I’m not sure why these Tigers fans were upset with Jim Leyland at all, honestly. Sure, if the season ended today, the Tigers would be on the outside of the American League playoff picture looking in, but the season doesn’t end today, and as of this writing, they’re a mere one game back of the White Sox in the AL Central. The Tigers are very much in the hunt, and considering Leyland’s pretty damn solid overall record of success with the Tigers, including an ALCS appearance last year, you’d think fans might give him the benefit of the doubt.
But these fans didn’t – and frankly, they were being real dicks about it. The sign was one thing, but then also hanging out by autograph-signing Miguel Cabrera and talking trash about Leyland to him, trying to bait him into talking trash about his own manager and teammates? They deserved to have that sign taken from them, dammit.
As unimpressed as I am with these fans, though, I’m just as impressed with Cabrera in the video below. Yeah, he took the sign, but he wasn’t picking a fight with the fans; if anything, he was extremely mild-mannered as they continued to insult Leyland, wisely not taking their bait. And all the while, he just kept on signing autographs, undeterred by the sign guys. He even laughed with them as they poked fun at him for taking their sign – and then, it sure looked like he asked the one security guard to give the sign back. Have you ever seen a guy, much less that big a star, be more fan-friendly? Cabrera couldn’t have handled that better:
(Sort of) aside: I didn’t appreciate until recently just how consistently damn good Cabrera is. Look at those career stats. He’s having an MVP-caliber season… and for him, it’s basically average. Maybe he’s flown somewhat under the radar because of Albert Pujols, but as far as offensive threats in baseball today, Cabrera’s about as good as it gets. As far as defending managers from unfounded fan attacks, though, Miggy’s got no peer at all.