I GOING PLACES
WEEK OF June 24-30
Free Press sports columnist Mitch Albom delivers a weekday sports report on WLLZ-FM.
A Pitch for 1Vlitc
Award•winning sports columnist Mitch Albom
always knows the score
itch Albom can't even
go out for breakfast
without his fame fol-
"Your name is
Mitchell?" the restaurant owner ask-
ed in heavily-accented English.
"Yes," Albom said, smiling.
"You're in the Free Press," the
restaurant owner said.
"Yes, " Albom replied.
"How about some tickets?"
Albom just smiled.
Albom has plenty to smile about
these days. In his relatively short
sports writing career, the well-
respected Detroit Free Press colum-
nist has quickly risen to the top of a
highly competitive field. In addition
to his column, which appears about
four days a week, Albom, 30, delivers
a weekday morning radio sports
report, stars in television commer-
cials for the Free Press and has a book
to his credit. And, for the second year
in a row (1986, 1987), the Detroit Free
Press sports columnist has won the
Associated Press Sports Editors
column-writing award. Placing se-
cond in 1985, he's the only sports
writer to win the top prize for two con-
secutive years. He also should be
pleased because the first printing of
7,000 copies of a collection of his col-
umns, "The Live Albom," published
by the Free Press, has sold out and the
second printing of 10,000 copies is ex-
pected to be depleted soon.
He has mixed emotions about the
book. He's grateful to the Free Press
for creating it, but embarrassed by all
the attention it brings to him.
Earlier this month, he promoted
the book via 'The Live Albom'
Father's Day Tour." His fans have
been lining up at bookstores
throughout Southeast Michigan to
buy his book and meet the author of
the column which often takes an
analytical, sometimes humorous look
at professional sports.
Although he appears at ease on
the promotional tour — he calls it the
world tour — Albom is admittedly un-
comfortable with the celebrity status
that goes with the territory.
Ask him about his many awards
and he casts his eyes downward. "I
don't display awards. They're in my
house on a bottom shelf or in the
bathroom underneath the sink;' he
said. "I don't even stick a diploma up.
What you do as a writer is out there.
Either they read you or they don't. I'm
honored to win those things, but I just
think people should pay attention to
writing and not to awards."
But, it's hard to ignore them
because there are so many. In addi-
tion to the sports editors award,
Albom won the 1985 AP editors
award for best sports story of the year,
the Michigan Sportswriter of the Year
award, AP's best Michigan sports col-
umnist award, United Press Interna-
tional's best Michigan sports colum-
nist award, a best sports story award,
a best feature sports story prize and
best sportswriter honors.
Despite his expertise in the field,
writing was not Albom's first career
choice. A self-taught pianist, he
played in bands throughout high
school and college, making money to
help pay his tuition. He wrote songs
and made some demonstration
records, but, he says "they didn't go
anywhere!' While pursuing his music
avocation in New York, he decided he
needed a creative outlet "to fight the
frustration," so he volunteered to
work at a local weekly and his career
as a writer "took off from there."
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Garden party, Rackham Bldg,
Count Basie Orchestra, Power
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American Dance, Mendelssohn
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Cohn Outdoor Amphitheater,
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"Sunday in the Park," Sunday,
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Westin Hotel, Detroit, "Hobson,"
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Continued on Page 54
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS