Ausmus on Red Sox’s travel: 'The baseball schedule is hard'
Detroit – Rough night for the Boston Red Sox, for sure. But if they were looking for sympathy, they came to the wrong city.
“Every team in baseball, at some point, has some type of schedule issue,” manager Brad Ausmus said before Thursday’s game. “They got in late. They have an early game. It happens for every team, every year. It’s not ideal. The baseball schedule is hard. If I was the Red Sox, would I not like it? Absolutely I wouldn’t like it.”
The Red Sox played a night game in Baltimore Wednesday night. It went extra innings. On top of that, their flight to Detroit was delayed two hours as the plane sat on the tarmac at BWI Airport.
They got to Detroit Metro Airport at 3 a.m. and to their hotel at 4 a.m. First pitch Thursday was 1:10 p.m. Sub-optimal. And the Red Sox, led by former Tigers president and general manager Dave Dombrowski, had asked the Tigers to move the start time to 7:10 p.m.
As he knew from his time in Detroit, that wasn’t likely to happen – especially not with the Detroit Lions playing an exhibition game Thursday night across the street at Ford Field.
“It’s getting a lot of publicity,” Dombrowski said before the game. “But like we’ve said all along, and I’ve told this to people about it – that’s the way it is. Everybody plays the same number of home games and the same number of road games.”
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Dombrowski said that during his time with the Tigers, Thursday matinees were occasionally changed to night starts – but usually that was to accommodate the Tigers.
“I’ve also known occasionally they have played on Thursday nights, if you look back over the last five years,” Dombrowski said. “Because if the Tigers came back like we would have, they would play Thursday night. But that’s within their right to do those things. It’s got nothing to do with me.”
That’s the point that was lost in much of the national media coverage, which intimated the Tigers were trying to stick it to their former boss.
“There’s nothing vindictive going on here,” Ausmus said. “We play Thursday day games all year long. We’re not going to do them any favors. The Baltimore Orioles didn’t do them any favors. They didn’t have a day game on getaway day.
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“It really boils down to this being bargained in the collective bargaining agreement, in terms of what the travel parameters are. It’s within the parameters.”
Dombrowski did his due diligence by trying to get the start time pushed back. He understood why the Tigers refused.
“You can’t always accommodate people,” he said. “You’re worried, first and foremost, about your situation. Your own club, your own fans, television ratings, all those type of things. All those come into play. So you don’t always do it.”