Edson: Saying Goodbye to The Joe and Hello to a New Masters Champion

What a weekend in Detroit.

Downtown was drenched in sun on Saturday when we watched the Tigers knock off the American League favorites Boston Red Sox, 4-1.

The area around the stadium was still buzzing after the game because the Detroit Red Wings were getting ready to play their final two games at nearby Joe Louis Arena.

It got me to thinking of my favorite memories of covering games at The Joe. There were the Stanley Cup titles, of course.

But my favorite moment at The Joe occurred on April 5, 1980. I went down to the NHL All-Star game with my good friend, the late Pete Correia. Pete is the man who later helped bring the Red Wings to Traverse City for training camp.

It was Gordie Howe’s final all-star appearance and the three-minute standing ovation he got that night sent goose bumps down my spine.

Ironically, The Joe wasn’t quite ready to host that event, judging by the scene in the restrooms. I remember standing in a restroom long line next to Al Kaline. He ended up autographing my paystub, which made his signature more valuable than my take home pay.

Kaline showed up again on Saturday at Comerica Park, where he did a question and answer session. The Tigers Hall of Famer is brutally honest and said that as much as he enjoyed winning the 1968 World Series, the Tigers should have won the 1967 American League pennant, too.

As for the current group of Tigers, Kaline is high on the young starting pitchers and outfielder Jacoby Jones, whom he calls “out best defensive outfielder.”

It was a long but memorable day.

HAIL, SERGIO: Last year at this time at was at The Masters. So when I watched on TV this year, I could appreciate even better the difficulty of what those golfers face.

Sergio Garcia, one of the good guys on the tour, finally broke through and one his first major in a playoff with his good friend Justin Rose.

He tried to give the tournament away on the back nine, but finally it was Rose who wilted under the pressure.

It made for good TV and fired me up to get back to the Augusta National Golf Club.

Actually, anyone who loves golf has a chance to get to Augusta. Starting this week, simply go to The Masters website and enter your name to be picked in a random drawing for either tickets to the practice round of the tourney.

I have never been to a more perfect sporting venue than The Masters. Cell phones aren’t allowed on the course by either the spectators or the players. When you enter the restrooms, you are assigned a spot.

The food is good and ridiculously cheap. Four of us ate lunch for a combined total of $22.

Nick Edson is a retired Hall of Fame columnist and sportswriter. He worked 25 years at the Traverse City Record-Eagle, 18 as sports editor. He is a two-time president of the Associated Press Sports Editors Association and a member of the Michigan Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.