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Monday, March 31, 2014

Ausmus still stoic, headed into regular-season managerial debut

DETROIT — The day before Opening Day is often quite hectic for a manager, tying up loose ends, finishing things left undone from spring training.

For first-time manager Brad Ausmus, Sunday was relatively relaxing, though.

“No, not at all. I didn’t have to pick anybody up at the airport. I had to fix a few things at this place that we bought. Door handles, stuff like that,” the Detroit Tigers’ new skipper said.

“Other than the workout and some stuff around the house, went out with my family, and had something to eat, fixed a few more things before I went to bed, got a good night’s sleep.”

Fixing stuff?

“I’m pretty handy around the house, yeah,” he said. “I don’t do windows. I don’t paint. But I can deal with anything else.”

After that, it was an easy drive to the ballpark before most of the crowds showed up for Monday’s matinee.

“The way I came in, I only saw one parking lot that had people standing out there. Really, my first thought was, ‘There’s already traffic coming off the exit ramp. My wife’s going to have a heck of a time trying to getting in here in three hours,’” he said Monday morning.

“I’m excited about it. Obviously, I’ve never done this as a manager before. I think Opening Day itself will be familiar, but it’ll be in a different role. Especially here. There’s a lot of energy at Tiger Opening Days. I know that for a fact.”

There were no butterflies, though.

At least not hours before the first pitch.

“No. Not yet,” he admitted. “There might be just before the game starts. I think once the game gets rolling, because the wheels are spinning in the brain, it’ll probably go away pretty quickly.”

And there were no rituals that he had to go through once he got to the park, either. Aside from the occasional knock on wood, Ausmus didn’t consider himself a superstitious player, and doesn’t envision that changing in his new role.

“I guess you could say my one superstition is that I’m not superstitious,” he said.

He got a few ‘good luck’ text messages, but was not going to have a huge group of supporters in the stands — just his wife and daughters.

“I’ve heard from a number of people. Obviously friends, family, people in the game that I’ve known, even media members that like me. There’s been a number of them,” Ausmus said. “Obviously, I’m appreciative of it.”


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