Saturday, January 22, 2011

Detroit gets ready for baseball season at TigerFest 2011

By Matt Harding
In Play on Facebook

Arctic-like temperatures in January aren't uncommon in Detroit. Even with the frigid temps, Tiger fans at TigerFest weren't to be deterred! Fans came out in droves, arriving hours before the gates opened. Thousands of fans went into the ballpark, getting to meet the players, get autographs, and even got the chance to participate in player Q&A sessions.

Fans wait outside of Comerica Park
Photo by Matt Harding / In Play! Magazine

Players who signed autographs include virtually every Tiger on the 25-man roster, as well as many Spring Training invites, who will most likely end up in either Triple-A or Double-A. All of the coaches, including manager Jim Leyland, were also there throughout the day. The big no show at this year's TigerFest was Miguel Cabrera, who was scheduled to appear. Ryan Raburn was also not present at the event.

The biggest offseason acquisition, however, did show up. Catcher Victor Martinez signed autographs for fans in a rather chilly tent and took questions from fans later on in the day.

Victor Martinez happily signed for fans
Matt Harding / In Play! Magazine

And, let's not forget about ace Justin Verlander! He took pictures with fans in the visitor's clubhouse at approximately 11 a.m. and participated in all of the fan-interactive events.

Verlander poses with happy Tiger fans
Matt Harding / In Play! Magazine

All of the events were fan favorites at TigerFest. It seemed as if every single person was having a terrific time! Detroit fans are unified when they say they're ready for baseball at Comerica Park. The Tigers open the 2011 season in New York against the Yankees. The matchup? Justin Verlander vs. C.C. Sabathia.

More pictures of the event are posted here.

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