The Latest in Detroit Free Press

AMID THE DEVASTATION — ONE MORE MIRACLE

AMID THE DEVASTATION — ONE MORE MIRACLE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Slowly, they began to clap. First one, then two, then all of them, applauding, cheering, these rescue workers who have been days without a smile, covered in dirt, performing the most gruesome task that humans can be asked to perform: removing the dead. The bodies were mangled. Crushed. Some beyond recognition. And suddenly, miraculously, a heartbeat, a breath of life.A man named Bucky Helm, trapped since Tuesday's earthquake in the wreckage of the Nimitz Freeway.
THE TEST THAT MADE MILWAUKEE FAMOUS

THE TEST THAT MADE MILWAUKEE FAMOUS

Until yesterday, the most interesting thing I could tell you about the city of Milwaukee was this: "Happy Days." The TV show. Remember? The Fonz. Richie Cunningham, Howard, Marion? They all lived in Milwaukee. Supposedly. With that little girl, what's her name, Joanie? I think it's Joanie. And Laverne and Shirley. They lived there, too. With Lenny and Squiggy.What a town.
FANS’ ICY TREATMENT MAKES HERNANDEZ BURN

FANS’ ICY TREATMENT MAKES HERNANDEZ BURN

He was lying on a table, with an ice bag on his shoulder and a towel covering his face. Right here. The former Cy Young Award winner. The one-time toast of Detroit. Among the highest-paid relievers in the major leagues.Willie Hernandez, on ice."Ready to talk?" said the visitor. "Sure," he said, not moving, "go ahead."
HE WANTS TO MAKE PEACE WITH GAME — AND HIMSELF

HE WANTS TO MAKE PEACE WITH GAME — AND HIMSELF

"Here, look at this."The Pistons' PR man handed me a book that listed all the players in the NBA. He pointed to a special chapter entitled "All-Time Greats."And there was a full page on Spencer Haywood, complete with picture.I looked down at the book, then up at the hardwood court in front of us. Out amidst the squeaking sneakers, and the yells -- "Pick left! Pick left!" -- and the unforgiving thump of the basketball, there he was, in the flesh, sweating and panting with the Pistons' second string, trying to earn a final spot on the 12-man roster.
CONFIDENT COLES HANGS ‘EM

CONFIDENT COLES HANGS ‘EM

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Darnell Coles was missing a pair of undershorts. And he said so. And several teammates helped him search."They were here a minute ago," he announced. "Now, where did they go?"This may not seem especially significant, even for spring training. But last year at this time, Darnell Coles would not have gambled aloud with a statement so innocent.His underwear, gone? Are you kidding? He would have slid over to the clubhouse man, whispered the loss, and offered to pay for a new pair if they could just keep it their little secret.
WILD CARDS TOO WEIRD TO FIGURE

WILD CARDS TOO WEIRD TO FIGURE

Winter, and our thoughts turn to the NFL playoffs. Who can understand them? The division winners go. They go, don't they? Yeah. I think . . . wait. Yeah. They go. But then come the dreaded wild-card spots. Four in all. Four wild cards? When we used to play poker as kids, we didn't have that many wild cards. How are the wild-card berths determined? Is it most victories, or most points, or most head-to-head victories, or most head-to-head victories with points against common opponents within the conference on artificial turf against the spread, or what?
TIGERS’ NEW HERO EMERGES; THEY’RE PLAYING HIS SONG

TIGERS’ NEW HERO EMERGES; THEY’RE PLAYING HIS SONG

Let us pause here for a day in the life of the Tigers' latest hero: Jim Walewander.Uh, that's W-a-l-e-w-a-n-d-e-r.Right. OK. He is a rookie. He has played in 23 big-league games. Here is how he learned he was starting Sunday: Lou Whitaker, the Tigers' second baseman, came in at noon and said he couldn't play. Bad back. The game was 90 minutes away. A call went out from Sparky Anderson's office, a call to arms, a call to destiny. . . . "GET ME . . . WALEWANDER!"
ACHING HUNGER FOR MORE IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DIGEST

ACHING HUNGER FOR MORE IS IMPOSSIBLE TO DIGEST

Kathy Ormsby jumped off the bridge. She just jumped. She was running in a college race and she was losing and she was frustrated and suddenly she ran out of the stadium with eight laps to go, ran down a main street, "apologized to God" and leaped off the bridge. She was trying to kill herself. She failed. She landed in a soggy marsh 35 feet below and lay there, paralyzed, until somebody found her.No sadder stories. There can be no sadder stories. That is all I thought when this happened six months ago in Indianapolis. It is all I think even today, the day after Christmas.
HOMERS, HIGH STICKS — THIS HAS JUST GOT TO STOP

HOMERS, HIGH STICKS — THIS HAS JUST GOT TO STOP

CHICAGO -- This is the face of a man confused. This is the face of man of being spun around like laundry. This is my face."Heck of a game last night," someone says."Uh . . . yeah," I answer, quickly flipping open my notepad, "excellent forechecking.""In the baseball game?" he says.Oh. Wrong pad. I sigh. This has been going on all week. You say baseball, I say hockey. I say baseball, you say hockey.
THE FREE PRESS LIVES, AND SO DOES ITS SPIRIT

THE FREE PRESS LIVES, AND SO DOES ITS SPIRIT

Forgive me. This is not about sports. I promised myself nearly two years ago that if this moment ever arrived and this crazy JOA was approved, I would write this column.It was a Tuesday. I went down to a coffee shop and sat with Dave Lawrence, who, as most of you know, is publisher of the Free Press. He said he had a favor to ask.
HOW I SURVIVED BULLS OF PAMPLONA

HOW I SURVIVED BULLS OF PAMPLONA

PAMPLONA, Spain -- They were running toward us, hundreds of men, their faces filled with horror because the bulls were right behind them. I looked anxiously at Pablo, my Spanish guide, whom I had met just hours before in the drunken streets of Pamplona. He had promised me, in broken English: "You run with me, you no die."It was a comforting thought.And suddenly we took off. Somebody screamed. A man next to me went down and was trampled. I glanced to my right and saw a black bull just three feet away. "This is it, this is it, this is it," I heard myself say. . . .