Detroit Tigers: Jose Abreu is as fake as Pro Wrestling
They just needed “Mean” Gene Okerlund for the post-game interview for the Detroit Tigers final home game on Monday.
That pretty much sums up the pro wrestling protestations of Jose Abreu, Tony LaRussa, and the Chicago White Sox that filled the 9th inning against the Detroit Tigers on Monday afternoon.
A solid baseball team like the White Sox, which hasn’t played a meaningful game in the standings for weeks, needed a bonding kickstart because they’ve been relatively mediocre since the All-Star Break.
Let’s get this out of the way. Alex Lange was not throwing at Abreu on purpose or even carelessly. I think most agree on this point. The scouting reports, according to even the Sox post-game TV crew, have been to bust Abreu inside. It’s his vulnerable area.
Lange was ahead 0-2 late in a very tight ballgame…he followed the scouting report most likely. He missed a few extra inches in and clipped Abreu on the fatty part of the arm. Abreu eschews wearing an armed guard of any kind. If he’s getting busted in so often it would be a simple move to armor up his left elbow/upper arm area.
Abreu and LaRussa are definitely playing up the intent of the Tigers to rouse the Slumber Sox into motion as the post-season approaches. For time immemorial teams have been trying to conjure up reasons to find a “the world is out to get us!” mentality to unify its efforts as a unit. Abreu getting clipped by an ordinary heater was a handy moment to embrace.
LaRussa came out of the dugout to pontificate about his view. An appearance by the Sox skipper usually makes matters worse as it did on July 31st when James Karinchak of the soon-to-be-Guardians missed dangerously high and also hit Abreu. LaRussa, who “ran” onto the field as though he thought he was only farting and got a surprise, brought things to a boil by getting into it with Cleveland backstop Roberto Perez.
While there is no doubt Karinchak put Abreu in danger with a wild pitch, the Tigers’ Lange has absolutely nothing to apologize about. He’s a kid trying to lock down a spot in Detroit next year. He can’t be worrying about LaRussa having a Bobby Heenan tantrum if he clips a guy in the arm. Lange had no history with Abreu. He can’t start an at-bat caring how often Abreu has been hit by a pitch this year.
It was actually good to see Niko Goodrum and Lange both not let Abreu off the hook for his late slide with the spikes slightly up. Goodrum adroitly sidestepped the big Sox slugger and likely told him what he could do with those spikes. It was comical to see Abreu keep selling the feud to fire up his club by acting mad that Goodrum was mad.
Abreu then retreated into the age-old baseball brawl histrionics where two of his guys are hugging it out with him while he does the “HOLD ME BACK, HOLD ME BACK….*whispers* no really, hold me back”.
Tim Anderson has now received a soon to be appealed three-game suspension for bumping umpire Tim Timmons. It won’t make him miss the playoffs but probably will play into the “world is out to get us” mindset teams like to unify around.
Liam Hendricks, gifted two strikes to Goodrum for the 3rd out in the 9th, then put on his typical WWE display to celebrate his save as the center of attention. He’s a perfect fit for what they need. Someone to run their mouth after a win like Michael Hayes of The Fabulous Freebirds.
Tigers manager AJ Hinch played the role of “adult in the room” rebuffing all the semi-coherent meanderings of LaRussa’s post-game remarks. Hinch sounded like a pro…mostly because facts and common sense were on his side. LaRussa was making up his own views on the fly and the difference between the two managers couldn’t have been more stark.
The Tigers travel in Chicago to wrap up the season. Certainly, the animosity, real and imagined, might escalate over the weekend. The Sox may just want to keep stirring up this faux-feud to keep feelings amped heading to the post-season.
There really is nothing wrong with all this. It happens as teams look for that elusive edge. Again the Sox haven’t played important games in weeks since they kicked the division’s collective butts long ago. I just don’t buy the anger over Abreu getting hit by a rookie in a non-malicious situation. It’s a show Macho Man Savage would be proud of.
Certainly, this whole semi-fraudulent affair does put another layer of anticipation on the series as possibly more than playing out the string. We should know more right away on Friday as Wily Peralta faces off against Lance Lynn…Lynn seems like the old school mindset guy who might try to “even things up”. Miguel Cabrera should be ready.
Hopefully, cooler heads prevail. It would be a shame to have the Sox battle the Astros in the playoffs short-handed because a starting player needlessly busted a wrist in an exchange of brushback pitches in a meaningless season-ending game.