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 Granderson to bid adieu at fundraiser

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PostSubject: Granderson to bid adieu at fundraiser   Thu Dec 17, 2009 7:44 pm

Granderson to bid adieu at fundraiser
Celebrity Shootout for inner-city students to be held Jan. 24

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

12/17/09 2:01 PM EST

DETROIT -- What began as Curtis Granderson's annual offseason fundraiser has now become his chance to say "Thank you and goodbye" to his fans in metro Detroit.

Before the former Tigers All-Star heads off to Spring Training with the Yankees, he'll host a collection of local athletes and personalities on the basketball court for his third annual Celebrity Shootout on Sunday, Jan. 24 at 3 p.m. at Seaholm High School in Birmingham, Mich.

Proceeds from the event will go to the Grand Kids Foundation, which will continue its efforts to enhance the lives of students in Michigan's inner cities and emphasize the importance of education.

Granderson was in the planning stages of the event when he was traded to the Yankees Dec. 9 for Austin Jackson and Phil Coke. He decided to continue on with the fundraiser.

"This will also be an emotional event on a personal level, as it will be somewhat of a goodbye from me to the fans and the city that have supported me so strongly throughout my career so far," Granderson said in a statement. "I hope that those fans can pack the gym and also raise a lot of money for inner-city education in Michigan."

Granderson will serve as a referee for the game. Detroit Pistons star Ben Gordon and University of Michigan coaching legend Lloyd Carr will serve as coaches.

Among the former local collegiate stars scheduled to attend are former Michigan Fab Five members Jalen Rose and Jimmy King, both of whom currently work as basketball analysts on television. Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard will also be taking part, as will former Michigan State football standout and NFL running back T.J. Duckett and former NBA player Jeff Grayer.

Shootout players on the celebrity side include reigning World Series of Poker champion Joe Cada, a Detroit area native, as well as FSN Detroit anchor/reporter Trevor Thompson, Dateline NBC correspondent Chris Hansen, ESPN personalities Jemele Hill and Dana Jacobson, Biggest Loser season 7 winner Helen Phillips and runner-up Mike Morelli, local traffic reporter Erin Nicole and Fathead.com CEO Pat McInnis.

Tickets cost $30 for adults and $25 for students with a valid student ID, and are available online at grandkidsfoundation.org and curtisgranderson.com. Admission is free for kids ages two and younger.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Granderson to bid adieu at fundraiser   Sun Jan 24, 2010 9:40 pm

Last Updated: January 23. 2010 7:22PM
Curtis Granderson prepares to say his goodbyes to Detroit
Terry Foster / The Detroit News

The kid that drove up here from Erie, Pa., late in 2004 didn't know much about Tigers baseball history. Curtis Granderson only knew about Cecil Fielder, Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker because he played against them as a child -- playing for his hometown Chicago White Sox in video games.

But he quickly learned Tigers history and became part of it.

Now his run in Detroit officially ends Sunday during the third annual Curtis Granderson Celebrity Basketball Shoot-out, which is set for 3 p.m. at Birmingham Seaholm High School.

The proceeds will benefit inner-city youth in Detroit through Granderson's Grand Kids Foundation.

Granderson officially is a member of the New York Yankees following a trade that sent shockwaves throughout Detroit. Many thought Granderson would be a Tiger for life, patrolling the giant expanses of Comerica Park until he retired.

Instead, he is trying to think of the proper words to say his goodbye to a city where he grew into a man. He went from gullible rookie to a baseball All-star and, now considered to be one of the top fielding center fielders in baseball.

"I didn't know where the team hotel was. I didn't know where Comerica Park was," Granderson said, recalling his promotion from Double-A Erie in September 2004. "Now this is like my second home."

Fans made it special

Granderson's first home is Chicago, where he maintains a condo within walking distance of his old school, the University of Illinois-Chicago. He leaves a town not too different from the city he grew up in. Granderson admits fans in Chicago can be more vicious, but they are no more passionate than people in Detroit.

In fact, he said he learned much of his Tigers history from talking to fans here.

He became one of the Tigers more popular players because of his play on the field, charity work and good clean image. He leaves Detroit with a .272 career batting average, 102 home runs and 299 RBIs in six seasons, the last four as a starter He also leaves with an appreciation for Detroit, for which he has a soft heart for its struggles.

"I kind of got into what the fans wanted," said Granderson, 28. "They just want guys to play hard and give everything even if you were injured. I think the team we had, everybody did that. We were going out and giving good effort. The fans still wanted to come back and support us. I think that really meant a lot to guys. They wanted to give (fans) what they wanted. It was a good relationship between players and fans. We were giving it to them the right way and I had a chance to be part of that."

His mother, Mary Granderson, called coming to Detroit "an opportunity of a life time."

"He got a chance to grow up and make decisions on his own," she said. "He got to mature as both a baseball player and as a person. We will all look back fondly on his experience in Detroit."

Eye on the prize

Shortly after being traded to the Yankees, in a three-team deal that send Edwin Jackson to the Diamondbacks and a handful of prospects to the Tigers, he got congratulations from people because they said he'd become a staple in the playoffs and would get more opportunities to win World Series titles while playing with the defending champions.

But Granderson thought that was possible here, too. The 2006 Tigers lost to the Cardinals in the World Series and last year's team was one win from making the playoffs.

"It was funny to hear that," said Granderson, a third-round pick by Detroit in 2002. "That is one of the great things about baseball is everybody has a chance. Every player feels that way. And now just because I am a member of the New York Yankees, you cannot assume things will just be handed to you just because you are with one of the premier teams in baseball."

Granderson's first opportunity to play in a World Series highlighted his run here. He admits that run came totally out of the blue and he was shocked to be there after stumbling down the stretch -- settling for the wild card after losing the AL Central title on the last day of the regular season -- only to rebound and beat the Yankees and Oakland A's in the postseason.

"It was such a busy time," Granderson said. "And it was such a mental challenge from going to one of the best teams to one of the worst. We went from favorites to underdog, back to favorites again. I remember we played when it was icy and in the cold. You were doing things we're not accustomed to doing.

"The World Series was probably the best time I had yet it was the most frustrating, too," said Granderson, who was 2-for-21 as the Tigers lost the World Series in five games. "I want to get back and do it all over again."

Trade was a surprise

He wanted to do it all over again in Detroit. But that is not possible any more.

The Tigers got rid of Granderson and Jackson, as well as second baseman Placido Polanco, closer Fernando Rodney and reliever Brandon Lyon. They are retooling, hoping a new mix of younger players works well with the remaining veterans.

Granderson wanted to be part of all that, but holds no bitterness toward his first organization.

"Oh no, no at all. Surprised? Yes. I think especially after getting a new contract," said Granderson, who in February 2008 signed a five-year, $30.25 million deal with a $13 million club option for 2013. "I thought I would play here until at least the end of the contract. And from talking to everybody they would say, 'You are a Tiger for life.'

"But I understand the business and that this is a business move. They felt it was best to move on and the Yankees felt it was best to have me. I have always heard that this game is a business and I just found out about this."

While this will be the third and final Curtis Granderson Shoot-out in Metro Detroit, Granderson isn't ready to cut ties with Detroit altogether. He's certainly not ruling out returning to Detroit for a visit or business.

"There is no reason why I can't return to Detroit to do things," he said. "So it is farewell, but maybe not goodbye forever. You never know how my career will unfold down the line. I just know my foundation started in Detroit. And besides, my friends love coming here. They were surprised to find out that Detroit is so nice and has so many things to do."

His mother only has one wish: "We hope New York embraces him as much as Detroit did."

terry.foster@detnews.com (313) 222-1494

From The Detroit News: http://www.detnews.com/article/20100123/SPORTS0104/1230359/1129/sports0104/Curtis-Granderson-prepares-to-say-his-goodbyes-to-Detroit#ixzz0daCpRcoO


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PostSubject: Re: Granderson to bid adieu at fundraiser   Mon Jan 25, 2010 12:19 am



Granderson says goodbye to Detroit
Traded outfielder hosts charity basketball game

By Jason Beck / MLB.com

01/24/10 10:09 PM EST

BIRMINGHAM, Mich. -- A day after Detroit said hello to the new Tigers, they bade a touching farewell to one of their favorites.

Curtis Granderson knew he'd be in for an emotional time as he readied for his third annual Celebrity Shootout basketball game, his final event in Michigan before heading to Spring Training with the Yankees. He didn't know he'd be watching a video tribute before he took the court, encapsulating his five-plus seasons as a Tiger into about five minutes.

"Detroit loves you, Curtis," a fan shouted as Granderson took the court.

The feeling was mutual. Like Tigers fans, Granderson is moving on, but he isn't forgetting where he got his start. It was a bittersweet departure, but not bitter.

"Changes happen all the time," Granderson said. "New players come and go. And the fact that so many people have said to me that they're going to miss me, that's probably the most emotional [I get]."

It was fitting that Granderson was able to culminate his Detroit tenure with a community effort to raise funds for his Grand Kids Foundation. For all the memories he made in the Motor City on the field, he has done just as much or more with his charitable work. It earned him the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award as voted by MLB players at season's end, and it earned a lot of help for schools in Michigan.

That help is likely to continue, even as Granderson expands his efforts to New York.

The planning on this event was well under way by the time the Tigers dealt Granderson to New York at last month's Winter Meetings. Even if he had wanted to cancel, it would've been difficult and costly. Beyond getting use of the gymnasium at Seaholm High School, he had a slew of former Michigan athletes who had committed to take part.

Once he received several messages immediately after the trade, asking him if the game was still on, he was sure going ahead was the right thing to do. From there, it became more than a fundraiser.

As Granderson made his way back into town, it set in that this was one of his last trips.

"Coming in [from Chicago], driving back, seeing the 'Welcome to Michigan' sign, that was one [sign]," Granderson said. "Talking with kids yesterday in Battle Creek [on a visit], that was another one. Here, once I walked through the door, the consistent comments from everybody saying they were going to miss me, that was another thing."
It was emotional, no doubt, but a fair amount of that emotion was laughter. Though he doesn't play in the game, serving as the game's referee shows off a little more of his personality in what is very much a loose game. He whistled former Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard for lack of effort on a layup and had mock arguments with guest coaches such as Pistons guard Ben Gordon and Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski. He raffled off quite a few items, including some of his old Tigers gear.

Many fans had Tigers items for Granderson to autograph. He said he signed more with his old Tigers number, 28, than his new Yankees number, 14, though he gave each fan the option. He signed many without a number at all. He signed a book with both numbers for a kid who changed his mind in mid-autograph.

Still, he was glad to hear about the reception his old teammates had at TigerFest.

"You know, the fans are still very supportive," he said. "As mad as some guys might've been [after the trade], they're still very supportive of the team, and that's one of the great things about this city."

He's getting used to the idea of moving to his new city and all the challenges it entails. He has started looking for a place to live in the Big Apple, and he has talked with some of his new teammates. He's preparing himself for the expectations that come with playing in the Bronx.

"Once I get down there and start working and have the uniform on and start practicing and have the first Spring Training game and then go to New York, each step is going to be another thing that sets in," Granderson said.

Though he has never met Austin Jackson, who followed Granderson coming up through the Minor Leagues, Granderson has some empathy and some advice for him as he prepares for life as a rookie center fielder in Comerica Park. Give your best effort, he said, and the rest will take care of itself.

One of the most frequent things Jackson heard this week was that he had big shoes to fill.

"The big thing is, he didn't ask for the pressure," Granderson said. "He wants to play. I understand that, and that's what we all want to do. And he hasn't had big league time yet, so when he goes into it, he's fresh. Everything's going to be new. Learn that everybody, they just want to see you work hard out there, give 110 percent. I learned that really fast. The fans just want to see that. If you do that, they're going to fall in love with you."

Granderson went through essentially the same thing as a rookie center fielder and leadoff hitter in Detroit in 2006. He's a veteran now, but now he'll have to earn respect all over again.

Everything resets, on all sides. Both the Tigers and Granderson are moving on, even as Granderson and fans took one more afternoon to share some memories.

"I'm going to miss you guys, truly," Granderson told fans after the game. "I really look forward to coming out here in May [when the Yankees visit the Tigers]. I hope I get some applause."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: Granderson to bid adieu at fundraiser   Mon Jan 25, 2010 7:23 pm

Curtis Granderson Gets Emotional in Return
Former Tigers talks to FOX 2's Jennifer Hammond

Updated: Monday, 25 Jan 2010, 10:04 AM EST
Published : Sunday, 24 Jan 2010, 7:07 PM EST

By myFOXDetroit.com Staff

The event celebrated the work that the Grand Kids Foundation has done and continues to do for Michigan's inner city schools and also served as a way for Curtis Granderson's fans to say goodbye as he moves on to play for the New York Yankees.

Granderson, a 2009 All-Star and the Major League Baseball Players Associations Marvin Miller Man of the Year, served as the game's referee.



Click on the video player to watch Jennifer's emotional interview with Granderson.

"This was also an emotional event on a personal level, as it will be somewhat of a goodbye from me to the fans and the city that have supported me so strongly throughout my career so far," said Granderson.

"I hope that those fans can pack the gym and also raise a lot of money for inner city education in Michigan."


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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