on talks with Brown's coaching pals who told me in November that Brown was looking to bolt after this season.
That may explain why the Pistons told Flip Saunders to stand by in February. Brown fired the first bullet and the Pistons were concerned.
I also went to a couple of social events attended by two Pistons players. We talked a bit and both players said they were very angry over the Brown saga. This was before the Eastern Conference Finals when the junk hit the fan. They felt betrayed by a coach who preached do the right thing, but wasn't doing it himself. However, they said they would remain professional and not make a stink of it in the press although I did hear some wanted to. But what good would that do during a play off run?
They smartly kept quiet.
I firmly believe this. If this makes me a Pistons' stooge then so be it.
Make sure you spell my name correctly on the buy out check.

BACK FROM THE THUMB: BACK TO REALITY

Here is the great thing about returning from vacation.
You don't know.
I don't know if Larry Brown is Pistons coach or Knicks Coach.
I don't know if Mike Babcock had a last minute about face and turned down the Wings or if the press conference went on as scheduled.
I don't know if the Tigers are sliding or soaring.
We spent the last four days in the Thumb for the annual family vacation. The family has a house between Port Sanilac and Harbor Beach and I deliberately skip Sports Center and the News and local sports. It is great to cleanse and chill out for a while.
All we did was play games, eat, shoot off fire works, shoot the breeze and of course drink.
There is something strange about being in the great outdoors. It works like a sleeping pill. I can relax and sleep forever. I don't know if I am more tired before my nap or after it.
However, it is time to return to the rat race. I will be online for the next couple hours to see if the Tigers are back in the race or staggering.
Oh by the way? Did Tiger Woods win the British Open?
Time to find out.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

BROWN SOAP OPERA ENTERS FINAL COUNT DOWN -- YIPPEE!!

It ends today.
Pistons Coach Larry Brown had last night to think about his future with the ball club and he has until this afternoon to tell the Pistons his intentions. Pistons owner Bill Davidson wanted to know what Brown can do for the Pistons this upcoming season.
Details of Wednesday's meeting remain sketchy but the issue of Brown versus the Pistons will be resolved today. We might not get full disclosure but this is the final meeting.
Brown will either be bought out of his contract or the Pistons will get assurances from Brown that he will coach the team next season with full zest and desire.
Finally, we get the final count down of his two-month stare down.
This has dragged out way too long. We understand Brown has health issues. He was in pain after three surgeries this season, including a procedure to fix his bladder last week.
But Brown's return was hazy way back in November. Brown told his boys around the league before the season began that he was unsure if he could return to coach the 2005-2006 season. Since there are few secrets in the NBA, the Pistons caught wind of this.
They became worried and were taking mental notes on possible replacements during the gloomy days of winter.
They had to. The Pistons were worried Brown would make a quick exit like Allan Houston and Grant Hill. They were fearful of him holding them hostage like Doug Collins did a few seasons ago when he went deep into the summer not knowing if he would return.
It is time for the Pistons to move on with or without Brown. And Brown needs to tell the Pistons what is on his mind. It is one thing to tell the media you want to return and coach the Pistons. It is another to tell Dumars and Davidson, which he failed to do.
I will give Brown this much. He knows how to put on a good show. The only thing missing in this drama was the car chases.
The drama ends today. I cannot wait for the exciting conclusion.

HOLLAND CAN NO LONGER THROW CASH AT RED WING PROBLEMS

The NHL is returning and now we get to see how good Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland really is.
He's worked before with more ammunition than most of the league. If the Wings had a hole he could throw unlimited amounts of cash. Why do you think the Wings fielded a virtual Hall of Fame roster for many years?
Now the entire league plays on a level playing field. Let's face facts. The only way teams could beat the Wings in the playoffs was through superior goal tending.
When the league returns this fall after a 301-day lock out there is going to be a salary cap. That means teams can spend between $22 million to $37 million on player salaries. Of course the Wings will be at the high end. But Holland won't enjoy the advantages of a $70 million pay roll while teams in Calgary, Ottawa and other NHL outposts spend about half that.
The Wings are no longer the New York Yankees of the NHL. They must do more than show players the Benjamins. They must now outhustle, out think and out do rivals.
Holland has tough choices. He must reduce pay roll, buy players out and then try to sign an elite goal tender. He will smartly part ways with Curtis Joseph and try to replace him.
It is quite the challenge. And we know privately some in the organization have questioned Holland's command for the game. Was he simply the best because he enjoyed the largest war chest?
My guess is the man will remain aggressive and innovative. Remember a number of their young star players were low picks where superior scouting paid off.
The Wings should remain an elite team because we will always demand it and the NHL needs it.

** For the next week we will hear how unnecessary the 301-day NHL lockout was.
I disagree.
When you are in bad shape and in desperate need of a make over, time does not matter. You work on it until you get it right.
The NHL was about to disappear in Canada. In the United States it was about to become professional bowling. Interest in the NHL was shrinking like the evil witch in the Wizard of Oz. It needed to become leaner, meaner and more fun.
This lockout is exactly what the league needed. It hurts in the short term, but long term it may have saved the NHL.
Teams were in danger of folding.
More importantly the league needed to become something more fans could enjoy. No one wants to see men on skates clutch and grab. If you wanted to see guys tug on each other you could watch amateur wrestling.
The NHL was the only league where muckers shined in the playoffs while the stars were hindered.
Now that will change.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

DETROIT SPORTS IS RED HOT

Now comes the big test.
The city of Detroit got through All-Star week, passing with flying colors.
People loved us. The media praised us as everything went off without a hitch.
But there was no snow, no 10 degree days, no bored media members spending a week here wishing they were in San Diego or New Orleans.
Super Bowl XL next February is the big test. That is when many of Detroit's demons could be exposed. If it passes that test it could go a long way toward cleaning up the cities' image.
The American League beat the National League 7-5 Tuesday night in the 76th annual All-Star game at Comerica Park. But that is not important.
What is important is Detroit is one of the nation's hot sports cities. Recently we hosted two NBA Finals, the Ryder Cup, a bowl game, a sold out crowd at Ford Field where Michigan State and Kentucky played.
Upcoming is the Super Bowl, an NCAA basketball regional, the return of hockey and of course the Final Four.
When you look at the land scape of sports Detroit is right there with New York and Boston in regards to best sports cities.
On Tuesday's Sports Inferno I said Detroit was the third best sports city behind Boston and New York. As I think about it Detroit is just behind Boston. Bean town edges the Motor City because the Red Sox and Patriots hold championship belts.
There is hardly a day of boredom in Detroit.
The Pistons made back to back NBA Finals and they keep us on our edge with the daily Larry Brown drama.
The Tigers are trying to make noise and some national experts said they are keeping their eyes on this team to make a run at the wild card in the second half.
The Lions have not made the playoffs in six years but we hold more passion for this team than any other. People are getting excited for the return of hockey. And I have to believe despite a salary cap and uncertainty in the lineup that the Red Wings will remain one of the elite teams in the NHL.
If that is not enough we are fortunate to have elite collegiate programs in Michigan football and Michigan State basketball.
This place is red hot and the All Star game made national folks take notice.
Now this could all fall apart in a few months. But it isn't often people are looking at us other than to ridicule about a burning car that occurred when nearly half this city was either in the crib or a twinkle in their parents' eyes.
We complain about being mistreated by the national press. Well, they are showering you with praise today.
Enjoy the fun while it lasts.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

BIG BATS TURN COMERICA SMALL

Let me make a confession. I wanted nothing to do with Monday's home run derby. I wanted to see A-Rod and Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds and the big names who bang.
I longed for the days when Mark McGwire bashed.
The only reason I showed up Monday was because I'd never witnessed a home run derby live and it was in my home town. This could be my last chance.
What a treat.
Bobby Abreau brought it.
Many of his 41 home runs sailed over our heads in right field and hit with a thud. He turned Comerica National Park into a band box. And the icing on the cake came when Tiger catcher Pudge Rodriguez made the finals against Abreau.
For the rest of the nation Pudge was simply the set up guy for Abreau who deserved to win this after hitting a record 24 home runs in the first round, nine more than Baltimore's Miguel Tejada did during his record breaking first round last year.
But it was special to Detroit fans who saw one of their Tiger heroes dance on the national stage. You should have seen the smiles on peoples' faces as we left Comerica. They all wanted to talk about Pudge and Abreau who brought life to the derby.
No one cared that Pudge lost 11-5 in the Finals. This was a special night for fans and a special night for Detroit.
And I don't care that Major League Baseball probably injected enough juice in these balls where McGwire in his prime probably could have hit the Ren Cen. You mean to tell me they hit more home runs in spacious Comerica than at Wrigley Field and Coors Field which is a mile above sea level.
Come on.
Finally, Detroit takes tons of hits nationwide.
The All Star week has been great for this city. People have praised us for a change.
Now comes the big test.
Super Bowl XL, cold weather and snow.
Maybe they can call upon Pudge to bring his magic stick in February.

Monday, July 11, 2005

BUCK O'NEIL REPRESENTS THE NEGRO LEAGUE WELL

On a night Nike announced it was introducing a new line of Negro League gear, Buck O'Neil stole the show.
We were treated to one of the greatest athletes/entertainers/promoters of our century during a private get together at the Charles Wright Museum downtown Sunday night.
O'Neil is a former Negro League player who symbolizes the league. He is 95 years old, has the energy of a 20 year old and still tries to pick up the ladies. I'd give $1 million bucks right now to have his enthusiasm at 70.
"I've done a lot of things in my life," O'Neil. "I shook hands with President Truman. I shook hands with President Clinton. I hugged Hillary Clinton. But there is no where I would rather be than here with these great men who played in the Negro Leagues."
He was supposed to give a three-minute talk, but you knew immediately it was going to take longer for him to give his talk.
"It takes me three minutes to say good morning," he joked.
He was joined on stage by men like Joe Douse, Ron Teasley, Melvin Duncan, Marvin Jones, Harold "bebop" Gordon and later by Sweet Lou Johnson. It was great seeing the past and talking to them.
You should have seen the boy hook look in the eyes of former Tiger Cecil Fielder.
"Buck is my man, " Fielder gushed.
The two men embraced and Fielder told me how much he loved he man and how much he inspired him during his career.
He has us cracking up by telling the crowd about his best day. He hit for the cycle while playing for the Kansas City Monarchs. Later that night a group of school teachers came by his Memphis hotel to meet some players.
"I walked up to a young lady and said my name is Buck O'Neil," he said. "And she was my wife for 51 years."
It probably was not that simple. But then again knowing O'Neil, maybe it was.
Nike is going to introduce Negro League wear next year to celebrate Black History Month. But I encourage people to buy Negro League wear now. They have some neat uniforms and T-shirts that are colorful and support players and the Negro League Museum and the Negro League Players Association.
The best selection is on Nine Mile Road on the Oak Park-Ferndale line where Tony Dee owns a Negro League Apparel Shop. Call him at 248-543-3510 and drop by and do a little shopping.
I believe we should honor these men.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

LOUIE LOVEFEST ENDS

Here is what you should know about former Red Wings Coach Dave Lewis.
He is a great guy. In fact, he is a hell of a guy. He can explain the game like no other and is extremely patient with the media.
They could even do a program called "Everybody Loves Louie". Maybe they loved him too much down at Joe Louis Arena.
Wings players always complained during the playoffs that they needed more fight. They needed more hunger and desire. It is odd to hear those kinds of statements during the playoffs, which is the only thing the Wings play for.
And in a dirty what have you done for me business Lewis was 1-2 in the playoffs despite coaching the most talented team in the league. That would be fine if he were coaching the Lions or Tigers, two organizations desperate for any type of post season party.
That is not acceptable in Hockeytown.
Despite all of this Red Wings General Manager Ken Holland admitted he almost kept Lewis because of the admiration for the man in the organization. However, he made the right move Friday by firing Lewis.
Let's applaude Holland for remaining aggressive. The playing field is about to be evened in the NHL because teams will now have salary caps. That means the Red Wings won't be able to pluck any player they want. There will be restrictions.
The move may have already worked. Red Wings players were "stunned" by the move.
Good.
The Wings needed a little shock and awe. They need more motivation. They need to hear a different voice.
Mike Babcock who is expected to be hired by the Wings will be that man.
I know you have also heard that Babcock is a grimy, clutch and grab type of guy. My people are telling me the Wings will remain a solid defensive team, but they will also show case their skills. Babcock was forced to coach nasty hockey because he lacked the weapons to do otherwise. And though the Wings will lose a number of solid players after the new Collective Bargaining agreement is signed, they should remain an elite team.
They simply need to hear a new voice to win another Stanley Cup.

Friday, July 08, 2005

HOW ARE TERRORISM AND FREEDOM FIGHTING DIFFERENT?

I think about Sept. 11, 2001 every day of my life. It is a vow I made hours after terrorists rammed passenger jets into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington.
It was my private tribute to the hundreds of victims who died needlessly. That day affected me and many of you deeply.
My sadness turned to anger over the years. I am still mad about how people could plot something like this to harm human life.
Today, I am angered again. London now feels the same pain we did four years ago after a bunch of punks set four bombs off in their transit system, killing and wounding hundreds of people. I feel their pain and I wish Thursday's events could be reversed.
Acts of terrorism distracts me from sports. What happens on ball fields are no longer important this day.
Every waking day of our lives there is someone plotting against us. They want to kill us, destroy us, decapitate us and humiliate us.
I hate these people.
Here is my problem.
How is our government any different? Isn't George W. Bush a terrorist also? After 9/11 I fully supported the invasion of Afghanistan. That is where Osama Bin Laden was given safe haven and we needed to go in, flex some muscle and try to capture him.
But this debacle in Iraq had me baffled from day one. I never felt we should have gone in there. We blew up their country a thousand times more than the bombings of London. We went in on a flimsy excuse of Saddam Hussein harboring weapons of mass distruction.
Well I am still waiting to see the first one.
Meanwhile, hundreds of men, women and children have been killed. And some of our best young people in the military are included. And yes I think of them every waking day. They should be home here celebrating Fourth of July's with their family, not holed up in the desert heat.
I hate what is happening in this world. My question today is why is what they do called terrorism and why are our bombings are called freedom fighting?
Isn't it all the same?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

BEHIND EVERY GREAT MAN././././././.

They always say behind every great man there is a great woman. Well Pistons Coach Larry Brown has a beauty in more ways than one.
His wife Shelley dropped the biggest bomb in this Rolling Stone Larry saga during an interview with the New York Post two days ago. She told Isiah Thomas and the New York Knicks that her husband Larry is not interested in the Knicks job and that the Brown family will be returning to Detroit where Larry will coach the Pistons.
So why not jump for joy and welcome the return of the best coach in the NBA?
Well, she threw a couple of zingers in there. We all know Brown has real health issues. And she said Brown had surgery on his bladder, which had not been reported before. And she said Brown won't know if he can coach the Pistons for another 2-6 weeks.
It means Brown can leave them high and dry in the middle of August if he feels he cannot coach. By then the only coaching candidate left will be a group of CYO coaches from the East side.
Brown and the misses have painted the Pistons in another corner. Some may call it devious. I actually think it is brilliant. It is so brilliant that the Pistons are left holding a ticking time bomb at their door step.
** If they let Brown go they own him $18 million and he can always come back and say he really wanted to coach the Pistons and the only reason he is here is because owner Bill Davidson and President Joe Dumars did not want him.
** If they keep him and Brown returns and actually coaches the Pistons are in a tough spot because players in that dressing room and angry with him. A couple wanted to come out in public and speak out against Brown but were discouraged. A rebellion is a possibility.
** If the Pistons remain silent and Brown says he cannot coach then they are out of legitimate candidates. Do you really want the Pistons 2005-2006 slogan to be: What has Gar done for you?
Of course not.
The question always goes back to what would you do if you were the Pistons? I know Davidson has met with people about this for consultation. The next move is up to him.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

BROWN MUST RETURN AS PISTONS COACH

Can we end the Larry Brown thing today?
We keep hearing Larry Brown wants to return. And we keep hearing Pistons President Joe Dumars wants him to return.
Brown has led the Pistons to the last two NBA Finals. So why all the drama?
Yes, Brown has health issues. And yes Brown is stalling, delaying when he will tell Dumars yah or nay to whether he can coach next season.
But his brother Herb Brown said Brown's health issues are correctable and that he should be able to coach next season. If that is the case then Brown should return.
The guy is high maintenance. He wants to be loved all the time and he loves to flirt with the next team. But the bottom line is the Pistons are better off with him than without.
Both sides have been hurt by Brown flirting with the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Some Pistons fans grew tired of his act. Did you hear the smattering of boos during the Eastern Conference Finals against Miami?
In many regards Brown is like a tramp who you cannot trust on the streets.
But the tramp can cook and clean. The tramp can also coach a team.
I'd welcome this tramp back in my house with a just one stipulation.
Focus on home and only home. Larry Brown should come out and say the Pistons are his dream job. This is where he wants to be and he has no interest in any other team. The Pistons need fewer distractions, not more.
Is there a chance Brown could lose the Pistons this season? Sure, but I think the chances are slim. He has at least one more year getting through to these guys. Beyond that it becomes a crap shoot.
Guys let's settle this today.
What can Brown do for you?
How about shut his trap and coach.

Monday, July 04, 2005

TIGERS: TOUGH LOSSES AGAINST TOUGH TEAMS NOT ACCEPTABLE

I am actually angry about the Detroit Tigers.
That is good news and bad news.
The good news is maybe more of us care about a team that last had a winning record when people wore bell bottoms, flashed the peace signs and smoked hippy lettuce. OK. It has not been that long. It only seems that way.
The Tigers dropped five of six games during a critical home stand. And yes three of those games were to the red hot Chicago White Sox and two were to the New York Yankees where victories are never guaranteed.
However, the Tigers wasted good pitching and stranded runners that should have scored easily.
Maybe it was the galling way they lost to the Sox. In one game all you need to do to win is bring a man home from third with no outs.
And in the next the Tigers loaded the bases with no one out and once again failed to bring anyone home. Yes, I understand the Sox are 22-8 in one-run games, but this is still unacceptable.
Then there was Saturday's ninth inning melt down against the Yankees followed by Sunday's cold spell and 1-0 loss to pitcher Chien-Ming Wang.
Now a team that gave us hope by inching two games above .500 less than two weeks ago is now reeling and spinning out of control.
They moved hitting coach Bruce Fields to bench coach, which became the first promotion in baseball that is a demotion. And then moved Kirk Gibson from bench coach to hitting coach which became baseball's first demotion that is a promotion.
Like this is going to do any good.
I suppose I am angry because I had expectations for the first time in a decade. They were supposed to win games like the ones they blew the past week.
And I know Tiger fans hate to hear this. But this is the same team, with different faces losing in the same fashion.
How sad.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

A GREAT OFFER FOR DETROIT SPORTS FANS

There is a great opportunity for you to own four of the greatest uniforms in Detroit sports history.
The Rosemary A. Hockney Memorial Fund in conjunction with The Detroit Sports Gallery is holding an auction Aug. 21 at Hoot's Bar in Detroit where the winner will get individually framed, mounted and autographed jerseys of Ben Wallace, Barry Sanders, Steve Yzerman and Al Kaline.
Tickets for the jersey draw are $20 or you can purchase three entries for $50. I've seen these uniforms and they would make you the hit of your circle of you owned all four of these.
They would complete my man's room.
If you want to get a look at the jerseys go to rosehockneyfoundation.com or you can call The Detroit Sports Gallery at 586-783-7738.
The foundation benefits families who have been stricken by cancer. It offers grants and scholarships. So it is a good cause even if you do not win this great prize.