CLEVELAND (AP) Dressed in gaudy, pajama-looking travel suits, the Detroit Tigers arrived to play the Indians with their tails dragging.
Forced to spend an extra night in Boston because of mechanical problems with the team plane, the Tigers didn’t get to Progressive Field for Monday’s game until shortly after 4 p.m. – roughly three hours before the first pitch of the series opener.
All the players walked into the clubhouse wearing orange-and-black striped suits, making them appear as if they were on their way to a sleepover and not about to play a game.
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”We’re a little sleepy, but we’ll be fine,” Detroit manager Brad Ausmus said.
The Tigers played at Fenway Park on Sunday night and were scheduled to leave immediately following their 6-2 win over the Red Sox. However, some issues with the plane delayed their departure.
Outfielder Torii Hunter said as the players sat on board, they never expected the plane wouldn’t take off.
”It was noisy until they told us the flight was cancelled,” he said. ”We were having fun, jumping up and down and cracking jokes with each other. An hour and a half went by and then they said, `Hey, we’re going back to the hotel’ and all the jokes just stopped.”
The Tigers didn’t get back to their hotel in Boston until 3:30 a.m. The team attempted to find a hotel closer to the airport.
”It’s tough to find 60 rooms at 2 a.m.,” Ausmus said.
Hunter said he went to bed at about 4 a.m.
The Tigers had to use another plane to fly to Cleveland.
The travel interruption didn’t seem to have any negative effect on the AL Central leaders, who joked about their tardiness while waiting for the team’s equipment to arrive. As they waited, some players stood in line for the coffee machine while others grabbed a quick pregame meal before batting practice.
”We got a Starbuck’s machine,” Hunter said. ”That’s pretty awesome.”
The players were forced to wear the garish outfits because that’s what they had on when they boarded the plane Sunday night and their other clothes were packed away.
”Maybe we can take batting practice in them,” Hunter cracked.
Already a tight-knit group, the Tigers may have grown closer because of their travel hardship.
”It’s a chemistry thing,” Hunter said. ”We’re trying to get that camaraderie. We have a good group of guys in here who have great personalities. This can help with bonding. We’re like brothers.”
And like brothers, they’re willing to overlook any flaws.
”Some of us didn’t brush our teeth. We had the hotel mouthwash,” Hunter said. ”Some guys didn’t shower and just stink.”