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August 25, 1989 - Image 55

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-08-25

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

STEVEN D. GRANT, M.D.

IS PLEASED TO INTRODUCE

THE MEDIFAST PROGRAM

out to the field after Labor
Day, if I don't see anybody, if
there isn't a game, it's a real
letdown. It's a long drive back
home."
"Tabak?" says Goodman.
"He's obsessed. He goes down
to Florida each winter and
plays ball down there."
However, Goodman, now 50,
knows the dream; he would
have tried out for the Tigers
after high school, but "I was
never that good. I was too
small — I was 5 feet 6 when
I graduated high school, but
in my second year of college,
I grew six inches."
With many of the Sunday
morning bunch, it's a secret
dream. `There's . always
something hidden with these
guys. They love it," says The
' Commish.
"It's a kids' game, no ques-
tion about it, but all they talk
about is playing ball.
"These are 'kids' who are
50 and 60 years old who don't
want- to grow up. There's no
talk about where they had
dinner the night before — it's
baseball, baseball, baseball."
And they call it baseball
even if, technically, they're
playing softball.
Harvey Saperstein, 55, a
Goodman "regular" for many
years, is so much a hardball
fan, he's attended five of the
last six Tiger Fantasy Camps,
where a guy lives the dream
by training under, and play-
ing against, former Tiger
stars. "I doubled off John
Hiller two years ago. It went
over Willie Horton, hit the
wall," he says. A podiatrist, he
plays baseball on Saturdays,
softball on Sundays, even has
his own picture — in a Tiger
uniform — on his own trading
card, which doubles as a
businesscard.
Competition_ "adds to the
fun of it, creates interest,"
says Saperstein. "You're play-
ing to win, and you get
caught up in it. The old
playground days come back to
you:'
In a recent doubleheader,
Saperstein revisits those "old
days." Made leadoff batter, he
responds by blasting three
doubles, a triple and three
singles — 7 for 9 at the plate
"and I'm not that fast on the
bases."
Of the rigors of weekend
ball, Saperstein, a longtime
tennis buff, says, "I'm still
young enough, it doesn't af-
fect me too much.
"You lose a step here and
there, you lose a little
eye/hand coordination. But
I'm going to play (softball and
baseball) until I can't:'
Goodman and the others
get concerned if one of their
number is late on a Sunday
morning. They all remember

only too well the fellow who
was pitching one morning. He
struck out the batter. His
right arm shot straight up,
then his left. They all thought
he was celebrating the
strikeout. He wasn't. His
body stiffened and he keeled
over backwards, dead of a
massive heart attack, right
there on the mound.
Scene III: The ball
diamonds in Farmington
Hills and Farmington the
same Sunday morning.
Twelve. teams, over 180
players in all, go at it in two
divisions of the Greater
Detroit B'nai B'rith Softball
League which "The Commis-
sioner," Marty Melton, helped
found 17 years ago and still
directs and plays in.
Granted, it's slow-pitch soft-
ball — same as they play at
Warner. It's easier to get hits
and score runs. And there are
rules that prohibit base-
stealing and sliding, that per-
mit base-overrunning and
that prevent collisions at
home plate (tag the plate, not
the runner) to minimize
chances of serious injury. But
players still swing bats, run
bases, stretch for wild throws
and try to scoop up grounders.
For many over age 35, the
two seven-inning Sunday con-
tests can mean some misery
on Monday. But that doesn't
stop them from coming back
each weekend and each
season.
"It's
the
fun,
the
camaraderie of it," says
Melton, 44. "We go out for
breakfast afterward. A lot of
the guys like the breakfast a
lot better than the softball."
Norm Michlin, 67, a
longtime player and sup-
porter of the B'nai B'rith
League, is a catcher for the
loop's Marshall/Detroit team
and also plays in a senior
league. In a recent double-
header, he smacks four hits in
seven trips to the plate for
Marshall/Detroit. He doesn't
mince words. "I certainly
haven't lost the competitive
urge. YOu can learn a lot
about people when you see
them in competition."
Still the first one in the of-
fice in the mornings, Michlin
exercises regularly, plays
volleyball and annually
backpacks in Algonquin
Park, Ontario. He says he's
not sure which he enjoys more
in softball, the com-
petitiveness or the
camaraderie.
But the physical exertion
doesn't bother him. "I haven't
been sore since my younger
days when I didn't loosen up
before football. I don't feel my
age. I hear others complain-
ing that 'this aches and this

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THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS 55

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