February 22, 2014

#Lakeland #Detroiters

It's beginning to look a lot like summer ... everyday in town. 

When the Tigers are in Lakeland, Florida, getting ready for the season it's a great time to meet the players and talk a little baseball. 

You could call it a baseball trip. I do. 

We have a mid–winter break and for the past several years, Lori and I go down to Lakeland to spend time with Mom and Dad — but also to take in some Tigers baseball. Each year, I have a "goal" which I try to achieve. 


One year, okay it was 2012, I wanted to get Prince Fielder to sign a Little Caesars pizza box. It was tougher than it sounds because it's not like there are Little Caesars on every corner like in Michigan. So, the first battle was getting the box. 

Other years it's been to get a few pictures signed. 

This year, I tried to get an official MLB ball signed by the Tigers — you know, like the 40–man roster and all the coaches. I did okay. I have some work to do, but I think it can be done. 


We attending the Chamber of Commerce / Tigers Barbecue again. That was a great deal of fun. 

Dave Dombrowski, GM and president and possibly CEO, kicked things off with a welcoming speech. He also walked around and thanked everyone for coming to the event and supporting Lakeland and the Tigers. 

To his credit, two–time defending MVP Miguel Cabrera was at the event. He was generous and posed for many photographs. This is the second time he was there and I think it's awesome that he takes the time to attend the event. He's only the greatest player of our generation. 

Several other players attended, too. Alex Avila was gracious as always. Nick Castellanos was a cool dude. Even Bryan Holaday was there for the food and fun. Tiger legends Willie Horton and Al Kaline were there, as well. At the end of the night, I asked Mr. Kaline if I could get a photo with him. Somewhat reluctantly, he agreed. He smiled brightly in the photo, though. 

Writers Are the Best

One of the highlights of the night was meeting Detroit News writer Lynn Henning. I have communicated with him on Twitter numerous times. I finally got the guts up to introduce myself and he knew who I was. He recognized my parents and even knew they have a dog named Missy. My mom told him about how Grandpa Morgan was good friends with Joe Falls — and Mr. Henning walked away and stopped, thought for a moment, and said, "Dick!" He knew my Grandpa. His name was Dick. 


My Mom and Dad also were the exclusive greeters for Mr. Brad Ausmus, new manager. They met him the day he arrived. I think they've greeted him every day since. Mom had him sign her hat the other day and Lori said, "I bet you think they're stalkers." He said, "I don't think that anymore but I did the first few days." Ausmus is generous with his time and willing to sign autographs as he arrives every day. 

All in all, it was another great week in Lakeland. Now, I can't wait for Opening Day. Yeah, the one in March ... not November ... 

Dave Dombrowski.

 Alex Avila and Lori. 

Mr. Ausmus signs a ball on the sweet spot. Mom and Dad look on.   

@rheitmeyer finally Tweets in real life with @LynnGHenning 

That's me with the greatest player I've ever had the opportunity to watch. 

 And that's me with the greatest player who was an announcer by the time I could watch. 

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