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Winter Banquet Raises $42,000; Dombrowski, Van Slyke Excite Crowd

January 14, 2008 - Midwest League (MWL) - West Michigan Whitecaps News Release

COMSTOCK PARK, MI - The Whitecaps 14th annual Winter Baseball Banquet raised more than $42,000 for charity, marking the second highest total in the event's history. Detroit Tigers President/CEO, General Manager David Dombrowski, Whitecaps Manager Joe DePastino and Tigers first base coach Andy Van Slyke addressed the crowd of 850 people at DeVos Place Sunday night. Also in attendance from the Tigers were players Carlos Guillen, Vance Wilson, Zach Miner, Jordan Tata, first-round pick Rick Porcello, FSN Detroit broadcaster Mario Impemba and infield coach Rafael Belliard.

The Whitecaps held a silent and live auction along with a raffle during the event that raised $42,107 for the Whitecaps Inner-City Youth Baseball and Softball Program and the Detroit Tigers Foundation. The banquet, sponsored by Varnum Riddering Schmidt and Howlett, LLP, raises money for underprivileged children to play baseball.

The top item in the live auction was a luxury suite to Comerica Park for an upcoming Tigers game for 18 people that went for $2,600. Another high bid in the live auction was a trip for four to Comerica Park to watch batting practice from the field, tour the press box, visit the radio and TV booth and throw a ceremonial first pitch before the Tigers game went for $2,200. Two World Series tickets to two games with hotel accommodations reached a final bid of $2,400.

The top-selling item in the silent auction was a one-year family YMCA membership that went for $800. Other top items were a Whitecaps suite good for 20 people with $100 food credit ($600), Al Kaline autographed Tigers jersey with Hall of Fame inscription ($430), Nintendo Wii ($405), Ryan Sandberg autographed Cubs jersey ($400), golf for four at Blythefield Country Club with golf bag ($400) and Magglio Ordonez framed ALCS celebration photo ($400).

The night was capped off with the speaking portion of the program. Dombrowski excited the crowd by discussing the talent the Tigers have on their team and expectations for the 2008 season. DePastino made his first appearance as new Whitecaps manager and shared with the crowd his philosophy on coaching. Van Slyke shared stories of his minor league playing days and his time with the Tigers. 2007 Whitecaps pitcher Duane Below attended and had brief Q&A with Whitecaps play-by-play broadcaster Dave Skoczen as he talked about his fond memories in West Michigan and leading the 'Caps to the 2007 Midwest League Championship.

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