Numbers can tell you a lot of things, sometimes I would even say they're stronger than words, but without putting it into context, numbers are really just a couple of meaningless digits.
Let's say I throw up the number .26. What does that mean to you?
It could be something inconsiderable like the amount of change you have you in pocket or it could be something with a greater significance, like the difference between gold and silver. Now what does .26 mean from a baseball perspective? (no, this isn't a rant about Vernon Wells and his $126 million batting average. I promise.) .26 is the reason the Tigers didn't make the post season.
I'm sure that for the past couple of days you have all heard Tigers fans whine incessantly about the hit by pitch that never was. In case you've been living under a rock, the pitch occurred in the top of the 12th with the bases loaded and one out. The HBP would have given the Tigers a run with 2 outs left, ultimately deflating the Twins and possibly giving them a chance at the Yankees. Instead, the Ump called it a ball and Inge ended up hitting into a fielder's choice with Cabrera forced out at home.
Was it a botched call? Absolutely. Just judging from the photo above, there's no doubt it got a piece of Inge's over-sized jersey. Sure it wasn't a real hit by pitch where Inge gets a shiner for his troubles but rules are rules, he should have been awarded the base. However, over the years we have learned that umpires do tend to screw up calls from time to time and are quite stubborn about it (video replay is something baseball really needs but I'll save that for another time). Frankly, I don't even think the Tigers should have been in that position. Nevermind their embarrassing slide from first, two nights ago they were up one game with one game to go. A win here and they clinch! So one game at home against the sub-500, Alex Rios employing, Chicago White Sox should be an easy win right? Wrong! And you can blame this guy.
Miguel Cabrera was taken to prison on that very morning. Here's a rough time line of what I suspect happened
After Friday's game: Miguel goes partying with some White Sox buddies
Start of party - 5:00-5:30 AM: Miguel is busy getting his crunk on, son!
5:31-6:04 AM: Miguel gets home drunk as shit and wakes up his kid. Wife gets angry and they throw down.
6:05 AM: Wife calls the cops.
6:06-7:29 AM: Cops come and puts Miguel in jail.
7:30-8:00 AM: Tigers GM, Dave Dombroski picks up Miguel from prison.
Somewhere in there Miguel blew .26 into the breathalyzer. Point motherfuckin' two-six! I have no idea how much that is exactly since I've never blown into a breathalyzer but considering it is over three times the legal limit and that Cabrera is 6'4 240, I would think it's a lot.
Now being one who has had a copious amount of experience in being shitfaced wasted, all I can say is WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU THINKING, MIGUEL?! You have the biggest game of the year right in front of you and you decide to get plastered the night before and enter the game with no sleep? I don't know about you but after a full night of drinking, I can't even walk to my mailbox, nevermind blast homers in front of a crowd of 40,000. But hey, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe that shit's your pre-game ritual. I don't know how you crazy South Americans do things but for the love of god don't go and get arrested doing it. You don't think your actions have an effect on your teammates? You don't think it would get in their heads? You don't think reporters will bring this mess up to them? Seeing how you went 0/4 and left 6 players on base, I would warrant that being hung over took its toll on your game too. What you did was selfish and if I was Dave Dombroski I would exile your ass to a team nobody gives two shits about...like the Blue Jays (one could dream).
So Tigers faithful, you can complain about the HBP all you want but it was a position you shouldn't have had to face, not if it wasn't for .26 anyway. Take it from me, somebody who knows all about botched calls.