DETROIT -- Wherever outfielders may roam at Comerica Park this weekend, they might find the grass looking weathered. Sad but true, the combination of a Metallica concert Wednesday night and heavy rain Thursday chewed up the outfield.Members of the Tigers grounds crew performed emergency repairs on the outfield Friday, including
DETROIT -- Wherever outfielders may roam at Comerica Park this weekend, they might find the grass looking weathered. Sad but true, the combination of a Metallica concert Wednesday night and heavy rain Thursday chewed up the outfield.
Members of the Tigers grounds crew performed emergency repairs on the outfield Friday, including replacing a particularly bad strip that runs across the outfield, and leveling out patches in deep center where the stage had been set up.
The crew used an emergency order from a Michigan sod farm to replace the strip. The original sod came from a Colorado farm a couple years ago, so the two look different in color, creating a striping effect that stands out when looking down on the field. The crew tried to cut the grass short to reduce the impact on player footing or on bouncing or rolling baseballs.
"It's not pretty," Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said. "There's no question about that, because the grass they got doesn't match up with the sod they normally get. They laid it down, they rolled it out, cut it. It looks worse than it is, but unless they tell us otherwise, I think it's all systems go."
Members of the Tigers and Blue Jays staffs spent Friday afternoon examining the field conditions as the new sod was put in. Both teams had scheduled early workouts for Friday but had to cancel.
"They put some sod down and they were packing it," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "I walked on it. It didn't look as bad as they described it earlier, so I think they're making progress. It's not ideal, but what are you going to do?"
The Tigers have had issues following concerts in past summers, notably after a Kid Rock show a few years ago that chewed up the same area. This time, though, the rain worsened the impact.
"I think it was Mother Nature and Metallica combined that was the problem," Ausmus said.
Tigers right fielder J.D. Martinez checked out the repair work before batting practice. He said the smell was worse than the look.
"It smells like horse manure," he said. "I feel like I should be baling hay."
The repair is temporary thanks to another event at the ballpark next week while the Tigers are on the road. European soccer clubs Paris Saint-Germain and AS Roma will play an exhibition match at Comerica Park on Wednesday night as part of the International Champions Cup Tour of the United States.
Relevent Sports, which runs the ICC, is bringing in its own grass for the match, but the grounds crew will have to level the pitching mound for the soccer pitch. Following the match, the baseball field will be fully re-sodded, according to a Tigers spokesperson.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.