I’m not going to get to him in time to say this in person, because I won’t be in
Brandon Inge, my friend, let me tell you a tale of two Detroit Tigers: Mickey Stanley and Lance Parrish. Then maybe, just maybe, you might be a tad happier with your current situation in
First, I’ll get the reader up to speed, for sake of completion.
Inge, who’s been with the Tigers since being drafted by them in 1998, is now a man without a position. At least, that’s how HE looks at it. I say he’s a man of many positions, and that he should embrace that; it’s liable to keep him in the big leagues for a very long time.
Inge was the Tigers’ starting catcher during the lean years, a.k.a. B.P. – Before Pudge (Rodriguez). He was a barely-.200 hitter for a 43-119 team when the Tigers signed Rodriguez for the 2004 season. Inge hadn’t hit a lick in the majors. One could make the argument that had he not been playing for such a wretched team, Brandon Inge would be scrambling to absorb himself into society with the rest of us working stiffs. He wasn’t much of a player, his decent defense notwithstanding.
Yet Inge had the nerve to squawk when the Tigers signed Rodriguez – who’s only a Hall of Famer – going public with his contention that the team already had a catcher: him. So why did they need to go out and get another one?
“My defense, I believe, can be on par with Pudge’s,” is my paraphrasing of what Inge was feeding us four Februarys ago. He made no mention of the 180-degrees difference in offense between Rodriguez and him. He was exhibiting, I thought, a rather reticent reaction for someone whose career batting average, at the time, was under .200, and who should have been kissing the turf that he was under the employ of a big league team. But there you have it.
I didn’t think much of Brandon Inge at that point, and couldn’t have cared less if he was an ex-Tiger, or an ex-big leaguer.
My opinion has changed, so hence I offer this friendly advice to him.
The advice comes because Inge is again chafing, though this time he has the resume to chafe.
In December, the Tigers acquired All-Star third baseman Miguel Cabrera from
Rodriguez is still around, so the question was obvious: Where will Brandon Inge play, if he plays at all, for the Tigers?
Inge wants to play – can’t blame him there. He still sees himself as a starting third baseman. Again, I can see that. He loves
Parrish, the stalwart catcher of the 1980s, played out his option after the 1986 season. For whatever reason, he and the Tigers couldn’t come to terms. He, like Inge and Stanley, was a homegrown Tiger – drafted and nurtured by the club. It didn’t hurt that his personal tutor every spring was a guy named Bill Freehan. Parrish had become a fixture in
From the moment I saw Parrish walk onto the field at spring training with the Phillies in 1987 (they had cameras taping his debut), I knew that this was going to end badly. He never looked comfy in the Phillies pinstripes. Then there was the issue of the fans – which was the first thing I thought of when Parrish’s exodus to Philly was announced.
“My goodness, they’re going to eat him alive there,” I thought.
Not surprisingly, Parrish struggled. And the more he struggled, the more the fans rode him. And the more they rode him, the more he struggled. Those Phillies pinstripes were wrapping themselves around him like tentacles, squeezing the baseball life out of him.
Parrish was never the same. He became a journeyman, ending his career on a carousel. He asked the Tigers for a tryout at the end, but they politely told him no.
Do with this what you will.