Here's why Tigers waited out long delay

Tony Paul
The Detroit News
Shane Greene

Detroit -- The Tigers will have their first night game of the season Thursday.

It wasn't supposed to be a night game, however.

To the surprise -- and dismay -- of some Tigers fans, the Tigers waited more than three-and-a-half hours to start the series finale against the Twins at Comerica Park.

With rain all over the area since the morning, the tarp went on the field just after noon, and wasn't taken off until around 4:15.

Weather.com suggests there's a window to get the game in between 5 and 8:30, before a raucous thunderstorm hits downtown Detroit. Extra innings probably won't work.

The Tigers expected first pitch to be about 4:40 p.m.

So, why push so hard to get the game in?

Why not just make it up later in the season?

Simple. The schedule wasn't favorable for a makeup with the Twins, who visit Detroit for two more series this season.

The Twins are back in mid-May, and if the Tigers and Twins were to add a makeup game the day before that scheduled series, May 11, the Tigers would've been forced to play a gruesome stretch of baseball: 27 games in a row without a day off.

The Twins also are back in late September, as the season is winding down, but there is no mutual day off before that series. That means the teams would have to play a doubleheader, and that's not ideal for a Tigers team that might be in a dogfight for the American League Central championship at that point.

Also allowing the Tigers to wait this one out: the light travel after the game.

It's getaway day for both teams, but the Tigers only have to travel to Cleveland and the Twins only have to go to Chicago. Even if they fly out by 10, they'll be at their destination before midnight.

The Twins don't play the White Sox until 3:10 local time Friday, and the Tigers don't play the Indians until 4:10.

It's not ideal, but it's not the end of the world either.

Give Tigers fans credit. Despite the long wait, a hearty crowd stayed for the whole delay. And the later start might allow the Tigers to have a decent walkup crowd, too, as many Detroiters will be getting out of work right around first pitch.