Tigers' Tyler Collins extends finger to booing fans after misplayed ball

ByKatie Strang ESPN logo
Tuesday, April 26, 2016

DETROIT -- Tyler Collins made a misplay in the outfield, but was guilty of an even bigger mistake immediately afterward, flipping off the jeering crowd at Comerica Park during the sixth inning of the Detroit Tigers' 7-3 win over the Oakland Athletics on Monday night.

The 25-year-old outfielder lostMarcus Semien's fly ball in the lights and was roundly booed for his efforts, as well as the resulting error credited to left fielder Justin Upton when the ball dropped for a double. Collins responded by waving a one-finger gesture toward the restless crowd, inciting the home fans' anger even further.

The gesture will be reviewed by MLB, a league spokesperson told ESPN.com.Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon was suspended seven games and fined an undisclosed amount for making a lewd gesture --- grabbing his crotch in an aggressive manner towards the crowd -- in 2014 while playing for the Phillies.

After the game, Collins apologized profusely for his mistake in judgment and said that hearing the boos at such a frustrating time, from the home crowd, hurt.

"To hear boos after that play hit a trigger inside of me and I lashed out, completely inappropriately," Collins said. "I'm absolutely embarrassed, and I'm very sorry to everyone in Detroit."

Collins went on to profess his commitment to the team, organization and the city he represents.

"I just wanted you guys to understand that I love this team and I want to win, so when we come home and get booed, it's tough to swallow, but like I said, I apologize completely," Collins said. "I'm embarrassed [for] myself, I know my family is embarrassed of me, and I'm sure these guys are, too, so I'm sorry it happened."

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus said he did not see the obscene gesture in real time, but addressed it with Collins immediately after the game in the tunnel.

"It's clearly something that can't happen," Ausmus said. "He regrets it. It was an emotional reaction and he knows it was wrong. I'm sure you guys will ask him the same questions, and I'll let him speak for himself, but he just screwed up. He's a young guy that screwed up."

Collins said Ausmus' stern message was received.

"He said, 'You're a grown man, you've got to handle yourself like it, whether you agree with what's going on or not,' " Collins said. "He's 100 percent right. I lashed out -- whether I'm happy or not about what happened, I shouldn't have done that."

Collins did not blame it on the frustration that seemed to be simmering throughout the game for the depth outfielder. He had struck out earlier in the game, and did so again before the night was over (his last at-bat was, unsurprisingly, met with boos from fans), but said that was no excuse.

"No, we're in the driver's seat. We're beating these guys. That's personal frustration, but that has nothing to do with it," Collins said.

Collins explained it was simply a knee-jerk reaction:

"Completely. It was frustration. I don't want to hear that at home. We hear that enough on the road. With that being said, I should be more mature and more grown-up than that to be able to deal with it, and that's where I apologize," he said.

Collins said he knows he may not be a fan favorite now or any time in the near future. He said he will just plan on keeping his head down and playing hard, regardless of any remaining wrath he may incur from fans.

"There's tomorrow. What are ya gonna do? People are gonna feel the way they feel," Collins said. "I gotta come to the yard ready to play tomorrow."

Ausmus said that if the Tigers decide to dole out any additional punishment, that decision will be handled internally, though the league may have its own ideas.

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