See Where You Can Meet Your Favorite Detroit Tigers Players (Plus A Giveaway!)

Spring is still a couple of months away, but it’s never too early to start thinking about baseball season in Detroit! The 2013 Tigers Winter Caravanis set for this Thursday, January 24th and Friday, January 25th, where star players, coaches and managers will travel throughout Detroit and the state of Michigan spreading baseball fever. Members of the Pure Michigan team will be tagging along as well to provide fans live updates and behind-the-scenes info. See a full schedule of the tour here or follow @PureMichigan , @tigers or the #DETCaravan hashtag on Twitter.

To learn more and get the inside scoop on the Tigers, we spoke with announcer Mario Impemba. See his answers below.

Plus – we have a very special giveaway for one lucky Tigers fan in advance of the upcoming season. See details at the bottom of this post.

Q: Having been on the Tigers Caravan in years past, what are some of your favorite memories?
A:
I would say traveling to Northern Michigan.  The fans up north are very passionate about the Tigers and you can see it in the turnouts we have.  I also think the visits we have made to local hospitals are very rewarding.  Seeing the looks on the faces of patients when their favorite Tigers walk into the room is priceless.  It’s great to put a smile on someone’s face when they are stuck in a hospital bed.

Q: What is it like calling games for a team that is very focused on bringing home a championship?
A:
It’s great.  It wasn’t too long ago when the Tigers lost 119 games in a season and to see how far the franchise has come in a short period of time is incredible.  The 2013 version of the Tigers should be very good and I would expect that there will be a lot of buzz surrounding the team when we get to Lakeland for Spring Training.

Q: How do you see that passion to win resonating into the fan base?
A:
Tigers fans are some of the most passionate in baseball.  You can see how badly they want to win a World Series.  When the team isn’t doing well, they get very upset.  They expect a lot out of their team and I would think this season will be no different.  Everywhere we go on the road, Tigers fans are visible.  They travel well and support the team as well as any major league club.

Q: Last year the Tigers drew 3+ million fans to Comerica Park. What is it like calling a game when the ballpark is packed, and how does it change the game?
A:
Well, it’s a different feel, that’s for sure.  We call a lot of games on the road where crowds are small and not very loud, so when we return home to 40,000 people, it makes a world of difference.  There is just more energy at Comerica Park and it makes calling the games much more enjoyable.

Q: What makes up a perfect day at the ball park?
A:
No rain!  Ha-ha.  Actually any day at the ball park is perfect for me, but the Sunday day games are the best because you see so many families with kids out at the park.  Kids also get to run the bases after the game on Sundays.

Q: What is your favorite Detroit memory?
A:
There are too many to pick just one.  My favorite memories professionally include calling Justin Verlander’s two no-hitters, Magglio’s home run to send the Tigers to the World Series in 2006 and the champaign celebrations that I have covered in the Tigers locker room after clinching.
Personally, it was watching the Tigers play at old Tiger Stadium when I was a kid.

Q: What does Pure Michigan mean to you?
A:
A 75 degree summer night in Detroit at Comerica Park watching Tigers baseball.

Detroit native Mario Impemba enters his 11th season as the popular play-by-play announcer on FOX Sports Detroit’s coverage of the Tigers. Learn more about Mario at at MarioImpemba.com or on Twitter @Mario_Impemba.

To help spread baseball fever even further, we’re offering one lucky fan the chance to win a Tigers World Series flag (pictured left), which measures 2 1/2 feet wide by over 7 1/2 feet long. To be eligible to win, simply tell us in the comments section below what you think makes up a perfect day at the ballpark. Please also include your email address. Comments must be submitted by this Thursday, January 24th at 12:00 p.m. (noon) ET. We’ll then select one lucky winner at random as the winner and will alert the winner by Friday, January 25th using the email address provided (we won’t share it or sell it to anybody). 

Celebrate National Pie Day with Pure Michigan (Plus a Giveaway!)

We’re celebrating the fruits of Michigan during National Pie Day, next Wednesday, January 23rd! Created by the American Pie Council, ‘Pie Day’ is dedicated to celebrating America’s love of pie. And in Pure Michigan, we know and love pie. In fact, Michigan produces:

  • More than 50 percent of the nation’s apple slices and is the largest supplier of apple slices used in commercially prepared apple pies.
  • Roughly 75 percent of the country’s tart cherry crop every year. Those are the ones that go into pies, juice and preserves.
  • 25 percent of the national highbush blueberry crop (110 – 180 million pounds)

While there are many flavors and variations of this classic American dessert, nothing makes for a better pie than using pure, fresh ingredients and fruits – Michigan’s surrounding Great Lakes and rolling hills create a perfect climate for fruit-growing and is a leading producer of many popular pie fruits that can be found in local bakeries as well as national store-bought brands. 

Among these establishments is Grand Traverse Pie Company, who makes more than 95 percent of its purchases locally – fruit, sugar and flour all come from growers and processors within the state. In honor of National Pie Day, each of their locations will be serving up a free slice of Michigan fruit pie with any purchase all day on the 23rd.

To get in on the ‘Pie Day’ fun, we’ve teamed up with Grand Traverse Pie Company to offer fans on Twitter the chance to win an entire pie every hour between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST on the 23rd. To be eligible to win, fans can simply tweet their favorite type of pie to both @PureMichigan and @GTPie. Tweets must include the hashtag #puremichiganpie and entrants must follow both Pure Michigan and Grand Traverse Pie Company on Twitter.*

Pure Michigan will choose one winner at random each hour, contacting winners through Twitter with details for obtaining their prize.

Additionally, we encourage fans nationwide to post photos of pies to the Pure Michigan Facebook wall during the week of January 21st. One fan photo will then be featured at the end of the week. Bakers and fans alike can also add their favorite pie recipes to Pinterest, using the #puremichigan or #puremichiganpie hashtags.

Be sure to follow @PureMichigan and @GTPie for your chance to win a free pie on January 23rd!

*Disclaimer: Users can only enter the Twitter contest once and those who make multiple accounts in order to enter more than once will be ineligible to win. Those who post the same tweet repeatedly or violate any of the other Twitter Rules will also be ineligible.

5 Tips for Surviving the 2013 Detroit Auto Show (Plus a Giveaway!)

Cosmin Ghiurau, a native Metro-Detroiter who began his career at General Motors, returned to his roots this week to get a first look at what’s happening at the 2013 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS). Below he fills us in on his experience and shares tips for navigating the show floor.

Will you be attending NAIAS this year? See the bottom of this post for your chance to win free tickets to the show!

The beginning of the year marks a magical time for Michigan and the Motor City of Detroit. It is a crowning time where a diverse set of people come together to converge on an emotional and aspirational product, the automobile. A moment where auto manufacturers, suppliers, press, both domestic and international coalesce with the true customer, you and I, to share with us their finest product, technology and dreams to come.

As someone that has lived almost their entire life in the Metro-Detroit area and for the past few years have relocated to the Dallas area, it is always refreshing to get an opportunity to come back to my home State of Michigan and especially the Metro-Detroit area. It is amazing to see the revitalization of the Detroit area during the past couple of years and how the automotive industry is seeing great signs of a tremendous comeback. The 2013 North American International Auto Show is evidence of this turnaround as it is laden with amazing new products with a clear focus on electrification of cars and a great deal of emphasis on smaller cars that fit the lifestyle of families.

Having an opportunity to be part of the Preview Week for the first time, it was great to get up close and personal with many of the new products, designers, engineers, and stories behind many vehicles. No matter what brand your loyalty is, this Auto Show will not disappoint. With an Auto Show so impressive, there were a few things along the way that I learned which helped me navigate and absorb as much as possible from every exhibit. Hopefully the following tips will help you and everyone that attends this Auto Show to fully experience the products that are on display.

To start things off, one thing is clear. Make sure to dedicate at least 6-8 hours at the Auto Show. Depending on your pace, this is a safe time to ensure you are able to take advantage of all that the Auto Show has to offer.

Tip 1 – Clothing

Before heading out to Cobo Hall, depending on the weather make sure you are prepared to leave behind some clothes at the coat check or in your car. With the combination of the cold January days in Michigan together with the long walk through the show floor, some people fail to realize is that it really requires lighter clothing.

As mentioned earlier, if you will be there for 6-8 hours, comfortable shoes are an absolute must. Most exhibits and walkways have carpeting to ease the feet; however nothing will replace comfortable shoes. While you are there, a trend is to bring your wearable technology such as the Nike Fuel band or FitBit products. This way you can measure your effort as well.

Tip 2 – The route

Once you enter the Auto Show make sure you grab a map of the floor space. Many people will first go to their favorite brand or the exotic cars that are there. Whatever the first stop is, make sure to map out the exhibits you plan to attend. If you don’t have a map, you will realize that you are going in circles really fast. One thing I noticed about this year’s Auto Show is that the brands are consolidated and the walk ways are well placed to go on a circle route and end up in the middle with the exotic and performance cars.

Tip 3 – The Food

If you will be there for most of the day, water is important to have with you at all times. There should be water vending machines throughout Cobo Hall and at concession stands. The food is adequate for this type of event, so be planned to have an appetite after all of the walking. Once again, water is extremely important so make sure to come prepared to buy enough.

Tip 4 – Your Tech

Auto Shows are a perfect opportunity to bring out your camera and video camera to capture memories. Make sure you are courteous to others as they take photos and more than likely you will get many requests to take a photo for someone. You will see DSLR Cameras, point and shoot cameras, and more and more people just using their smart phone camera.

One element I cannot stress enough is to make sure that you have a portable battery charger. Outlets are few and far in between, so I wouldn’t rely on them. For smart phones a portable battery charger is critical. These chargers can charge a smart phone battery to full capacity multiple times over. So make sure prior to arriving at the Auto Show you stop by a local electronic retailer to pick one up. Taking all of the photos and videos, will be a drain on your smart phone. As in most show floors carrier reception is spotty so this will add additional drain on the battery. A perfect companion is the portable battery charger. It is worth every penny.

Tip 5 – Pace yourself

As a final tip, make sure to pace yourself. If you are like me and want to spend a little extra time in the exhibit of your favorite brand or talking to representatives and inquiring about availability and price, pace yourself. Stop and rest. Before you know it you are walking for a few hours and you become exhausted to the point of missing out on a lot of great vehicles. Follow your route that you planned. Stay hydrated. Take time with the products.

To wrap things up, the 2013 North American Auto Show is a tradition for many in the Detroit Metro area and the entire region. It is a place where parents and kids can experience their dream cars. This Auto Show will not disappoint. Especially if you can survive it with these helpful tips and create memories for yourself and family. It truly is a unique Michigan experience that is open to all.

Mr. Ghiurau has a unique background in Business, Marketing and Technology with a Creative acumen. He is a native Metro-Detroiter who began his career in the Styling Studios at General Motors in Warren after finishing at College for Creative Studies in Detroit. He founded a Troy, Michigan based business, and has led digital and social media marketing for agencies and Fortune 500 brands. Learn more at cosguru.com or follow him on Twitter at @cosguru.

Do you want to score free tickets to NAIAS in Detroit? Simply tell us in the comments section below why you want to go to the Auto Show and which 3 people you would take with you. We’ll then select one lucky winner at random to win four tickets to the show. To be eligible, simply submit your comments (along with your email address) by this Thursday, January 17th at 11:59 p.m. EST. We’ll contact the winner Friday morning using the email address provided (we won’t share it or sell it to anybody). UPDATE: This contest has ended. The winner has been selected and contacted via email with their prize. Thank you everyone for the comments!