Friday, August 11, 2017

Hamtramck Stadium: That other old baseball stadium

Click the images to enlarge...
It's been 18 seasons since the Detroit Tigers had moved from Tiger Stadium to their new modern grounds at Comerica Park. The old stadium was torn down and the site was left unkempt for several years before a volunteer group, the Navin Field Grounds Crew, came in to clean up the ballpark. Plans are currently in place for a redevelopment of the Tiger Stadium site that is, "expected to include 111 multifamily units and 26,000 square feet of commercial space."
Approaching the stadium ft. an
upside-down construction barrel
Now, Hamtramck Stadium comes into focus. Located in the enclave of Hamtramck, it was home of the Negro National League's Detroit Stars. Great hitters such as Turkey Stearnes (.344 career avg.) took the field for the Stars. After hosting high school and Little League games for several decades, fencing was erected around the old wooden stands in the early nineties.

View from the pitcher's mound
Although the old stadium has gone unused, the other areas of Veterans Park were busy when I was there on a Saturday afternoon. The park contains another baseball diamond as well as a playground and tennis court. Just down the road is the recently renovated Keyworth Stadium, home of Hamtramck high school football and Detroit City FC soccer. Hamtramck Stadium received a $50,000 grant in January and also got a cut of ticket sales from Negro Leagues weekend at Comerica Park. A recent RFP from the city of Hamtramck proposed a renovated multi-use park would host, “recreational and youth league organized sporting, pickup games, concerts, events, movie screenings, and interpretive exhibition ballgames which explore the heritage of the site.”
If you take a walk around the old ballpark, you can see it's charm and potential. It's located on a wide open space which contains another diamond. The old stands are in desperate need of repair but the field isn't far from being usable. Along the third base side there is a cool mural representing the glory days of the Detroit Stars and their star player Turkey Stearnes. After some work Hamtramck Stadium could once again be hosting games and other community events.
"Turkey" Stearnes

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

(MSS) The (Continued) Growth Of Soccer In America

Soccer has rapidly grown in a popularity in America. In 2014, an ESPN poll showed that professional soccer ranked second to pro football in popularity among 12- to 17-year-olds. Major League Soccer (MLS), the top-level soccer league in the United States, was founded in 1996 off the success of the 1994 World Cup. Currently a twenty-team league, MLS teams' attendance are threatening baseball and hockey teams in their respective cities.

The successful platform of the big European soccer leagues stems from their rich history. The promotion and relegation system is how most of the world's domestic soccer leagues operate, but the American system is different. Teams only move to the MLS when there are more expansion teams added, but these are only to the old team linked by ownership and team name and barely resemble the prior roster and coaching staff. Prominent "pro/rel" activists such as Ted Westervelt have been leading the push for change to the American soccer league setup, but it seems unlikely the MLS owners would budge, due to a potential drop off in income. I believe the current system is hurting the popularity of Major League Soccer, as opposed to the more popular European leagues which capture over a million U.S. TV viewers each week. AFC Bournemouth, for example, was playing in the fourth-tier "League Two" in 2009, and worked their way up to the top level English Premier League starting this season. Now imagine if a team from Lansing, Michigan could do the same...

Lansing United (blue and white) takes to the pitch 
against Columbus Crew Collegiate Program.
Lansing United is now in their third season and they look set to be playing in the NPSL, three levels below MLS, for many years to come. Lansing United plays against other teams from the NPSL Great Lakes West Conference, and in 2014 won the league and played in the NPSL national semifinals. Most of the roster consist of college players, with a few older players mixed in. I think it is important to support a local team  - that is why I root for the Detroit sports teams as well. This is opposed the type of fan that roots for Manchester United, the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, and Notre Dame football. It is easy to root for historically successful teams. As much as love my Arsenal (soccer team based in north London), I feel more of a connection to my local team. Lansing United had 556 fans at their season opener last Saturday, but had over 1,000 fans for their game against Detroit City FC last season. They are still a new team looking for more fans, so I'd suggest taking a look at the schedule, and thinking of going to a game.

Monday, February 29, 2016

(MSS )Voice of The Turtle

This post was originally published on my RWR blog...
For, lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth,
The time of the singing of birds is come,
And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.
-Song Of Solomon 2:11-12 
It is one of the best times of the year for a baseball fan, as today marked the start of Spring Training games. Longtime time radio announcer Ernie Harwell once uttered a bible excerpt that become synonymous with the start of Tigers baseball. You could say that Harwell was the "Voice of The Turtle" heard on the radio throughout Michigan for nearly 50 years. Ernie announced the last two World Series titles for the Detroit Tigers, and called numerous playoff games nationally for CBS Radio and ESPN Radio. Nowadays commentators mostly receive negative attention, but the great ones make the games even better than they are.

From Harwell's era, only Vin Scully of the Dodgers, at 88, is still calling games. Ernie was known for his homerun call, "That one is long gone," among other catchphrases. Tigers fans were outraged when he was removed from broadcasts in 1993, and due to popular demand, he was brought back in 1995. Harwell retired in 2002, and returned as a guest announcer through 2007. In September 2009, Ernie Harwell was diagnosed with incurable bile duct cancer, and passed away the following May, aged 92. Harwell showed his wherewithal, up until shortly before his death he was still exercising regularly. He may be before my time, but I think it is important to recognize the career of the great Mr. Ernie Harwell.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

US vs. Germany Women's World Cup Semifinals Preview

World Cup Semis:
Tu. 6-30-2015: 7p - USA vs. Germany (FOX)
W. 7-1-2015: 7p - England vs. Canada (FS1)
I think that the American team has a strong attacking force, but Germany is led by their leading goalscorers Celia Sasic (6) and Anja Mittag (5). US has kept the backline intact and the defensive effort is what has kept us in the World Cup. But, Meghan Klingenberg and co. will face their toughest challenge yet against Germany. As far as the formation, I think Jill Ellis should stick to a 4-4-2 diamond. Deploying Morgan Brian in a holding role will support the defense against the German attackers. Megan Rapinoe will be back at left midfield, but who will be on the opposite side. Kelly O'Hara may have played well enough last match to start, but it had been Lauren Holliday's slot before. Holliday and Rapinoe missed the China match due to yellow card accumulation. Morgan and A-Rod should go up front, with Abby Wambach ready to come off the bench when she is needed. Germany is the favourite to win, but, go go USA!

Monday, January 26, 2015

My Picks of some of the Super Bowl XLIX props

How long will Idina Menzel take to sing the National Anthem? Over/Under 2 min. 1 sec.
Idina Menzel is a widely successful Broadway performer and the voice of Elsa in “Frozen”. Enough reason to expect her the draw out the key notes of “The Star Spangled Banner”

Will Menzel omit or forget to say at least one word of the National anthem?  No ⅙, Yes 4/1
No, her experience in theater should mean she won’t make a mistake.

How many times will "Deflated Balls" be referred to during the game? Over/Under 2 ½
NBC’s top-of-the-line NFL broadcast should stray away from talk of Deflategate.

Which color will Bill Belichick's hoodie be? Grey ½, Blue 7/4, Red 7/1
Belichick is usually found wearing his grey hoodie, but one of the few times he has wore the red hoodie once was in Super Bowl XLII.

What color will Katy Perry's hair be when she begins the Halftime show? Black/Brown 2/1, Pink/Red 3/1, Blue/Green 3/1, Blonde 4/1, Purple 5/1
Probably will be her natural black hair, but it has been spotted as plum-colored lately.

Will Al Michaels refer to the point spread, total, odds on who wins game or any prop bet? Yes 2/1, No ⅓
Yes, Michaels is well known for this (http://bit.ly/15JA3Mx)

What Color will the Gatorade (or liquid) be that is dumped on the Head Coach of the Winning Super Bowl Team? Orange 3/2, Yellow 5/2, Clear/Water 3/1, Red 15/2, Blue 15/2, Green 10/1
Orange has been poured 3 of the last 5 years.

Coin toss? Heads 20/21, Tails 20/21
TAILS!!!

What will be higher? Total Points scored by Michigan State Guard Travis Trice or Total 1st Half Points by the Patriots
I’m expecting Trice to show up against a lackluster Michigan team, while the Seahawks defense shuts down the Patriots.

Who will have more? Arsenal goals (v. Aston Villa) 31/20 or Tom Brady TD passes 4/7
Arsenal should have a field day against relegation-battling Aston Villa. See previous comment about Seahawks defense.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Don Kelly to Marlins + Scherzer is gone too

Don Kelly has signed with the Miami Marlins on a minor-league contract. Over the last six years, Kelly served the Tigers as a super-utility player. He played every position at least once, including catcher and even pitcher. Kelly is known for coming up in the clutch or just coming in to pitch when we are getting smoked by the Mets. Here are some of his greatest moments with the Tigers:

  • Don Kelly gets the last out of the 9th inning
    • DK was called on to spare another relief pitcher in a 16-9 loss to the New York Mets. Kelly got the last batter to pop-up to end the game, using an effective changeup to battle to a 2-2 count.
    • Video: http://m.mlb.com/video/v16433551/
  • Walk-off sacrifice fly in the playoffs against Oakland
    • It was pretty awesome.
  • He can use his glove, too
  • Solo home run in Game 5 of the World Series against the ALCS: 

Max Scherzer has signed a 7 year, $210 million mega-deal to pitch for the Washington Nationals. What a relief! He would have added so much money to our payroll. Now the Tigers can sign a couple players for the same price as Scherzer -- signing maybe David Price or a more average starter next year. Trading for Price last year was so he could replace Max's spot as the ace. Justin Verlander should bounce back this year as well.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

2014 MHSAA High School Football Playoff Pairings

Here are the playoff pairings from MHSAA.com. Okemos travels to play Flint Carmen-Ainsworth.
2014 Pairings
R = Region
D = District
All Games Times Will Be Announced Monday October 26.

Games will be played Friday October 31 or Saturday November 1.

Division 1
R1-D1: Traverse City West (5-4) 62.111 at Rockford (7-2) 93.889
R1-D1: Hudsonville (5-4) 62.778 at Holland West Ottawa (5-4) 68.000

R1-D2: Grandville (5-4) 65.000 at East Kentwood (8-1) 97.333
R1-D2: Grand Ledge (6-3) 67.667 at Hartland (7-2) 88.222

R2-D1: Oxford (6-3) 73.444 at Clarkston (9-0) 117.333
R2-D1: Romeo (6-3) 73.556 at Lapeer HS (9-0) 105.778

R2-D2: Livonia Stevenson (6-3) 72.000 at West Bloomfield (8-1) 100.444
R2-D2: Waterford Mott (6-3) 80.000 at Walled Lake Central (7-2) 92.000

R3-D1: Northville (6-3) 72.222 at Canton (7-2) 93.000
R3-D1: Plymouth (7-2) 84.889 at Livonia Churchill (7-2) 88.333

R3-D2: Westland John Glenn (6-3) 69.556 at Saline (8-1) 95.381
R3-D2: Dearborn (6-3) 75.333 at Monroe (6-3) 75.444

R4-D1: Utica Eisenhower (5-4) 71.556 at Macomb Dakota (7-2) 91.333
R4-D1: Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (6-3) 74.667 at Sterling Heights Stevenson (7-2) 89.778

R4-D2: Fraser (6-3) 64.778 at Dearborn Fordson (9-0) 116.000
R4-D2: Warren Mott (5-4) 66.333 at Detroit Cass Tech (9-0) 114.667

Division 2
R1-D1: Traverse City Central (6-3) 74.778 at Midland Dow (9-0) 104.889
R1-D1: Caledonia (7-2) 94.222 at Mona Shores (8-1) 104.667

R1-D2: Mattawan (6-3) 69.500 at Battle Creek Lakeview (7-1) 95.444
R1-D2: Portage Northern (6-3) 70.972 at Portage Central (7-1) 91.778

R2-D1: Lansing Everett (6-3) 68.889 at Flushing (7-2) 85.667
R2-D1: Okemos (6-3) 71.222 at Flint Carman-Ainsworth (7-2) 83.222

R2-D2: Farmington Hills Harrison (7-2) 87.778 at Fenton (9-0) 112.889
R2-D2: South Lyon (8-1) 99.889 at Walled Lake Western (8-1) 101.889

R3-D1: Southfield (6-3) 74.111 at Detroit Martin Luther King (8-1) 101.444
R3-D1: Farmington (7-2) 85.000 at Oak Park (7-2) 87.667

R3-D2: Ypsilanti Community HS (6-3) 65.444 at Brownstown Woodhaven (9-0) 110.222
R3-D2: Ypsilanti Lincoln (6-3) 68.778 at Wyandotte Roosevelt (7-2) 80.778

R4-D1: Warren Cousino (5-4) 62.667 at Birmingham Brother Rice (9-0) 115.556
R4-D1: Berkley (6-3) 67.667 at Birmingham Groves (6-3) 69.444

R4-D2: Detroit East English (6-3) 66.778 at Port Huron (7-2) 84.000
R4-D2: Warren DeLaSalle (6-3) 66.889 at Grosse Pointe North (6-3) 72.667

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