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The Pistons are going on tour

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More specifically, Michael Curry, Rodney Stuckey, Arron Afflalo, VP of player personnel Scott Perry and announcers George Blaha and Greg Kelser are piling into a bus for two days traveling around the state. From Pistons.com:

The Tour will start in Lansing, the morning of Wednesday, September 17. The Tour will move to Grand Rapids for a lunchtime event and then head up to Traverse City for an after-school rally where the Tour will be joined by Automotion, Hooper and the Palace Patrol. The Tour will stay overnight at the Grand Traverse Resort and resume Thursday morning with a stop in Midland at Midland Dow High School. Headed south, the Tour will stop in Flint for an afternoon visit and then head down to Toledo.

They're also holding a novel contest: two fans will be randomly picked to tag along, traveling on the bus and staying in the hotel, for the entire trip. You can enter to win here.

A lot of teams do things like this -- if I recall correctly, the Tigers' winter caravan is an annual event -- but it's the first time the Pistons have done it in seven years. Dana Gauruder of the Oakland Press can still remember the last trip, and for good reason:

I have many more memories of their last media tour. Rodney White, Brian Cardinal and Rick Carlisle - in his first season as head coach - were on the bus. The date was Sept. 11, 2001.

We stopped at a middle school in Okemos that morning and the players showed off some of their skills at a pep rally in the school's gym. Shocking as it may seem, all of the terrorist attacks and the Trade Center collapses happened while we were in the gym and everyone there was apparently oblivious to what was going on along the East Coast. It's inconceivable that would happen now, with every kid having a cell phone, text messaging, etc.

Anyway, we learned what was going on when we got back to the bus, where the bus driver had a radio tuned to the news. We somberly headed to Grand Rapids for another media stop, saw the sickening replays of the Trade Center disaster for the first time, then turned around and went home instead of staying overnight in Traverse City as scheduled.

I'm hoping this tour will be a lot less memorable.