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Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow is joining other members of Congress who are expressing concern about security at the Winter Olympic games next month in Russia.

There are concerns that the games face an unprecedented terrorist threat level.

Stabenow says Russian authorities have not shared enough of their security plans for the games.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Members of Congress, including one from Michigan, say they have serious concerns about Americans' safety at next month's Olympics in Russia, and they want Moscow to cooperate more on security.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised his country will do all it can to ensure a safe Olympics.

The State Department has advised Americans planning to go that they should keep vigilant about security because of potential terrorist threats, crime and uncertain medical care.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Detroit Lions introduced the team's new head coach today.

Jim Caldwell comes to the Lions after being part of two Super Bowl-winning teams. He also led the Indianapolis Colts to the Super Bowl in 2010, only to lose to the New Orleans Saints.

Caldwell says he’s already talked with Lions players about winning a National Football League championship.

Tracy Brooks/Mission Wolf/USFWS

Michigan’s top wildlife officials were briefed today on last year’s controversial wolf hunt.

23 wolves were killed during the seven-week hunt. That’s well below the target of 43 wolves.

Adam Bump is the point man on wolves for the Department of Natural Resources. He delivered the briefing to the Michigan Natural Resources Commission.  Bump says the DNR will take the next several months to evaluate how to improve future hunts.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State University officials have delayed a celebration for the school's Rose Bowl-winning football team because of a major snowstorm and polar temperatures in the forecast.

The Detroit Free Press reported Saturday that athletic director Mark Hollis said the celebration planned for Monday will be rescheduled to an undetermined date. Meanwhile, the East Lansing university will honor the team during Tuesday's home basketball game against Ohio State.

@flounderradio / Twitter

Update 3:15 p.m.

The co-founder of the West Michigan Whitecaps is confident the Fifth Third Ballpark will reopen in time for baseball in April. It appears the fire damaged about a dozen luxury box suites, part of the clubhouse, some storage area and probably the control room too. West Michigan Whitecaps co-founder Denny Baxter told reporters during a press conference he’s confident the ballpark will be available on opening day, although there’s a good chance it won’t be completely rebuilt by then. There were no reported injuries because of the fire.

Reported 12 p.m.

A fire was reported shortly after 11 a.m. today at the Fifth Third Ballpark, a few miles north of Grand Rapids in Plainfield Township.

The smoke was thick enough to be seen from Gerald R. Ford International Airport, and to be picked up by National Weather Service radar.

U.S. 131 runs right by the stadium, which can hold close to 10,000 people. The ballpark opened in 1994.

The stadium is home to the West Michigan Whitecaps baseball team, a Detroit Tigers’ Single A affiliate. The ballpark is also the venue for numerous concerts and events throughout the year, including the Michigan Brewers Guild’s annual Winter Beer Festival set for early next month.

Scott Graham, Executive Director of Michigan Brewers Guild issued this statement about the popular festival.

"The Michigan Brewers Guild is certainly concerned about our upcoming beer festival at the Fifth Third Ballpark but our first concern is for all of our friends at the West Michigan Whitecaps. Our thoughts and prayers are with the staff at the ballpark today and we will assess what it means to the Guild after the damage is under control and can be assessed. Because our event is held outside the ballpark in the parking lot we are hopeful that it will turn out well. We will do our best to keep fans of MI beer informed in coming days as we learn more."

Here are some images of the fire:

The ball park is in Comstock Park, Michigan. This from MLive.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

This week’s big National Hockey League game at the Big House in Ann Arbor drew a big crowd.

Federal officials announced today the game also drew a few crooks.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations division says it usually sees an uptick in counterfeit sports merchandise during big events like the NHL’s Winter Classic.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

There are many Michigan State University students and alumni celebrating the New Year in Pasadena.

They’re there to see the Spartans play in this year’s Rose Bowl game.

The Rose Bowl is nicknamed “The granddaddy of them all” because it is the oldest of the college football bowl games.

The last time the Spartans represented the Big Ten in the Rose Bowl was 1988. MSU earned its first trip back to Pasadena on New Year’s Day with a 12 and one season, finishing with a win over Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game.

Wikipedia

The Detroit Red Wings will host the Toronto Maple Leafs at The Big House on the University of Michigan campus before a potentially world record-setting crowd this afternoon.

The National Hockey League is warning fans to watch out for counterfeiters trying to sell fake jerseys and other merchandise at the game.

Kelley Lynch is the attorney for NHL Enterprises. She says fans usually think they’re buying authentic NHL merchandise, only to learn later they’ve purchased counterfeit merchandise of inferior quality.

NHL Network / via Twitter

Downtown Detroit is alive with the sounds and smells of outdoor hockey right now, as the city enters the fifth and final day of the Hockeytown Winter Festival.

And those festivities are just a prelude to the big event in Ann Arbor — the 6th annual NHL Winter Classic at Michigan Stadium on New Year’s Day.

That outdoor game will feature two of the NHL’s Original Six teams, the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs. The game alone is expected to draw well over 100,000 fans to the Big House.

Sarah Cwiek / Michigan Radio

The Detroit Red Wings’ charity and the National Hockey League have teamed up to refurbish Detroit’s only outdoor hockey rink.

The gift, which benefits southwest Detroit’s Clark Park, was announced there Monday. The facility will get a new Zamboni, new lighting and other upgrades worth about $200,000.

screen grab from web cam / Detroit Sports Commission

The NHL Winter Classic will be held in Ann Arbor's Michigan Stadium on January 1, 2014. The Toronto Maple Leafs will take on the Detroit Red Wings. Tickets will cost... a lot.

Right now, a hockey rink is being built on top of a football field.

The Detroit Sports Commission has set up a webcam so you can watch the progress. See below:

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Thousands of Michigan State students have celebrated the football team's Big Ten title with large, rowdy bonfires.

East Lansing police arrested multiple people Saturday night near River and Cedar streets, which is a traditional spot for MSU students to party after major sports victories. No. 10 MSU defeated No. 2 Ohio State 34-24 late Saturday, earning its first Rose Bowl appearance in a quarter-century.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Michigan State shook up the BCS title chase again Saturday night.

The No. 10 Spartans regained the lead on Connor Cook's 9-yard touchdown pass to Josiah Price with 11:41 left and upset No. 2 Ohio State 34-24 to take the Big Ten title and put Auburn back in the national title hunt.

Ohio State (12-1) had the nation's longest active winning streak end at 24 as coach Urban Meyer suffered his first loss since taking over in Columbus.

It was a game that almost defied logic.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

People in Michigan's ski industry are happy about the early cold weather.

Most of Michigan's ski hills are open already.

Mickey McWilliams is Executive Director of the Michigan Snow Sports Industries Association.   She says ski resorts can make snow when the temperature is slightly above 28 degrees Fahrenheit.

“That's kind of the magic number,” says McWilliams, “If you look at your thermometer outside, and its 28, you know that there's snow on our slopes.”

McWilliams says most Michigan skiers do most of their skiing in-state.

flickr

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - At least 10 wolves have been killed during Michigan's wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

The state Department of Natural Resources updated the results Saturday. The wolf season started on Nov. 15 and runs through December, unless 43 are killed before the end of the year.

Anderson Mancini / Flickr

The Grambling State University football team plays in the unheralded Southwestern Athletic Conference, in the division beneath the big boys. They had an 11-game losing streak, stretching back into the 2012 season.

In short, this was not a team that warranted national attention.

But the Tigers finally got some last month. No, they didn’t notch their first win that day – or even another loss. They didn’t play – and it wasn’t due to bad weather or a bye week. The players simply refused to take the field.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

With Michigan’s hunting season underway, one group of sportsmen is urging their fellow hunters to make a difference with each buck they bag.

Michigan Sportsmen Against Hunger connects hunters, processors and charities to help feed the hungry.

But how does a deer taken in Kalkaska wind up on the tables of hungry families?

Neal Easterbook, the vice president of MSAH, talks with us about the group.

Listen to the full interview above.

flickr

Hunters have killed six wolves during the first three days of Michigan’s controversial wolf hunt in the Upper Peninsula.

Unseasonably warm weather has played a part in the hunt so far.

Debbie Munson-Badini is a spokeswoman with the Department of Natural Resources.    She says snow in the forecast is good news for most hunters in the Upper Peninsula.

digital-photography-school.com

This weekend, tens of thousands of deer hunters are stalking Michigan’s woods.

In some parts of the state, hunters have to stop to count the points on a buck’s antlers before they pull the trigger.

State wildlife officials have expanded an ‘antler point restriction’ program into 12 Lower Peninsula counties.

Detroit Tigers

Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera has won the American League Most Valuable Player award for the second straight year.

Cabrera led the majors in hitting this year, winning his third A-L batting title in a row.   That's despite the fact he had to play with a nagging injury during the final two months of the season.

Cabrera won by a comfortable margin Thursday, getting 23 of 30 first-place votes from members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Detroit Tigers

Detroit Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer easily won the American League Cy Young Award Wednesday.

The award honors the best pitcher in Major League Baseball this year. Scherzer led the major leagues with 21 victories this season.

Scherzer gave credit to his Detroit Tigers teammates.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

People planning to take part in Michigan’s historic wolf hunt this year are likely to come home empty-handed.

State wildlife officials say they designed the hunt expecting only around 4% of hunters to kill a wolf.

“If we had any other game species, or deer hunting, or rabbit hunting, or squirrel hunting where you’d have 4% success rates, the hunters would be quite upset with us,” said Brian Roell, a wildlife biologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

“So I think some folks are probably overestimating their ability to harvest a wolf.”

Michigan Football / Facebook

Moments before the Michigan Wolverines introduced Brady Hoke as their new head football coach in 2011, Michigan fans had lots of questions. Why not hire a national star like Les Miles or Jim Harbaugh, who both played at Michigan? Who was Brady Hoke? Was he up to the task?

Hoke answered these questions by nailing his first press conference. He won over more Michigan fans in just a few minutes than his predecessor, Rich Rodriguez, had been able to do in three years. When a reporter asked Hoke if the Wolverines would be rebuilding, he famously replied, “This is Michigan, for godsakes” – and a star was born.

It was hard to imagine a happier honeymoon than Hoke’s. In his rookie season, the Wolverines beat Notre Dame, Nebraska and Ohio State – for the first time in eight years. They won their first BCS bowl game since Tom Brady did the job in 2000, en route to an 11-2 record. From the fans in the stands to the team in the trenches, the love for Coach Hoke was universal.

WSOP

Championship Poker is like a major sporting event - cheering fans adorned with big block letter T-shirts, and silly hats in the stands - play by play and color announcers - corporate sponsors - and broadcasts on ESPN.

Twenty-three year old Michigan native Ryan Riess won the the championship early this morning in Las Vegas.

His "World Series of Poker" title came with an $8,361,570 payout. A pretty good return after paying $10,000 to enter his first match.

You can watch the winning moment here (An Ace and King of hearts took the pot).

The Associated Press has more on how Riess got his start:

Riess' parents say that like many poker players, their son always had a head for numbers. As a 14-year-old, he became obsessed with poker after watching amateur Chris Moneymaker win the main event.

"In my basement, I had a $10 home game that I ran twice a week, just playing with my friends. I won all the time, which I thought was kind of weird, so I thought maybe I should do this more often," he said, sipping beer from a can moments after his win.

Riess grew up in Watertown, Michigan. He joins Michigan natives Tom "Grand Rapids Tom" McEvoy and Joe Cada as past poker champions.

user CedarBendDrive / Flickr

No doubt about it — heads are sure to collide on Saturday’s football game between the University of Michigan and Michigan State University.

But when heads collide on the field at Spartan Stadium, two neurologists will be on the sidelines, making sure no concussed player gets back in the game.

Both Jeff Kutcher, an associate professor of neurology at Michigan’s medical school, and David Kaufman, the chairman of the neurology department at Michigan State, will be working on the field for Saturday’s game.

According to the New York Times, while many Big Ten schools have medical consultants for their athletic teams, only Michigan and Michigan State keep them on the sidelines at all games.

YouTube screenshot

Some people were throwing their hands up while watching the end of the last Lions game.

They were playing the Dallas Cowboys and were down by six with just about a minute to go.

"Same old Lions," might have been uttered by a few disappointed fans.

Then Matthew Stafford looped a few perfect passes down the field and snuck the ball past the goal line.

NFL Films captured the frantic "clock it!" calls from Stafford. Watch it here:

 

Update: Well, that stinks. The NFL had the video taken down.

As a consolation, you can watch Stafford leading a comeback against the Browns here in his rookie season. He also yells "clock it" in this clip.

(H/T Jim Russ) 

Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
Detroit Tigers

This week, Detroit Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland announced his retirement. He was an ‘old school’ manager, relying more on his guts than a spreadsheet. His decisions irritated some fans, but not his results. 

When you’re 68, working in a young man’s game, announcing your retirement is not a surprise. But there are a few underappreciated qualities about this grizzled veteran that are worth remembering.

Jim Leyland was a baseball man to the core. Raised in Perrysburg, Ohio, the son of a glassworker, he grew up wanting to do one thing: Play baseball.

He was good, very good, so the Tigers signed him up to play catcher in their minor league system. But just to get to the majors, you need to be great – and after seven years battling to get to the big leagues, Leyland realized he wasn’t great. Not as a player, at least.  

Tiger manager Jim Leyland brought the Detroit Tigers to the American League Championship Series for the last three years.

But Saturday night's elimination in Boston was the "final out" for Jim Leyland. Today he announced he is stepping down as manager.

John Keating, who covers the Tigers for Fox Sports Detroit, joined us today.

Listen to the full interview above.

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