A feeding frenzy hit Detroit when Tigers third baseman Brandon Inge said he is preparing to become the Tigers starting third baseman just moments after manager Jim Leyland announced Inge would platoon there with Don Kelly.
How dare he.
The fans went nuts and complained about Inge being entitled, spoiled and ungrateful. The man is a lightening rod. Every time he speaks it sparks a debate. But Inge didn’t say anything differently than any other pro athlete. He simply said he is preparing to be a starter. He has confidence in himself that he can rebound from a disaster season during which he hit below .200.
“I love Don Kelly but I am not looking to platoon,” Inge said.
He wants to be a starter. So what is wrong with that? Now if you want to say he does not deserve to start I am fine with that. If you want to give the job to Kelly, that is cool also. But what did Inge do that was wrong except play bad baseball?
He did not make demands. He did not call Leyland out and he did not say if he is not a starter he is checking out. He did none of that. Inge said he prepared to be the starting third baseman. I’ve never heard an athlete say he is working hard to be a back up unless of course you played first base the past few years for the St. Louis Cardinals or quarterback for the New England Patriots.
Leyland put the heat on Inge saying he needs more from third base. He is right. Inge must hit better especially with Victor Martinez out this season with a knee injury. Everybody must pull their weight.
For years Inge was guaranteed his perch atop third base. That is no longer the case and let’s see how he responds where nothing is given to him. Leyland said he hopes Inge plays well enough to be the Tigers starting third baseman. All Tiger fans should wish that because this is a team gunning for titles, not just playing to have fun.
I do not blame Leyland for making Inge earn his spot. He must do better. The old days of batting .236 or 200 is not good enough.