In January 2008, I attended the Detroit Tigers Winter Caravan stop at Eastern Michigan University. I also purchased a special VIP ticket, which offered a meet and greet with Tiger players and personnel. Magglio Ordóñez and Carlos Guillen were heavily advertised as being a part of this event, which was to take place immediately before the public portion of the Caravan event.
Allow me to say that I felt very awkward with the whole meet and greet thing. It was like, yes I paid $50 for the privilege of meeting you, and here are fifty other people who did the same. When you walk into the room, we will all mob you. I will not ever do that again.
Anyway, Dave Dombrowski, Rick Perry, Mario Impemba, Dontrelle Willis, Rafael Belliard, and Vance Wilson took part in the meet and greet. Conspicuously absent were the big guns, Magglio and Carlos. I heard Mario tell someone that some of our guys "had to bail." Well all right then.
Anyway, I waited about four deep for a chance to "greet" Dontrelle. I welcomed him to Detroit, shook his hand, and let him know that I was excited to have him on the team. (Shut up.) I also mentioned that we were pretty serious about our baseball in Detroit. He smiled and replied "that's not always a good thing." I thought nothing of this at the time.
However, in hind sight, I did it. I put the screws to Dontrelle, started the pressure cooker that led to his inability to pitch. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to do it. I wasn't trying to make him feel the weight of the world. I.....I.....I don't know what to say to make it right. I feel such guilt. How was I to know my brief encounter was the iceberg to Dontrelle's Titanic?
I'm sorry, truly. Forgive me if you can. And Dontrelle, you can save me from the wrath of Tiger fans the world over. We want nothing more than for you to be happy, to be on the mound again, doing what you do.