For the first time in years
The day before Opening Day the Detroit Tigers traveled to Toledo for an exhibition game against their Triple-A affiliate.
It has been 12 years since the last time the Tigers played the Mud Hens, which was a game that used to occur regularly, never with attendance numbers like this one. Roughly 12,000 people flocked this time to see what was to be expected of the Tigers offense come Opening Day.
The Tigers starting lineup on Wednesday was the same as the one they took the field with on Thursday for Opening Day at Comerica Park, but more than 44 players between the two teams saw action in the 8-3 Tigers win at Fifth Third.
All proceeds from the game were divided evenly between the teams' charities — half went to Helping Hens Charitable Fund and the other to the Detroit Tigers Foundation.
In their first game of the season, the Mud Hens set a single-game record for attendance Friday, in their matchup against the Indianapolis Indians. With 13,227 faces in the crowd, it became the largest single-game showing ever, topping May 14, 2010 where 13,200 fans filled Fifth Third field.
Since Toledo hosted the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday for a charity game, there had been nearly 25,000 people through the main gates after the close of Friday's game.
In addition to having the largest crowd on Friday, the Mud Hens also made history on Saturday when it became the longest nine-inning game to take place in Fifth-Third Field. Game two against Indianapolis lasted three hours and 57 minutes.
Moves on the mound
During opening weekend in the big leagues, the Detroit Tigers lost pitcher Doug Fister to the 15-day DL after his outing on Saturday. In response, Brayan Villarreal was recalled to Detroit to take his place.
The right-hander pitched two innings for the Mud Hens in regular season play before being called up, where he gave up just one hit. In 2011, he pitched 66 innings with an ERA of 3.24 and a record of 8-6.
Since Villarreal moved up, Toledo added Rob Waite to their Roster from AA Erie.
Waite joined the Mud Hens on Saturday and made his debut on Easter in the final game of the series against the Indians. He pitched 3 1/3 innings, giving up four hits, but no runs.