Monday, April 23, 2012

Brandon Inge and the Kool-Aid

Kool-Aid is a fine product, and countless millions of people have enjoyed it over the years. The following is in no way meant to suggest anything sinister about the product itself, but is merely a spoof on how others have used that brand name in the world of sports.

I haven't drank Kool-Aid since I was a kid, but that stuff must have been pretty potent the last few years. How else to explain what some fans and reporters come up with regarding their home teams and players?

We've all heard of such people "drinking too much Kool-Aid" regarding their perception of their local sports heroes, sometimes to the point of being laughable.

Such would seem to have been the case with Brandon Inge, of the Detroit Tigers. For about a decade, all the "homers" have been swilling the sweet stuff in a desperate attempt to find a reason -- ANY reason -- why Inge deserves a spot on the Tigers' roster.

Let's look back at reality. From the minute he arrived in the major leagues, he couldn't hit. He was a pretty good, but not spectacular, defensive third baseman. Then he did a stint as a catcher. He was passable there, but he still couldn't hit. He whined and cried his way back into playing third base. And guess what? He still couldn't hit.

Along the way, Inge did spot duty as an outfielder here and there as the supposed necessity arose. That's no big deal. Any high school player can catch fly balls and throw them back into the infield. That's not to disparage the real deal major league outfielders, whose range, arms, and other skills are extraordinary, but those guys don't make major league rosters unless they can -- yep -- you got it -- hit.

When Inge finally did get his hits, he wasn't exactly a "burner" on the basepaths. Actually, he was quite slow compared to most others.

Brandon was always accessible to the media, where he'd entertain them with sound bytes, and came across as a personable guy. People loved him and kept guzzling the sweet stuff. But he still couldn't hit.

Then Prince Fielder hit town, taking over 1st base, which moved Miguel Cabrera, another fearsome slugger, to 3rd base. Inge was out of a regular position. Brandon wanted to try 2nd base and the Kool-Aiders chugged another pitcher. After all, he was a shortstop in college, they said. Playing second base shouldn't be a problem. In their sugar stupor, they overlooked the little detail that a lot of people could do certain things in college very well, like maybe playing the flute, but that surely doesn't mean 15 years later they can pick up a clarinet and become "first chair" in an orchestra the next day. There's a big difference.

Inge doesn't seem to be working out well as a 2nd baseman, and did I mention he still can't hit -- and is getting even slower?

Now, after a decade of trying to rationalize Inge's presence at the major league level --  the sugar high seems to be wearing off most of  the Kool-Aiders. Begrudgingly, inch by agonizing inch, they're finally starting to see what's been obvious for a very long time. It isn't about Inge being a nice guy. If you're in the major leagues and not a pitcher -- you're supposed to hit. Period. Inge hasn't. Period.

My solution to this problem is simple. They should drink rum, vodka, tequila, Mad Dog, or even moonshine, but for God's sake, stay away from overdosing on the Kool-Aid. Getting rid of those rose tinted glasses wouldn't hurt either. They went out of style with the hippies.

Next thing you know, they'll be predicting the Lions to win the Super Bowl.


  1. I used to love Mad Dog Plumb Jubilee. Good stuff. It made my stomach hurt a lot back in college. But, that pain and endurance readied me for adulthood and especially watching Leyland and this train wreck continue 10 years too long.

    The boos are not just against the player, but against the manager as well.


    1. Mad Dog Plumb Jubilee? Wow. I think I got loaded on that stuff once in college too. Still hazy about that. Not sure, but it might have caused me permanent brain damage. How else to explain what I write these days? At least I admit it, I think, if I could only remember.....Have a good one and thanks for commenting.

  2. Good comments John. But I don't recall Inge playing third until the Tigers signed Pudge. I thought they made him a catcher in the minors, right out of college.

    1. Thanks Al, and on second thought, I think you're right about Inge/third/catcher/Pudge. I didn't look it up, and was going on memory. Probably a bad idea (see above reply to anonymous). Regardless, it doesn't change the big picture. He can't hit. Never could, never will, and this sorry charade has gone on WAY too long.

    2. I agree completely. Maybe Ilitch will give Inge a Little Caesar's franchise. He could put those new "blacksmith arms" to good use tossing pizza dough.