Detroit — Alan Trammell, not too long ago, was fired as the Tigers’ manager.
Third-base coach Tom Brookens was let go after last season.
Yet, there they both were, at Comerica Park on Monday night, mingling with their former teammates and coaches, ahead of the 30th anniversary celebration of the last Tigers team to win a World Series.
“Well, there’s a number of reasons,” said Trammell, now the bench coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks. “We just came from San Diego, and a good friend of mine passing in Tony Gwynn. He was 54 years old. We’re all day to day. I’m 56. Five years ago, we saw Sparky (Anderson) for the last time. I think you get the point.”
So, even though it was a bit of inconvenience — he flew into Detroit on Arizona’s off day, ahead of a series starting Tuesday in Pittsburgh — Trammell wasn’t about to miss it.
Just like he didn’t miss it in 2009, when the wounds of his firing were fresher.
“For me, it’s something, if I’m able, I’ll try in every way I possibly can,” Trammell said. “I wanted to be here again. The stories never get old.”
Trammell made a different choice than his long-time friend and current boss, Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson, who decided to spend the off day in Pittsburgh instead of Detroit.
Asked about Gibson’s decision, Trammell politely said, “Let’s don’t go there, please.”
There are some who suspect Gibson, on Trammell's Detroit staff that was fired in 2005, still holds a grudge against the organization. Gibson returned for the 2009 reunion, mostly to see Anderson.
As for Brookens, 60, he abruptly found himself out of a major-league coaching job last autumn after manager Jim Leyland retired. New manager Brad Ausmus didn’t keep him, and he didn’t catch on in Seattle or Arizona, where he figured to possibly be a fit.
Still, there was nothing but a smile on Brookens’ face Monday as he returned to Comerica Park, where he coached for four years, three as the first-base coach and one as the third-base coach.
“I always try to make these if I can,” said Brookens, who not that long ago was considered a possible successor to Leyland. “You never know in life how short it is.
“It’s good to see these guys and tell some lies about how good we were.”
Gibson, Jack Morris, Larry Herndon, Lance Parrish and Willie Hernandez may have been absent, but there still was plenty of star power on hand, including Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Dan Petry, Dave Rozema, Dave Bergman, Darrell Evans and Juan Berenguer, among many others.
They were set to participate in a pregame ceremony ahead of Monday night’s game against the Athletics.
The first 20,000 fans in attendance were to receive a Tigers retro road jersey, always the most popular giveaway on the schedule. It so popular, in fact, there were long lines outside the stadium more than two hours before the gates even opened.