DETROIT — The nominations for the Brandon Inge Award is a list that could grow everyday with a new candidate and in the city where we pride ourselves at making the top of any list-it could be a mixed up feeling.
We here in the city by the river that is an international boarder remember Inge as a player that there was no middle ground about him or with the fans you either loved him or hated him it just depended on which side of the bed you woke up on.
Inge, 35, played for 12 seasons with the Detroit Tigers before the separation of company last Thursday, April 26, 2012, he finished his career as a Tiger batting just.100 with one home run and two RBI’s in nine games.
Inge struggles last season too and in fact he dodged the release bullet by taking the demotion to the minor league and suited up and played for the Toledo Mud Hens the AAA affiliated of the Tigers and proud member of the International League.
The media was told then he would go to the Mud Hens and work on finding his stroke at the plate.
Inge’s return to Detroit happen in September and he almost change the haters in to believers but the luster of a triumph return quickly turned back into the rust and the rail was being placed for Inge’s departure.
When the Tigers made the move during the off season and sign Prince Fielder and planned to move first baseman Miguel Cabrera back to his original position when he became a Tiger third base it basically pushed Inge into the place that no ball player wants to be – the odd man out.
Inge said all the right things when the news camera and the newspaper reporters gathered around him waiting for his words of wisdom and he politely answered the questions.
Now the average baseball fan in the city of Detroit that hated Inge shed no tear for him as he packed his suitcase and moved on and to the surprise of many received a contract to play baseball in another historic American League franchise.
Inge did not play baseball for a couple of days and he waited by the phone and luckily for Inge the wait did not linger for him as he received a call to play third base for the Oakland Athletics.
“It was three days to get my head straight, to relax a little bit, work out and get ready to come here,” Inge said. “It was perfect timing.”
Inge will receive just $480,000 from the A’s but the Tigers will still be responsible for the remainder of his contract that belongs to the Tigers.
Here are some nominations for players that the Detroit baseball fans have a love or hate relationship are left fielder Delmon Young, second baseman and left fielder Ryan Raburn and relief pitcher Jose Valverde these might be suitable players for the Inge award.
Young and his problem in New York City is now serving a seven day suspension handed down from baseball’s commissioner Bud Selig but he will be reinstated with the club this Friday before the weekend series against the Chicago White Sox.
Young will be answering to the charges of aggravated harassment in which he is accused of saying anti-Semitic comments to a panhandler outside the team’s hotel in New York City Young and will be in a court room later this season.
Valverde last season was a picture of perfection, he saved 49 ball games out of 49 attempts he won over the people with his flair for dramatic when he enters the game from the bullpen.
This season Valverde is not winning the popular vote by making each appearance an event like when he arrives on the field.
Blowing saves is something that baseball fans in Detroit are not familiar with and most of them do not like watching- it just feels dirty.
Many are hoping that Valverde finds his Motown magic just like last season.
Raburn is player that looks like he possess skills to make him a good solid player and there are time many wonder what in the world is he doing, his slow starts at the plate early in the season keep his name high on the Inge list.
He is a solid utility player and he does give Detroit Tiger manager Jim Leyland some lineup card flexibility.
So far this season Raburn is batting a robust .148 and struck out 10 times does not seem a lot but for most Tiger fans it when he does make an out is the issue, Leyland and Tiger fans keep waiting for Raburn to shake out of the early slump.
It might be too late for Raburn to play his way off of the Inge list.
Leyland is not worried about the Tigers inconsistent play after just 22 games into this year’s baseball season; he says it is just too early to worry and his team will work themselves out of the dreaded early season slumps.
Mean while out in Oakland, Inge keeps playing the game at the position that almost made him a legend in the city of Detroit.
Oakland Athletic manager and former Detroit catcher Bob Melvin said that Inge will fill a void for his team because of the injury to Scott Sizemore a former team mate in Detroit.
“We are glad to have him,” Melvin said.
Many Tiger fans say to Melvin you can have him and thank you.