SATIRICAL COMMENTARY | This is nothing more than a way to have fun with and attempt to explain Brandon Inge's out-of-nowhere offensive production. The Detroit Tigers released Inge two weeks ago after he mustered just two hits and hit about .100 through the first month of the season. Now with the Oakland A's, Inge has hit two, count 'em, two grand slams -- and one against the Tigers. Adding insult to injury, Inge tagged on a three-run shot Friday night.
Detroit Tigers fans always joked around about manager Jim Leyland's relationship with Brandon Inge. No matter how poorly Inge played -- touting a .100 batting average and making costly errors at second base -- he managed to see more time on the field than younger -- much younger -- players on the Tigers roster.
In a mid-April series against the Texas Rangers, Inge was perhaps at his worst. He missed tags at second, missed infield pops, struck out, flied out, lined out, bounced out -- and got out any way possible. He popped out with the bases loaded, and cries of "boooooooo" cascaded from the bleachers at Comerica Park.
Fans wanted him gone -- they wanted his bags packed and for Inge to be sent on his way. And not to mention, Leyland, who always had a thing for Inge, actually praised his slumping player. Leyland would say Inge was swinging the bat well but not having any luck. He'd mention that Inge, 34, was adapting at second base and that fans and media needed to lay off with criticism.
Well, Inge is having the last laugh in this one, folks. He's hit two grand slams the past week. One was against the Tigers on Thursday night, and he added a three-run home run and RBI-single Friday for good measure during the A's 11-4 win. He has 12 RBI (eight in two games against Detroit) in the past three games -- almost unheard of, unless you're Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton.
Inge has three home runs in 269 at-bats with Detroit in 2011. He has four with Oakland, and he's done it in nine games. What. Is. Going. On?
I'll tell you, it's a ploy, a well-thought ploy, on Leyland's part to make the Detroit media and fans regret calling for Inge's release. Leyland, in simple terms, is ordering pitchers to serve up beach balls to their former teammate as a cruel joke.
Don't believe it? Look at the numbers. Inge has had just over 36 at-bats with the A's, averaging a home run every ninth time. Who in the history of baseball has hit at such a clip? He's had nine at-bats against the Tigers. It's not by accident.
Look at Leyland's reaction after each Inge home run. He wants to clap. He's happy. So happy, he sneaks off in between innings for a celebratory cigarette, gazing upon an Inge rookie card while shedding tears for his former "son." Sad, yes. But it's the only way he can cope with Inge's absence. Who else took more heat in Detroit than Leyland? Inge was his security blanket. No matter what, the Tigers problems -- if they weren't Leyland's fault, according to fans -- were all on Inge. All of them.
For those of you who are into conspiracy theories, this is for you. Leyland has planned this all along. He wanted Inge to get warmed up before facing the Tigers so it wouldn't look obvious. After that walk-off grand slam May 8 against the Toronto Blue Jays, Leyland's plan was put into motion.
The success of Inge was predetermined. Leyland wanted to stick it to Detroit. Well played, Leyland. Well played.
Adam Biggers has followed Major League Baseball for over 20 years, specifically the Detroit Tigers. He can be found on Twitter @AdamBiggers81.
Again, this was a complete satire -- not to be taken seriously. Leyland would never purposely have players tank against any team or player. That's not how the game is played. This was an attempt to humorously describe the Inge phenomenon. Hopefully you got a good laugh.