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Tigers Put Baseball in Detroit’s Background

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Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press commenting on the woeful Tigers, who fired Manager Phil Garner and General Manager Randy Smith when the team was 0-6 and were winless through the first 10 games:

“Under Smith, they became the losingest team in baseball. Under Garner, they went backward. The fans departed. They lost interest. Detroit is now a hockey town, a football town. It is even becoming slowly, once again, a basketball town.

“But it’s a baseball town in memory only. Fourteen seasons without the playoffs will do that.”

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More Tigers: “We need to play harder and better,” team President Dave Dombrowski said, “but a lot of people think this team is a sleeping giant.”

Albom: “More sleeping than giant, Dave.”

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Trivia time: Tiger Woods won the Masters by a record 12 strokes in 1997. Who was runner-up?

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Franchise savior: Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel, commenting Friday on Jason Kidd’s contribution to the New Jersey Nets:

“He is the odds-on favorite to win MVP, and it’s this statistic that separates him from the pack: 25 wins and counting.

“That’s the number of wins New Jersey has improved this season since his arrival in a stunning off-season trade [with Phoenix].”

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Grim appraisal: Dave D’Allesandro of the Newark (N.J.) Star- Ledger:

“Bad analogy of the year from [the Knicks’] Allen Houston, as playoff elimination approached: ‘It’s like when you have a relative that’s really sick and you know they’re going to die.’”

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Masters hackers: Tsuneyuki Nakajima of Japan used 13 strokes on the par-five 13th hole in 1978. Tom Weiskopf matched the 13 on the par-three 12th hole in 1980.

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Oddity: Craig Wood shot an 88 in the first round of the 1936 Masters, then scored 67 in the second--a difference of 21 strokes.

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Like what? Jason Williams of Memphis, on the possibility that the Grizzlies might draft Jason Williams of Duke:

“If they’re going to pick him, they need to let me know. And then they’re going to have to do something with me when they do that.”

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Comparable: Jim Caple of ESPN.com on the late Queen Mum: “Her reign extended nearly as far back as Mike Morgan’s rookie season.”

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Looking back: On this day in 1967, Boston left-hander Bill Rohr, making his major league debut, lost his bid for a no-hitter when Elston Howard singled for the Yankees with two out in the ninth inning of a 3-0 Red Sox victory.

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Trivia answer: Tom Kite.

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And finally: Frank Fitzpatrick of the Philadelphia Inquirer commenting irreverently on the Masters:

“Wouldn’t it be great to see John Daly win and then, during the solemn presentation ceremony, pop open a Budweiser and burn a hole in his green jacket with ashes from his Marlboro?

“Wouldn’t you give anything to hear a caddie say, ‘Can someone tell me why we have to dress like Good Humor men in these silly white coveralls?’”

Mal Florence

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