Memo to Detroit Tigers: Small ball doesn't win big

By Rob Parker - Sports Columnist
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DETROIT - In honor of the late, great Joe Falls, it's a Fish Fry Friday.

Enough already.

If we have to read or hear another spring training story about the Tigers playing small ball and winning this season without waiting for a three-run homer, we're all going to get sick.

First, name the team that WON a World Series playing small ball?

Got ahead. Think about it.

We're waiting.

Last year, the Boston Red Sox won the Fall Classic. You know how they got to the World Series? They beat the Tigers in the American League Championship Series, using the long ball.

Remember those two grand slams? That's how the BoSox beat the Tigers. It wasn't by bunting, moving runners over and hoping for a sacrifice fly.

Tigers fans - who have hopes of their team winning the World Series for the first time since 1984 - should be afraid of the lack of power on this team. Miguel Cabrera is the only real power hitter.

Granted, the departed Prince Fielder had a terrible postseason - with no HRs or RBI. But his regular-season bat, hitting behind Cabrera, will be missed. Make no mistake about it.

And without Fielder as protection in the lineup, Cabrera's numbers will suffer as pitchers will be less likely to pitch to him.

The game plan will simple: pitch around Miggy and take your chances with Victor Martinez and the rest of the powerless lineup.

Pistons @ Crossroads

The Pistons started the season with great hope.

 In fact, some, including this reporter, picked them to finish with the sixth-seed in the Eastern Conference, making the playoffs.

They have stumbled lately - badly.

Instead of staying in the hunt, they are going the other way, losing three in a row and six of their last seven. Still, they are just 3 1/2 games out of the last postseason spot with plenty of games to play.

Some want the Pistons to tank the rest of the reason and hope that they get a top pick in the NBA draft lottery.

No way, no how.

The Pistons should play to make the playoffs. Losing games is never a good thing for a franchise or a fan base.

Getting a top pick in the draft doesn't guarantee you anything, especially not a championship. Just ask Cleveland fans.

Collins Makes History

First, the Brooklyn Nets acted. Then, NBA fans reacted.

The Nets knocked down a barrier, signing journeyman center Jason Collins to a 10-day contract last Sunday. When Collins came off the bench against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center, Collins became the first openly gay man on a team roster in any of North America's four major professional sports leagues.

A few days later, Collins' No. 98 jersey was the No.1-selling jersey on

That's pretty amazing, just like his road back into the league.

At the end of his career and a free agent, most wondered if the 35-year-old Collins, who came out officially nine months ago, would ever be signed to join in NBA squad.

It wasn't just if he could play anymore, but whether players would be accepting of an "out" player in their locker room. Let's face it, guys have been in denial that there already were gay men among them.

This stepping out there alone is nothing new for Brooklyn.

BK, the mover-and-shaker borough of NYC, went against the grain in 1947 when the Dodgers signed Jackie Robinson to be the first African American player in Major League Baseball.

To add perspective, the New York Yankees, just a borough away, didn't come around and add a black player until 1955 when Elston Howard put on pinstripes.

Hence, Brooklyn's signing of Robinson was a huge step. It not only broke the color barrier in the segregated national pastime, it also made black people feel better about themselves, that they were finally a part of this country and just as worthy to be on the same stage as white people.

Some look at this Collins' moment on par, a player with a uniform that reads "Brooklyn" across the front doing something no one else had done before in these United States.

Others claim it's an insult to put Collins and Robinson in the same sentence. That group doesn't believe someone's race and their sexuality are the same. It's a long-standing debate neither side will give in on.

Nonetheless, Robinson and Collins are comparable as both are pioneers. And both had courage.

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