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    The post Jumpin Jumpin: Police, fire fighters, and EMS workers to be honored at Sky Zone appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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    Your favorite local alternative weekly is getting a digital facelift at around 4 p.m. today, and we need your help. If you, dear reader, spot anything amiss or notice that any of our regular features are not working properly, do give us a shout in the comment section below or on social media. If, on the other hand, you find that you positively adore our new design (which we surely hope you do!), we’d certainly enjoy hearing about that as well. Let the countdown to launch begin!

    The post Metro Times is getting a new website today appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well

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    The post Detroit group Feral Ground is out to prove hip-hop is alive and well appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Yale professor talks Plato, James Madison and Detroit’s emergency manager law

    Much has been made about Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr’s decision this week to transfer authority of the city’s water department to Mayor Mike Duggan. In what is the most interesting read on the situation, Jason Stanley, professor of philosophy at Yale, pens an analysis on Michigan’s novel emergency manager law on the New York Times Opinionator blog. Stanley deconstructs Michigan’s grand experiment in governance by addressing two questions: Has the EM law resulted in policy that maximally serves the public good? And, is the law consistent with basic principles of democracy? Stanley ties in examples of Plato, James Madison’s Federalist Papers, and Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt. A short excerpt: Plato was a harsh critic of democracy, a position that derived from the fact that his chief value for a society was social efficiency. In Plato’s view, most people are not capable of employing their autonomy to make the right choices, that is, choices that maximize overall efficiency. Michigan is following Plato’s recommendation to handle the problems raised by elections. Though there are many different senses of “liberty” and “autonomy,” none mean the same thing as “efficiency.” Singapore is a state that values efficiency above all. But by no stretch of […]

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  • Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week

    Walking with Dinosaurs, a magnificent stage show that features life-sized animatronic creatures from the Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods, will be in town next week. But to preview the show’s run at the Palace, a baby T-Rex will be making an appearance at four area malls to the delight and wonderment of shoppers. Baby T-Rex, as the creature is being affectionately referred to, is seven-feet-tall and 14-feet-long. He’ll only be at each mall for about 15 minutes, so while there will be photo opportunities, they’ll be short. The dino will be at Fairlane Town Center Center Court at 18900 Michigan Ave. in Detroit from 2-2:15 p.m. today, July 30; The Mall at Partridge Creek at 17420 Hall Rd. in Clinton Township from 5-5:15 p.m. today, July 30; Twelve Oaks Mall at the Lord & Taylor Court at 27500 Novi Rd., Novi tomorrow, Thursday July 31 from 1:30-1:45 p.m.; and Great Lakes Crossing Food Court at 4000 Baldwin Rd., Auburn Hills from 5-5:15 p.m., tomorrow Thursday, July 31.  

    The post Where to meet a baby dinosaur this week appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations

    Interested in reading about what Detroit accomplishes on a week-to-week basis that’s produced by the city itself? Great. You can do that now, here, at the Detroit Dashboard. Every Thursday morning, the city will publish an update to the dashboard because Mayor Mike Duggan loves metrics, even if the data might be hard to come by. According to Duggan’s office, the dashboard will provide data on how many LED street lights were installed, how many vacant lots were mowed, how much blight was removed, and more. This week, the city says it has sold 13 site lots through BuildingDetroit.com, removed 570 tons of illegal dumping, and filed 57 lawsuits against abandoned property owners.  

    The post Detroit website offers stats, updates on city operations appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Culture Feature

All-star oddballs

Brawling, clowning, kicking high and spacing out — here’s a look at 10 offbeat Tigers worth remembering

Photo: Desiree Kelly, License: N/A

Desiree Kelly

Ty Cobb

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Norm Cash

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Mark Firdych

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Gates Bown

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Dave Rozema

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Canny McLain

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Desiree Kelly

Billy Martin


As Detroiters, we’re fortunate to have a team with such a long and storied past. The Tigers have played continuously under one name and in one city longer than any other team in the American League. You could dive into the franchise’s 110-plus years of history and put together a list of almost anything: power hitters, ace pitchers, visionary managers, etc. But what if you looked beyond the stats at some of the Tigers who were most memorable for the unusual, for being exceptional in ways statistics just can’t measure? We now present our absolutely unscientific lineup of All-Star Oddballs (and welcome you to go online and name those you think also deserve a spot on this roster of the offbeat).

 

Billy Martin

In a long, tempestuous career as both a player and a manager, Billy Martin earned a reputation as a boozer and a brawler with a brilliant baseball mind.

As with some other stops along his managerial path, Martin didn’t stay long in Detroit. He led the team from 1971 to 1973, winning a divisional title in ’72. His end as a Tiger came the when he was fired, ostensibly for ordering his pitchers to throw spitballs and beanballs at opposing batters.

A brilliant baseball mind, like we said, but also slightly unhinged.

Mickey Mantle, a longtime teammate of Martin during their years together as Yankees, told a story about climbing in a car with Martin in Dallas and driving to the south of Texas to hunt deer on land owned by a friend of Mantle’s. It goes like this:

The guy doesn’t know two ballplayers are coming, so when they arrive at the ranch, Mantle tells Martin to wait in the car while he goes inside to make sure it’s OK to hunt there. The owner is happy to oblige, but asks the Mick to do him a favor: There’s an old mule in the corral that needs to be put down, and the owner doesn’t have the heart to do it.

Mantle demurs, the owner persists. So the slugger agrees to do the deed and then, while walking back to the car, decides to enliven things. He approaches the car feigning anger, saying the owner turned down their request, even after Mantle had explained that they’d just driven four hours to get there. Mantle acts pissed off and says he’s going to teach that guy a lesson.

“I’m gonna kill his mule,” he tells Martin, who tries to talk some sense into his friend, holding back on the gun and pointing out the potential pitfalls of such a rash act. Mantle, a much bigger man than Martin (described by one writer as as being built like a weasel) succeeds in getting control of the weapon and stomps off toward the corral.

He goes in, levels his rifle at a mule unaware that its imminent demise is being used as the punch line to a prank, and pulls the trigger. The mule drops. Then Mantle hears three more shots from close by. Bang! Bang! Bang! He turns around and sees Martin, who’s holding a smoking gun and saying, “I just got three of the guy’s cows.”

He was that kind of friend.

But just because he liked you didn’t mean you would be spared if things ever came to blows. His penchant for fisticuffs was legendary. As the New York Times noted following Martin’s 1989 death in a car accident (he and the driver, who hailed from Detroit, were both drunk), Martin “had fights with Clint Courtney, a catcher for the St. Louis Browns, in 1952 and 1953. He and several teammates, including Mickey Mantle and Yogi Berra, were involved in a fight at the Copacabana nightclub in New York in 1957. In 1960, he broke the jaw of a Chicago pitcher, Jim Brewer, and Mr. Brewer later won $10,000 in a lawsuit. As a manager, in 1969, Mr. Martin knocked out one of his players, Dave Boswell, who was fighting another player.”

That incident with Boswell, which occurred while Martin managed the Minnesota Twins, actually took place in an alley behind Detroit’s famed Lindell A.C. — a favorite watering hole for local pros back in the days when sports stars were a lot less wealthy and often rubbed shoulders with their fans. The Twins were in town to play the Tigers, but the brawl ended up being between Martin and Boswell, who ended up needing about 20 stitches to close the facial cut created by Martin’s blows. And that’s what he did to his star pitcher.

Among Martin’s odder moments during his days as a Tiger was the time he abruptly resigned — for just one day. It was in March of ’73, and he’d been called into the office of General Manager Jim Campbell along with star slugger Willie Horton. The GM wanted to smooth out problems between Martin and Horton. As the story goes, Martin got all hot under the collar at one point, exclaiming, “I’m done,” he exclaimed, heading for the door. “Get yourself a new manager!”

After being absent for a day, he reappeared, telling reporters, “I was just upset and said the hell with it. I had no intention of quitting. I’ll be honest with you. I don’t even remember saying anything about quitting. Maybe I said it, but I don’t remember. I had to get away for a day. Maybe I got mad at something when I should have sat there a little longer and talked things out.”

Alcohol surely played a role in his erratic behavior. For just a bit of insight regarding Martin’s fondness for booze, we again turn to Mantle, who once told Sports Illustrated about the “breakfast of champions” he and Martin would frequently enjoy: “… a big glass filled with a shot or more of brandy, some Kahlua and cream. Billy Martin and I used to drink them all the time, and I named the drink after us. Sometimes when I was in New York with nothing to do, and Billy and I were together, we would stop into my restaurant on Central Park South at around 10 in the morning, and the bartender would dump all the ingredients into a blender and stir it right up. It tasted real good.”

With Billy, said Bishop Edwin Broderick at Martin’s funeral, you got a lot of “thrills and spills, ups and downs,” but “he was always, one must admit, an interesting show.”

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