Former Tiger Granderson returns with Mets

Former Tiger Granderson returns with Mets

DETROIT -- Curtis Granderson hadn't been to Comerica Park since the 2012 American League Championship Series, when he was a Yankee. Considering the Tigers have been celebrating the 10th anniversary of their 2006 AL Championship team all year, it's fitting that he returned with the Mets on Friday.

When Granderson came to town, he saw a lot of differences in four years. But some things looked and sounded very familiar.

"I was communicating with a friend of mine that was driving to Toledo yesterday and talking about how things were backed up on [Interstate] 275," Granderson said, "and I said, 'I remember those summer construction days and the night closures, and there's no other way around it. You have to sit through it.' And I was like, 'Wow, that's still going on.'

"Little things like that I remember from before, that haven't changed, but then things are changing."

Granderson still holds a special place in the hearts of many Tigers fans for what he meant in the club's resurgence. Just as important was his dedication to community endeavors. His Grand Kids Foundation began here and continues to this day. Fitting, then, that he'll co-host a Grand Kids youth baseball camp on Saturday morning with his former teammate and current Tigers outfielder Cameron Maybin along with Craig Monroe and Rod Allen.

"We have 125 kids from the Detroit area that are going to come in and get a chance with basic stuff -- fielding, throwing, hitting, running -- have fun with them, just show them the cool things about it," Granderson said. "And I thought it was a really cool tie-in, the fact that Cameron came up when I was here and now he's back over here."

Granderson sees the progress that has been made in Detroit over the last few years, and what's left to do.

"A lot of people say the downtown Detroit area is flourishing," Granderson said. "I remember right when I was getting ready to leave thinking there's a lot of potential that can happen if a couple steps are made in the right direction. It seems like a lot of that is happening. There was something I noticed just north of [Interstate] 75 across from the stadium where Wayne State [University] starts to pick up, and I assume that's the new hockey arena. …

"When you get a chance to come up through an organization early on in your career, it becomes your second home. Being drafted in 2002, signing my contract here in Comerica Park and then playing all the way to 2009, I had quite a bit of my life at that time in another city and state where I got a chance to learn a lot, different areas, the cities and towns, different parts."

Granderson still hears from a lot of people from those cities and towns, to the point that even after all these years, he's considered a Detroiter.

"Being in Chicago in the offseason, a lot of Michigan people have moved over there, so I get a lot there. And then my social media, the majority of my fan base are Tiger fans," Granderson said. "For some reason, I'm not sure what it is, a lot of people think I'm from here. A lot of people in New York think I'm from Michigan."

Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.