DETROIT -- Well, Tyler Collins flipped off the fans at Comerica Park on Monday night. The reactions were about what one would expect. A ball that he lost in the lights dropped for a hit and he lost his cool. It's not what the Detroit Tigers would've hoped to see from a bench player they've been relying on a lot lately.
It was bad enough that Collins flipped off the crowd, but what he said "f*** everybody here" did not help in the least. The Internet ran with it and the fans, treated to a win for the first time in nearly a week, weren't happy.
"When Zim's (Zimmermann) cruising, and we've got a 6-0 lead, nobody wants that ball to get lost less than me," Collins said after the game. "Nobody does. That hurts. And to be at home, and to hear boos after that play, hit a trigger inside of me, and I lashed out -- completely inappropriately. I'm absolutely embarrassed that it happened, and I'm sorry to everyone in Detroit.
"I want you guys to understand that I love this team, and I want to win, and so when we come home and get booed, it's tough to swallow. But like I said, I apologize completely. I'm embarrassed in myself. I know my family's embarrassed in me. I'm sure these guys are, too. I'm just sorry it happened."
After the game, Ausmus said that he immediately had a discussion with Collins, and again after the game about his actions. To say that "it can't happen" would be an understatement, but for Collins his actions seemed to sink in.
During his at-bat in the eighth, he struck out looking but it wasn't out of fan frustration that he smacked his helmet, but because he'd just gone 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. That result stinks regardless of the day. In Collins' case, his actions weren't a repeat offense. He's never flipped off a fan, but there's always a first time for a knee-jerk reaction, and Monday night was it.
"It was frustration, just frustration," he said. "I don't wanna hear that at home. We deal with that on the road. With that being said, I should be more mature and grown up than that, to be able to deal with it, and that's where I apologize."
"(Ausmus) said you're a grown man, and you've gotta handle yourself like it, whether you agree with what's going on or not. And he's 100 percent right. I lashed out. Whether I'm happy about what happened or not, I shouldn't have done that."
For some, it's hard to call Collins "likable" because of his abrupt nature and straightforward approach to people. So, to see a guy lose his cool and fly off the handle in what should be a normal situation, it gives an excuse to want him gone.
Not just benched for a day or given a stern talking-to, but completely gone from the team. Demoted and/or released. Perhaps some pause should be given before going to extremes. Again, it doesn't excuse his actions. But it can be a learning experience for Collins, especially since he's not an everyday player.
Players do stupid stuff on occasion. It's bound to happen and even the best make mistakes. It doesn't excuse a player's actions in the least, nor should it be leniency for the future. How a player handles these things can go a long way towards smoothing over the damage done. For his part, at least Collins showed his sincerity and the reason he lost the ball in the first place was an issue that Oakland A's player Josh Reddick could easily relate to.
"I've never came to where I've flicked off a fan base you know, but it's got to be tough to deal with that at home," Reddick told Detroit Sports 105.1 after the game. "This place is not easy to see a fly ball. It's very, one of the places that gets dark really late here. It's just tough. You give up a ball that's hit that high and you can't really see it.
"You're frustrated as a player because you can't see it and then the run ends up scoring and that's the first run he's given up all year so obviously, you're mad inside."
Center field has been an odd adventure this season. Between Anthony Gose's absentminded actions and the loss of Cameron Maybin, Collins has nearly matched his 2014 playing time already, and he's 1/6th of the way to last year's totals.
For Collins, there's more to adapt to than just the increased at-bats and the possibility of being sent down when Maybin returns. But regardless of the pressure or game score, it's definitely something that cannot happen again.
"It's clearly something that can't happen," Ausmus said. "Matter of fact, I spoke to Tyler immediately in the tunnel after it happened. I spoke to him after the game. And he regrets it. It was an emotional reaction. He regrets it, and knows that it was wrong. He just screwed up. He's a young guy that screwed up."