Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Detroit Sports Shorts

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

It's so difficult to talk about every Major Headline both on the Metro Detroit Sports Scene as well as Nationally.

So from time to time a New Theme is being introduced today.

It's called Sports Shorts. There will be Detroit Sports Shorts and National Sports Shorts.

Today, I'm going to talk about My Hometown Detroit.

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Bill Bonds Tribute: Bill was My All-Time Favorite News Anchor in Detroit! Paired with Diana Lewis, this was one of the best anchor teams that I've ever seen including living in Major Areas such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, FLA, Tampa Bay, FLA, Phoenix, AZ and Charlotte, NC.

But what stands out about Bonds in my eyes was we used to spend time together at the Pistons games during the Pre and Post Bad Boys Era. We talked about life and basketball at dinner as well during halftime. He came across to me as down to earth and easy to get along with. We had Mutual Respect for one another and this showed in our conversations. I referred to him as a fellow colleague.

Bonds died at the age of 82 at his Bloomfield Hills, MI home on December 13, 2014 of a heart attack. I followed the tributes of Bill online and it just made me that much prouder when I was living in Metro Detroit knowing we had great memories together.

Rest In Peace Bill. When I return to the Palace to cover Pistons games in the future, it just won't be the same because someone will be missing. It's you Bill! God Bless. Now God can appreciate your candor as well as your ability to speak your mind.

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Gordie Howe: Things didn't look good for another Detroit Sports Icon. Gordie Howe has been suffering from dementia and had a major stroke on October 26, 2014 at his daughter's house in Texas. Things looked bleak for Mr. Hockey, who is now 86-years old.

Mr. Hockey needed to score one goal and it was in a country that didn't even know him. Mexico is known for having an excellent soccer tradition.

But this country gave the Hockey World hope that a stem cell procedure could make a difference and enable Mr. Hockey to hang around with us.

According to Howe's family, they described the treatment as neural stem cells injected into the spinal canal as well as mesenchymal stem cells administered by intravenous infusion.

These stem cell therapies haven't been approved by government regulators in Canada or the U.S.

Now that Gordie Howe's health has dramatically improved due to this procedure in Mexico, it usually takes one legendary name to increase awareness towards making progress to cure a disease.

Magic Johnson's HIV Virus which leads to Aids used to be a Death Sentence. Now Johnson's awareness has changed that perception just like Howe's situation could very well do the same.

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Mike Babcock continues to amaze me! The Red Wings currently have a six-game winning streak and are once again making a run to return to the playoffs. Babcock has the Red Wings in first place as of this post with a 28-11-9 record for 65 points in the Atlantic Division following a 5-4 road win over the Florida Panthers. Detroit plays at second place Tampa Bay (30-15-4, 64) on Thursday Night.

On April 8, 2014, Babcock earned his 414th career win as head coach of the Red Wings to surpass Jack Adams as the winningest coach in Detroit History.

On December 6, 2014, Babcock earned his 500th career win as a head coach becoming the second fastest in league history to do so. Only Hall of Famer, and Former Red Wings Coach Scotty Bowman reached the 500 win plateau faster.

It's no secret that Babcock will become a free agent after this season.

There have been rumors that the Toronto Maple Leafs would covet and try to hire him. But keep in mind that Babcock is a Smart Man!

He's won Gold Medals, a Stanley Cup, and he knows that the Maple Leafs have been a struggling franchise for years.

As of this post, Toronto has a 22-23-3 mark for 47 points. The Maple Leafs are in seventh place ahead of the Buffalo Sabres, whom are entrenched in the Atlantic Division basement.

Here's the bottom line.

Babcock will listen to what Toronto offers and don't be surprised if the Red Wings either match or increase that offer.

Babcock's decision will come down to what team has a better chance to win. The 51-year-old coach isn't looking for a rebuilding project. He knows he has a good young group of players as the Red Wings continue to retool.

Plus, he has an owner in Mike Illitch that has deep pockets to attract free agents and secure his younger players with contract extensions. It helps to have a brilliant GM in Ken Holland.

Should he keep coaching the Red Wings, his records behind the bench will never get broken!

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Max Scherzer is now the ace of the Washington Nationals. The one-time franchise which was the Montreal Expos spent $210 Million to lure him to the Nations Capital.

Rarely do the Tigers lose a free agent due to money. But after doing research on pitchers in their 30's that get these deals, they backfire for those organizations. They run into arm troubles which could lead to surgery due to wear and tear on their arms.

When you think of the fact that the New York Yankeees, Boston Red Sox, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Tigers weren't destinations for Scherzer, this gives Detroit justification as to why Scherzer is gone.

I don't blame the Tigers for not re-signing Scherzer.

He turned down a 6-year $144 Million offer last spring much to the frustration of Owner Mike Illitch. We're talking $24 Million per-year in an economically struggling area turning down this money. Even though Scherzer said he deferred half of his money in an attempt to lure other players and collect later, that's all well and good.

I could care less about the full page ad that Scherzer took out to thank the Tigers and fans. The Tigers were patient with his early struggles and he made a lot of money. He should be thankful.

It also helped that Scherzer had lots of run support in the Tigers line-up.

But the Tigers were smart that they traded for Tampa Bay Rays Ace David Price at the Trade Deadline.

I have a feeling after he gets comfortable at Pitcher Friendly Comerica Park the Tigers will sign him to an extension.

There could be other moves for President/GM Dave Dombrowski either before Spring Training, during the Regular Season leading up to the Trade Deadline.

In the end, Detroit will be fine and at least he's in the National League so the Tigers won't have to face him on a regular basis.

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The Lottery Pick which the Detroit Pistons lost to the Charlotte Hornets isn't haunting the team yet. Charlotte got the No.9 overall selection in a deal that past President Joe Dumars made. Noah Vonleh wears No.11 for the Hornets, which is the same number Isiah Thomas had in Detroit. They both played at Indiana, but that's where the similarities end.

Vonleh, 19, is a 6-10, 240 pound power forward has struggled this season due to injuries and has divided time with the NBA Developmental League's Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

He's currently averaging 1.9 points-per-game, 2.3 rebounds-per-game and 0.1 assists-per-game in eight games.

The Hornets are currently 19-26 and are currently in the eighth and final seed as of this post.

At least the Pistons don't have this trade hanging over them anymore.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com.

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