Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan on October 3, 1992 · Page 17
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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan · Page 17

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Detroit, Michigan
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Saturday, October 3, 1992
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Page 17
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AUTO RACCIG lichael Andretti tightens Indy-car points battle by winning pole. Page 2B. Saturday, Oct. 3, 1992 Sport: in sectio:i B Kick-boxing, Page 2 Scoreboard, Pages 8, 12 Comics, Pages 10, 11 Scores: 1-900-370-0990, Sports: 222-6660 (Ciils to the kflff bnr are 7:4 per minute) J)clroit Jfxcc Pre : CHARUE : Vincent i J i- -4 oices i Tig face b ers pitch's biggest moves tyioidd be on the field ! Somewhere, the sun is shining; ! Somewhere, there is no sorrow; ' But here the oV stadium is silent ', j The Tigers go home tomorrow. e stopped caring about this baseball team a long time ago. The attendance figures tell us that much. The hope of spring didn't survive the month of May this time. Somewhere along the way we all got too burdened with Tom Monaghan's financial problems, Wayne County's campaign for a new stadium, Ernie Harwell's absence from the broadcast booth, and the realization that Cecil Fielder's bat will never make up for too little pitching. Somewhere along the way, we decided there was not much reason to go out to the old ballpark that so many of us professed to love during the time when talk of abandoning it was most rampant. Sunday, the Tigers close out their season at Toronto, and when the numbers are added up it will be the second-worst season in Sparky Anderson's 23 years as a major league manager. There is no melancholy regarding the end of the season. For most ;oi us, it seems, there is no feeling at all only a void ,' where baseball used to be, and the love of it. J ' And that is what Mike Ilitch has promised to fill. People working around Tiger Stadium say Ilitch's troops have been walking around, blueprints in hand, ifooklng for ways to spruce up the old place instead of ! dynamiting it. A restaurant here, a picnic area there, luxury boxes over there. ; J Nobody in authority is admitting a thing, though some it the stadium think the renovation which will warm '(he heart of the preservationists will begin as soon as I this season is over. Ilitch seems to have a knack for knowing what the paying customer wants and for finding a way to accomplish it. He did it with the Red Wings and Joe Louis Arena; he did . it with the Fox Theatre; and he is doing it again with the jigers and their venerable old home. 'Team is most important face-lift But breathing new life into the stadium is secondary to breathing life into a team that has not held our interest in I recent years. ' ' And once you get past the one fact that Ilitch has already made obvious that signing Cecil Fielder is his 'biggest priority there are no guarantees to anybody. ' Only Mickey Tettleton, Rob Deer and Dan Gladden are signed for next year, Tettleton at $3.3 million, Deer at $2 million and Gladden at $1 million, and it would be a good ; idea to dump Gladden and Deer into the expansion draft in ' November and hope one of the two new franchises gobble !np them and their salaries. ; The Tigers can protect 15 players. And because they Save been in the majors at least 10 years and with the Tigers at least five, Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Frank ', Janana and Dave Bergman must be protected unless they I waive that right. I Bergman and Tanana are both 39, near the end of long Careers, and it's difficult to imagine their place in the I Tigers' future. Both probably would increase their I chances of playing an extra year or two by allowing their J names to go into the draft. J Instead of protecting their past, the Tigers must I protect their future young players who have yet to I make their mark in the majors such as Toledo pitcher Greg Gohr and catcher-outfielder Phil Clark, who has made an impression in his brief appearance in Detroit this $ummer. I j Add Tettleton; pitchers Mike Henneman, David Haas ; and John Doherty; and infielders Trammell, Whitaker, Fielder, Travis Fryman, Scott Livingstone and Tony fhillips to that group, and you have a dozen names and no I protected outfielders, which tells you where the Tigers J need help besides on the mound. t There must be a .300 hitter somewhere, but the Tigers have had only four in the past 15 years: Steve ! Kemp, who hit .318 in 1979; Kirk Gibson, who hit .328 in ; 1981; Whitaker, who hit .320 in 1983; and Trammell, who J has done it six times since 1980, with a high of .343 in 1987. jTrammeirs a tough call J t Trammell will undoubtedly be the toughest case to deal with this winter, from an emotional standpoint. He is the epitome of the Tigers of the '80s, when times were better and pennants were always a reasonable expectation. But he will be 35 before the next season begins and has played only 130 games in the past two seasons 29 this year . because of knee and ankle injuries. This summer, his 1 6th with the Tigers, he made $2.4 million. Even if he heals completely during the winter, he is certain to take a big pay cut because there is no ! guarantee that there will be a place for him to play i regularly now that Fryman has proven himself at short- stop and Livingstone is more at home at third. u And Trammell who should have a place in the 1 organization once his playing days are done will have to fiecide if he would be happy being a utility player. $ Once all that is resolved, Ilitch should brighten next summer by finding a way to get Jim Abbott into a Tigers . ijniform so he could be the Opening Day pitcher next April Oh oices usy IT v s V1 t ft At Tf - V JOHN SWARTAssoctated Press Sparky Anderson, above, general manager Jerry Walker and owner Mike Ilitch face tough personnel decisions this winter. Free-agent pitchers might not be answer TORONTO Mike Ilitch has the money to afford one or more of the top free-agent pitchers in baseball. No one questions that. The Tigers owner could successfully bid for Chicago's Greg Maddux, Toronto's David (Vinp nr Milwan- ""Si kee's Chris Bosio, the 1 1.. . ...L - 1J !.. lauci wnu suuueiuy has 16 victories more than any Tiger. Moreover, Ilitch hasn't put a limit on the payroll for next season. But neither general manager Jerry Walker nor manager Sparky Anderson seems eager to spend Ilitch's money on free-agent pitchers. Walker won't talk names for next season who's staying and who's going. But he and Anderson have hinted who won't be coming: Maddux, Cone or Bosio. Ilitch expressed reservations about free-agent pitchers in his introductory press conference several weeks ago. First, they can't justify the investment. Walker also regards free-agent pitchers as the biggest financial risk in baseball; they get hurt or become .500 pitchers much more John Lowe Baseball i Ilitch 9 winter Wait till hext year What can fans expect from the '93 Tigers? John Lowe takes a look at the Tigers' roster and how it might be affected by free agency and the expansion draft, and tells what each player's chances are to return. Page 5B. Also inside Braves beat Padres, set franchise record with 96th victory. Lasorda, Claire to meet with Dodgers president next week. Brewers-Blue Jays one-game playoff would be Monday in Toronto. Page 4B. A: "Ante H y0 "NV "" i is. 4 I ' - I ' 4 X ! ( t ".ms ...... j i J - 1 often than they remain dominant. Who besides Roger Clemens has been a dominant pitcher for more than the last few seasons? Within the last week, these statements were made: Walker. "I'm not going to throw money away. I don't take the lack of a payroll limit to mean we have an unlimited payroll. To me, it s means that if we're one player away, we should go after him without having a payroll - A Eye On the east TEAM W L PCT GB Toronto 93 66 .585 Milwaukee 91 68 .572 2 FRIDAY'S RESULTS Detroit at Toronto, Ire Milwaukee at Oakland, inc. GAMES LEFT: Toronto (3) -vs. Detroit (3). Milwaukee (3) at Oakland (3). Magic number 2. TUT limit to stop us." Anderson: "You'll suffer until you develop pitching." Secondly, there's more wrong with this team than pitching. Its offense remains one-dimensional in too many games, over-reliant on the home run and the big inning. Asked if the current Tigers could win a championship with better pitching, Walker said, "If we had the best pitching staff in the league; if we weren't giving up more than about three runs per game." But otherwise, no. The Tigers have been in the bottom three in American League pitching the last four seasons. Even moving up to fourth or fifth in pitching probably wouldn't be enough. "We don't have enough ways to score runs without power," Walker said. "We don't manufacture enough runs." The Tigers strike out so often (four of them have combined for more than 500), and they steal so few bases, their lack of contact means they don't advance enough runners. The Tigers lead the majors in runs, but this is because when they have high-scoring games, they score a tot. They're just as vulnerable to being shut down as most clubs. In 24 of their defeats, the Tigers have been held to one run or shut out. Several SafXEXT YEAR, Page 5B Fontes only knows if it's Peete or Kramer By Curt Sylvester Fret Press Sports Writer Rodney Peete returned to practice Friday, but Lions coach Wayne Fontes wasn't about to end the suspense that early. "I'm not ruling him out; I'm not saying he's going to start," Fontes said. "I won't know that until Saturday night; maybe I won't know until game time." Peete, the Lions' starting quarterback, missed the first two days of practice this week with a sprained left ankle and foot. But he was back on the job Friday morning, moving without a limp and ; convinced he will be ready to play in Sunday's game against the New Or-leans Saints at the Silverdome. ) "It's getting a lot better every ; day," Peete said after practice. "I have to get my mind-set that I'm going to be ready to play. If I'm not, I'm not, but I have the mind-set that I'm going to be ready." Whether Peete or his backup, Erik Kramer, starts, the Lions find themselves in a situation that has brought out the best in them at least twice in the past three seasons. Call it the back-to-the-wall syndrome. Just when the outlook seems the most bleak, they respond with : some of their best football. ' It happened in 1989, when they ran off a five-game winning streak after a ! See Lions, page 2B : the Gridiron MATCHUP: Uons (1-3) vs. New Orleans (2-2). WHEN: 1 p.m. Sunday. WHERE: Silverdome. TVRADIO: CBS (blacked out in Detroit area); WWJ-AM (950). LINE: Uons by 1. Also inside Mitch Albom and Free Press Pro Picks. Page 2B College football Iowa receiver Danan Hughes is latest to combine sports. Concussion taught MSls Jim Miller a lesson Bill Walsh, Stanford battle the Notre Dame mystique. Page 7B Wings send two to farm, might trade By Keith Gave Free Press Sports Writer The Red Wings made their final two cuts of the preseason Friday, exporting two imports Czech left wing Petr Hrbek and Russian defenseman Igor Malykhin to their minor league affiliate in Adirondack, N.Y. The Wings leave today on an extended road trip for exhibition games tonight at St. Louis and Sunday at: Chicago, and regular-season games; Tuesday at Winnipeg, Thursday at Los Angeles and next Saturday at San Jose They are carrying 25 healthy play-; ers 15 forwards, eight defensemert . and two goaltenders. Sheldon Kennedy is being carried as an extra forward, though he's out for the weekend, at least, with a sore right wrist. . Hrbek's demotion came as a bit of a ; surprise, since he might have been the; best left wing in his first NHL camp,; scoring three goals and four points in-, four exhibition games. That explains why coach Murray emphasized that'-the assignment is only temporary. "Petr Hrbek is going down until Oct. 19, then he's coming back here," Murray said. "We're going on a road" trip, and rather than start him on the road with all the stuff that goes with it, he'll have a chance to play and have some success down there with lots of ice time. In the long run, it will really be; beneficial for him. And hopefully by; then we'D have a solution to our rum' ', bers problem." j Murray said he is continuing talks! with other clubs about his surplus! See RED WLNtrf, Page 12B t. . si

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