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Joe Nathan appears to make rude ‘Chin Flick’ gesture towards Tigers fans (video)

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Detroit Tigers closer Joe Nathan is suffering through one of the worst seasons of his career. Given his surly conduct following the conclusion of Wednesday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Comerica Park, he’s had just about enough of hearing about it from the hometown fans.

It appeared as players were shaking hands and celebrating an 8-4 win that halted a four-game losing streak, Nathan appeared to make a crude gesture at fans on two occasions.

The rude gesture followed a scoreless inning of relief, mind you, although the 39-year-old veteran did dole out free passes to the first two Pirates batters he faced, putting the tying run on-deck and somewhat making a four-run lead at least begin to look shaky, especially given Nathan’s significant struggles this season.

Something or someone in the stands must have caught the reliever’s attention, as Nathan made the “Chin Flick” gesture, seemingly directing the motion both times at the crowd.

The “Chin Flick” is a globally known sign of disrespect. Commonly used in places like Belgium, France and Italy, it essentially means “Get lost,” but far more colorfully.

The Telegraph characterizes the gesture as such in a travel column making readers better aware when their actions are irritating the locals while on holiday.

In France, this gesture is known as la barbe, or “the beard”, the idea being that the gesturer is flashing his masculinity in much the same way that a buck will brandish his horns or a cock his comb. Simply brush the hand under the chin in a forward flicking motion. While not as aggressive as flashing one’s actual genitalia, this gesture is legal and remains effective as a mildly insulting brush-off.

So there you go. It appears Nathan is going global with his passive-aggressive demonstrations of incredulity in reaction to how poorly he perceives the hometown fans apparently are treating him.

As noted above, Nathan is going through one of the most trying and unsuccessful seasons of his otherwise remarkable career. In 47 appearances, he is 4-3 with a 5.11 ERA. He is 24-for-30 in save opportunities with a 1.57 WHIP and an opponent batting average of .260, surrendering five home runs and allowing 24 walks in 44 innings. Certainly not numbers a contending team wants from the pitcher on the back-end of its pitching staff whose job it is to shut down an opposing offense with the game on the line during crunch time.

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