THE LIVE ALBOM:
I come back after a month overseas, and the Red Wings have a new coach, the Pistons have Chuck Daly back, and the Tigers are within five games of first place.
* And the Lions’ top draft pick is holding out.
* Some things never change.
* By the way, although Europe has no baseball or football, it is not without sports. And I have made a careful study of them: There is soccer, which is one minute of excitement crammed into two hours of television. There is bicycle racing, which is 300 grown men fighting over a yellow tank top. And there is cricket, which is one chap swinging a bat, while 30 guys stand around waiting for sandwiches.
* You see why I came home.
* Nobody seems to know where Steve Yzerman is these days, although he is being credited with everything from getting Jacques Demers fired to recruiting Sergei Fedorov. Actually, it’s not that Yzerman has disappeared. He’s just living in California, under his stage name, Johnny Depp.
* You know the best thing about Nolan Ryan? He makes you feel like if you start practicing right now, you might still make the big leagues.
* Speaking of baseball, I notice, with regret, that Cecil Fielder’s home run pace has settled back to mortality. This was inevitable. In fact, I don’t believe Roger Maris’ record will be broken in a 162-game season, not because players aren’t talented, but because the media today is just too overwhelming. As soon as a guy gets close, reporters will swarm his every step; they’ll follow him into the shower. That pressure alone will keep the Maris record safe.
* Same goes for hitting .400.
* Of course, Wade Boggs gave that a run. And as long as Wade is in town, I want to salute the fine work he’s done in Poland, during his off-season job as Lech Walesa.
* Golf had better buckle its seat belt. This Shoal Creek business is just getting started.
* How, in this day and age, can the PGA be held at a club where they don’t admit black members? Shame on them. And don’t believe the recent defense of an “open” policy at Shoal Creek. This is a well-known scam in country clubs: The place says anyone can join; you simply need to be sponsored by a member. Of course, if no one sponsors you . . .
* You see how it works?
* By the way, from now on, the PGA will make open admissions a prerequisite for any club hosting its championship. This was decided after a letter urging such action was sent by the sports editors of America. The letter was drafted by the sports editor of this newspaper, Dave Robinson.
* It was nice of him to offer, but if I’m the Red Wings, I’m not sure I want Petr Klima to be the first guy to get to Sergei Fedorov, know what I mean?
* Some say every time they look at Monica Seles, they see the future of women’s tennis. I don’t know. Every time I look at Seles, I see what Cloris Leachman must have looked like as a teenager.