Karla News

2008 Detroit Tigers Caravan Showcases Dontrelle Willis

The Detroit Tigers annual Caravan Road Trip took place Monday, January 14. One of their stops included the Henry Ford’s Anderson Theatre located in Dearborn Michigan. About 450 fans gathered in the theatre an hour early to see the group of Detroit Tigers at the free event.

The event began at 3:00 PM, when the fans in attendance were treated to a film clip reminding them of the 2007 season. Highlighted were the errorless play of Gold Glove winner second baseman Placido Polanco, the impressive fielding, base stealing and hitting of centerfielder Curtis Granderson, the 300 saved games mark of Todd Jones, the climbing total of 2007 Gold Glove winner Pudge Rodriguezs’ games played at catcher, Justin Verlanders’ first career no-hitter of June 12 and the remarkable batting talents of Magglio Ordonez the 2007 MLB Batting Champion. The highlights film would send goose bumps up the back of any true Tiger fan and sparked a buzz in the crowd, who were just about to be introduced to the team members in attendance on the caravan trip.

Rod Allen, a member of the 1984 World Champion Detroit Tigers Team, was the emcee and started with the introduction of Jim Leyland, followed by the bullpen coach Jeff Jones, pitchers Jeremy Bonderman, Dontrelle Willis, Clay Rapada and Nate Robertson. Rod Allen reminded us of who the 2007 Tigers were and also added news about them, saying Nate Robertson and his wife were now expecting their first child and had recently relocated to Dearborn. Allen then told the fans about their newest Tigers Team members, Dontrelle Willis and Clay Rapada.

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The program layout also allowed six lucky fans in attendance to ask questions of the group. When Dontrelle Willis was asked how it feels to be a Detroit Tiger, his response was “It feels like Christmas”, Dontrelle went on to say that the Marlins, his former team, did not have a fan base like the Detroit Tigers have. Jim Leyland was posed with a question asking who decides who gets a number when a player comes to a team where another player already claims it. Leyland commented , “That’s a good question” and continued to say that the number usually, but not always goes to the veteran player and a younger player usually but not always offers the veteran the number. Leyland told the crowd that it was not that long ago that scenario occurred in Detroit when Kenny Rogers came to the team and Nate Robertson gave up his number to Kenny. Leyland also noted that some veteran players are not attached to the numbers, he said “some guys have the feeling that they are on a new team and they have no problem having a new number”.

The end of the event seemed to come quickly and a 3:45, Rod Allen thanked the fans for coming, applause followed and you could almost feel Spring (Training, that is) in the cold January air.