SI’s history of covering sports in the Motor City

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This week’s Oct. 10 issue offers a celebration of sports in Detroit. The national cover featuring Calvin Johnson marks the first time in nearly nine years that the Lions have landed on the cover. In addition, senior writer Tom Verducci recognizes Tigers G.M. Dave Dombrowski for his role in the 2009 trade that has shaped this year’s postseason.

This is hardly the first time that Sports Illustrated has covered the sports pulse of the Motor City. Between January 2009 and March 2010, SI contributed six stories to Time Inc.’s Assignment Detroit Project—each of which drew a strong parallel to the struggles of the city and how sports offered both an analogy for those struggles and a sense of hope.

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Also from Sports Illustrated: The nicest player in the NFL, the trade that shaped the Division Series and Brandon Jennings’ Twitter hoops tour

You’ve seen all three of this week’s Oct. 10 covers and read about the rise of both the Lions and Alabama’s defense and seen our NHL predictions. Here’s what else is in this week’s issue, on newsstands now.

SI PLAYERS NFL POLL

Who is the nicest player in football? (page 17)

  1. Troy Polamalu, Steelers S….8%
  2. Drew Brees, Saints QB….6%
  3. Peyton Manning, Colts QB….4%
  4. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals WR….4%
  5. Matt Hasselbeck, Titans QB….3%

[Based on 272 NFL players who responded to SI’s survey]

FAST FACTS: Polamalu, the 2010 Defensive Player of the Year, is known for his devastating hits (any chance Joe Flacco voted for him?), but he has clearly made an impact with his personality as well. He, Eagles CB Nnamdi Asomugha (2%) and Broncos S Brian Dawkins (1%) are the only defensive players in the top 15. (Eight of those first 15 are QBs.) In a Facebook poll Broncos QB Tim Tebow (39%) was the fans’ pick for Mr. Nice Guy.

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Jets, Ravens and Tigers (Oh My!) on This Week’s Sports Illustrated Covers

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There are three covers for this week’s Sept. 19, 2011, issue of Sports Illustrated, on newsstands tomorrow. The national cover features Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez. It is Sanchez’s third appearance with the Jets — he previously appeared on the Jan. 26 and Sept. 6, 2010 covers — and his fourth overall. (He appeared on a regional cover of the 2008 College Football Preview [dated Aug. 15, 2008] while at USC.)

Appearing on the two regional covers are Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco and running back Ray Rice (available in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia) and Tigers ace Justin Verlander (available in Michigan and Ohio). Below is a rundown of the cover history for all three teams featured this week:

  • Jets: Sept. 5, 2011 (regional cover for the 2011 NFL Preview featuring Calvin Pace); 23rd appearance
  • Ravens: Nov. 13, 2006 (“The Gospel According to Ray Lewis”); fifth appearance
  • Tigers: Sept. 28, 2009 (“The Righteous Franchise”); 23rd appearance (Verlander’s second appearance following the Aug. 28, 2006, cover)

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Another Letter to Miami Asking Them to Drop Football, Why a 154-Game Season Would be Good for Baseball, Jim Harbaugh Channels the Spirit of Bill Walsh, The Day That Damned the Dodgers and More from the Aug. 29 Issue

You’ve seen the Brewers “living the high life” on this week’s cover. This week’s Aug. 29 issue also includes the following:

1. Time for Miami to Get Real: Sixteen years ago, senior writer Alexander Wolff asked then University of Miami president Tad Foote to dismantle a Hurricanes football program that had run amok and then some. Now, history has repeated itself. Read Wolff’s updated letter – this time addressed to Donna Shalala – addressing the Nevin Shapiro scandal by visiting Sports Illustrated’s official Facebook page. Click “Like” at the top of the page if you are not already a fan, then click “Fan’s Only” on the left-hand side of the page to read Wolff’s letter.

2. The 154-Game Solution: Senior writer Joe Posnanski argues that shortening the MLB season by eight games would not only shorten a season that seems endless as it is, it would also lend proper context to the home run records warped by the steroid era.

3. Jim Harbaugh: The new Niners coach is looking to the past and embracing the teachings of Bill Walsh – who, like Harbaugh, also made the jump from Palo Alto to the pros – hoping to achieve the same level of success as San Fran fans hope they’ve finally found a worthy successor.

4. The Day That Damned the Dodgers: When Giants fan Bryan Stow was beaten into a coma in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on Opening Day, it marked the latest black eye for a once-proud franchise. Senior writer Lee Jenkins finds out more about what the team – and the city of L.A. – have done in response.

5. 2011 U.S. Open Preview: Senior writer L. Jon Wertheim lists seven players to keep an eye on and takes a closer look at what makes the last tennis major of the year so profitable – and why U.S. tennis is in the dark ages in spite of that.

6. Which manager would major league players most like to play for? 291 players weighed in for this week’s MLB Players Poll.

Read on for more.

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Also in the Aug. 15 Issue: No. 3 MLB Draft Pick Trevor Bauer Will Not be Babied, Why Jay Cutler is Misunderstood, Why a Die-Hard ‘Bama Fan Allegedy Poisoned Toomer’s Oaks

Why the No. 3 Overall MLB Draft Pick, Trevor Bauer, Won’t Be Babied

You Can Call Jay Cutler Arrogant and Stubborn, But Don’t Say He’s Not Tough

Why Did a Die-Hard Alabama Fan Allegedly Poison Toomer’s Oaks?

In addition to senior baseball writer Tom Verducci’s cover story on Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia, this week’s Aug. 15 issue—on newsstands now—includes:

Trevor Bauer Will Not Be Babied – Lee Jenkins (@SI_LeeJenkins)

Young power arms are frequently coddled, but that’s not for Trevor Bauer, the Diamondbacks’ first-round pick (No. 3 overall). Bauer throws at least six days a week with baseballs, weighted balls or medicine balls. He longtosses 380 feet, even before starts. On his first warmup toss between innings, he crow hops across the mound and unleashes a fastball more than 100 miles per hour. The results speak for themselves: This past season at UCLA, Bauer led the NCAA in strikeouts and held opposing hitters to a .154 batting average. More remarkably, his last nine outings were all complete games and in only one did he throw fewer than 130 pitches. After each of them he was out longtossing the next day (page 36).

During his pre draft interviews Bauer says he told team representatives: “This is what I do, it’s what I believe in, and if you let me stick with it, I’ll pitch in the major leagues for 20 years. Some [teams] were open. Some weren’t. But they needed to know what they were getting into.”

To read the full online version of Trevor Bauer Will Not Be Babied, click here.

On the Tablets: Arizona will likely call up Bauer when rosters expand on Sept. 1—not just to get him some experience but also to, hopefully, have him make an impact in October. Here are hot spots of five late-season call-ups who influenced a pennant race.

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