April 19, 2013 at 1:00 am

Tom Gage

Tigers' late-late show ends early this season

This week's 14-inning marathon between the Tigers and the Seattle Mariners kept diehard fans up well past 2 a.m. Due to a quirk in the schedule, Detroit plays its last night game on West Coast tonight against the L.A. Angels. (Ted S. Warren/Associated Press)

Anaheim, Calif. - Some of you like them a lot.

The house is quiet; there's no competition for the best TV; the night is yours.

You grab your Tigers' hat and whatever jersey you want to wear, not knowing if it's called a shirt or a jersey, and you plunk yourself down on the couch, with three hours of Tigers' baseball ahead of you.

Easy trip to the fridge.

Easy to all other necessary destinations.

A pillow nearby if the game isn't close - because you just might doze.

Bring it on, a Friday night from the West Coast. Or any Tigers' night game from the West Coast.

But guess what's arrived already? Their last night game from Seattle, Oakland and/or Anaheim this season.

That's right — the last one. On April 19, no less.

Saturday's game at Angels Stadium is a day game — as is Sunday's game. Being the experienced fan you are, you knew that Sunday's game from Anaheim would be a day game. You weren't counting on it to be anything but.

A day game on Saturday, though? Everybody in the house is going to be watching it, instead of just you.

And maybe one of the kids will have some friends over.

You'll be sitting on one of those uncomfortable chairs from the kitchen instead of the big easy.

Manager Jim Leyland, however, couldn't be happier that this already is the last regular-season night game in Pacific Daylight Time.

His clock ticks best on Eastern and Central time. He's comfortable with the Detroit's, Chicago's and Pittsburgh's of baseball.

Nothing against California, mind you. He likes the sunshine of Anaheim, the shopping of San Francisco and the personality of Seattle.

Don't know if he likes the salmon of Seattle, but have never heard him say anything against it.

Those cities aren't home, though.

But more than that, they are not his team's home — or within easy reach of it.

Leyland doesn't judge a schedule by his own likes and dislikes, of course. He's not happy the Tigers will be done with the West Coast as of Sunday because the days here feel three hours different.

He's happy because the farthest point of the travel will be over — and because there will be less wear and tear on his players that way.

The difficulty of any team's schedule is relative, obviously. The shortest trip for the Seattle Mariners would be one of the longest for the Tigers.

And heaven help Leyland if he had grown up wearing skates instead of spikes. All those trips to Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver would have taken a toll on him.

But he can't be faulted if he prefers any season in which there are no visits to Arizona and Colorado, or if there no interleague stops in California in addition to what the Tigers encounter every year in American League travel.

Heck, the Tigers are going to be home next week with the longest trip facing them being the one that ends their season in Miami.

Leyland, of course, likes to say "I go where the plane goes" — as if it doesn't make any difference if the Tigers are playing in Cleveland or in the old, gray emptiness of Oakland.

Truth be told, it was pretty loud and festive in Oakland this year — with decent attendance even.

It's been said that the Tigers disappear to some extent when they play out west.

The night games don't start until after 10 p.m., Detroit time. If you're an early riser, you don't find out who won until you wake up in the morning.

So hopefully Friday night's game will be, or was, everything you wanted it to be.

Because, already, it's the last of its kind for 2013.

Regular season, that is.



More Tom Gage