Let’s go Joe? Tigers fans warm up to Nathan?
The Tigers were gone on the road for a week. It only seemed by the crowd reaction that they’d been gone longer.
It was long enough for Tigers fans and Joe Nathan, two sides who seemed irreparably distanced last homestand, to begin this three-game homestand supporting one another.
“Good feeling to know we’re on the right track to hopefully mending and erasing a mistake that I made,” Nathan said after retiring the Yankees in order in the ninth inning Tuesday night for his 28th save. “Hopefully it means that we’re putting this thing behind us and now we can concentrate on a very difficult task in trying to win this division and get to the playoffs. Very good feeling to hear that. Now we’ve got to, I think, do what these fans want to see and that’s at the end of game 162, have a chance to play further.”
Yes, that was a segment of the Comerica Park crowd behind home plate chanting for Joe Nathan at the start of the ninth inning, and again with each hitter; chanting, “Let’s Go Joe.”
Yes, that was Nathan retiring the side in order as it went along, starting with a three-pitch strikeout, which no doubt helped the reception.
“I did hear them,” Nathan said. “I actually for a second sat there and kind of enjoyed it. Then told myself, ‘All right, make it white noise and get back to work, concentrate on a tough hitter in Beltran.’ Fortunately I was able to get him and kind of settle into the inning from there.”
It did not sound like something he expected after boos for most of the summer. Then again,
Said manager Brad Ausmus: “It’d really be a great side story if Joe could run the gamut here the last 30 or so games and endear himself to the Tigers fans again. The one incident that happened it was obviously a mistake and he’s already talked to the media about that. He has apologized. He wants to perform. He wants to do well and I’m sure he was a lot happier with the cheers than the boos, like any player would be.”