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

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Malice at The Palace puts World Peace on hold

NBA commissioner David Stern admitted in a Wednesday Associated Press story that the involvement of the basketball player formerly known as Ron Artest in the infamous brawl quickly dubbed "Malice at The Palace" played a role in the former's seven-game suspension meted out Tuesday night.
It seemed for a few years, though, newly-named Metta World Peace was going to put his rep behind him. That was until he launched a blatant elbow to the head of Oklahoma City's James Hardin. It seems "Malice" will likely follow World Peace to his (its?) grave.

It seems like "Malice" would automatically qualify as the worst NBA brawl of all-time. Not so according to a recent Associated Press rundown of the worst fights, which puts the Nov. 2004 Donnybrook at No. 2.
What's more astonishing is the fact not a single fight involving the late 1980s Bad Boy Pistons teams were mentioned in the list. No fights with the Celtics, Bulls or Sir Charles.
Maybe it was just too difficult to pick from all the fights, but what Artest did Sunday wouldn't make a Detroit Piston from the late 80s flinch. Yet World Peace's elbow is ranked No. 4. 
With the exception of the list's top fracas, "Kermit Washington vs. Rudy Tomjanovich," the rundown skews very modern. In fact, it lists just one other fight from the NBA's Wild 80s: "Kurt Rambis vs. Kevin McHale."
I highly doubt World Peace's infraction will be remembered in history higher than the shenanigans of the Pistons, so I leave you with this.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Todd Bertuzzi is taking the Wings' ping pong ball and going home

The Red Wings' Todd Bertuzzi may have endeared himself to fans much quicker than any of his circus shootout goals this season when he reportedly asked security at Joe Louis Arena to stop Nashville Predators players from using the team's table tennis equipment after Monday's practice.
The table tennis set reportedly resides in the hallway between the home and visiting locker rooms at the arena.
The Wings' defacto enforcer, as seen in Friday's Game 2 when he went toe to toe with Shea Weber, exercised the same calculated thinking used in those aforementioned shootouts to preserve the sanctity of the Red Wings' ritual.
Former Wings TV play-by-play announcer Dave Strader grew Bertuzzi's legend, saying he simply folded up the table and wheeled it into storage.
The Nashville response seemed a bit retaliatory:
“If they want a ping pong table in Nashville, I’m more than willing to give them one,” Nashville coach Barry Trotz said. “It’s their toys. We have our toys, all those things, a Ping-Pong table, our balls. We’re OK. We’ve got a soccer ball. We have our things that we do. There’s nothing really to it. That’s their decision, it’s their toy.”
A Nashville spokesperson reportedly compared the situation to a visiting team using the home team's workout facilities. The Free Press also noted:
"The Wings feel it's only fair to keep the Predators away from their hallway, as the Predators won't allow the Wings to walk through the hallway outside their locker room at Bridgestone Arena, forcing the Wings to walk around to exit."
So it seems the situation really is as childish as it seems, but I can't blame Bertuzzi, security or the Wings for wanting to keep their "toy" to themselves after the bad blood that has developed during this series.
Could it be just the next thing in a series of events that turns the momentum in this series?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Pistons discount jacket for season ticket-holders a step in the right promotional direction

The Pistons are offering a more logical promotion
The Pistons seem to have heard my pleas in a previous post where I suggested using practical promotions to lure fans back to The Palace. Sort of.
We’ve been subjected to countless also-ran halftime acts, each at least five years past his, her or their prime this season.
It seems the brass have decided to entice season ticket holders current and future with the allure of a Pistons warmup jacket. The apparel is nice on its own, but the jacket apparently has a chip embedded somewhere (hopefully near the wrist) that, when scanned, offers Pistons Black and Pistons Red members discounts on concessions and merchandise. 
(It has also been reported there will be no increase in ticket prices, but the writing was sort of already on the wall for that one.)
The Pistons said on their website about the jackets:
“As a Pistons season ticket-holder, you'll be granted exclusive privileges and treated to unparalleled service as members of Pistons Black or Pistons Red. Wear your eye-catching Pistons On-Court Jacket, issued only to Black and Red members, to get 20 percent off Palace concessions and 30 percent off merchandise through the jacket's embedded microchip.”
The swag has drawn the eyes of various bloggers who raise the question: “What’s to stop fans from loaning the jacket to another person.”
Quick answer: Probably nothing.
Better question: If the Pistons start winning early next season, will the chips be deactivated once the team reaches a predetermined win total?
The video accompanying last week’s announcement doesn’t answer many questions, either.
Nevertheless, it’s a step in the right direction. Now if they could just knock down that parking fee …

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Golf preview coming Sunday

Golf enthusiasts should dig through their Sunday print editions of The Oakland Press for our annual golf preview with features on the U.S. Senior Open, a Rochester Adams freshman seeking a second straight appearance in the Michigan Amateur and the expansion of Carl's Golfland in Bloomfield Hills.
Below is an interactive map of the area's public courses. If you click to view the larger size, you can get traffic and weather conditions near your destination. Directions can be printed, emailed or synced to your GPS if plugged in to your computer, as well.

View 2012 Oakland County Golf Courses in a larger map

An interesting couple of days in sports journalism

As pointed out by Deadspin, a Baltimore paper left a hole for the Red Wings-Predators Game 1 summary that Detroit fans likely would've used to scribble in obscenities about Shea Weber.
It appears a copy editor, like many would, put in the early game, leaving a space for the later game. This is standard operating procedure, but I don't recall a time when we forgot to put in the game we were holding for. That in mind, I've only been at The Oakland Press for about five years. There are also very likely many more egregious errors an editor could make.
... A sports writer recently gave himself a pat on the back, using a fake press release to announce his new job on his WordPress and Tumblr accounts. Jim Romenesko reported the writer had been fired from his new job at a Delaware paper for using a company logo on the fake press release posted to his own social media. The reporter also used info from his formal job offer as quoted material in the announcement. 
It's a pretty funny idea, but if you take those two parts out, it would still be hilarious to send a press release to promote your new gig. It's not clear why this writer went the extra step to land himself in hot water with the quotes and graphic.
And after such a stunt, what are the odds he could get his first job back?
... Lastly, posed the question: How does the relationship between an athlete and a writer affect coverage?
We would all like to think we're above letting our emotions get the best of us when it comes to writing.
I would say I have a good relationship with Oakland coach Greg Kampe and his players, but I can instantly think of one time recently where I set that aside in the name of a story. It was the conference quarterfinal against Southern Utah where Reggie Hamilton missed multiple free throws that could have put the game away for Oakland, rather than the 11-point collapse that occurred that night in Sioux Falls at the Summit League Tournament.

Having covered high school and college athletes in my career, I'm not sure how a professional player might respond to such treatment. I would like to assume they would realize it's part of the day-to-day coverage and not make a scene the next time we meet, but who knows? Perhaps he or she would make a scene. Just another quirk about being a journalist I suppose.
I don't believe I've ever had an overly negative impression of a story subject in either sports or news. Again, writers should be able to suppress any personal feelings outside of writing a column.