Rob Parker: Pistons bore, World Cup excites, Tigers right ship

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

Pistons' fans aren't running out to buy a new jersey today or call The Palace to order season tickets after the NBA Draft on Thursday night.

After all, the Pistons didn't have a first round pick. Remember, they lost it to Charlotte.
But in the second round, with the 38th pick of the 2014 draft, the Pistons took 6-foot-6 guard Spencer Dinwiddie from Colorado.

Dinwiddie, 21, is considered a pure point guard - even though he averaged 14.7 points and shot 41% from three-point range last season.

Some Pistons fans, no doubt, cringed when they learned that Dinwiddie missed the last 18 games of his season with a torn left ACL.

It's hard to embrace a player who is drafted with an injury. The Lions have done it a lot of the last 10 years or so and few have panned out.

Nonetheless, in typical draft cliché form, the Pistons claimed that they targeted Dinwiddie as a player they were most impressed with.

"He's got outstanding size for the point-guard position, strength," said GM Jeff Bowers to the media after the pick. "A very good feel for moving the ball, as well as his scoring ability and ability to shoot."

Dinwiddie also told reporters in a teleconference that he also brings "defensive versatility" to the table as well.

Granted, the Pistons would have loved to have had a first round pick. Instead, the Stan Van Gundy Era, as team president and coach, came in with a whimper.

There will be no buzz, no good feeling as the team tries to get better and get back in the playoff hunt.

But, for sure, drafting an injured player in the second round usually will get you some head scratching until free agency rolls around.

Soccer Fever

It appears America has caught soccer fever from the World Cup. At least, that's what the TV ratings are saying.

Somehow, the USA team advanced to the next round after being tied by Portugal with seconds to go in its second game and losing to Germany, 1-0, on Thursday.

Nonetheless, you have to be careful when people talk about TV ratings and try to convince you that America is now soccer crazy.

Even if 18.2 million people watched the game against Portugal, it set a U.S. TV ratings record for soccer on Sunday, it still means that more than 300 million didn't watch.

It's not to downplay the World Cup or the interest. It just should be put into more perspective.

In my barbershop in Detroit, where sports is a mainstay on the TV, soccer got no play on Thursday. Most just weren't interested in a sport that is considered foreign to the masses.

TV ratings aren't always a true indicator of interest.

Ratings are often used to say that fans have lost interest in baseball. Yet, Major League teams usually sell 73 million tickets a season—more than the other three major sports combined.

For sure, more fans are into soccer this time around. But soccer hasn't displaced any of the four major sports after just three World Cup games. Please tone it down a bit.

Tigers' Hot Streak

The Tigers have won their first six games on this nine-game road trip and seven in a row overall. They open a three-game series in Houston tonight against the Astros.

Somehow that Tiger team that was brutal for a month has righted the ship.

It shouldn't come as a total surprise. The team had too much talent to believe they wouldn't start to play better.

However, the prolonged slump did expose the team's very real flaws.

Granted, all teams have flaws but the stakes are higher for the Tigers. This is a World Series victory or bust team.

Just like last year, it looks as if it will come down to the bullpen. The Tigers won't be able to win the Fall Classic for the first time in 30 years with their current relief stable.

Closer Joe Nathan has to get better. His ERA is a bloated 6.28. Nathan has given up two runs on five hits in his last two outings. No good.

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