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More on ‘84

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There's another article comparing the '84 Tigers to the '06 Pistons in today's Free Press:

If everything goes well tonight, the Pistons will rack up a 35-5 record in their first 40 games.

And it will have been the quietest 35-5 streak for a Detroit sports franchise in almost 22 years.

If you are 30 or older, you might remember the last one.

The Tigers won 35 of their first 40 games in 1984, and those 40 games were accompanied by such a fuss -- both locally and across the nation -- that you would think there is a conspiracy afoot to keep a lid on the Pistons' accomplishment.

The Pistons, of course, are attracting sell-out crowds at the Palace. The energy level is intense. They are a great team. But away from Auburn Hills, the buzz surrounding their streak has been, well, a little streaky compared to what happened in 1984.

That streak became a regional drama. It seemed like virtually every person in metro Detroit knew the Tigers' record on any given day.

Baseball dominated the local conversation and the local media. On May 2, 1984, for example, Mort Crim, speaking as if the pope had died, led Channel 4's 11 p.m. newscast with this earth-shaking news: The Tigers had just lost their third game.

It's clear people are paying attention to Detroit's fast start -- the Palace has been sold out for over a year, TV ratings are through the roof, the national media is arguing for Chauncey Billups as the MVP and debating whether Detroit can win 70 games.

But why hasn't the hype reached epidemic purportions? Like Bill McGraw says in the article, I think having the Super Bowl in town is a factor, as well as the Lions coaching change, and from what I gather people do still watch hockey. But the real answer seems pretty clear: the schedule.

Baseball is a daily game, and when a team is on a roll it's easy to get caught up in the fact that they haven't lost in two weeks, because that results in a good 12-14 game winning streak. But with basketball, even diehard fans have a difficult time remembering the exact schedule beyond the next game or two, and "a good two weeks" could easily just mean five wins in a row. Stepping back and taking a big-picture look at things, of course the Pistons' start is more impressive -- it represents nearly half of their season! -- but it'll likely take maintaining this current pace well into the second half before the hype surrounding the record reaches a fever pitch.

'84 hype still unmatched [Detroit Free Press]