Warren — The Tigers know bread. Money, that is.
On Thursday, though, bread wasn't enough. It takes more than that to make a good sandwich.
So during a Winter Caravan stop at Lipari Foods on Thursday, Justin Verlander, Victor Martinez and Brad Ausmus got to work. The three Tigers competed in a one-minute sandwich-making contest before a raucous crowd of employees at the spacious Lipari compound.
Each was teamed with an employee, given 30 seconds to discuss a plan — Verlander took this part of the drill super seriously, to no surprise — and then made a mad dash for the meat and veggies table.
Martinez tried to get a head-start on this.
"Hey, hey, hey!" Verlander bellowed.
Then Martinez tried to fine-tune after the minute was up.
"Hey, hey, hey!" Verlander bellowed again.
Then it was time for the judging. David Price, Alex Avila and Ian Kinsler did the honors, moving from table to table to check out the sandwiches. Just before the judges convened, Verlander handed Price his wallet. Price laughed, and shook him off. Then Verlander opened the wallet and handed cash to Kinsler.
Verlander likes to win, whether on the mound, on the golf course, or even at dinner. Seriously, he takes pride in finishing food first.
The judges were having none of his bribery efforts, though.
"The winner is ..." Kinsler started.
Then he stopped, looked at the three sandwich stations again, and said, "We're gonna go to a commercial break."
Who does he think he is? Ryan Seacrest?
In the end, Verlander, clad in a white apron, didn't win. Money can buy him all his fancy cars, but not the sandwich-making contest. Truth is, his sandwich, obviously, was way too heavy on lettuce. Ausmus didn't win. That would perceived as sucking up.
So the prize went to Martinez, who raised his arms in triumph, like he had just hit a walk-off home run.
The stop of Lipari Foods was one of several the Tigers made around Michigan on Thursday and the Winter Caravan continues Friday. The festivities will wrap up with TigerFest at Comerica Park on Saturday. J.D. Martinez sat out Thursday with an illness, but should be back meeting and greeting fans Friday.