OK, men. Simmer down. I want to welcome everyone to our annual Detroit Sports Thanksgiving dinner. Chuck? Bo? Jacques? All you players? We ain’t seen each other in a long time, and I just want to say–“

“THANKS, SPARKY. LET’S EAT!”

“Pass the stuffing.”

“Burp.”

“Geez, Laimbeer. Show some manners.”

“Ha ha. Don’t worry about dat, Chuck. Remember. Da apple don’t fall far from da building.”

“Thank you, Jacques.”

“Gesundheit!”

“OK. OK. Listen up. As I, Sparky Anderson, was sayin’, we in Detroit got a lot to be thankful for. Although I WISH WE HAD SOME RIGHT-HANDED HITTING–“

“Pass the string beans, Salley.”

“Sure, Zeke. I just signed an endorsement deal with these string beans. Gonna be called Long Tall String Beans. Got a commercial coming out, too, man, and . . .

“I’D ALSO LIKE SOME RELIEF PITCHING–.”

“What’s he talking about, Gilbert?”

“Je ne sais pas. Passez les legumes.”

“AND A LEFT FIELDER. PLEASE!”

“Pass the soup, Salley.”

“It’s Salley Soup, Zeke. Cooks in a minute. Got a commercial coming out on that, too, man.”

“Yo, Adrian. Yo, Joe D. Say grace.”

“. . .

“They said it. You just couldn’t hear them.”

“Pass the potatoes, Salley.”

“Sure, Zeke. Call ’em Salley Spuds. Got a billboard up on the Lodge for these babies. Real big one, too, man. You should see it–“

“OK. OK. I think it’s time we welcomed some of our new faces. Over there, in the far corner, let’s say hello to Wayne Fontes. Glad to have you, Wayne.”

“Thank you, Sparky . . . it means so . . . much.”

“Yo, man. Is the dude cryin?”

“Naw, Rickey. He just got the flu.”

“And over in that corner, Rusty Hilger, and Paul MacLean, and Miroslav Frycer, and Michael Williams and Fennis Dembo. Welcome, fellas.”

“THANK YOU!”

“What’s his name? Tennis elbow?”

“It’s a basketball name, Jack.”

“Dat’s right, Mr. Morris. Remember. A rose by any other name would smell in the closet.”

“Thank you, Jacques.”

“Your wellness.”

“Hey, Stevie. Who’s that guy with the beard and the Dodgers cap?”

“I dunno. Used to play here, I guess.”

“Don’t tell me . . . Robert Redford!”

“I don’t think so, Greg.”

“It might be nice to go around the table and remind ourselves what we have to be thankful for this year. I’ll start. I, Sparky Anderson, am thankful for Alan Trammell and Mike Henneman and Alan Trammell . . .”

“You said Trammell twice.”

“I know.”

“I, Chuck Daly, am thankful for all my players, all my coaches, and the fact that I get to the Palace before the traffic starts.”

“I, Bo Schembechler, am thankful for the fake punt, the backup quarterback and the fact that John Kolesar’s dad went to Michigan.”

“I, George Perles, am thankful for Gators.”

“I, Thomas Hearns, am thankful for all my boxing titles. You want to hear them?”

“NOOOOOOO!”

“Aw, maaaan.”

“Later, Tommy. Hey, Darryl, what’s for dessert?

“Chocolate Thunder.”

“Burp.”

“Geeeez, Billy. Cut it out.”

“Excuse me. Chuck Long? Pass the salad.”

“No problem. Whoomph.”

“Right on the numbers.”

“I’ve been practicing.”

“Hey, man. Pass the bleeping ice water.”

“Say please, Willie.”

“Please pass the bleeping ice water.”

“PIZZA FOR EVERYBODY!”

“Hey. It’s Monaghan.”

“PIZZA FOR EVERYBODY!”

“Hey. It’s Ilitch.”

“& percent$ percent* percent . . . &cents* percent& percent percent percent . . . ayee!”

“So much for pizza.”

“Ah, fellas? Mah name’s Jim Arnold. Ah’m the punter. Ah’d like to do my stand-up routine . . .”

“OK. STAND UP!

“He is.”

“Hey. Who’s that big guy on the end?”

“His name is Mandarich. He’s harmless. Just keep your hands and feet away from his mouth.”

“Yo, Bo. Pass the gravy.”

“I’d rather run with it. Right up the gut. Yeah. That’s how you win football games, by golly.”

“Never mind.”

“All right, men. Forks down. We ain’t gonna eat any dessert until we all get together on this one sentence. We ain’t in this thing alone, you know. So everybody, with me. Ready? One, two . . .

“Three strikes you’re in at the old bell . . . .”

“Thank you, Jacques.”

“Step on some heads.”

“One more time, fellas. One, two . . .”

“HAPPY THANKSGIVING, DETROIT!”

(From me, too. )

Mitch Albom’s new sports-talk show, “The Sunday Sports Albom,” is heard Sunday nights, 9 to 11 p.m. on WLLZ (98.7-FM). This week’s guests include Dennis Rodman, Chris Evert, and former Tigers Darrell Evans, Walt Terrell and Dan Petry.

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