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The musings of a Detroit-area sportswriter in the digital age.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Can't we just watch the Pistons lose in peace?

Did you miss Taio Cruz? Kicking yourself over the time you forgot Miami and T-Pain were visiting The Palace? Those obnoxious theme nights and halftime guests of hip hop also-rans are expected to continue for the foreseeable future, according to Palace president Dennis Mannion, who told the Free Press the Pistons would be hosting these distractions even if the Pistons didn't have a .200 winning percentage.
"It goes right into time usage and the quality of an experience," Mannion said recently. "You never know if you are going to win or lose, right? You really don't, but you want to make sure as a consumer that when I come out I'm going to be a hero to my kids and be a hero to my friends and have a good time."
Can't we just watch the Pistons lose in peace? Does every game need to be turned into a spectacle, concert and/or some other type of anomaly? We don't even have any evidence to suggest these stunts are drawing fans to the games. 
Last Friday was 80s Night with Morris Day against the Atlanta Hawks. 14,010 fans. Good, but far from a sellout. As I mentioned last time I lamented the Pistons' staggeringly low attendance, The Palace has the NBA's largest seating capacity at more than 22,000. (That may change, as owner Tom Gores is having some of the luxury suites removed.)
Crain's Detroit reported, two days ago, the Pistons are dead last in NBA attendance at just 12,619 per game. 
So what about that aforementioned stop by T-Pain ... and the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat?18,058. Again, not a sellout. If you can't fill the place for the biggest names in the game, it's not going to happen.
It's a rebuilding time. I remember the last one in my childhood, 1993-94. It was terrible, but the Pistons ended up with Grant Hill and a string of first-round playoff exits. What Mannion and Gores are doing would be admirable if they weren't reaching so far. If there were giveaways and more genuine fan interaction, as that Freep story indicates there may be, fans will show for big games. You just have to hope the Pistons do, too.
Mannion and his Palace Sports and Entertainment team surely have one of the worst gigs in town right now. Their brainstorming sessions are an unenviable exercise in futility. I'm not sure if anyone would notice if they just stopped lining up obscure halftime acts right now and saved their money.
Maybe it's the type of promotion being offered. Over-the-top spectacles as opposed to practical giveaways. Maybe Tom Gores has been in L.A. too long and needs some promotions with Midwest appeal. I'd certainly be more intrigued by a cheap ticket, free parking, beer, hot dogs or other offerings. Maybe it's time for that route.
On that note remember, tonight is 90s night, and Vanilla Ice (surely you remember him before he had a show about "flipping" houses) performs that song you sometimes hear at weddings as the 4-20 Pistons play the equally poor Milwaukee Bucks for the third time this short season. Also, Flo Rida visits Feb. 19 ... along with the Boston Celtics.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Super Bowl primer for journalists and other know-it-all types

Whether you have tickets to the big game or not, be mindful when writing about the Super Bowl. Photo by The Associated Press
The Associated Press, in an effort to better prepare journalists and anyone who cares, has issued a Super Bowl style guide based on its wildly popular AP Stylebook. Below are some highlights:
  • Postseason vs. playoffs — Playoffs refers only to the wild-card, divisional round and AFC and NFC conference championship games. 
  • Use figures for yardage i.e. 5-yard gain
  • end zone is two words, lower case
  • halftime — one word, also lower case
  • kick off (v.) and kickoff (n., adj.) "The Giants will kick off to the Patriots, as New York prepares for the kickoff" 
  •  offside — no s. Americans tend to add 's' to words (and stores) which don't need them.
  • sideline, on the sidelines
  • All-Pro is a term designated for AP first-team All-Pros. A Pro Bowl selection does not by itself make a player an All-Pro. 
  • coach, owner and general manager — all lower case. People have a tendency to capitalize ALL titles.
  • "Hail Mary" is to be avoided. AP suggests "desperation pass."
  • "end zone" not pay dirt. 
  • There's no such thing as a "forward lateral." A lateral is tossed sideways or backward. 
  • A couple favorites from my memory banks: Super Bowl is two words, capitalized. Always list the winning score first i.e. the Giants won the Super Bowl, 22-17.
So now you've been warned. Don't go making a Facebook invite to your Superbowl party, because I won't come.

Detroit logo mashup intriguing, but the 'D' needs more prominence

Sports Grid recently created a graphic hypothesizing what it would look like if each of a city's professional sports teams' logos were put together. They're all pretty creative and I've cropped out the Detroit logo at right. Detroit's is above average with the Red Wings' wings added to Lions' broad shoulders as the Leo is propped up on the Pistons' signature basketball.
But what's troubling about Detroit's emblem, and makes it evident it was designed by somebody outside of Michigan, is that relative dismissal of the Olde English D. It appears as some sort of shoulder tattoo on the lion. Maybe put the D on the basketball? What do you think?

Justin Verlander throws heat in video game form, too

Detroit Tigers ace and reigning AL MVP Justin Verlander has the distinction of appearing on the cover of the new "MLB 2K12," which comes out March 6. Watch him strike out a rookie in the game's trailer below:

My question is: Will Prince Fielder be in the Tigers' pretend opening day lineup? And will the game's engineers put him at first base or DH? It's certain Tigers fans will have fun with the lineup possibilities. And isn't it possible Victor Martinez will play in video game form? I'd like to know how long before the first Tigers record projections based on the game begin to make the rounds. ...
Former Tigers flamethrower Joel Zumaya, now with the Minnesota Twins, was skewered by The Onion last week:
"Injury-plagued fireball reliever Joel Zumaya informed reporters Monday that his new $800,000 contract with the Twins obligates him to throw one last beautifully self-destructive pitch that will finally annihilate his arm forever."
The "story" goes on to say Zumaya's one-pitch deal is rich with incentives for velocity, accuracy and "the horrifying sound his elbow makes when it implodes from the torque."