Chicago — The Tigers roster is on the young side.
So a two-game trip to Wrigley Field became an event, with several players busing down to the park six hours before first pitch Tuesday.
“I got over here around 1:30, walked down and snapped a picture,” Tigers reliever Alex Wilson said. “It’s cool. It’s part of baseball history.
“Coming up (with the Red Sox) and playing in Fenway (Park), and now being in Wrigley, those are the two that always stuck out to me when I was coming up.”
Most of the Tigers never have played at Wrigley.
And many hadn’t even visited Wrigley before Tuesday.
Outfielder Tyler Collins is one of those. And in his debut, he’ll bat fifth.
“Just like batting fifth anywhere,” he said with a smile. “(Wrigley is) cool. You hear a lot about it, but until you actually see that ivy growing on the wall, you don’t know. ... Yeah, it’s cool.”
One guy who’s no stranger to Wrigley is Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, who played lots of games as a member of the Astros, who then were in the National League Central with the Cubs.
Ausmus doesn’t have any specific memories that stand out, he just knows he loves old parks.
“The history, the crowds,” Ausmus said. “It’s a fun place to be.”
Wrigley Field opened in 1914, making it the second-oldest park behind Fenway Park.
The Cubs are renovating part of Wrigley this year, having added a massive electronic scoreboard and expanded bleachers.
One thing they haven’t gotten around to is expanding the visitor’s clubhouse, which is among the most cramped in the game.
The only competitor is Fenway. “I think this is smaller,” Ausmus said. “Fenway’s got couches. This one has no couches.”
Tigers faithful follow
Tigers fans usually take over Wrigley Field when the teams play here, but given their decline and the revival of the Cubs, that might not be the case.
Wrong. Walking up to Wrigley Field, there were thousands of Tigers fans enjoying a pregame meal or beverage.
And that’s always a good feeling, Ausmus said.
“We actually have a good amount of Tigers fans in a lot of stadiums,” Ausmus said.
“I remember Arizona last year, there were more Tiger fans than Diamondbacks fans.
“It’s much more fun if you have your own fans.”
Let there be light
In his last eight games, Collins is hitting .345/.367/.448, which includes 10 hits and three doubles.
All this has come after he struggled at Triple A Toledo.
“I don’t know (how it happened),” Collins said. “I can’t really explain it.”
Ausmus has a theory.
“Some people play better and concentrate more with brighter lights,” he said.
Around the horn
Yankees catcher Brian McCann became the first catcher with five RBIs and to throw out three baserunners in a game since Ausmus in 2003, when he was with the Cardinals.
“Grand slam in the first, single, then a winning home run in the 10th,” Ausmus said. “It was the best day of my career.
“It was all downhill from there, and I played another seven years.”
... Toledo catcher Bryan Holaday, a shoo-in for a September call-up, suffered a dislocated thumb in a home plate collision Monday. His status is unknown.
Tigers at Cubs
First pitch: 8:05 p.m. Wednesday, Wrigley Field, Chicago
TV/radio: ESPN, FSD/97.1
■LHP Daniel Norris (2-2, 4.24), Tigers: The centerpiece of the David Price trade, he’ll make his fourth start with the Tigers. One has been excellent, one pretty good and one bad.
■LHP Jon Lester (8-8, 3.21), Cubs: Their big free-agent signing last offseason, he’s been on a serious roll, with a 1.92 ERA since Aug. 1. The Tigers have hit him over the years, though, including in June.