Handicapping Round 2 of the Memorable Detroit Sports Moments tourney

steve-yzerman-detroit-red-wings

Steve Yzerman is well represented among the Red Wings moments in the Detroit Sports Moments tournament.

Over the last two weeks Detroit sports fans have been making tough choices as they vote in the brackets of the Most Memorable Sports Moment tournament, brought to you jointly by Detroit Athletic Co. and Made in Detroit.

The response has been great – thousands of votes and great debate too. Let’s review some of the highlights of the first round matchups and then turn to Round 2.

Recent trumps classic
Matchup after matchup, bracket after bracket, it was obvious that younger fans preferred the more recent moments over the older (or more “ancient” ones). In the Lions bracket, Eric Hipple’s monster Monday Night Football performance beat out TobiN Rote’s 4 TDs to win the ’57 NFL Title! In fact, only one of the 1950s Lions title moments survived the opening round – Bobby Layne’s performance in ’53. In a minor upset, fans selected Calvin Johnson’s NFL record fot receiving yards over Barry Sanders outrunning Emmit Smith in a MNF title back in ’94. There was a sweet spot for the ’36 Lions’ title team though, as they defeated Matt Stafford’s 4 TD game against the Browns (2009) to advance.

In the biggest upset of the first round, Justin Verlander’s second no-hitter (2011) beat Goose Goslin’s RBI-single that scored Mickey Cochrane with the run that won the Tigers first World Series championship. Clearly, not enough folks are still breathing who appreciate the magnitude of Goose’s base knock.

Round 2: Tigers Bracket
Three of the four matchups in the Tigers bracket pit big-time moments that received a lot of support in the opening round. Something will have to give.

Gibby’s Blast vs. Horton’s Throw
How ionic that this matchup features two outfielders who both wore #23 for our Tabbies? Which play/moment is more iconic? Gibby launching a homer into the right field upper deck to seal the ’84 Series (and his subsequent violent romp around the bases), or Horton’s peg from LF that ended up beating a non-sliding Lou Brock to home plate, where Bill Freehan served as the immovable object? I was in my diapers for the latter and a pimple-faced teen for the former. Who wins will depend on how many ’68ers flock to outdo the ’84ers.

Denny’s 30th vs. Magglio’s Homer
Another surprise in the first round was Mark “The Bird” Fidrych bowing out to Denny McLain’s 30th win in ’68. One of the few instances of old beating new (or at least less old). Now, in Rnd 2, Denny squares off with THE iconic moment of modern Tigs history ‘ Mags’ pennant-winning clout in ’06. I think Ordonez wins this one.

Final Game at Tiger Stadium vs. Lolich’s gem in Game 7
How do you compare a historic ending to an historic crowning achievement? Mickey’s third win in the ’68 Series (the third ’68 moment still alive in our tourney) is imprinted on the mind of any Detroiter still alive who was around back then. But, the final game at The Corner was a tear-jerking spectacle that drew legends from every era of Tiger history. This matchup will be fun to watch.

Round 2: Red Wings Bracket
It might be that hockey is best suited to great moments – with the fast pace and long stretches of no-scoring punctuated by frenzied attacks on the goal and board-shattering checks. The survivors in this bracket include four Stanley Cup title moments (1936, 1997, 1998, and 2002). And of course there’s the moment that still gets the loudest ovation at The Joe when it’s replayed on the big screen: Stevie Y slapping in a shot to beat the Blues in double OT in the ’97 playoffs. My money’s on that one to win this bracket. Fight Night at The Joe (McCarty vs. Lemieux, also in ’97) is the favorite to win the bottom of this bracket.

Round 2: Pistons Bracket
Five of the eight remaining moments in the hoops bracket are from the Bad Boys era, the other three are from the Go To Work era. Interestingly, three of the moments are from games the Pistons lost: the Larry Bird steal (ouch!), the ’84 playoff loss to the Knicks when Isiah scored a crap-load of points in a minute-and-a-half, and The Brawl. It looks like Vinnie Johnson’s championship clinching jumper is destined to meet Tayshaun’s Block in the finals of this bracket. Fitting it would be.

Round 2: Lions Bracket
The football side of the bracket is probably the one most difficult to predict. I spoke already about the lack of love for the ’50s Lions. One would think that the Barry moment (2,000 yards) would have the inside track, but don’t count out Megatron or the Thumbs Up playoff run of 1991.

Voting continues today on our Facebook page. Two matchups will be posted every day for your voting over the next eight days until we get to the sweet 16. Help us select Detroit’s Most Memorable Sports Moment.

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About Dan Holmes

The editor of Detroit Athletic Co. blog, is the author of Ty Cobb: A Biography. He was formerly the Web Producer for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY, and worked for Major League Baseball as a producer. He contributed to Sock it to 'Em Tigers: The Incredible Story of the 1968 Detroit Tigers, and Deadball Stars of the American League. Follow him on Twitter at @thedanholmes or visit his personal blog at danholmes.com.