NBA, NHL Playoff Fever Warms Detroit

Detroit has sent two pro sports teams deep into the playoffs: basketball's Pistons and hockey's Red Wings. Jacin Waple, the bartender at Coaches Corner, a downtown Detroit sports bar, sets the scene.

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NOAH ADAMS, host.

Tonight, Detroit has two hometown teams in playoff competition. Just imagine, NBA basketball, the Pistons versus the Boston Celtics; Stanley Cup hockey, the Red Wings against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Both those games are at about the same time tonight. Both are away games. So, the sports bars get the action. And, we now go to the happy confines of a downtown Detroit bar. It's called Coaches Corner. And, we're talking with Jacin Waple. Welcome to our program, sir.

Mr. JACIN WAPLE:(Bartender, Coaches Corner)How are you doing?

ADAMS: It's going to be a long night for you. The Tigers playing in California, the baseball team, right?

Mr. WAPLE: Yeah, we're - we've got all three of them playing tonight. And luckily, they're playing at ten so we'll get to see them after the two teams win it for us here in Detroit.

ADAMS: Both teams, you're predicting a victory. Are you going to stay up and stay working until the baseball game is over?

Mr. WAPLE: Most certainly, we're going to be here until about 2:30 tonight and we plan on being nice and busy.

ADAMS: Well, there you go. Now, as to the main event here, the hockey game and the NBA game, how many television sets do you have in that bar?

Mr. WAPLE: Well, we've got 20 and we were going to have about 10 on the hockey game and 10 on the basketball game and the only problem we have is with the sound.

ADAMS: Well, they're closed captioned, anyway, right?

Mr. WAPLE: Right.

ADAMS: Well then how do you display the television sets, do you put hockey on one side of the bar and basketball on the other?

Mr. WAPLE: No, because that doesn't work. We've got to do each, each screen as hockey and one has basketball, because everyone is kind of interested in both of them and we got two great series going on and so we got each additional screen on both games.

ADAMS: Alright, let me guess here about what people will be wearing. If you're a hockey fan it's going to be red, and Detroit Pistons blue?

Mr. WAPLE: It's all red and blue and, you know, it's not - it's not uncommon to see a bunch of people sitting at a table and the girlfriends wearing Pistons stuff and the guys wearing Wings stuff and everyone rooting for one or the other.

ADAMS: Anybody getting in trouble, back and forth with each other, do you think?

Mr. WAPLE: No, no, not at all. The atmosphere down here is absolutely great. Detroit fans - we've came over a lot of adversity with the Big 3 and different things that are going on in our city and, you know, it's kind of really nice to have a break for three, four hours a night and everyone really come together and high five each other and really have a smile on their face when they come in and leave the door.

ADAMS: Now, explain this to me, as an out-of-towner. If I went to the game, if the game were to be in Detroit tonight, I would be seeing octopi being thrown on the ice?

Mr. WAPLE: I hope to God you would. We've been throwing octopus out for about 50 years and about two months ago, we just got banned for waving the octopus on the ice because of the particles that come off the octopus. But it's an old Detroit tradition, and one way or another, people sneak them in there and we get them out on the ice. It's a good luck charm.

ADAMS: Now, you think you'll be seeing that on the television screen in Pittsburgh during the game?

Mr. WAPLE: You better believe it.

ADAMS: And, in your bar?

Mr. WAPLE: In our bar, we do some octopus-type of appetizers at around this time of the year.

ADAMS: Wow, what kind?

Mr. WAPLE: Well, we've, we've got fried octopus, we've also are doing a little bit of sushi that we're representing majority of octopus-type sushi and we don't normally do that type of thing but during the playoffs we do.

ADAMS: Are you, Mr. Waple, on your feet during this entire thing, tonight?

Mr. WAPLE: Yes, most certainly. But, you know, we love this time of the year and we're having so much fun and it doesn't even really feel like we're working that hard because, you know, we're walking around with smiles on our face and everyone who that comes in here is having a great time. So, it - time flies when you're having fun.

ADAMS: Jason Waple, a bartender at Coaches Corner in downtown Detroit. Tonight, the Pistons play the Celtics in Boston. The Red Wings play the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Good luck, sir.

Mr. WAPLE: Thank you very much.

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