The Michigan Daily
Friday, August 14, 1987
Abbott a winner at Pan-AT
By GREG MOLZON
When classes begin again in a ,month,
students will be swapping stories about how
great their summers were, but itsis unlikely that
anyone has had a more eventful summer than
Michigan baseball player Jim Abbott.
The lefthanded pitcher is a member of the
U.S. team that is participating in the Pan
American Games in Indianapolis through next
Abbott, 11-3 last season, saw his first action
in the Games on Wednesday and came through
with a strong outing. The Flint native pitched
five scoreless innings as the U.S. trounced
Given a ten-run lead in the first inning,
Abbott limited the Nicaraguans to three singles
and four walks, striking out six.
THE JUNIOR was featured prominently
last Saturday on CBS during the opening
ceremonies because he carried in the U.S. flag.
He was nominated for this honor by the baseball
team and was then selected by the members of all
the U.S. teams.
As exciting as the past week has been for
Abbott, the rest of the summer hasn't been too
He began the summer by helping the
Wolverines capture a Big Ten title and was then
the subject of a feature article in Sports
After that, Abbott was selected to the Pan Am
team and began a 34-game tour. The team went
26-8 against teams from Canada, Japan, Taiwan,
South Korea, Cuba, and American amateur
ABBOTT pitched in nine of those games,
gaining a 6-1 record and 2.31 ERA. His only
loss came against Canada.
The highlight of the trip for Abbott and the
team came when they traveled to Cuba for a five-
game series. After losing the first two games, the
United States came back to win two of the next
three. Abbott shut down the Cubans and got the
first victory for the United States in an 8-3 game.
... summer fun
Sports celebrities populare ven if their team isn't
By LISA POLLAK
The type of fans who attend
events like last Sunday's "Meet the
Detroit Lions Day" don't really care
about training camp no-shows and
contracts and betting odds. Many
don't really care about scores and
strategy. And some don't really care
about football at all.
The type of fans who waited
outside the Pontiac Silverdome
turnstiles in a thunderstorm - and I
know because I watched them - are
the same type of fans you find
drooling over the Hollywood
Boulevard footprints, planning
vacations to trace maps of the stars'
homes, and discussing "Lifestyles of
the Rich and Famous" at cocktail
The type of fans who stood in
line two hours for Chuck Long's
autograph - and I know because I
asked them - might usually place
their bets on the Bears and the
Raiders and the 49ers, but last
Sunday offered each other money for
a better spot in line to touch Joe
Ferguson's throwing arm.
"I don't care if the Lions win,"
declared 12-year-old William Peters,
of Rochester. "I just want to see
them in real life."
But what Peters saw in "real life"
at the Silverdome last Sunday was
essentially a sports fantasy: ten
thousand starry-eyed hero-
worshippers who demand nothing
more from their players than a
chance to gaze in awe at the uniform
and the biceps and the professional
Tomorrow to start off the
exhibition season their heroes willl
play the Indianapolis Colts, but to
the type of fans who count
signatures instead of scores - and I
know because I am one of them -
the celebrities, and not the final
statistics, are what we will
Of course, among the hardcore-
fans, those of us who swoon over
our sports heroes tend to have a
pretty bad image. Admittedly, we are
THE SPORTING VIEWS
not always rational, and "Meet the celebrity fans. We don't choose our
Lions Day" boasted a fair share of, heroes solely for their degree of
well, "fan-atics." fame, fortune, or physique. Each fan
There was the man who wished who practices that pagan religion
Eric Hipple hadn't broken his thumb called star-worship naturally sees in
"only because then he could sign the star some shadow of what he or
this hat for my son." Probably she might someday become, or
blinded by the blue and gray, one might have been.
woman asked a security guard to So there we were on Sunday, ten
pose for a picture with her daughter. thousand fans searching for football
A view of one's self players and one searching for a
Then there was the Daily reporter columnist, but all of us essentially
sent to cover the event who spent so united in our intangible search for
much time looking around to see her stars and dreams within the realm of
personal sports hero, Detroit Free sports. The type of fang who
Press sports columnist and veritable attended "Meet the Lions Day"
sports god Mitch Albom (Eds. note: might not be able to tell a halfback
come on, Lisa, cut that out) that she from a touchback, or a mouthguard
almost forgot to take notes. from a noseguard. To be honest,
But I do bring up that Mitch many of us couldn't even recognize
Albom thing to make a serious half of the players we so desperately
point, and one I hope will at least wanted to see: "Veno Belk?" one
partially legitimize all sports- seven-year-old asked his mom.
Why am I getting his autograph if I
don't even know who he is?"
"'Cause the Eddie Murray line's
too long, that's why," the mother
answered. So shut up and get in
line. I'm sure Veno Belk will be
famous someday, too." And the
pack of autograph seekers waving
white pages in Belk's face Sunday
was testimony to the fact that, to
star-seekers, fame is only relative.
Whether or not Belk's name
becomes a household word, and
whether or not the Lions do emerge
victorious tomorrow, it seems safe
to say that at least ten thousand fans
will remain infatuated with the
Detroit Lions - a team valuable, if
nothing else, for its celebrities.
I never did see Mitch Albom last
Sunday. I had to settle for filling
my reporter's notebook with tidings
from head coach Darryl Rogers,
defensive tackle William Gay, and
some guy named Ivory Sully,
though I'm not sure if he was
actually a player or just a security
I have to admit, however, I was a
little disappointed. The autographs
were sloppy, practically illegible,
and full of grammatical errors.
Nevertheless, they did say something
- though I'm not sure what -
about heroes and sports that will last
long after tomorrow's score is
But Mitch Albom would have
said it better.
Complaints have been brought
before the Michigan Student Assembly
concerning deceptive wording in the
residence hall meal contract. If you
have complaints or questions regarding
the meal contract please call MSA's
special meal contract number:
All calls are confidential.
Season football tickets for non-
first-year students have been sold
out. Single tickets for the Long
Beach St., Northwestern, Wash-
ington St., and Wisconsin games
are on sale at the ticket office.
Now accepting applications for falli
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