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Detroit Free Press from Detroit, Michigan • Page 43

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Detroit, Michigan
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Page:
43
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DETROIT FREE PRESS Sutton 'beats' down on Kicklaus: Hal Sutton shot a course-record 271 Sunday to win the Memorial Golf tournament at Dublin, Ohio. Page 2D. Sports Phone, 1-976-1313 Monday, May 26, 1836 TIGER CORNER SCOREBOARD COMICS 22-6660 I Call with tporti now: 222-6660 Prep report Page 8D Nine basketball officials penalized Frankfort doubles diamond success This week's prep stars and rankings Timers rake A9s over Coles Hitch 'jl fllbom Redemption in 2-1 win By JOHN LOWE Free Press Sports Writer The toughest thing for Darnell Coles and Jose Canseco is not the curve ball. Nor is it having jet lag interspersed with 162 games. Nor is it, getting along with their older teammates.

The hardest thing for them, and for any other first-year regular in the majors, is accepting the fact that they are going to make mistakes. At Tiger Stadium Sunday, Oakland's Canseco made one of his few big mistakes. It gave Coles the chance make that the challenge to overcome some of the troubles he's had lately. See TIGERS, Page 5D Sparky won't rush Gibson By GENE GUIDI Free Press Sports Writer Tigers manager Sparky Anderson said Sunday that he might not play Kirk Gibson until Friday at the earliest. Gibson out since April 22 with a sprained left ankle had said Saturday that he hoped to be back in uniform as a pinch hitter when the Tigers open their West Coast swing on Wednesday against the California Angels.

"I'll wait until the last possible minute before I make a decision," Anderson said. "I want to talk to Kirk and the doctors again tomorrow (Monday) before I do anything for sure. I know Kirk is chomping at the bit to get back, and I know it sure would be nice having him back with us. We certainly need him. But I have to weigh everything, and then decide." See GIBSON, Page 5D 1 I i jj 1 -J I -V" jv I VV- tfS.

Free Press Photo by MARY SCHROEDER Lance Parrish congratulates Walt Terrell on his four-hitter. THe 40-game conclusion: Tigers' glass is half -empty OK. Time's up. Sparky Anderson said you can't tell anything about a baseball team until 40 games have been played. Fine.

Sunday was No. 40. What can we tell about the Tigers? Well. That depends. You want the optimistic version or the realistic one? The optimistic version says this: Without Kirk Gibson, with a weird streak of poor pitching, with a weird streak of poor hitting by Lance Parrish, Larry Herndon and Alan Trammell, and with enough bumps, breaks and hamstring pulls to last a season, the Tigers have still managed to stay afloat.

And from now on things will be better. Of course, optimists always say, "From now on things will be better." That is what makes them optimists. Realists look at the Tigers, look at the way they've lost 20 of 40 games, cluck their tongues and say, "This is a mediocre team, that's all. By the way, my glass is half-empty." Which are you? Well, if every time the Tigers win two in a row a voice inside you says, "The magic Is back," you're in the first category. But the fact is, the Tigers have won two games in a row several times this season they've even won three games in a row and they've come back to lose just as many.

Forgive me for a moment. But I'm going to jump into the second category, the realistic one, and see how things look from in there. No championship chemistry Well. It's dark in here, for starters. On one wall are all the different lineups the Tigers have used this season.

On another is a tote board of how many men the Tigers have left on base 49 in the last six games alone. There's the team ERA, painted in red. There's a picture of Darrell Evans, who has hit nine homers, but driven in only 20 runs, and Willie Hernandez, whose glory is fading fast. And a framed portrait of Sparky Anderson. Ah yes.

Whenever things go wrong in baseball, people point at the manager. Stop by any Detroit saloon or office watercooler these days and you'll likely hear anti-Sparky sentiment. "He pulls pitchers too fast. He changes the lineup too much." Well. The manager doesn't swing the bat or throw the pitch.

Yes, perhaps Sparky has over-monkeyed with the lineup. In an effort to meet every statistical probability lefty against righty, righty against lefty he has overlooked a very human consequence: It is hard to build confidence and leadership in players who never know if they'll be sitting this game out. (Interestingly, in Saturday's 4-1 win over the A's one of the better games the Tigers have played the starting pitcher went the distance and the starting lineup remained intact.) But and this is a BIG but that doesn't explain everything. There is a chemistry lacking with the Tigers. The kind of thing that pounces on scoring opportunities, chews up teams on the road, and is convinced that the pennant was created with the Detroit insignia on it.

Without it, you can forget it. Where is the leader? Say what you will about overrating Gibson, but Anderson's hope for another spark plug when Gibson went down was wishful thinking: Parrish, an obvious choice, was struggling; Evans has not been timely with -his hits, and he is too quiet by nature; so are Herndon and Lou Whitaker; Chet Lemon is a nice guy but not a man the team would rally behind; Trammell has seemed too involved with recovering his own confidence to worry about inspiring others; Darnell Coles is a rookie; Dave Collins is a newcomer, a quiet newcomer at that. So who does that leave you? None of the players has been electric. The pitchers excluding Walt Terrell and Jack Morris on occasion have been less than inspiring, despite their rave reviews in spring training. Recently, Anderson commented that the Boston Red Sox, who lead the AL East, exhibit that "special something" that already has given them "five wins in a row that they wouldn't win in a normal year." It's that intangible something that is so far missing from the boys of Detroit.

Yes, Gibson should be back soon. And the Tigers have won their last two games which means some of you are getting juiced up again. But this is not 1984. The more time passes, the more it becomes clear that 1984 was the weird year, not the years that have followed. Since then, the Tigers have specialized in inconsistency.

What they shine in one day, they sink in the next. So what is real? This is real: A .500 record would put the Tigers in a tie for first place in the American League West. Only they are in the American League East. In sixth place. And clawing back to the top of this division will be like climbing an iceberg.

Slow, and slippery. Forty are gone and 1 22 remain. Summer will be more fun if the optimists are right. But for now, I'm going to swallow hard and be realistic. It has taken the Tigers 40 chances to get back to square one.

Forty more like this and the season is over. Rain postpones Indy until today Strategies may change if weather wet again oftor mi lans f252U milesV If it is halted after that point Sunday's rain forced a one-day delay of the Indianapolis 500. The race wH begin at noon today and will be televised by ABC (Channel 7 in Detroit) and broadcast over WWJ 950-AM beginning at 1 1 a.m. The postponement was the eighth such delay In Indy 500 history. The others; 1915: Race postponed two days because of rain.

1926: Race stopped after 400 miles because of rain. 1950: Race stopped after 345 miles because of rain. 1967: Race interrupted by rain after 18 laps, finished the next day." 1 973: Race stopped after one lap by accident, postponed, by rain before it could be restarted; rained out next day; restarted on third day, stopped after 332tt miles by rain. 1975: Race stopped after 435 miles because of rain. 1976: Race stopped after 255 miles because of rain.

and does not resume, the leader is declared the winner. So a threat of rain forces drivers to gun for the lead as quickly as possible. That could be dangerous. "If it looks like we're not going to be able to run the full 500 miles, no one can afford to be conservative early," Tom Sneva said. "The shorter the race, the more aggressive you have to be.

That could lead to some trouble at the start. "But this is going to be a tough race anyway. The cars are so equal and the turbulence makes it tough to pass. I think you'll see a lot of ties coming into the corners. And ties in the corner at this place mean trouble.

We'll have to be heads up." See INDY 500, Page 7D By CLIFTON BROWN Free Press Sports Writer INDIANAPOLIS The cars, the drivers and more than 300,000 fans were ready for the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday. Mother Nature wasn't. So they'll try again today. The race has been rescheduled for noon (ABC-TV, Channel 7 in Detroit beginning at 11 a.m.). "This is such a big event, it seems almost unacceptable to have the start delayed," driver Mario Andretti said.

"And I know the forecasts for tomorrow (Monday) aren't that good." Indeed, forecasts for today and Tuesday call for an 80 percent chance of rain. If the race is postponed today, it will be rescheduled for Tuesday. Should the Indy 500 begin under threatening skies, the drivers' strategy will change. The race becomes official NBA final It has something for everyone i s'J. i Wr i mnmmA I i I 1U A.

Finally, tha fiad 1 vSt I Boston and Houston begin the best-of-seven NBA final series at 3 p.m. today at Boston Garden (CBS-TV, Channel 2 in Detroit). The remainder of the schedule; Ml I i i.1 A By JOHNETTE HOWARD Free Press Sports Writer BOSTON The 40th renewal of the NBA championship series promises to be a compelling blend of the past and the future. Expect everything and don't be surprised by anything the favored Boston Celtics and party-crashing Houston Rockets pull off. Beginning today at the Gah-den (3 p.m., CBS-TV, Channel 2 in Detroit), the best-of-seven series promises plenty of golden moments above the rim and some grind-it-out games beneath it.

So you like a little brawn with your ballet? OK. Or just concentrate on the bomb-lobbing perimeter shooters. But also expect some thread-the-needle passes whose unimpeded flight from sender to receiver may defy description. And don't forget these names: Akeem and Bird and McHale and See NB FINAL, Page 60 Date Site Time Thursday at Boston 9 p.m. Sunday at Houston 3:30 p.m.

June 3 at Houston 9 p.m. 'June 5 at Houston 9 p.m. 'June 8 at Boston 1 p.m. 'June 11 at Boston 9 p.m. SI 1 if necessary Scouting report on the final, Peg 6D.

Ticket trouble In Houston, Page 2D. Fans mill around an overturned car late Saturday night in Montreal during a wild and often violent street celebration after the Canadians beat Calgary to win the Stanley Cup. Stories. Page 6D. 4.

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