Collins apologizes for gesture
The first sign that Tyler Collins was having a rough night came in the previous inning, when he slammed his helmet upon striking out to end the Tigers’ big rally. Not all that unusual, but temperamental, which kind of fits Collins’ high-intensity nature.
Then Marcus Semien led off the top of the sixth and hit a fly ball to shallow center.
“It got up in those high skies, that dusk period,” Collins said after the game. “I’m looking around screaming ,‘I don’t see it.’ Nobody else sees it. It was unfortunate.”
Not as unfortunate as the reaction that followed. The fans booed, and Collins gestured.
“When Zimmermann’s cruising, and we’ve got a 6-0 lead, nobody wants that ball to get lost less than me,” Collins said. “Nobody does. That hurts. And to be at home, and to hear boos after that play, hit a trigger inside of me, and I lashed out — completely inappropriately. I’m absolutely embarrassed that it happened, and I’m sorry to everyone in Detroit.”
Brad Ausmus didn’t see it when it happened. He was alerted quickly enough and went up the dugout to see the video of it himself.
“It’s clearly something that can’t happen,” Ausmus said. “As a matter of fact, I spoke to Tyler immediately in the tunnel after it happened. I spoke to him after the game, and he regrets it. It was an emotional reaction. He knows it was wrong. He just screwed up. He’s a young guy that screwed up.”
That would be an understatement. And as Collins talked, there was more of an acknowledgement, even as he attempted to set the backdrop.
“I want you guys to understand that I love this team, and I want to win,” Collins said, “and so when we come home and get booed, it’s tough to swallow. But like I said, I apologize completely. I’m embarrassed in myself. I know my family’s embarrassed in me. I’m sure these guys are, too. I’m just sorry it happened.”
Said Ausmus: “Sometimes you’re frustrated with what’s happening on the field and then you’ve got someone yelling when the fans are in the stands yelling. And let me tell you, some of the things that get yelled at you aren’t exactly nice, either. But you’ve got to be above that. When I played, I don’t know if early in my career all the games were televised and they caught everything from my angle. But nowadays, you’ve got to be above that and you’ve got to go about your business and understand that’s part of sports. You’re going to get booed.”
Collins was booed some more when he finally came back up to bat leading off the eighth, albeit a smattering of boos after many fans had left. He stayed in the game until Ausmus replaced him with Anthony Gose for the ninth.
“I took him out late. I mean, I can’t make strategy moves, really, based on that,” Ausmus said. “If something happens and I end up short a player, then that looks kind of lame-brained. But it was addressed immediately, and it was addressed again as soon as the game ended. If anything needs to be done, we’ll handle it internally. And if Major League Baseball has a reaction, then we’ll see what their reaction is.”