There comes a time in every big league players career when it's just time to move on, time to leave the team that drafted you, brought you to the majors, and gave you your chance to play baseball on the biggest stage in sports.
Brandon Inge was released today by the Detroit Tigers.
For 15 years, starting with his being drafted by the Tigers in 1997, Brandon Inge has known only one organization, until today.
Inge was drafted by the Tigers in 1997, and in 2000 he played 78 games here in Jacksonville, for the then Tigers AA affiliate, the Jacksonville Suns.
Brandon Inge made his big league debut on April 3rd, 2001, the first of what would become 1408 big league games in 12 years.
I have a soft spot for Inge, in part, because he played here in Jacksonville, and he got to play baseball for my team, the Tigers.
I will always be a pro Inge fan, but then, I'm a pro Detroit Tigers fan, a fan whom doesn't boo ballplayers on his favorite team.
I've still got no idea why fans boo players on their team. What good does it do?
Myself, I think players feed off the vibes of fans, and cheering for them, as you should, is so much better than booing the player.
Inge will always be known for his hustle, his love of the game.
Inge played every pitch, every inning, every game, all out, 100%, at bat, in the field, and in the community.
Before today's Miguel Cabrera HR, in a loss to the Mariners, Inge was the Tigers player with the most career HRS at Comerica Park.
Now Brandon and Miguel are even, 77 long balls each.
Inge detractors will no doubt bring up the fact that Inge took 11 years to hit those 77 HRS, while Cabrera has done it just since his arrival in 2008.
I know it was time for Inge to be let go by the Tigers, he just isn't the player he used to be, and the Tigers just don't have the roster space any more.
With the addition of 1B Prince Fielder this past off season, Miguel Cabrera moved to 3rd Base, the position were Inge was at his best.
That rocket arm from the hot corner, after a diving stop of a ball headed for the left field corner, those hustling plays catching foul balls, some headed into the Comerica Park stands, only to find Inge's glove for an out.
Brandon Inge had power at times as well, hitting 27 HRS in 2006, as the Tigers won the American League pennant, and again in 2009.
One of the best times for Inge, and us Inge fans, came in 2009, when Inge was named on the Final Ballot for the All-Star Game.
The fans came through, made all 25 on line votes allowed, and we Tigers fans got Brandon into the Mid Summer's Classic.
140 times as a Detroit Tiger Brandon Inge swung, hit the baseball over the fence, circled the bases with a HR, cheered by Tigers fans, at home, and on the road.
Inge had 1.083 hits for the Tigers, drove in 589 runs, scored 527 runs, in 4,625 at bats.
Thanks for wearing the Olde English Detroit Tigers "D" with pride, with heart and soul, every at bat, every play in the field, every game, for 12 years.
This Tigers fan will miss you.