It's been a long, cold winter, but the first tangible signs of spring are now only a week away. The Detroit Tigers released the schedule for the 2015 Winter Caravan Thursday afternoon, leading up to the team's annual TigerFest. A full participant list to go along with the routes will be announced early next week.
The Tigers will be traveling throughout the Michigan January 21-23 to start the unofficial countdown to spring training, making several stops in the metro and the northern portions of the state.
Several new players will take part in the caravan, as well as those who make the event on a yearly basis. Justin Verlander, who missed last season's events because he was recovering from surgery, will be in attendance. Miguel Cabrera, however, is still a question mark due to a recent ankle surgery. Cabrera has not missed TigerFest since coming to Detroit.
The complete schedule is listed below:
Wednesday, Jan. 21:
— West Michigan Whitecaps Winter Banquet, DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. President and GM David Dombrowski and Tigers players will participate at a seated dinner for fans.
Thursday, Jan. 22:
— Dave Dombrowski will be the keynote speaker addressing the Economic Club of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce at the Kellogg Center in Lansing
— Employee rally at Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in Detroit
— Two Tigers players will act as celebrity servers at Buffalo Wild Wings in Rochester Hills (Open to the public)
— Players will put on a skills demonstration for OU Cares program at Oakland University, and do a Q&A with program participants, guests and OU students
— Tigers players and coaches will participate in a sandwich making contest at Lipari Foods and Winter's Sausage in Warren
— Detroit Tigers Kids Club Rally at Sterling Heights High School's Performing Arts Theatre (Ticketed event, open to the public on a first come, first served basis)
— Photo opportunity at Hockeytown Authentics in Troy. Fans can take photos with two Tigers players, in exchange for new (packaged) warm men's or women's socks to be donated to the Neighborhood Service Organization's Homeless Recovery program. (Open to the public; a maximum of 150 wristbands will be distributed, starting at 4 p.m.)
— Tiger Talk at Fifth Third Field in Toledo, home of the Triple-A Mud Hens. Players will participate in a Q&A session at a seated dinner for fans. (Ticketed event, open to the public)
Friday, Jan. 23:
— Fox Sports Detroit event in Southfield. Players will participate in a meet-and-greet reception with FSD sponsors and clients.
— Northville Fire Department. Two players will partake in a "Suit Up" competition accompanied by two NCFD firefighters. The players will race to see who can suit-up in the firefighter's gear the fastest.
— Michigan State Police Crime Lab in Northville
11:30 a.m.-12:10 p.m.
— Neighborhood Service Organization in Detroit. Tigers personnel will present a jersey to the NSO to recognize its 60th anniversary during a rally for NSO employees, volunteers and residents.
— DTE employee rally in Detroit
— DMC Children's Hospital of Michigan in Detroit. Players will visit select patient rooms and present each child with a gift. Tigers mascot PAWS will be in attendance.
— United States Customs and Border Protection Agency in Detroit
— North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Players will take part in a Q&A with fans in the Chevrolet display area. (Open to the public)
— Detroit Hispanic Development Corporation in Detroit. A player and coach will tour the facility and participate in a special ribbon cutting ceremony for Southwest Detroit's FIRST Robotics build site, the Robotics and Engineering Center of Detroit.
NORTH BUS ROUTE
Thursday, Jan. 22:
— Lake City Fire Department. Players, coaches and executives will present the fire department with a jersey in recognition of 100 years of service.
— Traverse City Chamber of Commerce. Players, coaches and executives will present a jersey to the Chamber of Commerce in recognition of its 100th anniversary.
— Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center. Following the tour of the training center, team personnel will participate in a Q&A and photo session with military personnel and their families.
Friday, Jan. 23:
— Northern Michigan Rotary Club Alliance Business Breakfast at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa. Players, coaches and executives will participate in a rally with Rotary Club members and guests. (Ticketed event, open to the public)
— Zehnder's Snowfest in Frankenmuth. Guests are encouraged to donate items for care packages to be sent to troops overseas. (Open to the public)