With a flurry of support from Tigers and Phillies fans, Brandon Inge has been selected to fill the final position for the AL All-Star team when they take the field this Tuesday night in St. Louis. Yes, pushed hard in the waning moments by the “Bran Torino” campaign, Tigers and Phillies fans united to seat Inge and Shane Victorino in the midsummer classic. Unlike over the past few years when Verlander and Bonderman were unable to succeed on the final ballot, it seemed that the Tigers really made a concerted effort to get the third-sacker Inge over the top.
As noted in an earlier blog, the Tigers have been less than spectacular when it comes to promotions and baseball ambiance at Comerica Park – that’s what makes this marketing move so incredible. What an ingenius idea to team up with a player from an NL team that has a crazy fan base and sits in the fourth largest media market.
While Senator McCain was throwing his lone weight behind the D-Backs’ Reynolds, and various reporters were pushing their favorite players, the Tigers put a tongue and cheek spin on a Detroit-based film and combined with another Major League team. Take a look at some of the message boards discussing the Final Vote and you’ll see that both teams had fans repeatedly clicking away for hopes to get another player on a plane to St. Louis.
It was quite refreshing over the past few days to see MLB players genuinely cheering for their teammates to be voted in by the fans. Whether it was general competitiveness, or a passion for their peers, Tigers players and fans forgot some tough losses for a moment and cheered for Inge to join Granderson, Verlander and Jackson on the squad. Since Inge made his Opening Day start at catcher in 2001, he played through the shame that was the 2003 season, then got displaced at his position by Pudge in 2004 and by Cabrera in 2008.
Now back at his famed third base position, Inge seems to finally be in a role that suits him well: an American League All-Star.