A couple of weeks ago I wrote that I was going to randomly count down my bottom five least favorite Tigers, starting with #2 Juan Gonzalez, this post is a continuation of that series so if you want read the criteria for selection or how it all began, scroll down a couple of posts, or...I guess I could link it....nah, just scroll down.
# 4: Chad Kreuter: Kreuter may seem like a strange pick, seeing as how he was a journeyman back-up catcher who only spent three years in Detroit. But in that short period of time he managed to earn a spot on this list and receive a lifetime of scorn and hatred from me. As I mentioned before, this list is completely arbitrary and one would be hard pressed to find a reason for someone to detest a rather innocuous reserve catcher, especially since its an interchangeable and mostly anonymous position on a team. I mean, unless you've found John Flaherty in bed with your wife or Raul Casanova stealing your newspaper every morning, these guys don't play enough to despise. However Kreuter is the exception that proves this rule, (yeah its a rule, as a matter of fact I think it's after Newton's second law of motion, so you can look it up if you don't believe me you jerks...shit, stop insulting your readers Andrew.)
Let me set the scene, in the summer of 1993 I was nine and my interest in baseball was reaching its highest point, namely because of one standout player whom I emulated my Little League game after, idolized on a personal level, and would later name my website after...Joe Boever...wait.... no, I mean Mickey Tettleton. I briefly went over my love affair with Tettleton as a young child...(wait that sounded pedophilic, that's not what I intended, let me try again /clears throat/). In a recent post I went over how much I admired Tettleton as a player and how much of an influence he had on my development as a Tigers fan, even though I can't think of any one reason why I developed such a strong attachment to him, it's not like the two of us ever shared a Mean Joe Greene Coke commercial moment or anything, but as I've written several times before, I became a catcher in Little League because it was the position Tettleton played, (although I did try to make snap throws from my knees like Benito Santiago), hit tape measure homeruns like Tettleton...that's a lie I actually I terrible at hitting and was buried in the 8 spot of the lineup between the two "special needs" kids...but whatever, the point is I tried. Now even though I was a big Tigers fan, it was hard for my family to get to Tiger Stadium during the season, For one, we lived about 90 minutes away from the stadium, and second, my dad is a lawyer and seemed to work about a 70 hours a week when I was growing up, (don't worry this isn't like some "Cats in the Cradle" nonsense, I knew even back then I would probably be leeching off him until I was in my mid-20's so he needed to work, just kidding I'm not that spoiled but I was a very unambitious child), which made it impossible to go to weekday games, so the two or three trips we made to Tiger Stadium a year were huge for me.
Anyways the 1993 season started and my family and I planned to make a trip down to old Tiger Stadium early in the schedule, and I was psyched. So my dad ordered the tickets and I circled the date on my Tigers Humane Society calendar, (which for some reason I had every year and featured photos like Tony Clark with his two cats "Marilyn and DiMaggio"), counting down the days before going to the ball park. After much anticipation and bated breath the weekend of the game finally rolled around and we drove the hour and a half to Detroit, which scared the hell out of me as a nine year old, because my only exposure to the city was via the opening scenes of Beverly Hills Cop and Peter Weller getting shot to hell in Robocop (yes, both movies are entirely appropriate for a nine year old and only makes you the coolest fucking parents ever if your kids get to watch them), so I was expecting a lawless city of drug addicts and burned out cars patrolled by Robocops, and now that I live here I know those movies were spot on....minus the robots of course, but I digress. (Also I actually live in Detroit, so if your going to leave a comment saying, "You say you live in Detroit but your probably living in Royal Oak...poseur", save your time, and if you don't believe me let me redirect your questions to the homeless guy singing "Wu Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing Ta F' Wit" in the bustop outside my window.)
So we arrived to Tiger Stadium and took our seats just in time for the announcement of the starting lineups and I'm eager as hell to see Mickey behind the plate for nine innings, and that's when I see #19 come strolling out of the dugout with the catchers gear strapped on. I start looking around in despair, thinking "Who's this asshole?", got my program out, flipped through it, saw Kreuters face and was devastated. Not only was Kreuter playing catcher that day but Tettleton wasnt even in the lineup as DH, and for this I blamed Kreuter. Sure he had no say in the decision, was playing great at the time and was helping Mickey rest his sore knees, but this didn't matter, I drove 90 minutes to see Mickey Tettleton and NOT this Chad Kreuter bum. I still enjoyed the game and when it was over I couldn't wait to go back but at the same time I couldn't help being shaken a little, kind of like when you see an ex-girlfriend for the first time with her new boyfriend, who kind of resembles a white trash Abraham Lincoln, it's like your satisfied that she's dating someone worse than you, but at the same time your thinking, "Really?...Him?". Anyways Kreuter went on to start the majority of games at catcher for the Tigers that year, which also happened to be the same year my interest in catching waned, and I was moved to the position of "kid in batting helmet that stands by the coach whose pitching", which is where Little Leaguers usually go to die. Once again I irrationally blamed Kretuer for this downturn in my young life. Kreuter ended up leaving the Tigers and faded into obscurity, until one day he made headlines for grabbing a guy that stole his hat while playing at Wrigley, a moment I took some satisfaction in because I thought it finally proved to everyone else what an asshole that guy was, but no one I talked to, or knew, really cared. Anyways (I've started every sentence with "Anyways", but only because I'm tired and lazy) to this day I still hold a grudge against Kreuter for that one ruined afternoon in 1993 and I'm still petty enough to remove him from the lineup in R.B.I. 4 on the Genesis when my friend T.J. and I play, even if it means using the vastly inferior Skeeter Barnes in his place....but 14 years later I just can't bring myself to play with that jerk.
(Update: For those of you who read this site and don't know the death scene in Robocop that I mentioned above, I can't believe you made it this far because we obviously have nothing in common, but here it is courtesy of YouTube and somewhere my copyright professor is shaking his head in shame.)