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 TigerFest returns to Comerica on Jan. 26, 2013

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PostSubject: TigerFest returns to Comerica on Jan. 26, 2013   Mon Dec 10, 2012 5:49 pm

TigerFest returns to Comerica on Jan. 26, 2013

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 12/08/12 2:20 PM ET


DETROIT -- Rest easy, baseball fans looking for a sign of summer in the frigid Michigan winter. TigerFest is back.

After a one-year hiatus, the Tigers' annual winter warmup event is on the schedule again, set for Saturday, Jan. 26 from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. ET at Comerica Park. The format is much the same, giving Tigers fans a chance to meet and greet everyone from star players to the newest Tigers.

A full list of players scheduled to come to town won't be released until January, but the vast majority of the Tigers' roster -- including many stars like Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder -- is expected to attend. So is new Tigers right fielder and MLB fan favorite Torii Hunter, in what will be his first public appearance at the ballpark.

Along with Tigers coaches, they'll be making their rounds through the numerous autograph booths throughout the ballpark, as heaters and tents turn a winter setting into a taste of Opening Day. Players will also be available in a photo area set up in the visitors clubhouse.

Much of the ballpark will be open, either for specific events or for visits. Self-guided tours will take fans through the Tigers clubhouse, including a team archive display, while fans can take their swings in the underground batting cage just inside the Tigers dugout.

While fans are welcome to take photos in the visitors dugout, another self-guided tour will send fans through the Ernie Harwell Media Center, luxury suites, the Champions Club and a selection of Tigers executive offices.

For kids, there's not only a separate autograph booth with players and coaches, but a miniature stage with book readings from players, a video game bullpen, face painting and baseball-themed games.

Fans of all ages will be able to enjoy the main stage sessions with Tigers players, coaches, front-office personnel and broadcasters for updates and question-and-answer sessions. The highlight will be a special two-hour fan conference.

As a bonus to remember Cabrera's amazing 2012 season, every fan through the entrance gate will receive a Triple Crown pennant.

Tickets, $25 for adults and $12 for kids ages 12 and under, will go on sale Dec. 14 at 10 a.m. online at tigers.com/tigerfest. They'll also be available by phone by calling 866-66-TIGER.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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


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PostSubject: Re: TigerFest returns to Comerica on Jan. 26, 2013   Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:53 pm




TigerFest 2013!

COMERICA PARK
DATE: Saturday, January 26, 2013 - 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
ADMISSION: $25 for adults, $12 for kids 12-and-under


Detroit Tigers players and coaches return to Comerica Park on Saturday, January 26 to take part in the 18th annual TigerFest. TigerFest 2013 will be an exciting event previewing the upcoming baseball season allowing fans to interact with their favorite Tigers players and coaches through autograph sessions, photo booths and seminars.

Fan activities include Major League batting cages and Tigers clubhouse tours. Youngsters can visit the Kids Zone, featuring "Pennies for Paws" and enjoy a "kids-only" autograph booth, see the junior T-Ball area, play video games, have their faces painted and listen to Tigers players read children's baseball books!

A Miguel Cabrera Triple Crown pennant will be distributed to all fans at the entrance gate. Additional information, including players scheduled to appear, will be announced in early January.

TIGERFEST MAP

Scheduled to Attend* (*List of participants subject to change.)

Current Tigers Players: Alex Avila, Al Alburquerque, Duane Below, Joaquin Benoit, Quintin Berry, Brennan Boesch, Miguel Cabrera, Phil Coke, Casey Crosby, Andy Dirks, Octavio Dotel, Darin Downs, Prince Fielder, Doug Fister, Bryan Holaday, Torii Hunter, Austin Jackson, Jeff Kobernus, Kyle Lobstein, Luis Marte, Melvin Mercedes, Brayan Pena, Jhonny Peralta, Rick Porcello, Luke Putkonen, Bruce Rondon, Anibal Sanchez, Ramon Santiago, Max Scherzer, Drew Smyly, Justin Verlander, Danny Worth.

Tigers Coaches: Jim Leyland, Rafael Belliard, Tom Brookens, Toby Harrah, Jeff Jones, Gene Lamont, Lloyd McClendon, Mike Rojas.

Front Office: David Dombrowski, Al Avila.

Broadcasters: Rod Allen, Pat Caputo.

Event Activities for All Fans (ALL ARE INCLUDED IN THE TICKET PRICE)


  • Autograph booths featuring current Tigers players and coaches, including one kids-only line.
  • Main stage, featuring updates on the 2013 season by Tigers players, coaches, and members of the front office, including a special two hour Tigers "Fan Conference."
  • Tigers player photo area, located in the visitors clubhouse, where fans can take pictures with Tigers players.
  • Self-guided tour through the Tigers Home Clubhouse, including the Tigers archive display featuring historical baseball artifacts.
  • Batting practice in the underground batting tunnel.
  • Visitors dugout will be open for fans to visit and take photos.
  • Self-guided tour, which includes stops in the Ernie Harwell Media Center, luxury suite, the Champions Club, and select Detroit Tigers executive offices.
  • Detroit Tigers ice sculptures, including LIVE sculpting demonstrations.
  • RxSport Bat Lathe featuring LIVE baseball bat carving demonstrations.
  • Opportunity to take a photo with the 2012 American League Championship Trophy.
  • Learn more about Detroit Tigers season and group ticket plans, Tigers fantasy camps, Spring Training tickets.
  • Detroit Tigers Authentics featuring one-of-a-kind authentic signed items and game-used memorabilia.
  • Unique Tigers items at the Tigers Foundation Fire Sale.

Event Activities for Children
The Detroit Tigers Kids Zone will feature:


  • Kids-Only autograph booth
  • Miniature Comerica Park stage featuring book readings by Tigers players, interactive games and activities, and special bleacher seating for parents and kids.
  • Baseball-themed games and activities
  • Video game bullpen
  • Face painting
  • Official 2013 Kids Club enrollment
  • Radio Disney personalities and fun activities


“It takes pitching, hitting and defense. Any two can win. All three make you unbeatable.”    
–Joe Garagiola
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PostSubject: Re: TigerFest returns to Comerica on Jan. 26, 2013   Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:57 pm



TigerFest: Verlander


  • 01/26/13
  • 03:14
Justin Verlander shares stories at TigerFest about his competitive stablemates, and reflects on being so close to a
championship last year


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PostSubject: Re: TigerFest returns to Comerica on Jan. 26, 2013   Sat Jan 26, 2013 8:59 pm



TigerFest: Cabrera

01/26/13
04:13

Miguel Cabrera recalls his reception in Venezuela following his Triple Crown season, and looks ahead to the World Baseball Classic


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PostSubject: Re: TigerFest returns to Comerica on Jan. 26, 2013   Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:00 pm



TigerFest: Leyland

01/26/13
04:04

Jim Leyland sits down to chat about fan expectations going into the season, remaining undecided on a closer and new Tiger Torii Hunter


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PostSubject: Re: TigerFest returns to Comerica on Jan. 26, 2013   Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:02 pm



TigerFest: Dombrowski


  • 01/26/13
  • 03:50
Dave Dombrowski takes time at TigerFest to chat about young fireballer Bruce Rendon's development, and the state of his starting rotation


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PostSubject: Re: TigerFest returns to Comerica on Jan. 26, 2013   Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:10 pm




TigerFest: Leyland

Jim Leyland sits down to chat about
fan expectations going into the season, remaining undecided on a closer
and new Tiger Torii Hunter
On frigid day, TigerFest draws massive turnout
Newcomer Hunter among players to receive warm reception from fans

By Jason Beck / MLB.com | 01/26/2013 7:07 PM ET

DETROIT -- If there was any question how fans would take to the return of TigerFest after a year's hiatus, two sights might have answered them.

The first was the line of fans waiting to get into Comerica Park before the gates opened to the public. It started building before 9 a.m. ET, two hours before the official open. By the time the gates opened, the line not only stretched to Woodward Avenue, as it has in past years, it wrapped around the block that encompasses the parking lot and came back to the ballpark.

The second sight came hours later as the festivities were winding down and players were beginning to find their bags for their trips home. The lines were gone, but one more group of fans slowly made its way down the sidewalk from downtown. It was a wedding party from a nearby church, heading over for pictures in front of the Tiger statue.

It's a fairly common sight in the summer, when wedding groups will head down to the field for memories. But in January, it's something else.

If not for the snow on the ground and the rock salt on the sidewalks, it would've been hard to tell that baseball season is still more than two months away. Yet in some ways, TigerFest is more special than the season itself.

"It's probably the most personal thing you get to do with the fans," catcher Alex Avila said. "You get to put a face to the three million people [in attendance during the season]."

It was an opportunity they didn't have last winter, when renovations at Comerica Park closed off the park for any big offseason events. The Tigers put together a Kids Convention to try to promote some availability, but it wasn't the same. The personal interaction, the autographs and the storytelling weren't there.

The reception Saturday amid freezing temperatures in Michigan showed what it meant for fans. Many players felt the same.

"There's been excitement in the air every time," reliever Phil Coke said. "Last year was the only time I missed it, but it seems like there's constant excitement every time we come to town, because I think everybody is recognizing the upward trend. We just want to keep that going."

Even when the Tigers haven't been coming off a good season, they've sold out TigerFest. The anticipation seems to build regardless. Pair up a team coming off an American League pennant with a group of superstar players, however, and the anticipation percolates. The crowds who followed the winter caravan to its public stops were a hint.

It didn't take long last month for tickets to sell out for TigerFest. Scalpers were making the rounds Saturday morning like it was a postseason game. Never mind that nobody was going to throw a pitch on the snow-covered field.

For veterans like Avila and Justin Verlander, it was a return to what they missed last year. For newcomers such as Torii Hunter, it was an eye-opener.

Hunter went on winter caravans when he was part of the Twins and got to know Tigers fans while wearing a Minnesota uniform as well. He hadn't seen this.

After team president/general manager Dave Dombrowski and vice president/assistant GM Al Avila held a question-and-answer session with fans, Hunter went on the stage and on the radio to answer fan questions. He had just started talking about getting to know Detroit fans when somebody shouted out, "We love you!"

Hunter didn't miss a step.

"And I love ya back," Hunter answered.

Part of the reason for that playoff atmosphere and enthusiasm, of course, are the expectations. Manager Jim Leyland realized that. He knows how many fans reacted when the Tigers got off to a slow start last season.

He wants his players to appreciate the enthusiasm. He doesn't want them to get wrapped up in the expectations. The next time this team will be together, they'll be trying to built that excitement anew in the relative quiet of Lakeland, Fla., in just over two weeks.

"It's great for the fans to be excited and [have] a lot of expectations, and we embrace that," Leyland told fans. "But at the same time, when you're the manager, you just have to work hard. We're starting from scratch. Last year means nothing. Getting to the World Series and losing it, or getting there and winning it, doesn't mean anything in 2013.

"I don't want to dampen any spirit of the fans or anything. They should be all excited. I don't blame them. I'm glad they are. But when you're a manager, it's a little bit different. It's my job."

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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PostSubject: Re: TigerFest returns to Comerica on Jan. 26, 2013   Sat Jan 26, 2013 9:12 pm



Funny moments at TigerFest 2013


  • 01/26/13
  • 03:44
Hilarious highlights from TigerFest 2013 including Doug Fister's 'champagne showers' and Miggy and Torii Hunter sharing funny stories


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PostSubject: Re: TigerFest returns to Comerica on Jan. 26, 2013   Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:03 am



Highlights from TigerFest 2013


  • 01/26/13
  • 07:34
Highlights from TigerFest 2013 including Dave Dombrowski, Jim Leyland, Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera as the Tigers look ahead to 2013


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PostSubject: Re: TigerFest returns to Comerica on Jan. 26, 2013   Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:10 am



Prince Fielder Gets Social


  • 01/26/13
  • 01:11
Prince Fielder gets social in the Tigers Social Media Clubhouse during TigerFest 2013


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PostSubject: Re: TigerFest returns to Comerica on Jan. 26, 2013   Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:42 am



TigerFest: Phil Coke


  • 01/27/13
  • 03:07
Tigers pitcher Phil Coke talks about possibly closing in 2013 as well as his trade to the Tigers from the Yankees


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PostSubject: Re: TigerFest returns to Comerica on Jan. 26, 2013   Mon Jan 28, 2013 12:45 am



TigerFest: Scherzer and Fister


  • 01/26/13
  • 04:16
Max Scherzer and Doug Fister talk at TigerFest about making a World Series run in 2013 and the close-knit nature of the team


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PostSubject: Re: TigerFest returns to Comerica on Jan. 26, 2013   Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:37 am

Highlights from Dombrowski at TigerFest
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on January 26, 2013 at 3:16 pm

The return of TigerFest meant the return of Dave Dombrowski’s question-and-answer session with Tigers fans. This year, there weren’t any revelations or anything, but there were some interesting tidbits and a little insight on some of the team’s thinking heading into Spring Training. Here’s the short version:


  • As he did in West Michigan, Dombrowski called Bruce Rondon “the leading candidate” for the closer job, indicating that there’s a competition to some extent for the job. He did not get into the other options, though he stated they have a wealth of experienced relievers who can do the job. As manager Jim Leyland said later, they have a lot of guys who can close, but Rondon’s probably the one guy who could close full-time.
  • Dombrowski repeated another tidbit he noted earlier in the week, that the Venezuelan baseball federation is interested in having Rondon join the national team for the World Baseball Classic. That seems to be a new development Dombrowski said later Saturday that no official invite had been extended for Rondon or for Omar Infante, who supposedly was being added to the Team Venezuela roster a week ago.
  • A fan asked Dombrowski whether they were considering free-agent closer Brian Wilson, now the top closer option on the market after Rafael Soriano signed. Dombrowski didn’t want to get into details, but said that one problem is that Wilson wants to be assured he’s the closer wherever he signs. “We’re really not in that position to be able to make him that promise right now,” Dombrowski said. If they can’t offer him that right now, it’s hard to imagine that changing unless Rondon outright struggles in Spring Training.
  • Again, Dombrowski didn’t want to get into specifics when asked about a possible contract extension for Justin Verlander. “Anytime we have contract negotiations, we do those behind the scenes,” Dombrowski said. “We’ll see what happens, but we hope he’s here for a long time.”
  • Like others around baseball have said, Dombrowski doesn’t expect any changes to replay in Major League Baseball for the upcoming season. Eventually, he expects change to happen towards more use of replay. “We’re moving in that direction,” Dombrowski said. “Where that takes us, I’m not sure.”
  • For the first time I can remember, Dombrowski went into some detail on the organization’s view on players participating in the World Baseball Classic. “The growth of the game is intentional in many ways. I have no problem if a player decides that they want to leave if they’re in proper condition. Personally, you’d rather have them stay with your club, but I never try to talk anybody out of it, because I understand the importance. But from a club perspective, you always like to have your players with you if you can. But we’ve done pretty well in the years we’ve had it in the past.”


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PostSubject: Re: TigerFest returns to Comerica on Jan. 26, 2013   Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:40 am

Highlights from Leyland at TigerFest
BECK'S BLOG
Posted on January 27, 2013 at 1:02 am

Jim Leyland spent a good amount of time at TigerFest trying to caution about expectations — it’s OK for fans to have them, he said more than once, but the team has to be cautious about allowing those expectations to affect them.

“Expectations are high, and they should be,” Leyland said. “We just have to make sure we don’t get caught up in that.”

In fact, he called it his second-biggest concern behind figuring out what he’s going to do to close out games.

“Don’t put any extra pressure on yourself because they expect us to win,” Leyland said. “Well, we expect to win, too, but it’s not that easy. Just don’t get caught up in all the hoopla. Just come ready to do your job each and every day, play the game the way it’s supposed to be played.”

That, of course, led to another discussion on his philosophy, and some of the carryover from his reaction to fan criticism last year. Even after a deep playoff run seemingly vindicated him from the hot seat he seemingly spent all summer keeping warm, Leyland still seemed to remember some of the critiques. He brought up the topic of lineups when somebody asked him whether Torii Hunter will hit second, and about team speed and better, more aggressive baserunning.

“I get a kick out of everybody referring to me as old, old school,” Leyland said. “If you think old school is doing things right, then I’m old school. I’m proud of that. That’s not old school to me. If you do things right, that has nothing to do with old school. You do things right. You respect the game. You respect the fans. You keep them entertained. You do things the right way. It has nothing to do with being old, even though I am old. That’s just the way it is.”

Other notes from Leyland’s talk with reporters early Saturday afternoon:


  • He didn’t call the closer’s job a competition, saying again that he might tinker with Bruce Rondon and others sharing opportunities.“I’m not afraid to tinker with it. I’m not afraid to mix and match,” Leyland said. “You just have to be careful, because this is a real sensitive subject. We have guys that can close a game, but I’m not sure other than potentially Rondon whether we have guys that can potentially close every game. In other words, Cokey can save a game, Benoit can save a game, Dotel can save a game, but I’m not sure if any of those guys can hold up day after day, physically or mentally, and I think that you have to be careful with that. So if I have to mix and match, I’ll mix and match. I’m not afraid.”
  • Leyland indicated he might bring Victor Martinez back gradually in Spring Training to give him time to adjust to not seeing live pitching for more than a year.
  • Hitting on the discussion above, Leyland indicated that he probably won’t have that much more aggressive of a baserunning team, mainly because of the talent he had. In his explanation, he sounded a little like legendary Miami Dolphins coach Don Shula and his ability to adapt to the talent he has. “Everybody thinks they need to be more aggressive,” Leyland said. “Well, we’re aggressive by hitting doubles and homers. If we had the 1959 Chicago White Sox, I’d run, I’d squeeze, I’d bunt, I’d do all those things. But we don’t have that type of team. And to me, smart managers take the talent that they have, and the manager adjusts to the player. You don’t ask a player to adjust to the manager. The manager adjusts to the type of team you have. I mean, that’s what smart managers do, I think.”
  • Leyland on his team’s potential to manufacture offense more often: “I think on the days when you run into a real nasty pitcher and you’re probably not hit a two- or three-run homer, then we might be able to manufacture a little bit more with this team than we have in the past. But we’re still not a big basestealing, hit-and-run team. We’re not that, because we’re going to end up opening bases for guys that we don’t want to open up bases for. They’re going to end up walking them.”


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