Thursday, March 01, 2007

My Bottom Five Least Favorite Tigers #1

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.

I know what your thinking, why would I reveal my #1 least favorite Tiger of all time before I revealed #5? This would be the equivalent of the Academy Awards announcing the winner for Best Picture before delivering the award for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography, but only on a much grander scale (yes. I just compared this countdown to the largest award show of the year, and yes I know exaggerated self importance is a sign of a mental disorder along with disorganized speech, give paper floor me school bus hop....moving on). But in all honesty I couldn't think of a fifth Tiger I despised enough to add to the four I had originally come up with when I first sat down to write these posts. Also I didn't want to write some even more uninteresting post about a player I don't have the requisite antipathy for, it would just end up being empty and meaningless, like my relationship with you the reader. So if you were anxiously anticipating #5 i don't know what to tell with it. Will that make things easier? (Sorry that was rude, in all honesty Craig Paquette came the closest to making this list, but I couldnt write about him for some reason).

#1: Shane Halter: This is probably a bit of a letdown because, like Chad Kreuter, Halter had a brief, innocuous career as a backup/utility player during the bleakest time in Tigers history. However Shane is the one athlete that I came the closest to having a Ron Artest-like player coming into the stands and wailing on a nerdy kid with glasses with type of incident...kind of.

From the beginning Halter always kind of struck me as being somewhat of an ass. He seemed to have an unjustified sense of self worth and entitlement, (wait maybe the two of us did have something in common). For example one season Halter bragged that he would win a Gold Glove if he was able to start every day. This led the other Tigers to spray paint his glove a shiny, metallic gold, and this was on a team where everyone hated each other so its not like they were pulling a prank in jest. I think the other Tigers thought Halter was kind of an a-hole too. Anyways Halter had somewhat endeared himself to Tigers fans by being a sort of sideshow, (like that Jamaican guy with no arms or legs that went around rolling cigarettes with his mouth, you know Prince Randian), a jack of all trades, capable of playing all nine positions on the field, culminating in the last game of the 2000 season when he actually did play all nine positions in one contest, an entertaining 12-11 victory over the Minnesota Twins that was arguably the highlight of a somewhat forgettable season. Halter followed that season with a surprisingly successful 2001 campaign, his first season as a regular at the meat-falling-off-the-bone tender age of 31. 2002 was a disappointment as Halter came back to earth and by the 2003 season Halter was relegated back to his role as utility man extraordinaire for what would be the worst team in American League history. But enough of Shane Halters history and onto the story of how he earned the #1 spot on this prestigious list.

The 2003 season started off miserably for the Tigers and my friend T.J. and I were completely out of patience with them after the first week of the season. So the two of us decided that during the next home stand we would voice our increasing frustrations with the team through the powers of posterboard, xeroxed photos, and permanent markers, just like the beginning of every other major revolution. Anyways T.J. and I went to Meijer and bought the supplies and a case of Mountain Dew for a long night of brainstorming, and after hours of hard work came up with a sign that parodied the "Priceless" MasterCard commercials (I know how original). The sign gave the salaries of Dean Palmer, Bobby Higginson (see #3), and Dmitri Young, along with their photos and the punchline "Worthless". Pretty clever, huh.......not really. So the next morning the two of us packed our sign and headed to Comerica for an exciting tilt between the Tigers and D-Rays and hoping to get to the game before it sold out. Lucky for us we got there just in time before they sold the last 30,000 tickets. (Actually we didnt pay for the tickets, a couple of girls dumped there tickets off on us after their dad had dropped them off and they were going to some party instead). We took the tickets and anticipated some trouble getting the sign past security at the gate, seeing as how it was a little derogatory towards the "stars" of the team, but fortunately for us the guy working the gate laughed at our sign and showed it to another worker who seemed to get a kick out of it as well.

T.J. and I looked for our seats and much to our disbelief we were about ten rows behind the Tigers dugout in a section that was about 90% empty (memories like this are why I get irate over the fact that I cant get a ticket to Opening Day now......stupid bandwagon fans). We couldn't believe our good fortune and immediately settled in for a long day of jeering and heckling paid athletes because, as any columnist will tell you, having a ticket to a sporting event gives you the license to act like a jerk even though everybody on the field could have broke T.J. and I in half. Anyways, T.J. and I set our sign facing towards the field on the seats in front of us, adjusted ourselves and talked to a couple of fans sitting by us when we heard, coming from the direction of the field, someone shout, "Hey...pussies!". T.J. and I looked at one another and he said, "Wow, we are close to the field, you can really hear the chatter", and that's when we heard the same refrain again only this time louder. The two of us turned to the field, where the players had been warming up before the first pitch, and saw Halter leaning over the top of the dugout wall staring directly at us. "Hey, pussies, I'm talking to you, what's your sign say." We sat there surprised that a major league player was talking to us, I mean we were totally star-struck at the fact that future Hall-of-Famer Shane Halter, was talking to us. Not wanting to look like idiots, we had to respond with something clever, so I stammered out, "uh, it says you guys suck, and you're all overpaid losers...yeah." Halter did not seem amused by this and said "Hey Dean, look what these pussies, (that seemed to be the only cutdown he had in his vocabulary), have to say about you." That's when Dean Palmer with his bulging, roided up Popeye biceps came ambling up the dugout steps and turned around. Halter pointed in our direction, and Palmer squinted in an attempt to read our sign, when some ancient security guard grabbed my shoulder turned me around and confiscated our sign. I tried to protest, with Halter yelling "Kick them out of here" in the background, but the power tripping usher was having none of what I was trying to sell him, and he folded up the sign and walked away. T.J. and I were dumbfounded, then angry, then mildly happy, and finally completely irate. We sat and stewed for nine straight innings of terrible baseball that featured way to much Jesus Colome, and when the Tigers won we raced down to the bottom row and leaned over the railing to shout insults at Halter, pretty tame stuff like "You suck, Halter, I hate you, Booo!", and then some fat, disgusting, tubby, slob, of a harpy, just started shrieking at us, "Shut up! Shane Halter's great, you guys are the ones that suck" so I turned to her and tried to explain what had happened earlier that afternoon and she just kept shrieking and shrieking at me, then she lost a bunch of teeth, and I don't remember anything after that (I made up the last part...of course /nervous laughter/).

So thats how Shane Halter grabbed the title of Andrew Stout's Least Favorite Tiger of All-Time. Sure he never did anything to offend the fanbase as a whole, and wasn't hated 1/1,000th as much as Juan Gone, the man who kicked off this list at #2, but he is the only athlete I ever got into any kind of confrontation with, and he'll continue to hold that position until the day I get into some kind of "Beyond Thunderdome" stlye deathmatch with Jason Grilli, which will probably happen sometime this summer.


J.T said...

That's a great post. Love to see someone else that had the balls to make fun of way overpaid Tigers during the suck years.

zorak163 said...

I hated Shane Halter. He was so full of himself. I remember one year at TigerFest he would only smile in photographs if he was sitting next to a girl that he thought was pretty. Jackass....

My least favorite Tiger that didn't offend the entire world is Franklyn German. I think I'll do a post about that soon and my reasons behind it - hope you don't mind my borrowing your idea.

Anonymous said...

I wish you knew Shane like I did when he first started out in Omaha with the Royals. You have no idea how you would be if you received all the money and fame that Shane got so quickly. He deserves to be proud. I will always remember Shane as a great friend and totally dedicated to his family. I bet you didn't know that about him?