Tigers' Game 2 moved to Thursday
Club shrugs off slight confusion over timing of postponement
NEW YORK -- Kenny Rogers was calling dibs on a couch in the clubhouse. Tigers players asked each other whether they had a team bus to take from the ballpark and where it would be going. Others on the club were looking for clean shirts, having packed for only two days.
And this was after the call to postpone Game 2 of Detroit's American League Division Series at New York -- originally scheduled for Wednesday but pushed to Thursday -- the real confusion of the night.
For a brief stretch of time, the Tigers were homeless, looking for a hotel in New York because they had checked out of their current one in Manhattan. But while they were lining up rooms, they had also been searching for answers.
First, the game was delayed from its original 8:09 p.m. ET start because a line of storms was on the way. Then, after the storms cleared, they were on track for a 10 p.m. start. Finally, minutes after the Tigers were informed to get ready, they were off, postponed until Thursday afternoon because of another line of showers and thunderstorms.
The game is slated to start at 1:09 ET. The Tigers will send out original starter Justin Verlander, whose pregame routine reflected the confusion. Verlander went out to the field readying to start, only to find that he was the only starting pitcher out there.
"Obviously, I went out there and got stretched a little bit," he said. "We were informed the game time was at 10 o'clock. I go out there and [Yankees starter Mike] Mussina's not out there, nobody's out there, but we were informed [it was] 10 o'clock. So I started getting ready -- stretching, running, a little bit of throwing. And then one of the grounds crew came over and talked with [pitching coach] Chuck [Hernandez], [saying] that there might be another delay. So that's when I shut it down."
Fortunately, all he had done from a throwing standpoint was some light toss. But he had company.
"They definitely had some information I didn't have or our team didn't have," he said. "Half of our team was out there. None of their guys were. I don't know what happened."
The confusion revolved around what Major League Baseball officials hoped was a window to get in the game.
"I understand [Verlander] did some soft tossing and some stretching, but he didn't do any real pitching," said Jimmie Lee Solomon, MLB's executive vice president of baseball operations. "We wanted to get the game started, and we thought we could. The forecast indicated we could get in two, three innings tops and would have to stop again for an hour and a half, two hours. We didn't want to burn up two pitchers if we had that coming through. We reconvened, talked, we had the Tigers representatives with us and we made a decision jointly with the Commissioner."
As to why the Yankees knew before the Tigers, Solomon pointed out that cell phones don't work in the bowels of Yankee Stadium.
"So we send people to both clubs and let them know what our thinking is at the time," he said. "So I don't know who got there first and whether they got there simultaneously, but about the same time, yes, they were both informed."
Verlander didn't make a big ordeal about it when asked by reporters. Neither did many of his teammates, even as they wondered about the logistical nightmare.
"We're all professionals," closer Todd Jones said. "We all have a decent relationship and probably a healthy respect for one another. They would never purposely do anything."
Added third baseman Brandon Inge: "This is no big deal, honestly. It's not even a story for you guys today. It's really nothing."
Even if the confusion isn't a story, the challenge of adjusting thereafter could be. Quick work from traveling secretary Bill Brown found the team another hotel in midtown Manhattan, but they'll have a quick turnaround from what was a night game to now an afternoon affair.
As Verlander pointed out, he'll now be pitching around the time he'd be waking up on some days.
"That's what this game is all about at this level, in the playoffs," Jones said. "You can get ready at any time. You just have to come out tomorrow, make sure you get your sleep tonight and be ready to go."
A few seconds later, though, Jones sighed. Considering New York was a trip the Tigers didn't know they'd have to make until they missed out on the AL Central title on Sunday, it's been a heckuva week.
"Unbelievable," he said.
Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.