Message to Inge’s BFF

Dave Dombrowski has some advice for Brandon Inge’s best friend:

“If I was Brandon Inge’s best friend,” said Dombrowski, “I’d tell him ‘you should catch.’ I say that, not thinking he can’t play third, but because to me, this guy can be an All-Star catcher.

Pointed words to be sure and you can dispute his All Star candidacy as a catcher, the message is clear. If Brandon Inge wants to play, be it for the Tigers or anyone else, his willingness leverage his athleticism is what will get him that playing time. Dombrowski also reiterated that he felt that they “owed it to him” to try and make a trade, but short of a trade they are a better club with Inge moving around.

As for his absence at Tigerfest, that was the Tigers choice and not Inge’s. They recognized it would be an uncomfortable situation. Inge, who has been keeping quiet will make an appearance at a Grand Rapids Griffins game on January 18th. He’ll sign autographs starting at 6 p.m. and drop the puck. I’d have a hard time imagining he’d be able to duck the media. (As an aside, the Griffins and Whitecaps teamed up to offer a deal where you get 2 Griffins tickets and 2 Whitecaps tickets for $32. To get the deal go to griffinshockey.com/themenights and use username inge and password griffins0708).

Cabrera’s waistline

In other Inge news, Miguel Cabrera looks good and is excited that there were more people at Tigerfest (8500) than a typical Marlins game.

Sheffield’s rehab

I caught part of Dave Dombrowski’s interview from Tigerfest on 97.1 today and he said that Sheffield’s rehab was progressing nicely and that he should be able to swing a bat.

The Tigerfest Experience

If you were one of the 8,500 who went, I’d love to hear what you thought. The weather was certainly more favorable this year, but I was wondering if it seemed less crowded or better organized.

21 Comments

  1. David

    January 12, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    Looks like Inge will remain a Tiger =)

    Billfer I posted most of what I thought/experienced in your previous thread.

    Although I don’t think I wasted a day or anything it probably would have been a lot nicer to go to a Walmart or a Starbucks in the summer where two Tigers are signing or w/e.

    By the time we got there the lines were very long (think Disney World/6 Flags in the summer and on a weekend) and most of the players were being pestered by security so you were lucky if you were able to get the to react.

    Also, it wasn’t very cold – actually was quite warm.

    As far as being crowed and organized.

    Yes it was very crowed even at the end. However, I heard that season ticket holders could have gotten in at 10? an hour before everyone else and those who were in line next to us said it was quite a bit better then – they had like half of the team.

    They organized it so there were stations ABCDEFG and H ?

    They paired one star (or fan favorite/starter) with either a coach, minor leaguer or a not so much of a star. They would switch every 55min and have a break. And you woudn’t know who was coming were b/c it was all random. But you could kind of guess using process of elimination if you were nice to the security at that particular letter – who had already been there.

    Rapada was with Bonderman
    Robertson and Seay
    Verlander and Jeff Jones
    Rentaria with Jacque Jones
    Thames and Lolich
    Tata and McClendon

    In the final hour players were by themselves – Polanco, Thames, Robertson.

    All in all knowing what I know now I wouldn’t be mad if I had missed it.

  2. David

    January 12, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    Sorry for all the grammar errors – as you can tell I think I’m about ready to hit the hay

  3. Mark from Troy

    January 12, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    I thought the event was very well organized. The one thing I think needs improvement is that they tell you who the next player to sign was going to be. I was in line behind 2 girls from Windsor for 50 minutes when they switched Cabrera out for Willis. The girls had already gotten his autograph so they just wasted all that time in line. I’m not much of an autograph hound, so it wasn’t that big of a deal to me. But my daughter really wanted Mag’s and she left a little disappointed. She thought Bonderman was cool.

    One neat thing the Tigers did was set up a museum. It would be nice to see this year round at the park, but much bigger.

    I know Rick Porcello just turned 19, but he looks 15. My wife was astounded that “that kid has a $3.5 million signing bonus in his bank account.”

    I doubt I’ll attend another Tigerfest. The “Disney World/Six Flags” lines were too much.

  4. Rob (Oblong)

    January 12, 2008 at 11:05 pm

    If you are going for autographs then you’ll probably have been disappointed. If you are going to experience baseball and just to get Tiger Fever again then you should have enjoyed it. I thought it was pretty well organized. Still not as good as at Joe Louis or Cobo but it wasn’t that bad. They had plastic up along the concourse to keep people from going down the stairs (and probably to block the wind). I thought that helped. It wasn’t uncomfortable. I didn’t think it was too crowded but I only got in one line all day and that was in the clubhouse.

    If you are going with the intent of getting a ton of autographs or to see a specific person then this isn’t the set up.

    My only complaint was after sitting in the warm area where they were doing the Q&A I was ready for a beer and couldn’t find one.

  5. Jim

    January 13, 2008 at 12:04 am

    My father and I went and overall I thought it was pretty cool. I never felt too cold either, seemed fairly well organized.

    Right when we got in we got Gene Lamont and Leylands autograph. Oh, and Leyland signed my pack of cigarettes which made the whole day for me!

    After that we got Vance Wilson and Rafael Belliard. All of this was in the span of maybe 30 minutes.

    Then we waited in line for a good 2 hours to get Nasty Nate.

    Funny story while we were in line Miggy was signing. We missed him by maybe 20 minutes, so as they were switching we were up front. Milt Wilcox came in and sat down by himself. You could have heard a pin drop because people were so disapointed they waited 2+ hours for just Milt Wilcox. The thankfully a couple minutes later Nate came in.

    Tour of the clubhouse/dugout was cool. Got some pictures and missed a day of work so all in all I thought it was really cool.

  6. Rings

    January 13, 2008 at 2:14 am

    The Inge situation is as many of us have suggested for some time: he’d be better off as a utility guy, including a return to catching for ’08, and set himself up as Pudge’s replacement in ’09 (how ironic, as Pudge replaced him back in ’04)…his defense would be even more important as a catcher than at third and his offense is not nearly as much of a concern.

  7. Rings

    January 13, 2008 at 2:14 am

    By the way…the link is not working to the Dombrowski/Inge article.

  8. Kathy

    January 13, 2008 at 9:23 am

    A priceless pack of cigarettes, Mike. What a good story!

    The Inge situation makes me feel very uncomfortabe. He’d much rather be traded and it sounds like Leland wants him traded. It sounds to me like they are telling him there isn’t a team out there who wants him right now, so play other positions or you won’t be playing anywhere but I really believe they want him gone and he wants to be gone.

  9. Kathy

    January 13, 2008 at 10:34 am

    Sorry, I meant priceless for Jim.

  10. Joe Halstead

    January 13, 2008 at 2:10 pm

    TigerFest Comments:

    WHAT WENT WRONG:

    a. The autograph stations should not have been set up in the self-proclaimed “treasure hunt” fashion. Only through word of mouth did anyone know who was where. This was a problem because the players could complete two 55 minute rotations before you even got to the signing table.

    The fans should have had more control over whose autographs they sought.

    b. Most activities were just way too crowded.

    c. The players/coaches/broadcasters that signed autographs acted as if there wasn’t actually a fan asking for the signature, just a paper/ball/whatever to sign. They appeared listless, unfeeling, impersonal and desirous to be somewhere else. While I understand that signing hundreds or thousands of autographs is taxing in many ways, I think that at least the broadcasters (who are supposed to be excellent interpersonal communicators and accustomed to this kind of stress) could have been more personable.

    WHAT WENT WELL:

    a. Season ticket sales and services- very flexible and accessible.

    b. The tours of the field and clubhouse

    c. The service given by ushers- very courteous, knowledgeable and responsive

    d. The main stage seminars: the live radio shows and fan Q&As were very entertaining, and made the trip entirely worth it.

    TigerFest isn’t something one should be bummed about missing, but if seeing just two or three players up close makes your day, or if you enjoy live seminars with notables, then it’s worth it. I’d go again and simply load up on beer and hot dogs and sit in on the radio shows and fan Q&As, since, as an ardent sports fan, talking sports (or listening to others talk sports) is entertaining.

  11. Helen

    January 13, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Tiger fest was great. The comment about the players being listless and uninterested is a little off the mark. Think about it,we all attend thinking we know these guys because we watch them every day of the season. We approach happy because we “know” them, from their side of the table they just have 9,000 strangers coming at them. They are not going to jump up to shake hands. They did a great job, they were very nice, and it was a good day all the way around. You can’t please all the people all the time I guess. I thought Edgar, Dontrel and Todd Jones were the nicest, but all the rest of the team I met were nice as well. I came away with a lot of autographs, two photos and a great experience. Thank you Tigers for putting yourselves out there.

  12. Richard

    January 13, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    I personally love the idea of Inge staying as a catcher, but I’m slightly confused by D.D.’s comment. First, not too many All Stars hit in the low .200s. Second, I was under the impression that Inge was a Gold Glover at the hot corner was is.

    Today I made my way over to the Tigers Caravan at the Breslin Center. It was an ok time, but I was kind of amazed by Porcello. I knew he was tall, but he is much scrawnier that I imagined. Andy Van Slyke on the hand is a big boy.

  13. billfer

    January 13, 2008 at 10:30 pm

    The treasure hunt is really the only way to go. The lines are long enough that even if you knew who was signing in a line, they wouldn’t be there when you got to the front. Plus it helps to keep the lines balanced – although the quality of Detroit’s roster would help to do that on its own now.

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  15. Zappatista

    January 14, 2008 at 8:34 am

    I think that we need INGE. Injuries last year showed us how important it is to have capable back ups. The team needs to rally around him and let him know how much the want him to be there. Mild consolation, I am sure, but it could go a long way….if Pudge, Jones, Thames, (don’t say it) Cabrera….have injuries Inge will be huge for this team, not to mention his fandom….

    I feel for the guy, as he has lived the Tigers, and want him to be happy, but who wouldn’t be if they contributed to a World Series?

  16. Lauryn

    January 14, 2008 at 9:31 am

    Tigers Fest was really fun. It was my first time going. It was pretty organized. Like other people said, they should have posted a sign or something stating who and where the players were. People would just stand in line and let people pass them. It was a little annoying. I only got 6 autographs. But I can’t really complain, better then nothing. I almost had Maggs, but he switched out right before I got up there. Grrr…lol. I’m going again next year.

  17. Dave T.

    January 14, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    Wasn’t Inge a much better hitter when he played 3rd base full time? He hit in the 200′s when he was a catcher and btw. 235-287 as a 3rd baseman.

  18. John

    January 14, 2008 at 5:01 pm

    I think the main problem with Inge staying (other then the fact that he can’t hit) is that he makes way to much to be a backup/utility player. Also, you have to remember that he hasnt caught in what 3-4 years. I don’t think it’s that easy to switch like that. I would prefer that they dumped him, but they may wait till later in the year when his value may increase. No one wants a good 3rd baseman with limited offensive abilities.

  19. Mike R

    January 14, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Well, what would be worse then having Inge’s salary eating space while he’s a backup/utility, is paying more then half of his remaining salary while he’s playing in another city.

  20. Lauren

    January 23, 2008 at 7:50 pm

    TigerFest was pretty good. It was my third year going this year (first year was in ’06) I enjoyed myself for the most part. The only adjustments I would have made were to have an extra room for the Photo area (it was in the visiting clubhouse this year, compared to an empty room on the service level last year) and have a player in each room or a player in one room and a coach in the other room. The other adjustment I would have made was to stretch TigerFest from one day to a weekend event, with an event for the Season Ticket and Suite holders (Cocktail party and Meet and Greet) on Friday Night, TigerFest on Saturday, and possibly a TigerFest-type event for Charitable organizations on Sunday

  21. billfer

    January 23, 2008 at 9:26 pm

    Thanks for the report Lauren. I’ve noticed that the Braves fan event is a multi-day thing.

    As for the Friday night function, the Tigers do have one similar to what you described but it’s for suite holders and sponsors.