HOWELL — Cleary’s baseball players are admitting there will be some gawking when they take the field at Comerica Park today.
It will be somewhat the same as last week’s games at Cooley Law School Stadium in Lansing.
“At first, when we got there, people were walking around looking at everything,” senior Nick Hoogerhyde said. “But after a while, you realize it’s just a baseball field.”
The Cougars (9-16) will take on Robert Morris-Chicago (29-9) in a 3 p.m. game at the home of the Detroit Tigers.
Due to rain and cold, the Cougars haven’t been able to play or even work out outdoors in over a week.
“Our hitters haven’t been able to see live pitching,” Cleary coach Karl Kling said. “If we were off for an extended length of time and we knew we would be off, we could have thrown some live bullpens, gotten our hitters some live looks, but because we always thought we were playing the next day or the day after, we couldn’t take that chance. So our hitters have been off, our pitchers have been off, the fielders haven’t seen a live ball in a while, so it’s like we’re starting from scratch.”
Today’s game is the last “home” game of the season for the Cougars, whose games at Lansing were the only home games they’ve played this season. Cleary University is playing its games on the road this season while a new stadium is being built on campus.
Playing at Comerica Park, Kling said, is a thank-you of sorts to a half-dozen players who have been with the Cougars since the program began four years ago.
“It’s nice for everyone who was here on team 1, when we created the team, to be able to play at a field like Comerica Park,” Hoogerhyde said. “Everyone knows Miguel Cabrera plays there, so there’s going to be more of a wow factor playing on a field like that.”
Kling plans to start his ace, Rhett Holwerda, and a pair of relievers today.
“We’re going to go with our traditional lineup,” he said. “We don’t know who’s going to play center field for us, but our infield is solid, our catching is solid, and our corner outfielders are solid. So it’s going to be played like any other game.”
Even if the setting is a little out of the ordinary for players who grew up watching Tigers games at Comerica Park.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play there while going as a kid to watch the Tigers,” said closer James Edwards, a Howell grad. “I’ve always been a big tan, and playing there is definitely going to be a dream come true for me.”