Recently, the Great Gordie Howe as well as the GOAT – Muhammad Ali, passed away at their respective impressive ages. Without many of his former childhood icons, my father, oldschool, a Detroit disciple from the ’50s, lamented, “When Al Kaline passes, that’ll [kinda] be it…” And he’s right.

Kaline in the booth for the Tigers told us weeks ago how embarrassing it was to strike out all the time. Ali stood up for his values (specifically not wanting to be front-lined for a meaningless war!) & Howe skated for essentially nothing… these three men and my dad’s generation are a throwback to when the game was played a little differently… less for money, and more for respect.

Granted, pay the men! But the point is, our prima donnas are making BASEketball look like a prophecy in the 21st century. LeBron James truly did save basketball, for we were heading in the direction, like the pass in football, fighting in hockey, and home runs in baseball, of being infatuated with the 3 because it’s the cheapest sell.

My poor neighbor really liked James when I met him last year (he’s like 7). But I could tell the kids in his class were boasting about the Warriors winning, and the poor G was succumbing to their rhetoric… what happened to the backyard, the playground, and the simple, relatable game we all fell in love with as kids?

Watching the Tigers fail to exhibit any small ball is downright sickening. It’s a kids game… never lose sight of that. Our legends deserve that much: without their child-like love for the game, these leagues wouldn’t have the swagger to stand on.