A black hat with an NY on it just angered Detroit Tigers fans.
Detroit Tigers fans like to view themselves as the underdog, or the unlikely hero. And every hero needs their foil. Some heroes have many. Just ask Batman.
Sports villains don’t have to be manufactured. They arrive as a result of real moments. John Rocker vs. the Mets, and all of New York in general, is a great example. Say the name Claude Lemieux to any Detroiter and watch their reaction.
And so it was that Yankees manager Aaron Boone made himself an enemy of 21,529 Detroit Tigers fans in attendance on Thursday afternoon at Comerica Park, and hundreds of thousands more fans who were listening or watching, when he intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera in his final at-bat of the game to load the bases with two outs for Austin Meadows.
First things first. Even though some of us think baseball is larger than life, it is in fact, a game. A game with a winning team and a losing team, and strategy plays a part of it all. Fine, fair. If this exact same move happened in a different circumstance, most Detroit Tigers fans would say Boone made the right call.
However, this wasn’t an ordinary circumstance.
Miguel Cabrera, one of the greatest players of the modern era, was going for his milestone 3,000th career base hit. When Miggy gets the hit, he will be one of seven players in Major League Baseball history with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. Cabrera is special.
He’s not the player he once was, though, and was already 0-3 on the day prior to this plate appearance. Go after him as the hitter, and let him beat you if he can. Give the fans their last opportunity of the day perhaps to experience what they paid to see. What they skipped school and called out of work to see. Miggy was cool about it after the game, though.
Austin Meadows loves facing the Yankees. He faced the Bronx Bombers plenty while a member of the Tampa Bay Rays, and he has more career home runs (14) and doubles (12) against the Yankees than he does against any other club.
Say what you will about superstition and feel, but Meadows knows the Yankees, and is clearly comfortable facing them. Walking Miggy to face the Tigers’ new left fielder was playing with fire.
Boone got burned.
The cheers when Meadows blooped a double into center field to score two runs and put the Tigers up 3-0 were just as loud as the boos that preceded it. It was the loudest Comerica Park has been in a good, long while. Baseball karma is real.
Again, the move could’ve worked and we’d have less to complain about as Tigers fans, but it didn’t. The Yankees took two of three in the series, and they certainly get the last laugh, but a moment like this for the Tigers shows life and determination within the fanbase. The faithful fans love to cheer, boo, and get loud when inspired.
Thank you to our newest rival, Aaron Boone, for poking the beast. See you in June in Gotham City.