The Tigers have their winter caravan this week, and while it is done much differently than when I covered the team as a beat writer for The Oakland Press from 1986-98, it always brings back memories - most of them fond.
I used to dislike the trip. It meant spending hour after hour on a bus with team president Jim Campbell, who did not like me at all. I remember one time, in St. Clair, he "greeted" me as I got off the bus. He pulled out this old, leather appointment book, and out fell this yellowed copy of a column I had written a couple years before. Below my smiling face, the headline said: “Monaghan’s Pizza Logic Destroying Tigers.” It was very critical of then-Tigers owner Thomas S. Monaghan, who was incredibly off-the-wall.
"Just to let you know how much I follow the #%@* you write in that newspaper, I carry this where ever I go,” Campbell said. Then he started screaming at me, "You wish he were dead, don’t you!!!!"
It was not all bad, though. We used to stop at Win Schulers for a great meal - although the deviled eggs at various stops got to be a bit much. You really got to know the players back then on the bus. I remember playing hearts with players from Cecil Fielder to the late Chris Brown to current White Sox general manager Kenny Williams on the caravan. I used to remember thinking that I was glad we were not playing for money because they had a lot and me none.Random Thoughts
- Best laugh I got all weekend was watching Steve Mariucci on the NFL Network hem and haw and dodge the subject of his good buddy Andy Reid punting on fourth down when he should have gone for it during the Eagles playoff loss to the Saints. His co-hosts, Rich Eisen and Deion Sanders, just would not let up on Mooch, either. It was as if he were dodging questions from the media as the Lions coach again.
- I really like the concept of a high school basketball tournament to celebrate Martin Luther King Day in Pontiac. Kudos to Pontiac Northern for the idea. Pontiac is truly a great basketball town.
- I am going to Michigan’s game on Wednesday vs. Penn State. The Wolverines should win that game, but it will be a tricky one because Penn State does have experience. The last thing Wolverines can afford is to be upset in conference play at home.