Sportress of Blogitude

Joe Nathan back at it fighting with Detroit Tigers fans again

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More often than not, a player, getting into spats with fans is a lose-lose proposition, regardless of whether or not firing back at them is justified or not. Detroit Tigers reliever Joe Nathan clearly didn’t learn this lesson the first time around last season.

Nathan on Thursday was lustily booed by fans during an appearance in a spring training game against the Philadelphia Phillies. The fans arguably had reason to bring out the boo birds, as Nathan surrendered six runs, four of them earned, in an appearance that lasted only 2/3 of an inning during a 6-5 loss at the team’s Joker Marchant Stadium.

When asked about the fans passionately voicing their unfavorable assessment of his performance, Nathan, clearly irate at worst or somewhat annoyed at best by what transpired, blew it off.

“It doesn’t bother me,” he said, via mlive.com. “It’s not a part of my life. They’re not a part of my life. Period.”

When asked to expand upon his comments, Nathan did not back down.

“I don’t care to be honest,” Nathan continued. “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.”

While that attitude certainly is held by many athletes — in fact, it’s arguably beneficial to be able to ignore and shut out things like booing as they happen. But Nathan isn’t doing himself any favors by articulating his attitude toward fans in such a contemptuous manner.

One would think he would have learned his lesson that he can’t win in this kind of situation last season when he felt obligated to apologize after making a “chin flick” gesture in the direction of Tigers fans following a game. Nathan even promised he “will be better” about such things when apologizing. In light of Thursday’s comments, he isn’t following through on those assurances.

It’s a losing battle Nathan is waging. Sooner or later, he’s going to lose the war, too.

(photo credit: Robin Buckson/Detroit News)