LUGNUTS SUCCESS NOT TIED TO WINNING

     The good weather helps the Lansing Lugnuts more than good players do.  At least in terms of drawing fans to Oldsmobile Park.  The Lugnuts have struggled lately-- they lost to the Beloit Snappers 6-2 in the annual Grand Slam Kids Day game on Tuesday to fall to 16-15 on the season after getting off to a fast start.  But that's not the success story.  The good weather drew nearly 8,000 fans to Oldsmobile Park.  Over their 13 years, the Lugnuts  have been shrewd in getting schools to let kids out for a day to go to a ballgame at reduced prices.  Many of the "fans" don't even know who the players are or anything about the opponent-- and many don't care. 

     Thursdays are popular for home games as well-- if the weather is good especially.  Thirsty Thursdays produce $2 drinks, even though the cups are smaller than usual.  But that kind of incentive will lure fans on warm weather nights.  It's the appeal of minor league baseball.  The games feature young professional prospects, but there is no tie in with the community per se and there does not have to be.  None of these Lugnuts players are from the area and maybe the fans hardly know who the stars are-- but as long as the atmosphere is fan friendly, the Lugnuts' management will be able to rake in dollar and pay the bills and keep the franchise in business

    Uh oh.  The NCAA placed 218 teams under penalty Tuesday for faulty academic progress rates.  The list included only one Michigan school, the CMU football team.  The Chips lose two scholarships, but hope to have them reinstated next year.  CMU has had some coaching turnover which led to player transfers.  When that happens, it hurts the final grade.  CMU is the two time Mid American Conference champ.

     When they acquired him in the off season, who would have guessed outfielder Jacques Jones would be gone from the team by the first week of May.  But that's the story.  Jones likely will never play again in a Detroit Tigers uniform.  This season may end up being remembered for high salaried players on the downside of their careers struggling to perform at the level which was expected from the start.  There's a long way to go, but the rest of the schedule in May is a challenge and the Tigers have shown little sign, except for the series in New York, of showing any championship momentum.

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