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4B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magazine - Thursday, October 2, 2003
JOELNHOARD- DoNT E YT ROCKS THAT GOT
The Michigan Daily - Weekend Maga
NIAMH SLEVIN - CAUGHT AVANT GARDE
MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE DETROIT
FORNIA'S RAT RACE
The Detroit Tigers were my
first love. My affair with the
Tigers officially began one
summer afternoon when I was four
years old. My dad took my brother
and a friend to Detroit for a game.
My mother, not yet willing to let her
younger son visit the rough streets
of downtown Detroit, made me stay
home with her.
As I watched the car drive off
without me, I started to cry. But
these weren't tears of a whiny four-
year-old who wasn't getting his way.
These were tears of genuine sad-
ness. I knew then that I was in love
with the Tigers. There could be no
I always dreamed of playing first
base for the Tigers. I was going to
be the next Cecil Fielder, only I'd be
faster. Not only would I hit 50 home
runs, but I'd steal 30 bases as well.
Going to Tigers games was right
up there with Christmas and my
birthday. I remember making the
trek to Detroit at least once a sum-
mer to watch a game in person. We'd
pile into our minivan and head for
Detroit, arriving at least an hour
early so that we could attend batting
Entering Tiger Stadium was
always a magical experience. The
dark, dank tunnels beneath the
stands built up my anticipation,
offering no sight of the field inside.
Only after climbing the stairs to our
seats did I catch my first glimpse of
the lush green grass and the two
decks of seats wrapping around the
stadium. Every time was like my
first - it just never got old. Forget
Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon
- there was nothing more beautiful
than Tiger Stadium on game day.
This was my church.
But, as with any relationship, the
Tigers and I fell on some hard times.
In the mid '90s, my favorite players
retired or left for other teams,
among them Alan Trammell, Lou
Whitaker, Kirk Gibson and Jack
Morris, and I began to lose interest
in the team. Following the work
stoppage in 1994, I was down on
baseball in general, and I decided to
take a break from the game in its
A few years later, while I was out
for dinner with friends, there hap-
pened to be a Tigers game showing
on a big-screen TV, and all the mem-
ories came rushing back. Sure, the
team was awful and I didn't recog-
nize many of the faces, but they
were my team.
I fell in love all over again, dedi-
cating myself wholeheartedly to
make up for lost time. Between
2000 and 2002, I rarely missed a
game, making the trip to Detroit for
The Tigers kept on losing, but I
kept on watching. It was only a mat-
ter of time before they got back on
track and won another World Series.
I thought they were on the right
track when the team announced that
Trammell would be returning to
manage the team in 2003.
But what the team failed to men-
tion was that Trammell would be
provided with a team of rejects who
would have trouble competing in the
minor leagues. These weren't the
loveable variety of losers either.
These guys were pathetic and
It was a tough season to stomach.
I tried to follow the team, and I
attended a couple of games, but I
must admit that I wasn't entirely
devoted. Who can blame me?
Watching a team I followed so
closely for the majority of my life
fail so miserably was tortuous.
With a win in their final game-last
Sunday, the 2003 Tigers improved
their record to 43-119, one loss shy
of the 1962 Mets' record of 120
losses. So, they're only the second
worst team ever. Big deal. They're
Much of the blame for the Tigers'
failure can be placed on the team's
owner, Mike Ilitch. He runs the
team like he runs his Little Caesar's
pizza chain: He offers a terrible
product made from the worst ingre-
dients and expects us to happily eat
it up. Meanwhile, Ilitch throws mil-
lions upon millions of dollars at the
To invest so much into one team
and so little into another is disre-
spectful to both the fans and a
Tigers legend like Trammell.
It's not that Ilitch couldn't make
money if he actually invested in the
Tigers and got some decent players,
either. Detroit has historically had
loyal and fervent fans who will
eagerly rally behind their team. In
1984, the Tigers set franchise atten-
dance records that still stand today.
It's time for an ultimatum: If
Ilitch fails to put together a decent
team (i.e. one that doesn't lose 100
games a year) in the next few years,
this will be the end of our relation-
ship. I can only take so much pain
and suffering..It almost brings me to
tears to say this, but I will have to
dump the Tigers.
It will have to be a clean break,
too, just to be fair to the fans who
stick around. There can be no look-
ing back and no jumping on the
bandwagon when the team gets
good again. It's a terrible thing to
say, but I'm prepared to do it.
By the way, do you know if the
Yankees are looking for new fans?
- Joel is starting a support group
for other souls in love with the hap-
less Tigers. If you or someone you
know suffers from this
condition, contact him at
We are a nation made up
more and more of enter-
tainment fanatics. Forget
the melting pot or whatever other
strange, cliched metaphor you'd like
to insert here. The ties that bind us
go far beyond our cultural or ethnic
histories. Rather, we are one with
our more uniform entertainment
Hollywood is the prime example
of our nation's freakish obsession
with anything famous. On average, I
bet more people could cite the spe-
cific details of the infamous Ben
and J-Lo breakup than could name
the capitals to the 50 states.
We not only know who Demi Moore
is dating now, but there are folks who
are more conscious of the age-debate
issues in her newest relationship than
understand the policy differences
between Democrats and Republicans.
As a public audience, we want to
know what Colin Farrell's next
exploit will be, where Barbara
Streisand's secret wedding is to be
held and when Catherine Zeta-
Jones' little bundle of joy should be
due to make its grand appearance.
We have several magazines pro-
duced every week to keep us all
abreast of this vital information,
and the heartthrob, the diva and the
drama queen certainly weren't
exactly camera shy when it came
their time to grace the cover.
Hollywood is a three-ring circus
nowadays; you never know what
you're going to hear next about a
super-celebrity. Everything has to be
bigger and better than before. It's
turned into a constant juggling act
between what's hot and what's mar-
ketable, and so far, anything goes.
So, in the great state of California,
where this virtual wonderland of
entertainment taboo exists, a recall
election overrun with vastly unquali-
fied (but incredibly famous) candi-
dates should not be so shocking to us
We should be used to such crazy
publicity stunts in this day and age,
obviously. As many critics have
noted, this election is little more
than a joke now as actors and failed
actors shout their promises of
finance reform and other such polit-
ical mumbo jumbo.
The great Arnold Schwarzenegger
used his own money supply as his
winning political pitch, which was
supposed to make him seem more
honorable and trustworthy some-
how. Yet, the Terminator still doesn't
appear to be a credible candidate for
something like the governor of a
This past weekend, I heard people
up in arms about a certain woman
who claimed she wanted to
announce her gubernatorial candi-
dacy, and I have to admit, I found it
all very amusing and just a little
ironic. This woman, Mary Carey,
who of course happens to be a porn
star, seems to have no qualifications
whatsoever, and the articles I've
read discussed her prospective
financial gain more than any legiti-
mate platform ideas.
Still, I laughed. I laughed that
people should feel so appalled with
this new possible entry yet feel ... I
don't know ... almost resigned to
the idea of all the others.
I laughed that this election has
actually become a highly strategic
marketing ploy for its candidates'
products rather than 2n address to a
I mean, Arnold wa,,s mewhat of
a surprise in the begin.ng, but now
he seems fairly blase. Gary
Coleman, who hasr 't really done
anything remarkable entertainment-
wise within the last 20 years, final-
ly has his name back in the papers
for something other than his "E!
True Hollywood Stories" specials.
Unfortunately, he too has been
almost tossed aside in favor of some
But, Carey, among others in her
field, has seen a gross increase in
her film sales since her profound
announcement. She'd probably be
the first to tell you her gubernatori-
al run is not exactly a serious polit-
ical move, but she has, perhaps
inadvertently, proven how wild an
outrageous this process has becom
Is she qualified? I don't mean 1
discredit her, as I do not actual
know much about her, but my gues
is not at all. However, the other bi
name candidates have not show
themselves to be exceedingly exp<
rienced or sincere either.
Although the California race
merely one example, it seems to n
that politics has-ceased to be aboi
politics at all, but rather who ca
best entertain the audience. Whi
here has the most shock value? Wl
here has won our affections at som
other time in some other forum?
While the porn queen c
California has little to no chance c
actually winning this election, st
certainly has succeeded at her goa
Though she may not have a prest
gious title or a fancy-pants, goveri
Fletch 108: The new kid on the (a Capella) block
By Megan Jacobs
For the Daily
You might have to schedule an audition if
you want to catch up with LSA freshman Zach
Shell, and he welcomes all that do.
The founder of Fletch 108, the newest a
capella group on campus, holds tryouts in a
tiny third-floor practice room in the Michigan
Union. When the year started, Shell had no
intention of starting his own a cappella group,
but after trying out for several established
groups, he had to rethink his strategy.
"I auditioned for Compulsive Lyres, Dicks
and Janes, Amazin' Blue, the G-Men and 58
Greene," said Shell, "and didn't get called
back for any of them."
Disappointed, but not disheartened, the
lanky, eyebrow-pierced music lover called
upon Compulsive Lyres member and LSA
senior Christine DeLeon for assistance in
starting his own a capella group. Though his
flyers around campus inspired some response,
it was truly the Compulsive Lyres audition e-
mail list that set Shell on his way. What began
as a joke quickly became a reality for the
Princeton, N.J. native.
"I've had some 35 responses," Shell said.
"And I'm getting more everyday."
Named after his own dorm room, 108 in
Fletcher Hall, Shell hopes to take the group to
between 15 and 17 singers. Prospective audi-
tioners need have no fear when trying out for
Fletch 108. Shell does not have high expecta-
tions for those who wish to join his new
"I can't sight read for the life of me, so I
certainly don't expect my group members to,"
Despite his experience in musical theater and
high school choirs, he is relying on the help of a
new computer program, as well as the men of
Compulsive Lyres, to arrange the music.
"I want it to be as chilled-out as possible,"
he said of the audition process.
All one has to do is prepare a solo, have his
or her range tested and get ready to laugh.
As far as setbacks go, Shell has only had to
face one major obstacle to this point.
"I've seen 12 girls so far, but I haven't audi-
tioned a single guy."
While most men on campus would only
dream of this problem, Shell knows that for a
balanced a capella group, this just will not do.
"It would probably work, except for the fact
that I want to be in it myself!" he said while
chuckling. As for the boys of Fletcher, he has
yet to find one willing to join. Unless he sees
some more male faces, he can only take one
lucky lady into Fletch 108.
"If worse comes to worst, it won't happen,"
said Shell. "But ideally, I would like to be
sharing the stage with the best a capella
groups on campus."
For those eager to show off their vocal tal-
ents, especially male vocalists, Shell encour-
ages e-mails to email@example.com. He will con-
tinue to audition as long as students continue
to show interest.
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