It's been an interesting week for the Detroit Tigers. Not only did the team temporarily fall out of first place, but a series of events with the fans provided an interesting juxtaposition.
Wednesday night, closer Joe Nathan expressed his displeasure with the Comerica Park crowd booing his struggles by gesturing toward them. He quickly apologized. It didn't matter. Nathan was booed lustily before and after he gave up a run in Detroit's 4-2 victory while collecting his 25th save.
Compare that to former Tiger Austin Jackson, who has been given ovations nearly every single time he has come to bat this weekend. Saturday, he was even cheered going off the field after batting practice. It's been a love fest that Detroit hasn't seen in some time with a former player.
The positions of both players make their situations nearly impossible to compare, since in the minds of many Jackson is class and Nathan is trash, but the same Tigers fans that boo Nathan likely have been cheering Jackson. Though Nathan made a mistake, he apologized, and should be allowed to prove himself without getting such nasty vitriol. As many have said, Nathan has pitched better
At this point, Tigers fans need to show class and let Nathan try to do his job. Booing him after he has been pulled from a miserable performance is one thing, but booing him before he's even thrown a pitch or as he works to collect outs is another. Jackson wouldn't have appreciated that if he was going through a rough stretch, even though he might never have made the mistake of voicing his displeasure in a public way. People are different,
Fans must try to forgive Nathan and put his mistake in the past. Like it or not, he's going to be coming to the mound with a chance to put away the game in the ninth inning plenty down the stretch. When that happens, Nathan needs positive vibes and support as he tries to get his job done. Earlier this season, a chant of "let's go Joe" was heard. It might be time to bring that back.
Tigers' fans have shown immeasurable class with Jackson over the weekend. Now, they must do so with one of their own players who's still trying to accomplish the goal of winning a championship for the city that is suddenly having trouble forgiving and forgetting.
Max DeMara is the editor of @tigers_101. Follow the site there on Twitter, or like it on Facebook to connect with him.
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