DETROIT, MICH. - It’s not pretty.
When the Detroit Tigers arrived at Comerica Park this afternoon, fresh off the All-Star break for a pregame workout before their second-half opener against the Blue Jays, they saw centerfield all but torn to tatters.
After their home stadium hosted a Metallica concert on Wednesday night before 3½ inches of rain fell, a lengthy strip of sod extending from left-centerfield to right-centerfield was worked on.
The surrounding areas were also browned out, covering nearly a quarter of the outfield.
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The conditions, inspected by Tigers general manager Al Avila, manager Brad Ausmus and vice president of park operations Mike Healy, were good enough to play. After conferring with the Blue Jays and crew chief Joe West, the game is scheduled to start without a hitch.
The Tigers temporarily resodded the strip with a different type of grass than the rest of the field, which team officials say made it look worse than it really was.
Still, two Tigers outfielders chimed in on the grass pregame, requesting anonymity. One said, “Brutal.” The other said, “It’s terrible.”
Ausmus, who admitted he wasn’t fully in the know, said the sod laid down was different than the sod for the rest of the outfield, which is grown in Wisconsin. The team spent a bulk of pregame time rolling the sod flat, watering it and drying it.
They rolled numerous baseballs over the strip to ensure it didn’t affect play, but how much it actually does affect play won’t be known until after the first pitch.
“They’re going to have to be aware of it,” Ausmus said. “There’s no question they’re going to have to be aware of it.”
Metallica’s stage is the longest of any band that has performed at Comerica Park and the team believes the forklifts needed to deconstruct the stage and remove equipment was at fault. That, and the rain.
“I think it was Mother Nature and Metallica combined,” Ausmus said.
The Tigers will fully resod the area with the same grass beginning Sunday night, when the team heads on a seven-game road trip. It should not affect the international soccer match between A.S. Roma and Paris Saint-Germain F.C. on Wednesday.
“It doesn’t look great,” Ausmus said. “But it looks worse than it is.”
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