The whipping-boy of the Detroit media and Tigers' fans is gone.
The derision will now have to be placed elsewhere.
Brandon Inge has left the building.
The Detroit Tigers released Inge on Thursday.
Brad Eldred, a 6' 6" 270 lb. 1st baseman/outfielder/DH from Triple-A Toledo, will take Inge's spot on the roster. Eldred has been tearing up the International League with 13 home runs, 35 RBIs and a .388 average in 80 at-bats.
Brandon Inge is the kind of player every manager adores. A utility player who's capable of performing at any position to help his club.
Inge toiled for the Tigers for 12 seasons - the longest-serving current Tiger.
He started with Detroit as a catcher. The Tigers signed Pudge Rodriguez.
Inge moved to the outfield. The Tigers signed Magglio Ordonez. Inge moved to third base. The Tigers signed Miguel Cabrera. Inge tried his hand at DH.
The Tigers signed Victor Martinez...and, ultimately, Prince Fielder. Inge became obsolete.
Brandon Inge was recognized by his teammates as the best all-around athlete on the team.
He was a gifted defensive third baseman with a gun for an arm.
The problem was - he couldn't hit.
In 2006 Inge hit 27 homers and 83 RBIs to help the Tigers to the World Series.
In 2009 he had an almost identical season hitting 27 homers and 84 RBIs.
The guy had power...but his batting average always hovered around .200.
In the end, his poor performance at the plate turned the fans and media against him and led to his demise.
"Brandon Inge has done a tremendous job for this organization for a long time. I realize he had been, for some people, a very controversial player. But from our perspective, I personally want to thank him for everything he has done for us. He's been a true soldier throughout the years.
He will always be a Tiger, not only for what he's done on the field -- and I understand at times there's been some ups and downs -- but how this guy's worked and how he's represented us in various things on and off the field. You couldn't find a finer individual. We'll be forever thankful for what he has done for us."
- Dave Dombrowski
So long, Brandon. Happy Trails to You.