Tigers thoughts while listening to a pounding rain:
- I attended the Tigers Winter Caravan one time, in 1991 when I was living in Kalamazoo and had some connections with the local paper. Back then, only the media was invited. Or so I thought. I walked into a Kalamazoo hotel and saw dozens of fans asking for autographs from the players and Sparky Anderson.
If memory serves me, Cecil Fielder was there. Recently signed Tony Bernazard was too. This I remember because I asked Sparky during the Q&A how he’d work Bernazard into the lineup without Tony Phillips losing at bats. The answer was classic Sparky and basically amounted to: “I have no idea but Tony is Tony and we’ll be all right.” Uh, yeah. (Bernazard was released in April after playing in just six games and hitting .167).
The real story that winter was the recent firing of Ernie Harwell and, lo and behold, new Tigers President Bo Schembechler was on hand to answer questions about it. As you might guess, Bo was not happy with the first round of reporters’ questions being about Ernie and not the team. After that, he said he wouldn’t answer other questions on the topic and though people tried, he wouldn’t bite — other than to bite their head off for even asking.
It was a great experience. If you get an opportunity to attend a Winter Caravan event, do it.
- I tweeted about this yesterday, but I think it’s worth repeating: Dave Dombrowski insists that the Tigers have no interest in Johnny Damon. Fine. But he said the same thing about Ivan Rodriguez and Magglio Ordonez. Wouldn’t be surprised if Damon arrives in Lakeland in a few weeks.
- Speaking of moves, I don’t understand all the anger around the Jose Valverde signing. While he drove me nuts as the Diamondbacks’ closer a few years ago, that was mainly because of his antics after earning a save. Remember: no one could make sense of the Tigers signing Todd Jones and Kenny Rogers in the winter of 2005-06 but that worked out fine. Expect the same with Valverde.
- On this date in 1993, Tigers Hall of Fame second baseman Charlie Gehringer died at the age of 89, one month after suffering a stroke. During his 19-year career in Detroit, The Mechanical Man posted a .320 batting average with 184 home runs and 1,427 RBI. In 1937, he led the American League with a .371 average.