The Sporting Views
Tigers are back home .. .
. . pennant hopes alive
By DREW SHARP
The Tigers are home from "The Big Trip". "Big deal!" you might say.
They will now play 41 of their final 66 games in the friendly confines of Tiger
Stadium. "Who cares, they're nothing but a bunch of chumps!" you may
counter. They return home occupying second place in the American League
East division, 8% games behind the New York Yankees with a valid shot at
grabbing the title.
The Tigers have a valid shot at first place?
It's news like this which causes perennial Tiger fans to choke on their corn
flakes while reading their morning newspaper.
Things like this just do not happen to our beloved, yet beleaguered
Bengals. Usually at this time of the season, the Tiger players go through
what is known as "the salary drive." During this stretch, the playrs per-
form of All-Star calibre and put together a few winning streaks to make their
record look respectable and also, to squeeze more money out of the owner's
wallet. The problem is that the team is so far down in the standings, the win-
ning streaks are insignificant. The Tigers are masters at doing this. When it
comes to conning the fans that there is a slight ray of hope in an otherwise
dismal season, the Tigers have no equals. That is what makes this change of
events so startling.
For years they were the funniest
For years, the Tigers have been one of the best comedy shows ever seen.
They always had a way of baffling the crowd with their antics. One popular
show was the famous "In contention through Mother's Day, in the cellar by
Father's Day" routine. That one would always have the audience rolling in
the aisles with uncontrollable laughter. The Tigers must have liked it then-
selves because they made it an annual performance.
Another was the "Ninth Inning Follies". This was no doubt a spin-off of the
first show. The plot of this series was how the Tigers would bend themselves
backward to blow a ballgame. One night in Baltimore three years ago, three .
consecutive Tiger pitchers gave up three consecutive home runs to hand the
Bengals yet another defeat. It was comedy at its best.
However, the script has now changed. The Tigers are now winning the
close ones and the laughs which at one time had befallen them have turned to
When the Tigers left for this road trip two weeks ago after the All-Star
game, Manager Sparky Anderson said that he wanted to go 8-5 and remain at
least 7 games behind the Yanks when the trip was over. They went 7-6 and
are now 8% games off the pace. It may not be exactly what Sparky wanted
but he would have to bepleased with his club's play.
It looked as though the roof collapsed on the Tigers after they lost the first
four games of the road trip, but they hung tough and won seven of the
remaining nine games.
The Tigers showed me what they were made of in these past two weeks.
They displayed character and aggressiveness. The eternal pessimist would
throw out the importance of this road swing by saying that the Tigers
defeated the doormats of the American League and that when the Yankees
and Milwaukee Brewers return to the schedule, the Tigers will return to
their old ways. That could be true, but then again, this has been a year for
The good and the bad
If there has been one distressing thought through this road trip, it has been
the lackluster pitching of ace Jack Morris. Last year's 17-game winner had a
rough time away from home. He started in three of the Tigers' setbacks and
was the pitcher of record in two of them.
The good news was that Dan Schatzeder pitched his first complete game for
Detroit and received the win in a 5-2 triumph over Seattle. Milt Wilcox and
' Dan Petry continue to give the steady pitching performances needed to
- mount a pennant drive and 'Senior Smoke' Aurelio Lopez seems to have
regained the form which made him the American League's best reliever in
the second half of the 1979 season.
All of this adds up to an exciting final two months of baseball action and I
have a sneaking suspicion that the Bengals will bethere until the very end.
It's asking a lot of these kids to overtake the powerful, more experienced
Yankees, but these kids were also supposed to be out of the race altogether
right now so what do they know? It is time for all Tiger fans to come together
as one and pull the team through the remainder of the season. I can almost
envision a packed Tiger Stadium crowd bellowing that catchy melody made
famous by the championship team of 1968.
We all are for our baseball team
Go get em, Tigers.
World Series bound and picking up steam
Go get 'em, Tigers.
There'll be joy in Tigertown and we'll all sing along
When they bring that pennant home where it belongs
We all are for our baseball team
Go get 'em, Detroit Tigers.
Go get 'em, Tigers.
I must be dreaming.
The Michigan Daily-Priday, July 25, 1980-Page 15
'Hit Man' Hearns
is set for title bout
DETROIT (AP) - On a sweltering
summer afternoon on Detroit's tough
west side, Thomas Hearns - alias the
"Motor City Hit Man" - is training to
put another notch on his gun.
The Hit Man is working out in a
sweatbox of a basement gymnasium,
where the temperature boils over 100
degrees. Sweat pours down his lean,
almost skinny body as he stalks the ring
in pursuit of a sparring partner.
HEARNS GLIDES effortlessly,
flicking his right jab and inflicting
punishment. He unleashes a lightning
series of combinations, opening a cut
above his opponent's left eye and the
sparring session is cut short,
"Hit Man" is a nickname Hearsn
disdains almost as much as he deser-
ves. He abandoned it for a while, tur-
ning to "Motor City Cobra," but now
the old nickname is back as Hearns
trains for the biggest contract of his
Next Saturday night, the 21-year-old
Detroiter will climb into the ring in his
hometown's Joe Louis Arena to fight
World Boxing Association champion
Pipino Cuevas for the welterweight
HEARNS EARNED the Hit Man tag
with his ruthless style, winning all 28 of
his fights since turning pro in 1977,
recording 24 knockouts and climbing to
the No. 2 ranking in both the WBA and
the World Boxing Council.
"It (the nickname) looks sort of bad,
both for me and the city of Detroit,"
Hearns observed. "But I've learned to
accept it. Every day I hear somebody
yelling, 'Hey, Hit Man, Hit Man'."
Emmanuel Steward, his manager
and trainer, says: " 'Hit Man' really
fits him. He doesn't say much. He just
does his job quietly and then gets out of
HEARNS. at 6-foot-2. towers above
most of his opponents. His long arms
have a deadly reach of 78 inches -
one of the longest in any weight class -
and his blazing knockout power hides
the fact that he is a smart and cunning
boxer, a fighter who Steward says
"rises to the occasion" against stiff
"He's good at analyzing the op-
position - he has a very cunning
mind," Steward said.
"Others may punch harder than
Tommy, but nobody is a more accurate
"HE SETS UP everything with his
jab," observed Prentiss Byrd, a mem-
ber of the Hearns camp who has seen
the welterweight mature from a skinny
15-year-old. "His power comes from the
leverage he gets because he's so well-
balanced in the ring. He's not a
"I like his attitude out of the ring - it
amazes me how the fame hasn't affec-
ted him," Byrd said. "You'll seldom
see him boast. He's from the old
Hearns is popular in Detroit, where
he grew up in a rough east side neigh-
borhood and where he lives with his
mother and eight brothers and sisters.
HE IS CREDITED with helping to
revive the city's once-proud, but dor-
mant boxing tradition and hailed as the
latest in a Motor City boxing lineage
that includes former heavyweight
champ Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robin-
son, the former middleweight and
welterweight king. Hearns says his
ambition is to be the first man in boxing
history to win titles in three divisions -
welterweight, middleweight and light
"I'm the hometown favorite. I don't
know how I'd feel if I let all those people
down by losing," Hearns said. "So I just
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