Alburquerque apologizes for kissing ball
Argue all if you want whether Al Alburquerque was in the wrong to kiss the baseball after getting a Yoenis Cespedes comebacker for the third out in the top of the ninth, but the story had progressed to the point where he and the Tigers had to diffuse it. So shortly after the Tigers clubhouse opened Monday afternoon as they prepared to work out on the field at the Coliseum in Oakland, Alburquerque apologized. Thanks to fellow MLB.com reporter Jesse Sanchez for getting the quote Alburquerque delivered to a media throng:
“It was just an expression. I didn’t want to offend or pimp it, to my friend Cespedes. It was an expression and nothing more. If he felt offended, I apologize. I didn’t want it to be anything bad toward them. I’ve never done that before. I didn’t plan it. It just came out.”
Shortly after that, manager Jim Leyland was asked about Alburquerque during his workout day press conference. He tried to lighten the tone, but made it clear it wasn’t something he’d condone. From the transcript:
“Everybody always says I’m from the old school, so I’d have probably hugged at first. [cue laughter]. …
“No, I don’t think it was the right thing to do. I will sit here today and I will not try to defend it. I will say that I can assure everybody, including the Oakland A’s, that Alburquerque did nothing intentionally to offend the Oakland A’s. He did it, but it was not an intent in any way to offend the Oakland A’s. I can assure you of that.
“There’s certain people in this game that there are a lot of emotion is shown in different ways in the game anymore. You see it a lot. You see a lot of different variations of personal celebrations, as well as team celebrations. It wasn’t a smart thing to do, but I can honestly tell you that there was no way that Alburquerque or any members of the Detroit Tigers would ever do anything intentionally to offend another team. It just would not happen.
“I don’t know if that’s acceptable. I hope it is. But we don’t try to offend anybody. We try to win baseball games. There’s a lot of emotion on all teams during the season as well as this time of year. We make no excuses; it happened. It shouldn’t have happened. It did happen. But like I said, in no way, no way, that that was meant to offend an opponent, no way. We have too much respect for the game. Too much respect for baseball and too much respect for Bob Melvin and the Oakland A’s. If that’s not acceptable, then people have to deal with it the way they want to deal with it.”
We’ll see if that settles it. Odds are if Alburquerque gets into a game here, he’s going to hear an earful from the fans. If that’s the extent of it, the Tigers would probably be happy.