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detroit tigers

entrance to Comerica Park
Cacophony / Wikimedia Commons

One prediction about the Tigers' 2020 season is a sure thing. It will be like no other season baseball fans have ever seen. 

Detroit will play its first game of the shortened campaign Friday night in Cincinnati against the Reds.   

In addition to a schedule cut from 162 games to 60, the Tigers will be playing under a host of new rules designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. They include limited seating in the dugouts, and a ban on spitting and high-fives.

Michigan radio sports commentator John U. Bacon says MLB is getting it right when it comes to safety.

empty baseball stadium
Simon Johnson

For a time with very few sporting events, it's been a very busy week for sports news. Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon shared his thoughts on bringing back sports during the COVID-19 crisis and the Detroit Lions' ownership change.

Michigan State Capitol
Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Today on Stateside, the Michigan Legislature convened in Lansing today, but some lawmakers question the safety of meeting in person. We hear from one of them, and talk about what lawmaking looks like in the middle of a pandemic. Plus, how plasma donated by people who have recovered from COVID-19 could protect health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic.

wikimedia commons

Detroit Tiger great Al Kaline has died.  

He was 85.

In the pantheon of great Detroit baseball players, only one is known as “Mr. Tiger.” 

baseball player on field
James Phelps / Flickr

The Detroit Tigers won't be giving out jerseys with the No. 3 any more.

The team retired former shortstop Alan Trammel's number in a ceremony before yesterday's game against the Chicago White Sox at Comerica Park.

Trammel was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer.

Former Detroit Tiger Alan Trammell swinging the bat during a game in 1991.
WikiCommons

The Baseball Hall of Fame welcomed two former Detroit Tigers to its ranks Sunday at the annual induction ceremony in Cooperstown, New York.

Shortstop Alan Trammell and pitcher Jack Morris both came up with the Tigers in 1977 and played on the 1984 Detroit team that won the World Series.

John U. Bacon

This is the Season of Our Discontent. Or it would be, if you attached your happiness to Detroit’s professional sports teams.

Let’s start with the Pistons.

When Bill Davidson bought the team in 1974, the Pistons were bad and getting worse. But Davidson patiently rebuilt the team with the right leaders, and won two NBA titles. Then he hired new leaders, and did it all again, and won another NBA title in 2004. Along the way, they won nine division titles.

Play ball. But not this early.

Mar 30, 2018
Comerica Park
Kevin Ward / FLICKR - http://bit.ly/1f2P1w6

Yesterday was supposed to be the Detroit Tigers’ opening game, except that it was rained out. Well, of course it was. This is March in Michigan and trying to play baseball here and now is an abomination unto the Lord.

A black and white photo of Tiger Stadium with the stands full
Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

The 2018 Tigers will have to wait for another day. Detroit was scheduled to begin the season against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Comerica Park today, but Opening Day has been postponed to Friday because of  the weather. 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of one greatest seasons in Tigers history. It would end with a World Series showdown against the reigning champs, the St. Louis Cardinals.

TONY BROWN / MICHIGAN RADIO

Between a wild weekend with the Red Wings and coaching change-ups at the Lions, there’s a lot going on in the world of Michigan sports.

John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio’s sports commentator, joined Stateside to talk about the week’s news.

John U. Bacon

Time to look back on 2017 – but we’ll spare you the serious stuff and stick to sports.

Even in sports, alas, Michiganders waded through a lot of bad news, starting with the passing of Mike Ilitch. He and his wife Marion opened their first Little Caesar’s Pizza Treat in Garden City, Michigan, in 1959. Twenty years later they had built an empire big enough to support a kid’s hockey league that produced NHL players.

By 1982, they bought the long-dormant Detroit Red Wings, drafted a kid named Steve Yzerman, and started a two-decade dynasty that won four Stanley Cups.

Keith Allison / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

To sum up the year in sports, Michigan Radio’s sports commentator John U. Bacon said this: “If you like mediocrity, I mean really like it, Motown is the place for you.”

He sat down with Stateside host Cynthia Canty to explain.

A football.
Innovation_School / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Today is the day for Stateside’s weekly sports roundup with John U. Bacon, Michigan Radio’s sports commentator.

Justin Verlander winds up in his Tigers jersey
Keith Allison / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It's time to talk some sports.

The Lions had a bye week. That means we'll dive straight into college football, and the fact that Michigan State has moved up two places, to Number 16, in the AP Poll, while Michigan dropped out of the AP rankings for the first time since 2015.

Justin Verlander's Twitter profile pic on Sept. 1, 2017.
screen grab - Twitter

The Detroit Tigers have two fewer Justins today.

Earlier yesterday, Detroit traded outfielder Justin Upton to the Los Angeles Angels for minor league pitcher Grayson Long and a player to be named later.

Upton, 30, was in his second season in Detroit. This year, he has a .279 batting average, 28 home runs and 94 runs batted in. After the season, he would have been able to opt out of his six-year contract with the Tigers.

The trade, and Upton's subsequent new team photo prompted this Tweet from pitcher Justin Verlander:

班森 / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCLO

The Next Idea

Baseball and opera usually don’t end up in the same sentence. But for the next year, they will in Detroit.

Next May, the Michigan Opera Theatre will be producing Daniel Sonenberg’s The Summer King, an opera about Negro League’s baseball player Josh Gibson.

The CEO of the Michigan Opera Theatre Wayne Brown joined Stateside to tell us about a partnership between the Michigan Opera Theatre and the Detroit Tigers, called Take Me Out to the Opera.

HarshLight on Flickr / Creative Commons

Comerica Park is hoping to make the entry process a little easier for guests on game days. However, they'll have to hand over their fingerprints first.

At Comerica Park's main gate, fans can sign up for CLEAR's biometric technology system. The kiosk, available on game days, will register patrons by scanning all ten fingerprints, and then scanning their ID. They will then be able to enter any CLEAR line across the country.

Lansing City Hall building
Michigan State Historic Preservation Office / Flickr

Lansing City Council officially designated itself a "sanctuary city." That move follows the Ann Arbor City Council's decision to not have police or city employees ask people about their immigration status. The Trump administration says "sanctuary cities" could lose their federal funding. Morning Edition host Doug Tribou and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about whether that would impact the two communities.

Little Caesars Arena under construction in June 2016.
Rick Briggs / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The city of Detroit lost one of its business icons when Mike Ilitch passed away. Many people know him for being the founder of Little Caesars Pizza, but most know him as the owner of the Detroit Tigers and the Detroit Red Wings.

Michigan Sports Hall of Famer Ray Lane began covering sports in Detroit starting in 1961 and was there when Ilitch bought the Red Wings in 1982 (for $8 million!), and later the Tigers in 1992. Lane joined Stateside to look back at the sports side of Ilitch's legacy.

For many Detroit Tigers fans, the demolition of Tiger Stadium remains a source of anger.
Michael Kumm / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Mike Ilitch certainly left his mark on downtown Detroit, beginning with the major renovation of the Fox Theatre in 1988 and continuing to this day with the ongoing construction of Little Caesars Arena for the Red Wings and the Pistons.

There are those who found a lot to criticize in the way the Ilitch family acquired downtown property, maintained that property, and financed its arenas.

Michigan Radio's senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry joined Stateside to talk about Ilitch's legacy when it comes to the business side of his life and what he did for the city of Detroit.

High Point Solutions Stadium in Piscataway, N.J. was the site of one of Michigan's most lopsided wins in program history, 78-0 over Rutgers.
slgckgc / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It was a big weekend for football around the Great Lakes State. The University of Michigan stole most of the headlines with an historic 78-0 road win over Rutgers. It was a dominant win in just about every phase of the game as the Wolverines "took the paddle" (as John U. Bacon likes to say) to the Scarlet Knights.

After a one-sided loss, there are always fans and sportswriters who like to criticize the head coach for running up the score. However, John U. Bacon said in his weekly segment on Stateside, it wasn't Jim Harbaugh being a bad sport.

Michigan football stadium
Mark Brush / Michigan Radio


It’s time to check in with Michigan Radio sports commentator, John U. Bacon.

For Tigers fans, the baseball season is over. There won’t even be that make-up day for the rained-out game last week.

The Tigers ended the season with a 1-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

Steven Depolo / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It was a full weekend of sports across the state of Michigan, headlined by the Wolverines and the Spartans hosting games in their respective home stadiums. Michigan, which remains ranked No. 4 in the nation, flexed its muscles with a 49-10 blowout of Penn State. Meanwhile, in East Lansing, it was a battle between two Big Ten teams ranked in the top ten. However, Michigan State suffered a rare one-sided loss, 30-6, to the Wisconsin Badgers.

The Detroit Lions home field, Ford Field
meesh / Flickr - http://bit.ly/1rFrzRK

It's not easy to be a Detroit Lions fan. Like many across the state of Michigan and beyond, Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon has been through a lot (of losing).

As a result, it came as no surprise to Bacon that after the Lions won their season opener on the road against the Indianapolis Colts in dramatic fashion last week, they would return home and lay an egg. On Sunday, the Lions had a 15-3 lead over the Tennessee Titans going into the fourth quarter, but their defense allowed a pair of touchdown passes and lost the game 16-15.

user Missy Caulk / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

It was a big weekend for Michigan sports headlined by the Detroit Lions' dramatic 39-35 season opening win over the Indianapolis Colts.

The post-Calvin Johnson era began with Lions kicker Matt Prater redeeming himself for an earlier missed extra point by hitting the game-winning field goal with four seconds left. 

John U. Bacon

 

The wait is over — Nike’s line of University of Michigan apparel is finally available. Crowds lined up outside the MDen on State St. in Ann Arbor to wait for the new gear to be released at 12:01 am Monday. Football coach Jim Harbaugh and Athletic Director Ward Manuel both appeared at the retail store.

But not everyone understands the hype that came with the switch from Adidas to Nike, like Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon. He said, “I must not be their target audience because I don’t get it.”

Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon provides a round-up of everything Michigan sports.
Flickr user Michael Righi / Flickr / HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 

Although it’s the offseason for most major American sports, there’s still plenty of action in the sports world. Michigan sports has seen some important moves in both professional and collegiate athletics.

Michigan Radio sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Stateside to explain all the recent moves.

 

Tigers pitcher Francisco Rodriguez, who contracted the Zika virus while in Venezuela during the offseason.
Bryan Green / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

Detroit Tigers relief pitcher Francisco Rodriguez got off to a slow start in 2016, allowing three earned runs in his first appearance of the season. His list of excuses, however, is rock solid: He may have still been fighting the long-term effects of the Zika virus.

 

Holocaust survivor sings national anthem at Tigers game

May 21, 2016
Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

An 89-year-old Holocaust survivor has fulfilled her longtime wish to sing the U.S. national anthem at a Major League Baseball game.

Hermina Hirsch sang Saturday at Comerica Park in Detroit before the Detroit Tigers played Tampa Bay.

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