When Joe Nathan was the closer for the Twins, it wouldn't exaggerate to say that he was much beloved from his arrival in 2004 to his exit after the 2011 season.
The same can not be said for Nathan's relationship with Detroit fans.
This happened when he came in to pitch during an exhibition game Tuesday:
Lots of boos aimed at Joe Nathan upon introduction in the fifth inning. I'm talkin' lots of boos. Don't expect them to go away anytime soon.— James Schmehl (@jamesschmehl) March 17, 2015
Nathan earned the derision in Detroit by putting together the worst season of his career after signing a two-year, $20 million deal, including seven blown saves and 4.81 ERA.
And there was the time he made a disparaging gesture toward booing fans in August after struggling his way through a game-ending situation.
Over the weekend, Nathan had a bad outing and was scorched again by the fans in Florida.
Afterward, he said: “I don’t want to make a bigger deal than it is. Fans are going to be the way they are, and that’s the way it is. That doesn’t bother me. It’s not a part of my life. They’re not a part of my life. Period.”
You can read a detailed account of the weekend dust-up from Mark Townsend of Yahoo! Sports here.
Tuesday, pitching against Washington, Nathan pitched a one-two-three inning that included a strikeout.
Here's what happened:
Scoreless inning for Joe Nathan. No boos as he exits the mound. In fact, a few standing ovations. Getting nauseous from this rollercoaster.— James Schmehl (@jamesschmehl) March 17, 2015
Odds are the sincerity of that ovation was somewhat suspect.
Older Twins fans: Does it remind you of the treatment received by a former Twins closer who came to Minnesota amid high expectations and left to relief of almost everyone?