DETROIT — What was supposed to be an easy Friday return after the birth of his daughter ended up being a circuitous hassle for Kyle Ryan. He made it to Detroit about an hour before first pitch, and it wasn’t long before he was called on to pitch in the eighth inning of a 4-1 ballgame.
Ryan walked the first batter he faced, and gave up a single to the next. He’d just gotten in to Detroit en route from Columbus, a three-hour, 20-minute drive that resulted after his original Thursday night flight was cancelled.
“I was supposed to get a 6:40 (p.m. ET) flight (out of Tampa, Fla.), and halfway there it turned to 7:24,” Ryan said after Saturday’s game. “Got to the terminal and got sent down to the gate, and it went from 7:24 to 8:30. Then they came over the intercom, 'well, we got a plane, a pilot, just no flight attendants. The flight attendants that were supposed to be here logged too many hours.' So, one thing led to another and they couldn't find any flight attendants.”
With the next available flight into Detroit not until Monday because of spring break and full flights, the only option was to fly out of Orlando, Fla. and into Columbus, driving the remainder of the trip. Ryan got his bags and flight money back, and made his way to Michigan Saturday morning.
Around noon, Ryan showed up at Comerica Park. It didn’t matter whether he’d had enough sleep, though, if he was needed, manager Brad Ausmus would’ve had to call on him. Turns out, he needed to, and Ryan found himself pitching to the 2-3-4 hitters and trying to refocus his mindset.
Not that there was anything Ryan could’ve done about the situation, but he chose not to get worked up about it. But after the first two batters reached, he had to make some adjustments — mostly in a mental capacity. He managed to get a 3-6 fielder’s choice, and with runners on the corners, threw a changeup that induced a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play.
It was a key moment in the game not just because the Red Sox were threatening, but because the bullpen was already taxed from Friday’s eighth-inning collapse. Justin Wilson was warming but outside of that, the next-best option was Bruce Rondon and he didn’t do so well the day prior.
Ryan came through, even with a long drive and an early flight. And thanks to the delayed return, he got to spend Friday night at home with his new daughter, when he should have been in Detroit with the team.
“It was nice, I got to go home and spend an extra night with her,” he said. “So, I got sleep there and then I got on the flight. As soon as I got on the flight (this morning), I don't remember taking off, I don't remember landing. I got plenty of sleep.”
But as stressful as the last 24 hours have been, game included, none of it holds a candle to waiting for his baby girl to be born. That, he said, takes the cake.
“Yeah they said it was gonna be the longest 15 minutes (waiting for her to be born) because she walked into the OR (operating room) and I had to wait just outside in my chair,” Ryan said. “They weren't kidding, it was the longest 15 minutes of my life. Just sitting there on my phone just waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting, and finally, they called me back. I told myself I wasn't going to look but the doctor ended up getting me to look. It'll change your life real quick.”