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  • Here is why landlords could make money in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could make money in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday 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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Desiree Kelly

Norm Cash

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Mark Firdych

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Desiree Kelly

Gates Bown

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Dave Rozema

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Canny McLain

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Desiree Kelly

Billy Martin


 

Norm Cash

Some guys just like to have fun. Norman Dalton Cash was one of them.

A power-hitting lefthander from Texas, the player affectionately known as “Stormin’ Norman” spent nearly his entire 16-year big league career as a Tiger.

A first baseman who could field as well as hit, Cash had a breakout year in 1961, when he led the American League with a .361 average, hitting 41 home runs. Only afterward did he reveal that the feat was accomplished with the assistance of bats illicitly lightened by a mixture of cork, sawdust and glue. He even demonstrated his technique for Sports Illustrated — after his retirement, which came in 1974.

In fact, he once summed up his career by saying, “I owe my success to expansion pitching, a short right-field fence, and my hollow bats.”

What he’s most remembered for, though, were his playful antics. Like the time he attempted to steal second base and got caught between the bags. Trapped by the opposing players, he put his hands in the shape of a T in an attempt to extricate himself from the predicament by calling a time out.

It didn’t work, but it made for one hell of a story. It’s also said that there was at least one time when, after being on second base at the start of a rain delay, he could be found trying to occupy third once play resumed.

The crowning moment of his career as a prankster came on July 15, 1973, when Nolan Ryan, then an ace for the California Angels, had a no-hitter going with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

That’s when Cash stepped up to the plate. His bat wasn’t corked that day; in fact, at that moment he didn’t hold a bat at all. Instead, he had the leg of a clubhouse table in his hands. When the ump told Cash he had to get a real bat, he reportedly said, “Why not? I won’t hit him anyway.” Then, using a regulation bat, he proceeded to pop out with a weak fly to left, giving Ryan a no-hitter and earning himself an indelible place in baseball lore.

Cash met an untimely death in October 1986, when he drowned in an accident off Beaver Island in northern Lake Michigan. He was only 51. According to press accounts from the time, then-Tigers President Jim Campbell had this to say about Stormin’ Norman: “Norm was a well-liked, free spirit. He was everybody’s friend, and along with it one of the great players to ever wear a Tiger uniform.”

 

Tyrus Raymond

“Ty” Cobb

In the history of baseball, nobody earned the description “infamous” quite like Ty Cobb, who played with the Tigers from 1905 to 1926. Nicknamed “The Georgia Peach,” the ballplayer may as well have earned the moniker for his sweet swing (his career batting average remains a baseball record: .366) as for his heart of stone. He was known as a bigot with a short temper and a penchant for sadism. One local sportswriter described his style of play as “daring to the point of dementia.” A later Tiger player said Cobb regarded the game as “something like a war,” recalling that “every time at bat for him was like a crusade.” Cobb inspired fear in his opponents and hatred in his teammates. His reputation as a dirty player was well-known — his contemporaries described how he’d sharpen his cleats in the dugout, then slide feet-first into a bag with those razor-sharp spikes aimed high. Given his thirst for blood and spurred soles, it’s hardly surprising his career record for stealing home (54 times) still stands. It’s also not a shocker he retains the dubious honor of committing more errors (271) than any American League outfielder.

Some say that the tales of Cobb’s violence were amped up by ambitious sportswriters who wouldn’t let facts get in the way of good copy. But some unflattering accounts of Cobb’s behavior are undeniable, and illustrate an almost sociopathic personality that traded in violence that was completely out of proportion to the perceived insult. In 1907, when a black groundskeeper greeted Cobb too familiarly during spring training in Georgia, an infuriated Cobb attacked him; when the groundskeeper’s wife intervened, Cobb began choking her. The conflict only ended when the catcher knocked Cobb out cold. In 1908, when a black laborer complained about the ballplayer walking on freshly poured asphalt, Cobb attacked the man, earning a battery charge. Perhaps most famously, in 1912, while playing against the Highlanders in New York, Cobb was so incensed by one remark from a heckler that he bounded into the stands and attacked the man. The crowd protested, as the man had lost all of one hand and most of the other in an industrial accident. Undeterred, Cobb reportedly yelled, “I don’t care if he got no feet!”

Novelist W.A. Berger, in his recent book of historical-inspired fiction The Purples, included Cobb in a scene. One of the Jewish gangsters, attending a ballgame at Navin Field, gets Cobb’s attention and asks, “Is it true you hate Jews?”

With a big smile, Cobb replies, “I hate everybody!”

It rings true.

 

Mark Fidrych

It is not just baseball lore that a no-hitter was once thrown by a pitcher flying high on LSD. The story of that peculiar exploit has been around for decades.

If you were to guess which big league pitcher actually accomplished that psychedelic feat, Mark “The Bird” Fidrych might naturally come to mind. It is, after all, not too far-fetched to think a guy who would hold conversations with baseballs might be tripping his brains out on some powerful purple microdot.

But you would apparently be wrong. For the record, it was former Pittsburgh Pirates hurler Dock Ellis who, after his playing days were over, copped to being on acid the day in 1970 that he pitched a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres.

Fidrych is described this way on the jacket of Doug Wilson’s new book The Bird:

“Lanky, mop-topped, and nicknamed for his resemblance to Big Bird on Sesame Street, Fidrych exploded onto the national stage during the Bicentennial summer as a rookie with the Detroit Tigers. He won over fans nationwide with his wildly endearing antics, such as talking to the ball (and throwing back the ones that ‘had hits in them’), getting down on his knees to ‘manicure’ the mound, and shaking hands with just about everyone from teammates to groundskeepers to cops during and after games. Female fans tried to obtain locks of his hair from his barber and even named babies after him.”

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