ORANGE, Calif. â€” An early start for yours truly today, but for good reason. We had a breakfast meeting with Lynn Henning of the Detroit News.
John and I braved the southern California traffic â€“ made considerably better by the carpool lanes â€“ to make the expected 45-minute drive in a mere 20 minutes.
We parked across from the DoubleTree hotel at the â€“ surprise â€“ Starbucks across Chapman because the hotel wanted to charge us $2 per half hour. No thanks.
John and I trekked across the street and were passed by Dan Dickerson who was in full sprint toward Starbucks.
We walked in to the lobby of the hotel and immediately saw Rafael Belliard and Gene Lamont waiting for the team shuttle to The Big A, about two miles â€“ max â€“ down the road. Soon to follow were Todd Jones who was called back to the front desk to discuss some outstanding charges on his room bill.
As we waited for Henning we saw even more notables: Jim Leyland, Pudge, Placido Polanco, Mike Maroth, Dickerson returning with his Starbucks order, Booth Newspapersâ€™ and Danny Knobler.
When Henning arrived, we made our way to the hotel restaurant and a table for three. I ordered the huevos rancheros, John the breakfast burrito, and Lynn a parmesan egg dish.
The three of us talked about the Tigers, Michigan State sports (Lynn signed my copy of Spartan Seasons II), and other Michigan-related sports topics before he had to head off to the stadium for pre-game chatter with Leyland.
The hour flew by. As we walked out of the restaurant we saw Justin Verlander and Curtis Granderson (both decked out in suits) checking out of the hotel and waiting for a shuttle.
Heading back to the car we saw Jim Price sitting in the shuttle all by his lonesome. Given that the shuttle sat idle, perhaps itâ€™s not a stretch to think he was lamenting its late movement.
Weâ€™re now on our way to the ballpark.
80 and sunny. Time to drink it in.
P.S. Did not proof.