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April 15, 1991 - Image 11

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-04-15

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The Michigan Daily - Sports Monday - April 15, 1991- Page 3

~& (azz Pb~"y aezawc
The immense one tells how
enjoying his life in the NI

Mike Gill

After a successful coaching ca- Lakers, or Housi
reer at the helm of the NBA's Utah be surprised if
Jazz, Frank Layden retired and as- certainly, San An
*umed the presidency of the club. D: The Piston
Since, Layden, one of basketball's have been strug
most colorful characters, has also Are you among
begun broadcasting NBA games as think they'll b
well. Recently, Daily Sports Writer around when t
Ken Sugiura spoke with Layden around?
about NBA basketball and his place L: I don't thi
in it. they'll be able to
Daily: This season, it seems the the greatest cc
Jazz have taken their place among Chuck Daly has
.he NBA's elite. How do you ex- think that they'r
lain that? they used to be. I
Layden: I think you talk about lot this year, live
maturity. We have two legitimate broadcasting wi
all-stars, Karl Malone, and cer- just feel that the
tainly John Stockton. Then, I think, tough, rough, fla
the players that we've put around they've been in t
them: Thurl Bailey, Blue Edwards,
Jeff Malone; Jeff Malone in his
own right has been an All-Star a 'To me, on
couple of times. You're talking basketball
about a pretty solid team that goes
about seven-deep that has really oe te
good players. orientated
I think that our weakness is be- like the re:
yond that. We have a very young there's not
bench, with real young people. But
this team can play anybody.
D: How far do you think they
can go in the playoffs? I can underst
L: The overall possibility is they won two champi
Could go all the way. The 'also' is had to play all
at they're fragile in this, that they think that somec
could lose in the first round. Depth wears off. I just
is very important. In the playoffs, I as hungry as the
don't think you have to be ten-deep, past.
but I think you have to be at least D: Can you
eight-deep, maybe nine-deep. And I Conference chain
don't think they are. L: I think C
I also think that in our confer- win it this year. E
ence, there are just so many good vulnerable. I s
teams that it's almost impossible to Philly the other
*say that you're sure to win it. I get they'd lost two it
asked all the time who's going to I think they've w
win out here, and I couldn't say one They'll have
thing or the other. It might very vantage. I think
well be Seattle. Right now, I'd have only..., well,
to think in terms of Portland, the Celtics and Detr
Continued from page 3
lengthy list of injured players, suffering mild ankle
Already out for the spring have been: junior cen-
ter Steve Everitt (knee), senior strong safety Otis
Williams (pinched nerve in his neck), first-year
linebacker Charlie Stumb (knee), sophomore
linebacker Dave Dobreff (hamstring), senior
linebacker Erick Anderson (shoulder), junior defen-
sive tackle Chris Hutchinson (back), junior
linebacker Curt Mallory (neck), and junior fullback
-Barry Kelley (knee). Another player missing was se-
*nior Brain Townsend due to some lab work he had to
finish for class.
The unusual amount of injuries, combined with
the fact that Michigan Stadium was unavailable for
play because of 'renovations, forced the cancellation
of the annual Blue/White intrasquad game for the
.first time in decades.
But all was not lost, as Moeller got a good look
at his two back-up quarterbacks, Todd Collins and
Ken Sollom, in the controlled scrimmage.
0.4f everyone's healthy on the
offensive line, it should be a good
line. It has the potential to be as
good as last year'
- Gary Moeller
Michigan football coach
Collins had the better afternoon, tossing two
touchdown passes with only one interception.
However, it was his presence under pressure that
stood out the most.
On his second touchdown pass, he threw a bullet

pass against the grain to tight end. Dave Diebolt
while being thrown to the ground by defensive back
David Ritter.
"I didn't think Todd Collins did too bad,"
Moeller said. "He did a pretty good job. He's just a
kid that just needs a lot of snaps. He needs more and
more snaps to see what he can do."
Sollom added a touchdown pass as well, hitting a
sprinting Allen Woodard on a 25-yard pass down the
sideline. Sophomore tailback Ricky Powers scored
the final touchdown of the day on a 35-yard scamper.
Michigan struggled the most at offensive line.
The Wolverines could not run the ball up the middle
as the injury-plagued line didn't open many holes.
"If everyone's healthy on the offensive line, it
should be a good line," Moeller said. "It has the po-
tential to be as good as last year. We've just got to
get some enthusiasm and things like that. I saw some
,of that at Thursday's scrimmage."
The bright spots for the Wolverines were mostly

ton. But I wouldn't
it was the Jazz or
ns so far this season
ggling a little bit.
g the people who
e able to turn it
he playoffs come
nk so. I don't think
o. If they do, it'll be
oaching feat that
s ever done. I just
e not as hungry as
've seen them play a
, because I've been
ith the network. I
ey're not the same
amboyant team that
he past.

that could beat them, but I don't
think they will.
D: How is the NBA draft shap-
ing up this year?
L: I think, as always, my opinion
of the draft is that it's always over-
rated. I think we put a high price, a
lot of priorities, a lot of false val-
ues marked on the draft.
There are very few players com-
ing down the pipe who can step in
and be impact players. There may be
rookies who get some good num-
bers. But very few will step in and
help you to win right away. I don't
think that there are many players
out there this year that are going to
step into anybody's lineup and
you're going to say, 'This guy will
let our team win it.' And I'm talk-

e of the problems I had with
is that there's not enough fun. It's
o serious. It's too money-
. All sports are, and basketball is
st .... There's not enough laughs,
enough seeing humor in things'

ing is losing, there's always stress.
But, I wasn't having fun anymore.
That's why I got out.
D: How have you found the job
of being president of the Jazz?
L: I tell you, I recommend it for
everybody. I think that everybody
getting out of college, when people
say, 'What do you want to be,' you
should say, 'I want to be the
President,' because you get the best
tables at restaurants, you get the
best tee times, people send you pre-
sents. You don't have to make any
great decisions because you delegate
all your authority. And it's great. It
beats working.
D: Tell me about your job as a
color commentator for the NBA.
L: I'm having fun there, too. I'm
doing it on radio. On radio, I tell
you, there's a lot of freedom. We
work closely with the television
people, because every game they do,
we do, so we're right there with
them, and then we do a lot more.
But the ones where we're with
them, I notice that they're so con-
cerned. They put makeup on, they
gotta have a tie on, and a jacket, and
you're so concerned about every-
thing. We fling it. We go out there,
and we wing-it-and-fling-it. To me,
one of the problems I had with bas-
ketball is that there's not enough
fun. It's become too serious. It's too
money-orientated. All sports are,
and basketball is like the rest.
And so, there's not enough
laughs, there's not enough seeing
.humor in things. I've tried to do
that, as a color commentator. And
our feelings are, not my feelings,
but the people who pay for it, the
advertisers, they like it. They like
that I've gotten humor into it. That
we're not taking it so seriously. I
always say this, that basketball's
not invading France. It's not very
important in the whole scheme of
things. We just have fun.

Opening Day marks
start of end for Ernie
When Opening Day rolls around, it signifies the resurrection of base-
ball. The long winter has come to a conclusion, the green surrounding a
diamond once again shows itself. One feels resurgent, ready to begin a
162-game trail through the hot days of July, the sunsetting days of
September and October.
Last Monday, Detroit kicked off its new season with a mighty black
cloud over the ballpark. Opening Days were not meant to begin this ways
The first day of the season should bring renewed optimism and a way to
reason a championship even with faulty pitching.
Yet, this tempered feeling didn't have anything to do with the on-
field product the Tigers would showcase this year. Instead, there were
questions of how many Opening Days would be left to attend on the
beloved corner of Michigan and Trumbull.

and that. If you've
onships and you've
the way to June, I
of the luster of that
don't think they're
y have been in the
pick an Eastern
hicago's going to
Even though they're
aw them lose to
day in Chicago and
in a row to Chicago.
von the division.
the home-court ad-
the Celtics are the
I should say the
roit both are teams

ing about Magic Johnson, or Larry
Bird-type players.
D: Who are some of the Big Ten
prospects that might be drafted?
L: I don't know. That would be
illogical to say. Really, in that de-
partment, you should be talking
with the director of player person-
D: Seasons ago, you retired due
to the stress of the job. Do you still
believe you made the right choice?
L: I'd change the word 'stress' to
complaints. I really felt that the job
was not fun for me. That was due to
several things: officiating, length of
schedule, amount of travel, things
like that. Winning is winning, los-

Friday, longtime Tiger radio broadcaster Ernie Harwell signed copies of,
his new book, Diamond Gems, at the Michigan Union Bookstore.
And there were eyes looking above home plate to the small broadcast
booth with the letters "WJR" on its facing. Ernie Harwell, who has
broadcast the Tigers since 1960, began calling his final Opening Day fot
the Tigers.
Instead of zest and new life, the feeling of many inside Tiger Stadium,
not to mention those across the street protesting the decision to oust
Harwell from his job, was that of a morgue or funeral parlor.
This day began the countdown to Ernie Harwell's death as the voice
of the Tigers which would follow 161 games later.
Life isn't supposed to be so unfair. One might be able to comprehend
why the Tigers argue they need a new baseball stadium. But one cannot
try to rationalize why the Tigers need a "new direction" in a baseball
announcer - they already have one considered the best in the business.
The usual feelings expected for Opening Day were missing; replaced
with a coldness, a bitterness, a questioning of why, and a feeling of sad-
ness for a man who calls himself "the pipeline to the Tigers."
Ernie Harwell is the man with the golden voice. For one who has
grown up in Michigan, he's like a grandfather or an uncle - following
family and friends wherever they go.
He's in the car, travelling down I-75 to grandmother's house in Ohio
on a Friday night, describing the play Tom Veryzer just made at short.
He's on the beach on a Sunday afternoon, telling about the shot Ben
Oglive just made into the right field upper deck of Tiger Stadium.
He's in the backyard, describing the plays of the pros, while a father
teaches his son some useful lessons while playing catch.
And he's next to your pillow on a summer night as you fall asleep
while the Tigers play on the West Coast.
It's hard not to grow attached to the melodic sounds of that special
rhythm he creates describing the poetic game of baseball.
Friday, Ernie made a stop at the Michigan Union to sign copies of his
new book, "Diamond Gems." In a little over an hour and a half, 242
copies of the book were sold and autographed. Ten thousand have sold in a
month. And while Ernie said hello to each person who stopped by and
asked him to sign the book, a yearbook, a baseball, or a sweaty, old
Chicago White Sox cap, there were stories. A few thanks. And a lot of
"We're going to miss you."
There came a vacationing San Diego man who grew up in Michigan. He,
brought his family with him, and told Ernie, "You're like a second fa-
ther to me."
There came the pledges of Theta Chi fraternity, all in blue blazers,
asking for a picture with the broadcaster who has been calling Tiger
games long before they were born.
There came a student, with a laser written manuscript from an
English class. Its title: "Farewell to Ernie." Later Harwell said,
"That's nice. I haven't read it yet. It's very thoughtful of him to go to
that kind of time and trouble."
There came a man with his beloved radio, which for years churned out
magical descriptions of the play on a baseball field. "I am going to retire
it after this year too," he said.
Kind and gentle, Ernie thanked each one quietly. It's the way he's been
doing it for so long. While fans have deluged radio shows with venom,
bitterness, and hate, Harwell can't say a negative word. "I don't feel that
way at all," he said. "I just don't feel any bitterness or any animosity
toward anybody. I have to accept this. I'm not going to let those feelings
creep into my psyche at all."
Yet, owner Tom Monaghan shot his mouth off again in spring train-
ing, saying he didn't see any Ernie Harwell fan clubs before the firing,
and claiming the outcry was media induced. Still, Harwell will hold fast
to the principles of his strong Christian faith - as in love thy neighbor
and turn the other cheek. "Well, I'd rather not comment on that. That's
his privilege to say whatever he wants to," he said.
After a off-season of upheaval, Harwell's life is returning to normal.
Shortly after his sacking in December, his wife was diagnosed with
breast cancer. She is recovering and he is home, where he belongs- -in the
Tkr rndm r vmct hnn

Tailback Ricky Powers carries the ball in Saturday's scrimmage. He scored the last
touchdown of the day on a 35-yard scamper.
Spitz' comeback falls short

Associated Press
MISSION VIEJO, Calif. - Mark Spitz
wasn't dead in the water, but he didn't even
come close to beating Olympian Tom Jager in
a 50-meter butterfly match race Saturday, the
first test of the 41-year-old's comeback try.
Spitz was behind at the start and even
farther behind at the finish, hitting the wall a
1 1/2 lengths behind Jager.
Jager, 26, a world champion and world
record-holder in the 50-meter freestyle, earned
$20,000 for the victory and Spitz got $10,000.
Jager got a strong start and swam across
the pool in 24.92 seconds, almost two seconds
ahead of Spitz, who finished in 26.70. The
winner of seven gold medals in 1972 had
hoped for a far better time.
"I think I could have walked across the
pool faster than I swam across it, the nerves

It was the first time in 18 1/2 years that
Spitz had raced competitively. The last time
was in Munich, where he set a record that may
never be equalled - seven Olympic gold
A year and a half ago, he made the
improbable announcement that he was
starting to train again with the hope of
making the U.S. Olympic team in the 100
Spitz is hardly a dinosaur, but his race
indicated how the sport has changed since his
heyday. Jager was all start and power, while
Spitz used the same finesse stroke that once
made his the world's greatest swimmer.
"I think what you saw there was'a contrast
in style," Jager said. "I knew after 18 years
that a lot of things in the sport of swimming
have chaned.

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