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September 15, 1989 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1989-09-15

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

Tigers'
have be'

Friday, September 15, 1989- The Michigan Daily - Page 13
late-season successpcouldNInrsngnviewsy'
late-season successn viewld t 'c\ portin'"viws e * ''fans need to keep
witching effect in future Ingview priorities straight
1sor iavesthe Spoting viws

by Bill Girardot
Daily Contributer
Can winning ever become a
curse?
In the case of the Detroit Tigers,
Winning in the final weeks of the
season may actually prove more
damaging than if they had continued
their losing ways. Having won 9 of
their past 12 games reinforces the
Tiger management's view that this
season's poor showing was entirely
due to injuries.
Now that the team is healthy, the
front office views the recent wins as
a sign of how the season could have
gone and how next season will go.

< ,-Ort nn zikvstheosporting views ,
lmo vv~ ~st~rriniview
it VOWS l h? SCr'd
of the A.L. East in 1990.
Nothing could be further from the
truth.
While it is true injuries hurt the
team this season, they also helped to
point out some glaring weaknesses
in the ballclub. Having lost such
sluggers as Kirk Gibson, Lance
Parrish, and Darrell Evans, the
Tigers have gone from the top to the
bottom of the league in runs
production.
In 1988, Alan Trammell had a
career year in homers and RBIs to
combine with Darrell Evans' solid
production. Now minus Evans and
an injured Trammell, the Tigers are
forced to rely on the bat of Lou
Whitaker. Kevin Mitchell and Fred
McGriff together will probably end
up hitting more homers than the
punchless Tigers.
The lack of power has nothing to
do with injuries. The Tigers have
allowed their power hitters to slip by
and have replaced them with players
such as Fred Lynn and Gary Ward
who have already seen their best
years come and go while playing for
other teams.
The worst part of the whole deal
is that General Manager Bill Lajoie
thinks everything is running
smoothly. Already he has said the

Tigers have no interest in the
upcoming free agents.
Apparently Lajoie is trying to
model his team after the Lions. The
Tigers have a great chance of
correcting their only fatal weakness
if they lay out some cash and sign a
player such as Robin Yount who is
up for free agency this year. If they
can add some offensive punch to
their lineup the Tigers could become
the next Baltimore Orioles.
Like the Orioles of a year ago,
the Tigers out of desperation have
found some tough young pitchers.
Pitchers such as Kevin Ritz and
Brian DuBois are loaded with
potential for greatness and have
already proven themselves this year
in a trial by fire.
The solid core that made the
Tigers one of the dominant teams of
the 1980's is still present, but to
become competitive the Tigers still
need the vital ingredient of power.
Trammell and Whitaker can whack
the ball but they are not cleanup
hitters.
If Whitaker and Trammell are
back in the three and four spots on
opening day next year, Tiger fans
will cursed from the very first day.
Tiger fans need more than the
semi-excitement created during last
week's seven game winning streak.
The thrills were not due to an
exciting race - but rather because
TV anchorman Mort Crim promised
to shave his head with eight
consecutive wins.
That not pennant excitement.
That's a curse.

by Steven Cohen
Daily Sports Writer
Priority is always a question in
sports as well as in life. In the past
few months it seems this concern has
intensified in sports and old notions
have been challenged, disturbed, or
questioned.
The Pete Rose Affair, the steroid
issue in the NFL, the tremendously
high salaries paid to pro athletes, and
the suspicion that many universities
place too much emphasis on sports
rather than academics, have all caused
headlines.
The situation at the University of
Kentucky is a typical example of
how the demand for a winning team
can cause a college administration to
let its integrity slip. It provides a
lesson in priorities that other univer-
sities like Michigan would be wise
to heed.
Kentucky found itself in a bind
after an assistant coach mailed
$1,000 to the father of basketball
player Chris Mills. This infraction,
coupled with other violations, led to
the NCAA placing the Kentucky
basketball program on probation.
Thus, Kentucky was forced to take a
second look at its priorities.
So how did they go about it?
They went out and hired the
biggest name they could find, former
New York Knick coach Rick Pitino,
and paid him a salary approximately
20 times that of a UK professor.
The amount of money they paid the
mercurial Pitino is suggestive of
their continuous desire to have a

high-profile, winning program. If1
Kentucky really wanted to place fair
play and academics first then they
would have hired a less prominent
coach with a deep-rooted interest in
the university.
It took a Lexington, Ky. paper to
reveal Pitino's involvement in eight
NCAA violations while an assistant
at Hawaii in the 70's. Kentucky ap-
parently didn't look further than
Pitino's won-lost record.
The officials in Lexington should
not take all the blame, though. After
all, the hoop-crazy citizens of
Kentucky refused to believe that
some improprieties might have been'
conducted by their beloved Wildcats.
In fact, Kentuckyans were incensed
and threatened boycotts of thet
Lexington Herald Leader when it ex-
posed Kentucky's violations.
The feeling that corruption is so
widespread has caused some athletic
programs to seem insincere in their
efforts to reorganize. Some programs
may feel that their only misdoing
was getting caught. This attitude
needs to be changed.
Either the laws which govern col-
lege athletics should be revised be-
cause they are unreasonable, or
tighter scrutiny should be applied.
Universities who run clean programs
should not feel that they are at a
competitive disadvantage.
The concern of priorities has also
touched Michigan when the Big Ten

began an ongoing investigation into
a reported 26 transgressions by the
Wolverine baseball program.
Michigan does not need to bend the
rules to win.
As one Big Ten coach remarked,
"I know one thing, Bo Schembechler
is a man of integrity. And he won't
stand for any nonsense." On July 15,
Michigan baseball coach Bud
Middaugh resigned under pressure.
It's comforting that the athletic di-
rector at Michigan is Schembechler,
a man who throughout his twenty
years here, has set the highest stan-
dards of ethics and fair play.
It is wrong to place a premium on
winning as often the distance be-
tween a win and a loss is provided by
fate. As a foul shot can clang off the
backboard and a last-second field goal
can be shanked, it is better to place a
premium on the integrity of a pro-
gram. That is what will endure de-
spite the fickle finger of fate.
The large majority of fans who
follow Michigan sports have good
intentions, but just as the difference
between victory and defeat can #be
precariously small, so too can the
margin between healthy support and
rampant win-at-all-costs-boosteris; .
One need only remember that the
fans of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State,
Kentucky, and SMU love their teams
every bit as much as Michigan fons
do.

Whitaker
...Tiger's top excitement
Management believes that - just as
in 1987 - a healthy group of
players will lead the team to the top

Read Jim Poniewozik Every

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