Denny McLain to Brandon Inge: Don’t Get on Our Fans

Athletes are prone to say things in the media that they later regret.  Believe me, I know firsthand what a foot in one’s mouth tastes like.

In fact, after a miserable loss on a Sunday afternoon in the mid-1960s, I popped off to the local reporters about the Detroit Tigers fans and paid a heavy price.

But all I was trying to do was defend Al Kaline and Norm Cash.  The team was playing badly and Kaline and Cash were not doing very well.  Accordingly, the fans booed them both.

I said to the papers after the game that “some of our fans are really minor leaguers because they were booing Kaline and Cash.”  Well, the papers forgot to put into the article that I said “SOME” and they reported that I said “ALL” of the fans. This distortion of the interview even provoked someone to plant a smoke bomb in one of my cars.  It was a horrible lesson in keeping one’s mouth shut when the going gets tough.

Recently, Brandon Inge pulled a beauty along these lines.  He verbally flipped-off the fans to the media. He told them that he did not care about their negative opinions of him.  Inge shouldn’t let his lack of production allow his mouth to make waves and project insults, especially to Detroit Tigers fans who are truly the best in America.

Now, let me say that Inge has done a lot of good in our state and city.  He has provided his time and dollars to charity functions and other great gestures that have helped many people.  And he loves to talk to the media and embrace them for the most part.  But Inge needs to understand when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em.

The Detroit Tigers are getting killed at third base.  Inge is not doing the job the team needs him to do.  In all honesty, he’s been horrible.  His bat is totally toxic, swinging at one bad pitch after another and either taking or fouling off pitches in the strike zone.  Most good pitchers now know that they don’t have to toss many good strikes to get Inge out.  I suspect that he will either be tossed into a trade of some kind if someone will take him or possibly released by the trading date.

I am paraphrasing a little but Sunday after the game Inge stated that the Tigers “could not win without him.”  He said our fans should not boo him and that he didn’t really care about the fans’ reaction to his lackluster performance.

Contrary to what Inge might believe, the Tigers won a lot of games while he was suffering with mononucleosis.  I for one am not convinced the Tigers need Inge in the lineup in order to win.

Inge has been blessed in many ways: giant money for a .180 hitter and a giant contract that pays him $5 million a year.  For him to say that he doesn’t care about the booing or that fans should not boo him is really disingenuous at best.  His ignorance is showing.

When Inge take that check on the 1st and 15th of each month, he becomes a target for the fans.  It goes with the territory.  They cheer when you do well and they are entitled to BOO as loud as they desire when you play as badly as Inge has been playing.   The only thing he’s done consistently this year is leave man after man on base as he strikes out or pops up.

It is difficult to understand why Inge is even in the lineup anymore.  For whatever reason, he just can’t get the job done.  Inge is suffering at all facets right now and you can’t win with a .180 hitter at third base.

Inge’s stats are some of the worse in the history of the game.   For example, only four players in baseball history have had more plate appearances and a lower batting average than Inge.  It is dreadfully horrible to watch him play.  At one time he had a reputation for being some kind of “Derek Jeter” or “Brooks Robinson” at third base.  Folks, he’s not even close.

Of course, it’s not Inge’s fault that he’s making $5 million per year.  That blame lies with the Tigers’ Front Office who just can’t seem to get it right. I always wondered when they announced Inge’s long term deal why they would pay a .220 hitter $5 million per year.  Where the hell was he going to go? Who else would have paid him $5 million per year?  This pattern of signings reminds most of us of Bobby Higginson and Jeremy Bonderman.  Both guys got $40 million deals and were huge financial disasters.

Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski needs to make a deal before another club gets what we require.  He should trade for a third baseman even if it means giving up Rick Porcello (who will not ever gain any more velocity nor will he ever really be a serious winner in the Major Leagues) and he should throw in Inge and Ryan Raburn while he’s at it.

2 replies on “Denny McLain to Brandon Inge: Don’t Get on Our Fans

  • Don Wert Appreciation Society

    Don’s available. He turns 73 next week and he’s a little paunchy, but he can still move to his left pretty well (especially when it involves grabbing the remote or a can of Bud Light). Think about it, Dombrowski!

  • kelly moses

    While I agree about Inge’s on field preformance, I disagree about “booing”
    No fan should should boo anyone on their team. It only makes the fan look bad, and gives the competition something bad to say. Booing is ugly and a horrible thing to do.

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