Thanks to everyone who posted a comment or sent an e-mail about their experience at TigerFest on Saturday. It sounded like a fun time (although Jennifer of Old English D seemed kind of underwhelmed), and the thought of baseball helped everyone endure the frigid temperatures in downtown Detroit. I might have to try harder to attend next year, because I'm feeling kind of envious.
I had never wanted to go all that much because I don’t care about autographs, but when I was looking over the program I noticed all the seminars. They started with the ones broadcast on 97.1 and 1270, which had DD, Leyland, Curtis, Inge and Maggs.
That was followed up by one about Minor League Development where Al Avila, Inge and Rod Allen started out with Inge followed by Raburn and Casper Wells, then Larish and Edwin Jackson.
Finally, they wrapped up with a long Q&A with players and coaches that started out with Curtis, Justin and Guillen, who were followed by Lamont and McLendon, and then a steady flow of other guys that included Nate and Miner, Porcello and Clete, Larish and Chris Lambert, Edwin Jackson and finally Marcus Thames.
Sitting in there listening to the players and coaches I was surprised these seminars weren’t a more popular and publicized part of the event. It felt pretty intimate and there were quite a few interesting stories I had never heard before.
Here's an account from MSU4LIF:
I’m an autograph hound. I hit the jackpot last year, however Verlander was the only superstar Tiger we managed to get this year. Other Hancocks we got were Bloom, Bonine (signed autograph with the bible verse PH 4:13), Cleven, Robertson, Seay and Belliard. We missed Maggs by 20 people and Seay replaced him. So we got Seay’s autograph only to find out Porcello joined him 10 minutes later. I was disappointed about that.
We found a nice illustrated children’s book called the ABC’s of the Detroit Tigers. P was for PAWS and we had PAWS sign it for my daughter that stayed in Grand Rapids. As soon as I got home we read the book and she was so excited when we got to P and she saw that PAWS had signed the book.
It was a good day. The ski mask and three layers of clothing kept me warm while standing in line before the gates opened. The Tigers handed out free hot chocolate before the gates opened, too.
With autographs you never know who you’re going to get. The longest line to get to the front lasted 2 hours and 15 minutes. I enjoyed talking to people next to me. One couple was going to Lakeland the next day for fantasy camp and another man was a collector/promoter for the VFW sports card shows/player appearances in Redford.
So we have some tips of the caps from the BYB community. How about a wag of the media finger, courtesy of Lynn Henning, who scolds one player who wasn't there.
So why wasn't Miguel Cabrera, who could have remained nice and toasty in the Tigers Club, not around?
No one seemed to have a clue. The Tigers said simply that he wasn't on hand. Given that they know Cabrera's whereabouts on pretty close to a 24/7 basis, that was code language for: He didn't feel like attending and skipped the function.
If that was the case, I'm not surprised. Cabrera can be aloof in the extreme.
I'm not sure that's anything necessarily ominous. He takes the game of baseball seriously. And last I checked, that's what the Tigers are paying him $154 million over seven years to fulfill.
But know, Miguel, that folks who are every bit as important to baseball in their individual and collective way put up with a lot of discomfort Saturday because they love the game you play so skillfully.
That should count for something. It should have been enough to have earned your attendance at an important function that celebrates the essence of baseball spirit.
Uh-oh. Let's hope Henning doesn't stalk Cabrera via phone the way he did Brandon Inge last spring.