Yesterday while watching the Detroit Tigers take on the Boston Red Sox, a thought crossed my mind when Brandon Inge stepped to the dish for the Tigers. Are there other players in other cities that are as bad as he is, yet loved endlessly by the hometown fan base?
Having been a Tigers fan my whole life, I have seen some good, but mostly bad players roll through the Motor City, and Brandon Inge certainly falls in to the bad category. Here is a player who is a career .235 hitter, yet is without a doubt the most loved player by the Tigers fan base. Everytime he comes to bat he gets a cheer that is louder than any player, including Miguel Cabrera who is an MVP candidate every season. Every game fans can text in their votes for Player of the Game, and every night, Inge is in the top three in voting, regardless of how he performed that night. I don’t think there is any Tiger in my lifetime that I have disliked more than Brandon Inge.
I get that he’s the longest tenured Tiger, and has been there since the near record setting season in 2002. But here is guy who can’t hit and has never won a Gold Glove. He even bitched and moaned like a girl until he got his way and the Tigers stopped having him play catcher. Last year he had a fluke of a 1st half to make the All-Star team, where he hit ZERO home runs in the Home Run Derby. After that his numbers fell off the planet, and everyone in Detroit was ready to give excuses and reasons for why his production dropped. None of which involved the fact that he isn’t that good.
So my question to you readers, since I’m not as deeply in touch with your fan bases and teams as you are; Are there players and teams that have had this same phenomenon? Players who quite simply are not very good, but for one reason or another, are still loved endlessly by the fans, and are backed by a million excuses for their poor play, except for the real reason: they stink? Or is this just some weird thing that only happens in Detroit? Let me know in the comments.