Sports

Sunset on Mackinac

Stephanie of Stephanie Stevens Photography recently added a few timelapses from Mackinac Island to the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr. About her incredible timelapse of Mackinac Island harbor at sunset, she writes:

Hour & a halfish time lapse of Mackinac Island as the sun goes down, with ferries coming & going, horse carriages & bicycles on the streets, people in the park, & even some glowing Frisbees. :)

Watch it in HD and definitely check out Stephanie’s Flickr, her photography site and also a timelapse of stars at Arch Rock. More from Mackinac on Absolute Michigan.

A Very Michigan Thanksgiving


Turkey by Vaughan

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and over a million Michiganians will soon be hitting the road to attend family get-togethers and enjoying annual traditions. To help get ready for the upcoming holiday we have compiled a bunch of informative and entertaining Thanksgiving related links for you to enjoy.

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    MVP for Miggy: Miguel Cabrera is American League Most Valuable Player

MVP for Miggy: Miguel Cabrera is American League Most Valuable Player

Cabrera 1 by RichardDemingPhotography
Cabrera 1 by RichardDemingPhotography

The American League Most Valuable Player Award is staying in Detroit for a second year. The Detroit Tigers explain that Cabrera powered to the MVP in the same way he slugged his way to the first Triple Crown in 45 years:

In the long-anticipated battle of historic seasons, Cabrera put an exclamation point on his 2012 Triple Crown campaign on Thursday with the AL MVP, beating out Angels rookie sensation Mike Trout in voting cast by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Cabrera received 22 of 28 first-place votes, with Trout receiving the other six. Cabrera finished with 362 points. Trout had 281, with the total points distributed on a 14-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis.

…It marked the second straight MVP award for a Tigers player, Cabrera following in the footsteps of vocally supportive teammate Justin Verlander, and the first MVP for a Venezuelan-born player. It’s the first MVP for a Tigers position player since Hank Greenberg in 1940.

Definitely read on for more including a great interview with Miggy from MLB TV. Cabrera joins an elite list of Tiger MVP winners: Ty Cobb, Mickey Cochrane, Hank Greenberg (x2), Charlie Gehringer, Hal Newhouser (x2), Denny McLain, Willie Hernández and Justin Verlander (in 2011).

While Cabrera is the 2nd Tiger in as many years to win MVP, he’s the first Venezuelan ever to win the award, and it was celebrated last night in Venezuela. On his Twitter last night “Cabrerita” said: “This MVP was for the fans in Detroit and Venezuela. Support from God, my family, and teammates made it possible.”

Despite the fact that Cabrera ran away with the vote, it was anything but certain heading in. Pollster and numbers geek Nate Silver who went 50-50 in his state voting predictions in the election, sharpened his skills in sabermetrics (baseball stats). He laid out a compelling case for the Angels rookie phenom Mike Trout, but baseball writer Phil Rogers concluded that his fellow sportswriters did the right thing in choosing Cabrera.

Samara at Roar of the Tigers has the definitive MiguelVP cartoon, and here’s a great video from BLB of Cabrera’s 2012 highlights:

  • Chased by Tigers
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    Detroit Tigers face the San Francisco Giants in the 2012 World Series

Detroit Tigers face the San Francisco Giants in the 2012 World Series

The Detroit Tigers Theme Song was written by Ernie Harwell and set to a scene from the movie TIGER TOWN (1983), starring Roy Scheider. Time for a rental or NetFlix maybe?

A few observations in the middle of a (so far) nightmarish Game 1:

Some twitters that we’re having fun following. Some are definitely off-color!

  • @Tigers is the official twitter of the Detroit Tigers and while they’re mostly an occasional play-by-play, they have a gem every so often, Detroit’s own Eminem is playing over the speakers at AT&T Park. Detroit already taking over in the Bay!
  • @roartigers aka Sam of Roar of the Tigers is a favorite of Absolute Michigan and a truly funny person. Die in an internet server fire, MLB. RT @MLB This is known as ‘maximum effort’ – pic.twitter.com/a0KvKZzJ
  • @HuffPostDetroit has some great tweets and a running battle with their San Francisco counterparts. Okay, Hunter Pence’s long arms didn’t get him any closer to hitting anything thrown at him @HuffPostSF
  • @JeffDaniels is of course that Jeff Daniels and a huge Tiger fan. All right I’m back. Oh, look. Zito not only hits like Mays, he’s throwing like Marichal. (The SF hurler’s game vs Warren Spahn in the ’62 series is judged one of the best ever
  • @PhilCokesBrain is definitely PG-13 but has some hilarious observations like The good news is we aren’t as worried about JV’s pitch count anymore.
  • @TerryFoster971 has some very cogent insight. Regarding Delmon Youn’s inexplicable failure to run he tweeted ok it looks like the Mr. October stuff is done. That was Mr. dumb dumb 
  • @Bob Wojnowski is the Detroit News lead sportswriter. Verlander gets the first-inning HR out of the way. We’ve seen it a few times and he usually gets stronger. But this is a crazy, cozy park.
  • @freepsports: For what it’s worth, in three of the four seasons the #Tigers won the #WorldSeries, they lost Game 1. #keepthefaith #Tigers2012
  • @StarEagle is Dave Hogg, photographer and frequent Absolute Michigan contributer.
Got more to add? Share it in the comments!

 

Miguel Cabrera wins Triple Crown!

Carl Yastrzemski, Frank Robinson, Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Ted Williams, Joe Medwick, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Chuck Klein, Rogers Hornsby, Nap Lajoie and the Tigers own Ty Cobb. All are members of the Baseball Hall of Fame and all are on the short list of Triple Crown winners since 1900.

This elite group is now joined by the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera who last night became just the 15th player and the first since 1967 to win the Triple Crown. The Tiger superstar led the American League with a .330 batting average, belted 44 homers and knocked in 139 RBIs, numbers made all the sweeter by the fact that they helped lead the Tigers to a second straight postseason berth.

Roar of the Tigers has three lovely crowns for Miguel Cabrera. The Freep has a roundup of what national writers are saying about Miguel. You can read the in-depth article on Cabrera’s feat on the Detroit Tigers website, see what Drew Sharp and Bob Wojnowski have to say and also check out quotes on Cabrera’s Triple Crown and a gallery of his 2012 highlights from the Freep.

photo credit: Miguel Cabrera by Keith Allison

 

 

Flint boxer Claressa Shields wins Olympic gold

London Olympics Boxing Women

Clarissa Shields by multimediaimpre

NPR’s Bill Chappell has a feature on Flint gold medalist Claressa Shields, the first woman ever to win middleweight gold. Shields defeated Russia’s Nadezda Torlopova by a score of 19-12 in yesterday’s final. The feature includes a nice account of the title bout and adds a bit about a legend of boxing who took notice of the Flint fighter:

One of Shields’ heroes is legendary boxer Sugar Ray Leonard — who tweeted about her earlier this week: “Your Jab is so solid use it more! Your Hook, wow (just like mine) win every round and bring home the Gold Claressa!”

Speaking by phone with All Things Considered co-host Melissa Block hours after her match, Shields said, “Yeah, you know I was kinda shocked that he tweeted me. I didn’t know, because he didn’t tag me in it. I was like, What?”

“Just hearing he’s been watching me is a complement,” she said. “It means a lot, because he’s somebody who I studied. It was great.”

Also see this piece from Michigan Radio on the reaction from her contemporaries in Flint and definitely don’t miss Teen Contendor from Radio Diaries, who followed her for a month.

PS: If anyone finds a good video from the match, please post it in the comments!

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    Legendary Detroit Red Wings Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom Retires

Legendary Detroit Red Wings Defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom Retires

Retiring today allows me to walk away from the game with pride rather than have the game walk away from me.”
~Nicklas Lidstrom

Lidstrom, our fearless captain by Buzz Click Photography
Lidstrom, our fearless captain by Buzz Click Photography

Nicklas Lidstrom, one of the all-time greatest defensemen in the history of the NHL retires after 20 seasons with the Detroit Red Wings. Sports Illustrated wonders if Lidstrom was the MVP of his era, while Mitch Albom writes in Smiles, tears for Hockeytown hero Nicklas Lidstrom:

It is hard to describe the atmosphere at Lidstrom’s farewell. It was as professional as any I’ve ever witnessed, as emotional as a Swedish good-bye likely ever gets, and as thorough as — well, as Lidstrom’s famous preparation for the game he loved.

The Wings captain read from a statement, then free-formed eloquently, then thanked a laundry list of teammates and coaches — but also thanked the ushers, the equipment guys, the team doctors, the media, even Frank, the guy who fills up the water bottles, and Leslie, “who serves us lunch.”

The fact that Lidstrom knows them, recalls their names, and chose to include them in his biggest career announcement tells you pretty much all you need to know.

Lidstrom retires as the active NHL leader in regulation and playoff games played as well as plus-minus. He finished second amongst active players in playoff points and third in regular-season points. Among his accomplishments are SEVEN Norris Trophies, being the first European player to captain a Stanley Cup champion, being named a first-team All-Star 10 times between 1998 and 2011 and being the first European player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy.

The Detroit News has a great video of his retirement speech and you can watch highlights from his career below.

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    “Ernie” play about Ernie Harwell opens for second season

“Ernie” play about Ernie Harwell opens for second season

ernie harwell by mlephotos
ernie harwell by mlephotos

Mitch Albom has an interesting column on his play “Ernie” and Harwell’s broadcasting style that re-opens for its second season at the City Theatre in Detroit. Mitch wrote the play at legendary Detroit Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell’s request, and last year the play was able to donate $30,000 to Harwell’s favorite charities. Mitch’s column begins:

There’s a scene in the play “Ernie” in which the actor playing Ernie Harwell re-enacts the way he broadcast minor-league baseball games in the 1940s, when there was no money to send him on the road.

“We stayed in the studio and waited for the play-by-play ticker to come through,” he says, taking a strip of ticker tape and reading it. “Johnson, B-1-0. That meant Johnson took ball one, outside. Of course that’s pretty dry, so we’d have to embellish it.”

He then demonstrates his embellishment: “There’s a high loping curveball, way outside, Johnson looks at it, doesn’t move his bat, and it’s ball one!”

When asked what he did if the ticker-tape machine broke, Ernie replies that sometimes he’d make up a distraction, like a dog running on the field. And he’d have that dog racing back and forth, eluding escape, until the machine was fixed.

Of course, when the ballplayers came home, their wives would ask, “What happened to that poor dog?” And they’d say, “What dog?”

Read on for more and visit Ernie at Olympia Entertainment for more on the play and to order tickets. Harwell passed away two years ago tomorrow. You can read more about him on Michigan in Pictures and here’s a great interview that Albom did with Harwell at the Fox Theatre in 2009 that will probably make you tear up.

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    Megatron, Megastar, Madden NFL 13: Detroit Lions Superstar picked for video game cover

Megatron, Megastar, Madden NFL 13: Detroit Lions Superstar picked for video game cover

ESPN (and every other sports outlet in the country) reports that Calvin “Megatron” Johnson has landed the coveted cover of “Madden NFL 13.”:

The Detroit Lions wideout beat out second-year Panthers quarterback Cam Newton for the honor. The vote was announced Wednesday afternoon on “SportsNation” on ESPN2.

Johnson, who won by garnering 52 percent of the more than 651,000 votes cast in the competition, said he was “shocked” by the decision.

“Man, it’s great,” a smiling Johnson said. “Just to see yourself on this Madden (cover) and seeing all the guys that have been on Madden? C’mon, man.”

…Johnson is coming off a spectacular season in which he caught 96 passes for a league-best 1,681 yards and 16 touchdowns. He became the third player in NFL history with at least 95 receptions, 1,600 yards and 15 touchdowns in a season, joining Jerry Rice and Randy Moss.

The Lions, who made the playoffs last season for the first time in a dozen years, rewarded the former No. 2 overall pick with an eight-year deal worth up to $132 million dollars in March.

While the video game is tremendously popular (selling 1.2 million copies in 2011) it is also purportedly haunted by the Madden Curse, with nearly every superstar who lands the cover having a shattered career following the selection. Richard Langford at the Bleacher Report suggests that Johnson’s freakish size, speed and health will prove tougher than the curse – here’s hoping that we’ll see many more highlights from Megatron.

Here’s Calvin Johnson’s NFL page, his page on the Detroit Lions website, his Wikipedia entry and his Twitter at bigplayCJ. You can see the science behind Calvin’s freakish abilities from Sports Science and watch the ESPN award show below.

100 Years at Tiger Stadium

Tiger Stadium Deconstruction by paulhitz
Tiger Stadium Deconstruction by paulhitz

Tiger Stadium’s 100th birthday was last Friday. In a fairly heartbreaking story, Eric Adelson of Yahoo Sports observed that this milestone passed largely unmarked:

Tiger Stadium opened on the same day as Fenway Park – April 20, 1912. It was 100 years ago this weekend. Ty Cobb scored the first run by stealing home. From that day until 1999, this very spot rumbled with din and greatness. Pretty much every legend that played in Fenway in the 20th century also played here. Lou Gehrig sat himself down for the first time in 2,130 games here, ending his incredible ironman streak. Babe Ruth hit his 700th home run here. Reggie Jackson hit one into the right field light tower here during the ’71 All-Star game. The Tigers won World Series titles here in 1968 and again in 1984, with Kirk Gibson launching a late-inning home run off Goose Gossage that no Tigers fan alive to see it will ever forget. Fair to say this was the most exciting place in the history of Michigan.

And now there’s hardly a trace.

The story goes on to note that there were no planned observances of this occasion at Comerica Park. We at Absolute Michigan feel especially sad that we missed this important anniversary. By small way of penance, here’s some of Tiger Stadium’s rich history via Michigan in Pictures.

Aerial View of Tiger Stadium

Tiger Stadium #1, found by m7k7k7

Many folks in Michigan have a piece of their heart stored at the Corner of Michigan & Trumbull. Wikipedia’s Tiger Stadium entry says the ballpark located in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit hosted the Detroit Tigers Major League Baseball team from April 20, 1912 when it opened as Navin Field, through its expansion in 1938 when it was renamed Briggs Stadium (and began hosting the Detroit Lions as well) through 1961 when John Fetzer took control and renamed it Tiger Stadium. It saw two World Series championships, 1968 and 1984 and was the home of the Tigers until Comerica Park opened in 2000. It was declared a State of Michigan Historic Site in 1975 and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1989.

From honorary bat boys spending a few moments with a player to huge and cheering crowds, this ballpark has made millions of memories. Here are a few more of our favorite articles:

If you have any photos (or memories) to add, post a comment below.

Here’s a fantastic video on Tiger Stadium from The Story of America’s Classic Ballparks narrated by Jeff Daniels that includes some great old footage and interviews with Al Kaline, George Kell and Ernie Harwell.