Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 21, 1988
THE SPORTING VIEWS
Tigers look ugly as they
tumble from the top
BY STEVEN GINNS
With the Detroit Tigers (79-71) alone in
fourth place entering last night's action, six
games behind the Boston Red Sox, it appears
they won't win much of anything this season.
However, that is not entirely true.
The Tigers have already clinched the title for
the ugliest baseball team in the modern baseball
era. I am not talking about the players physical
appearances, but about their games performances.
For three-fourths of the season the Tigers
were winning, but they were winning ugly.
Just how ugly has it been?
It has been so ugly that the balk became a
vital part of their offense. A walk followed by an
error, a sacrifice and a balk became the sequence
in many rallies. For the season, 16 runners have
crossed the plate as a result of opposing pitchers'
balks. Outfielder Dwayne Murphy (13 RBI) and
second baseman Jim Walewander (six RBI) have
contributed less to the Tigers' offensive than the
IT HAS BEEN SO ugly that leadoff hitter
Gary Pettis is frequently removed for a pinch
hitter. Pettis, who was acquired in the off-season
from the California Angels, vowed never again to
hit .208 as he did in 1987. The speedy center
fielder is hitting .210. Big improvement.
It has been so ugly that Jack Morris, the
winningest pitcher of the 1980s has a losing
It has not been pretty watching Ray (I've had,
one good) Knight sitting on the bench for the
entire season. Knight, a 12-year veteran was
expected to add some punch to the offense.
Perhaps the rmor holds true that he was acquired
in order to improve Sparky Anderson's golf
game. Knight is married to one of the best
golfers on the women's professional tour, Nancy
Overall, the team statistics are ugly. No
player has hit over 18 home runs. The
winningest pitcher, Frank Tanana, has managed
only 14 victories, and Alan Trammell leads the
team with a paltry 69 RBI.
HOWEVER, after sweeping the Chicago
White Sox in a four-game series in mid-August,
the Tigers were sitting pretty in first place.
Following the sweep of the Sox, the fortunes
of these hitless wonders of summer quickly
changed. The Tigers began to lose and lose ugly.
By losing ugly, the Tigers erased any doubt as to
which team has been the ugliest in the modern
baseball era. Unlike the 1983 Chicago White
Sox, which only won ugly, the Tigers showed
their versatility by losing ugly in 17 of the next
During this losing streak, each loss got uglier
than the last. Each loss was either a heartbreaker
or a blowout. An 18-inning, 5-4 loss to New
York, in which the Yankees scored two runs in
their last at bat, was followed two days later by a
9-1 loss at the hands of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Even the injuries were ugly. Trammell, and
first baseman Dave Bergman, the only hitters
with a .300 average, both suffered groin injuries
in the same week.
Although ugliness stuck to the Tigers like
obnoxiousness does to Morton Downey Jr., this
season still has had a few beautiful moments.
Who can forget June 21 - the day the Detroit
Pistons lost Game 7 of the NBA Championships
to the Los Angeles Lakers? The Tigers' six-run
rally in the bottom of the ninth which defeated
the Yankees, 7-6, was instrumental in helping
Detroit sports fans recover from their depression.
Currently, the Tigers still are mathematically
alive, which is better than 14 other teams, and
that's not too shabby.
In a recent game against the Toronto Blue Jays, Tiger
utilityman Jim Walewander comes crashing to the ground --
representative of the Tigers' dive down the stretch.
September 21 & 22
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DETROIT (AP) - Detroit
forwards Petr Klima and Bob
Probert, fined $500 each by Coach
Jacques Demers for recent
infractions, were sent to the Red
Wing Adirondack farm club
Klima and Probert, their
involvement in a drinking incident
in Edmonton during last season's
NHL playoffs still fresh on Demers'
mind, will report to the Glen Falls,
N.Y., farm club along with 16 other
end down K~ima, Probert
players to trim the club's roster to
Demers had fined Klima $500 -
the maximum that can be assessed in
a single disciplinary action in the
NHL - for being late for practice
and fined Probert $500 for missing a
"Probert and Klima are assigned
to Adirondack on a day-to-day basis,"
Demers said, adding they will report
THE PAIR left Tuesday's
practice early, team spokesman the coach said.
Howard Berlin said. Each declined
comment when reached at their
homes yesterday afternoon.
Demers said Klima, a left wing
who played in Monday's game
against Toronto, was fined for being
late for a team practice Sunday
Probert, a right wing, was fined
for missing the plane back to Detroit
from Chicago Monday morning after
an exhibition game Sunday night,
"It's only money. I don't know
what the big deal is," Klima said
earlier. "It's the first time I was late.
I slept in."
PROBERT wouldn't comment
on why he missed the plane.
Their reactions angered Demers.
Klima and Probert had begun the
year under admonishments from the
coach after alcohol problems.
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