Tigers skip packing, head home early
DETROIT — No matter how far apart the cities in question, whenever a getaway game goes over its normal time slot — for whatever reason — it makes it hairy for a Major League Baseball team to get to its next stop without sacrificing a great deal of sleep.
When the Tigers’ series finale against Cleveland — which started at 7 p.m. Wednesday — ended at 12:30 a.m. Thursday, thanks to two rain delays totaling nearly two hours, it was likely to make a short night for all the Tigers personnel, as they headed home for a six-game homestand.
Until someone else sacrificed a bit.
“The postgame hero last night was Jim Schmakel. He drove the truck back so we wouldn’t have to take all that time to load the plane, so we could get back (quicker),” manager Jim Leyland said. “From the time we left (Progressive Field) to the time we got home was about 43 minutes.”
The Tigers’ clubhouse manager for the last 36 years, Schmakel simply aimed the equipment-laden truck toward Detroit, rather than toward Cleveland’s Hopkins International Airport, saving the players the 45-minute wait while the equipment was loaded on their plane.
An hour and 45 minutes after the last pitch of the game, around 2:15 a.m., the Tigers landed in Detroit.
Does that extra little bit of rest help?
“Yeah. I got up, did my laundry, did my wash,” Leyland said. “Felt pretty good. Ready to go.”