LAKELAND, FL - FEBRUARY 28: Brandon Inge #15 of the Detroit Tigers poses for a portrait on February 28, 2012 at Joker Marchant Staduim in Lakeland, Florida. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
We'll probably have more on Brandon Inge throughout the day -- we've already set the recording time for a special episode of the BYB Podcast. But first, here are some initial reactions from around the Tigers blogosphere on the best (and worst) of Brandon Inge's career in Detroit.
Inge himself with a nice quote about the fans, via John Lowe of the Free Press:
"This is an emotional city. This is a city that will back you. They want their teams to do well. If they’re not, they’ll let you know, and there’s nothing wrong with that. That shows they are fans. A fan that dislikes someone or that likes someone is still a fan. I respect them all; I really do. There’s nothing that anyone can ever do that will ever change my opinion of Detroit or this organization. It’s been a class act through and through, and I’ve been very proud to be part of it."
James Schmehl, MLive:
When silence finally filled the clubhouse, the Tigers' longest-tenured player offered one final thank you. And then it was over. Just like that. The impending release of Brandon Inge was no longer pending. It was done. Before Inge left the clubhouse, he extended a handshake to every reporter within reach in front of a locker he called home since 2005.
As long as Inge’s release had been speculated by many, anticipated by some, dreaded by others, the finality of it Thursday — and the timing of it especially — hit the clubhouse hard. There were several red eyes in the clubhouse, including Inge’s.
If his heart was broken, though, he didn’t show it. Odd as it seemed, he handled his release better than his teammates. It was the end of a 12-year Tigers tenure, longest by any player in Detroit since Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker retired, but it was also a fresh start.
Alex Avila (per Beck):
"I’ve known Brandon for like 10 years now. Ever since I came here, when I was just a fan, he’s always been kind of like the heart and soul of the Detroit Tigers, always doing so much for the community. Kind of like a fixture. When the team was bad, to kind of make them turn it around and be competitive year-in and year-out, he’s always been in the thick of things. Definitely a big part of this community and this organization. He’d always joke around with me when I was a sophomore in high school. Kind of from the get-go, he’s treated me like a little brother. I remember when I was drafted and I was catching — and he had went back to catching [in 2008] — I remember coming into the clubhouse right before I had to leave to West Michigan after I got drafted and he’s like, hurry up and get up here so I don’t have to catch anymore. Just stuff like that. I mean, great guy."
Craig Calcaterra, HardballTalk:
This isn’t big because Brandon Inge is big — he’s pretty insignificant, baseball-wise these days — but because he’s probably the single most polarizing player in the world of Detroit Tigers fandom. He’s one of those rare guys who is still beloved by many despite possessing little if any of the value he used to possess as a player. Which, in turn, makes more analytical fans go nuts. Wanna start an argument among Tigers fans? Just voice a strong opinion about Brandon Inge. He’s a player cum mascot about whom no one can be rational.
Samara, Roar of the Tigers:
And yes, Inge sucks. But this also sucks. I’m sure I’ll have many more thoughts somewhere down the line, but right now I can’t give you much more than that. Sucks.
Yours truly, Detroit4lyfe:
Nearly every living memory I have of my grandma is gone, and the Tigers are one of the things that I hold dear to my heart because of those nights I spent in that undersized rocking chair...Inge was a reminder of the teams that struggled, and for me, a reminder of those nights that I spent watching the Tigers with my grandma. Back then, I didn't care about the results. I just wanted to eat ice cream and watch baseball.
Lee Panas, Tiger Tales:
Throughout his career, Inge has been the most bipolar Tiger among internet fans. Most fans either supported and defended him or they disliked everything about him. I was somewhere in between and never really understood the controversy. I saw him as the Tom Brookens of the 21st Century, a player who probably would have been better cast as a role player, but maintained a regular job mostly as a third baseman.
Grey Papke, Detroit Tigers Scorecard:
Yes, some will criticize him – arguably rightfully so – for occasionally feeling as if he was treated unjustly by the franchise. Inge could’ve handled things a lot better at times. I’m willing to chalk it up to being overly competitive (Inge was certainly never lacking in self-confidence) but that notwithstanding, Inge was the face of the turnaround. I prefer to judge players based on what they do on the field and in the clubhouse, and at his peak, he deserved his popularity.
Perhaps my favorite memory of your time as a Tiger was a game winning home run you hit against Oakland on a Friday night a couple of years ago. I had my entire family, my wife, my son and his girlfriend and my daughter and her boyfriend at the game and it had been a splendid evening of family, fun, and baseball. As you came to bat my son made some comment like "oh damn, Inge is on deck". My wife said "Brandon’s gonna win it for us". My daughter agreed. I stayed silent worrying that you would strike out but hoping for a base hit. My wife was right. You crushed the ball and the Tigers won. I’m not sure how many game winning home runs you had but I think my wife saw all of them and she was thrilled that she got to see one in person.