The feelings between Detroit Tigers fans and veteran reliever Joe Nathan appear to be mutual. Following his hideous spring training against the Phillies on Thursday in which he gave up six runs (four earned), five hits and one walk in two-thirds of an innings, he was booed heavily by the home crowd.
It would be a dramatic understatement to imply that those fans aren’t thrilled with the former All-Star. Following a decade in which he was one of the game’s elite closers, Nathan struggled mightily during most of his first season in Detroit in 2014. He blew seven saves and had an ERA of 4.81 over 62 appearances.
Following the thunderous boos and hisses from the crowd on Thursday, he told MLive that he has no interest in the fans and while he understands that’s just how they behave, he does not say much to keep the Detroit faithful on his side:
I don’t care to be honest. You know, those guys, to be honest with you, aren’t even on my mind. Fans aren’t in my mind. Only people that really matter to me is my family and the people in this locker room.
It doesn’t bother me. It’s not a part of my life. They’re not a part of my life. Period.
The $10 million closer is one of many veterans to keep an eye on over the remaining three weeks of spring training, as his role remains very much up in the air, especially if he continues to struggle before facing full big league lineups.
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