It isn't uncommon for players to drive themselves to and from road games during spring training. The thought of traveling in their own vehicles often trumps the thought of riding in a team bus. Additionally, most of the stadiums are within a reasonable driving distance from one another.
But it was only a matter of time this year when someone failed to arrive at the park because of car trouble. That someone was Detroit Tigers slugger Prince Fielder.
Fielder was supposed to make the trip to Port St. Lucie on Thursday for Detroit's road clash against the New York Mets. However, a flat tire derailed his journey from Lakeland and caused Matt Tuiasosopo to get the starting nod at first base for the Tigers, instead.
"Prince had a big-time flat tire on the turnpike, and they could only put one of those little tires on that's good for 50 miles. He wasn't sure he could make it down and back on that tire, so I told him to stay home," [Tigers manager Jim] Leyland said. "He got up on the turnpike by Orlando, so he wasn't very far away. He called once to say that he'd broken down and had called somebody to take care of it. When he called again, they came out, but they only put that little tire on.
"I didn't want to take a chance. He'll probably go to Jupiter" on Saturday.The trek from the two Florida cities covers about 150 miles, which equates to a little over two hours of driving. It appears as though Fielder was around halfway into his trip when he suffered the unfortunate tire deflation.
As for the game, the Tigers did just fine without Fielder as they cruised to an easy 9-1 victory.
Via USA TODAY