"GERALD FUCKING LAIRD?!?! RAWWWRRR!!! STUPID DUMBROWSKI!!"
As you can imagine, I did not find this reaction to be very reasonable. So, why do Tigers' fans universally despise Gerald Laird?
In Detroit, those two words point to only one thing. 2009. Twins vs Tigers. In what MLB Network declared the 20th best game of the last 25+ years. As a Tigers' fan, it was simultaneously the most exhilarating and frustrating game of my life.
Gerald Laird's line in that game: 0-6, 2 K's, 10 LOB. All of that with future All-Star Alex Avila sitting on the bench as a sparsely used rookie.
Because of that one game, Detroit fans hate Gerald Laird. It is really as simple as that.
Of course, this is about as small a sample size that you can get when evaluating a player, and most Tigers' fans would admit that their disgust with the Gerald Laird signing derives from their arational, emotional reaction to Laird.
So, let's be rational and objective and view Gerald Laird for what he is.
- Terrible hitter vs righties
- Below-average hitter vs lefties (most of his appearances will probably be vs lefties, as he is playing behind a lefty in Avila)
- Average to above-average defensively
- Above -average (for his position) in terms of speed and base-running
- Accustomed to catching Verlander, Scherzer, Porcello, Coke, Papa Grande, and Ryan Perry among others
A backup who will only be asked to play about 30 games this season, assuming Avila stays healthy
For all that he will provide, Laird is a fine signing for a piddling one million dollars.
Even if it may take years to get the bad taste of game 163 out of Tigers' fans' mouths.