By: Will Burchfield
Walking into Comerica Park on Friday afternoon, the eye was seized by a swath of brown grass in the outfield.
Never had the well-manicured grounds at the Tigers stadium looked so out of shape.
The unseemly appearance was due to the Metallica concert hosted at Comerica Park on Wednesday night and the heavy rain that followed.
“It’s not pretty, there’s no question about that,” said Brad Ausmus.
Ausmus inspected the outfield early in the afternoon along with GM Al Avila, trainer Kevin Rand and a couple other high-ranking Tiger execs.
The grounds crew had torn up a strip of grass extending from the left-field wall to the right-field wall and was working to replace it with fresh sod. But the new sod was of a different variety, giving the outfield its unbecoming appearance.
“The sod that they got doesn’t match up with what is normally laid. The sod they normally get comes from Wisconsin, so they couldn’t get it here quick enough. They’ve laid it down, they’ve rolled it out, they’ve cut it. It looks worse than it is,” said Ausmus.
Both the Tigers and the Blue Jays, who open a three-game series on Friday night, were forced to cancel their early workouts. But batting practice went on as scheduled and Ausmus said the game was never in jeopardy.
“There’s not really ruts, the color is what makes it looks bad. They’re trying to roll it down flat and cut it short so that it’ll minimize any effect on a player or a ball,” said Ausmus.
“It won’t have a huge impact,” he added.
Ausmus said he hadn’t yet talked to Blue Jays manager John Gibbons about the issue, but wasn’t worried about Toronto possibly protesting the game.
“I’m not concerned about that. If they have a beef I don’t really know what they do,” he said.
The laid back Gibbons did not have a beef.
“When I was driving over here I got a call saying it’s in bad shape. I walked on it, it didn’t look as bad as they described it earlier so I think they’re making it progress,” said Gibbons.
“It’s not gonna be perfect but it should be alright,” he added.
Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar hadn’t yet checked things out, but said it would be pretty much business as usual.
“I might try to position myself a little different, but I’m going to go out there and play like nothing’s wrong,” he said. “It is what it is.