Tigers closer Joe Nathan apologizes for flipping off Detroit fans on Wednesday

August 14, 2014

(Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Tigers closer Joe Nathan apologized to Detroit fans after gesturing to them to buzz off Wednesday night. Cameras caught Nathan twice raising first his hand and then his glove to his chin, and flicking both in a motion usually reserved for Italian mobsters. The rude gesture came despite that the Tigers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-4.

Per the Michigan’s Mlive.com:

In the midst of a career-worst season, Nathan was greeted with boos when he took the mound in the ninth inning. The boos grew louder after the 39-year-old walked the first two batters he faced, which put the potential game-tying run on deck.

The incident in question occurred after Nathan got Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison to ground into a double play to end the game.

The star kept mum on Wednesday after the event occurred, mostly because media did not see the gesture until it began going viral later that night, but apologized to fans in the clubhouse this morning, according to reporters.

Manager Brad Ausmus has brushed off commenting on the gesture, according to Mlive’s James Schmehl. “You don’t want to deal with these side issues,” he said.

Many fans, however, aren’t ready to forgive Nathan for Wednesday’s antics.

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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Cindy Boren · August 14, 2014