Monday, September 25, 2006 - Sports Monday - 3B
The Detroit Tigers clinched a playoff berth for the first time since 1987 with an 11-4 win at Kansas City.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -
The Detroit Tigers had a 220-bot-
tle champagne celebration Sunday
and they hope to have even a big-
ger one later this week.
The Tigers fought off their late-
season slump and clinched their
first playoff berth since 1987, scor-
ing nine runs in the second inning
Sunday and coasting to an 11-4
win over the Kansas City Royals.
"I've been waiting for this,"
said Brandon Inge, who was given
a champagne shampoo by team-
mates. "You don't think about this
in spring training, and then some-
thing like this happens."
Enjoying a turnaround season
under new manager Jim Leyland,
Detroit assured itself of no-worse
than the AL wild-card berth and
headed into the final week of the
season with a 1 1/2-game lead
in the AL Central. The Tigers,
who regained the best record in
By Anthony Oliveira
For the Daily
The first loss is never easy, espe-
cially when the crowd knows you
should beat the opponent.
After an undefeated non-confer-
ence season, No. 19 Michigan suf-
fered its first
two losses of
the season, IN AN
both long and
gut-wrenching five-game defeats.
"It's a tough lesson to learn, los-
ing, but you've got to do it some-
time," junior captain Lyndsay Miller
The Big Ten opener against Indi-
ana started well for the Wolverines.
Rolling through game one with an
attacking percentage of 344, the
Wolverines were in control.
They continued their strong
play early in game two, but after a
couple of errors, Michigan allowed
the Hoosiers to stay close. With the
score 18-17 in Indiana's favor, the
Wolverines played strong defense,
diving all over the court and con-
tinuing the longest rally of the night.
The crowd grew hopeful, only to
be downed by Hoosier sophomore
Emily Zulauf's emphatic kill. Indi-
ana used the momentum to connect
on key blocks, and capitalized on
Michigan's errors to take the game,
Committing 16 errors in game
two alone, the Wolverines' mis-
takes made it tough on themselves
to win. They would win the third
game quickly, but lost the lead late
in game four. Michigan was unable
to recuperate in game five giving
Indiana the victory (30-22, 28-30,
30-20, 28-30, 12-15).
"I thought we didn't play exactly
terribly, but we just didn't play to get
allthe grimy points,and go after the
little stuff," senior Megan Bowman
said. 'And we need to take care of
the little things, otherwise we're not
going to win many matches."
Indiana head coach Katie Weis-
miller agreed: "I think little things
helped us out, and when it was tied,
we won the next point, and that was
the difference. When we needed a
point, we were able to get it tonight"
The stat sheet doesn't show these
little things, proving that numbers
aren't everything. The Wolverines
outplayed the Hoosiers on defense
with 86 digs, and tallied 77 kills
on the attack. But Michigan also
led in attack and service errors (52
to 40) with 10 attack errors com-
ing in game four.
"Looking at the box score, it con-
rms that we didn't compete well
tonight,' Michigan coach Mark
Rosen said. "There were times
when we played well. But you play
well, you compete well are two dif-
ferent things. I thought there were
critical times in the match in three
the major leagues at 94-62, went
ahead early for the second straight
day, following up on Saturday's
"We want to send a message
that we're not happy just going to
the playoffs,' Tigers closer Todd
Jones said. "We are trying to win
Craig Monroe hit a three-run
homer that gave Justin Verlander
(17-9) an 8-0 lead and chased
starter Runelvys Hernandez (6-
10). Inge then homered on Todd
Wellemeyer's first pitch.
Detroit's last trip to the postsea-
son was 19 years ago, when the
Tigers won the AL East and lost to
Minnesota 4-1 in the AL champi-
"It is really overwhelming,"
said Tigers owner Michael hitch,
who bought the team in 1992. "It
is probably one of the highlights
of my life. In the final outs, we
were all holding our breath. After
the final out, I did a lot of hugging.
We had a bump in the road in late
August, but that can be expected
over a 162-game season. I never
felt like it is not going to happen,
but was concerned."
Detroit spurted at the start of
this season, taking sole possession
of the division lead on May 21 and
staying in first place ever since.
The Tigers opened a season-high
10-game margin on Aug. 7, when
they were a major league-best 76-
36, but then went 15-26 before
arriving at Kansas City for the
weekend series with their division
lead down to a half-game over sec-
"The Tigers are solid all the way
through," Royals interim manager
Billy Doran said. "They don't have
any holes. People who play them
in the playoffs are going to have
their hands full."
Could Cosmos' magic
work twice in a lifetime?
Hard as it might be to believe, Americans like larity proved to be a blessing and a curse.
soccer. The fame of the Cosmos' international all-star
This summer 1 saw it in full effect. team caused other squads to bring in players of simi-
At home, World Cup fever. At work, World Cup lar renown, even though they couldn't afford it. The
fever. At school (so I hear), World Cup league expanded too quickly (it reached
fever. a high of 24 teams) into many markets
But even with all the hubbub, I think that probably didn't need a soccer team.
it's safe to say that Major League Soc- And it bungled its exposure by signing
cer won't be winning the ratings war a TV deal that resulted in ratings that
anytime soon. would be dismal by today's networks'
I've always been a big proponent of standards.
the MLS, even though many people The MLS can - and appears to
believe that an American soccer league have - learned from both the suc-
will never catch on. cesses and the failures of the league. It
What they forget, though, is that, also expanded too quickly, but recently
for a short time, soccer and America JACK rectified it with some contraction. The
connected in a perfect storm of TV deal it recently signed seems to be
events. HERMAN beneficial. And a few owners with deep
And it can happen again. TheSpcortslardrlay pockets are willing to build smaller soc-
On Aug. 27, 1978, 73,064 people Column cer specific stadiums, a big advantage
packed into Giants Stadium. It wasn't over the cavernous football-dedicated
for a football game or a Bruce Springs- venues teams like Red Bull New York
teen concert. Nope, thousands of fans came to cheer currently play in.
on the hometown Cosmos, who celebrated a second But the key will lie with the stars. Yes, fans came
straight North American Soccer League Soccer to see the game, but more so the personalities behind
Bowl championship victory with a 3-1 win over the it.
Tampa Bay Rowdies. They came to see Pel6, the world's most famous
. ESPN2 recently debuted the documentary "Once athlete who had received an offer of millions of
in a Lifetime," based on a book and released in dollars from the Cosmos - but only agreed to join
theaters this summer, that highlighted the Cosmos' the team after Warner CEO Steve Ross enlisted
popularity. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to convince the
If you didn't know it before, the movie made one Brazilian government to ask Pele to play.
thing clear: These guys were big. They came to see Chinaglia, a spectacular goal-
The team's owners, Warner Communications, scorer that everyone loved to hate. One of the few
put plenty of resources (including tons of money) willing to actually criticize Pee, Chinaglia once
behind them. During the season, people couldn't summed up his popularity by telling reporter David
get enough of them. Offseason, the team flew first Hirshey, "If a dog chokes on a bone around here,
class all over the world playing the finest clubs they blame Chinaglia."
across the globe. They came to see Beckenbauer, a World Cup
Pele made more than a $1 million per season at champion whose play on defense earned him the
a time when baseball legend Hank Aaron pulled nickname "Der Kaiser."
down $200,000 - one of the highest totals in Even today this remains the case. To open up
Major League Baseball. Cosmos players often left Lincoln Financial Field - now the home of the
games with a girl on each arm. They spent many Philadelphia Eagles - organizers brought in FC
a late night during the week partying at Studio Barcelona and Manchester United. Giants Stadium
54, where the mere mention you were with them often enjoys big crowds when huge European clubs
got you past the bouncer and to the team's always- play exhibition matches there.
reserved table. And, finally, the MLS seems to get this.
They were the talk of New York City. Rumors have flown recently about a number of
But much like the MLS, the Cosmos were noth- aging stars to America. The MLS has brought them
ing particularly special leading up to those magi- in the past - but Lothar Matthaus, Luis Hernandez
cal years. For the first four years of its existence, and Roberto Donadoni don't quite compare to David
the Cosmos never had an average attendance of Beckham, Luis Figo and Ronaldo.
more than 6,000 fans. Before moving to Giants I'm sure they'd make for a good Daily News cover
Stadium, they played on a field on Randall's or two and even lead SportsCenter here or there.
Island that needed to be painted green for Pe6's People would certainly go to watch them, and soccer
first appearance. might be back in United States.
But then things changed. The Cosmos pulled in a Sure it seems a little far-fetched.
collection of the greatest soccer players from all over But maybe, just maybe, it can happen twice in a
the world including PelE, Franz Beckenbauer and lifetime.
Giorgio Chinaglia. Attendance at Cosmos' games
shot up to 47,856 in 1978 - a year after PelE retired. - Herman can be reached at
But as shown in "Once in a Lifetime," the popu- firstname.lastname@example.org.
squander a pair
Outside-hitter Erin Penn's efforts weren't enough to keep he Wolverines from
dropping two matches at home this weekend, their first losses of the season.
or four different situations where
we didn't compete well and take
care of opportunities we had."
Indiana's blocking exploited the
one-dimensional Michigan offense.
With the majority of kills going to
Miller and junior Katie Bruzdzin-
ski, the Hoosiers (1-1 Big Ten, 10-4
overall) were able to predict where
the next attack was heading. Com-
bined with the Wolverines' poor
offensive attack in the fourth and
fifth games (.094 and .077 respec-
tively), their 14-game winning
streak came to an end.
The weekend didn't get any easi-
er as No. 11 Purdue rolled into town
The Wolverines couldn't hold
on to a four-point lead in game five
and allowed the Lady Boilermakers
to go on a 10-1 run to close out the
heart-breaking loss (30-25, 26-30,
"You know, it hurts," Rosen said.
"You put it all out there. The girls
put it out there tonight. It hurts."
With an electric crowd behind
them, the energetic Wolverines
again came out strong. The defense
won game one, limiting Purdue's
attack percentage to -.020. The
offense was more diversified with
Miller, sophomore Beth Karpiak
and fifth-year senior captain Erin
Penn all recording more than fifteen
kills. Karpiak was most efficient,
recording a career-high 17 kills in
Purdue (2-0, 12-1) had complete
performances from the entire team,
using thirteen players in the contest.
During the 10-1 Boilermaker run,
freshman Carrie Gurnell gave three
crushing blows to the Michigan
defense to seal the win.
Overall, the numbers stack up
evenly. From attacks, services and
points, neither team had much of an
advantage. But Michigan mustered
a mere .042 attack percentage in the
final game, its worst performance
since Sept. 2 against Iowa State.
The team knows these derail-
ments can't happen if they want
"I was really happy with the way
we played, but we've got to close
games out;' Rosen said. "There's
no moral victory in 'We played bet-
ter than last night. We were close.'
We're here to win games, and we
didn't do that."
Taking these games as learning
opportunities, the Wolverines (0-2,
13-2) will look to improve on their
slow start. During Rosen's tenure
as head coach, Michigan has been
unable to take both matches of the
Big Ten opening weekend.
Karpiak put it simply: "We're
going to get better."
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