The 2012 American League Division Series matchup is one of two teams with contrasting spending habits.
When Victor Martinez was lost for the season, Tigers owner Mike Ilitch quickly signed Prince Fielder for big bucks, for nine years. That’s on top of the dough he was already giving Martinez, and marquee players Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander.
The pizza man is 83 and wants a World Series ring.
The Athletics did it with a lineup of young (inexpensive) players, many untested before this season, patched with an occasional veteran, built around their one star, right fielder Josh Reddick.
They took a chance on Brandon Inge, booed out of Motown, waived in 2011 and returned to Toledo when 29 teams passed on him. Which more than qualified him to become an Oakland Athletic.
When Inge left Detroit, he wasn’t hitting his weight. He may not have been hitting Eliza Doolittle’s weight. In Oakland, he hit .226 with 11 homers before a nagging shoulder injury sidelined him for the season.
He knew he wasn’t in Detroit anymore when he had to pay for his own sodas from the clubhouse vending machine.
But he’ll have the last laugh on everyone, his former employer included, if he ends up with a ring.