Brandon Inge's time runs out in Motown


DETROIT – Don't shed a tear for Brandon Inge.

Inge, one of the most polarizing sports figures in Detroit history, was released by the Tigers on Thursday -- with his paltry .100 batting average.

Many fans, no doubt, were sad to see the longtime, slick fielding third baseman sent packing just 19 games into the 2012 season. Just as many fans, however, were probably thrilled. After all, Inge hasn't been consistently productive with his bat in more than three seasons. This year, he was just 2-for-20 in nine games.

"I realize he has been, for some people, a very controversial player," team president/GM Dave Dombrowski told the media after the announcement. "But from our perspective, I personally want to thank him for everything he has done for us. He's been a true soldier throughout the years."

Inge played 12 seasons with the Tigers. He was on that history-losing 2003 team that went 43-119, setting the American League record for losses in a single season. He was also a big part of the 2006 that went from last place to the World Series in one season.

But of late, it was way too many downs than ups.

"It's one of those things that you can kind of see how things are going before they come," said Inge, who was informed of the decision after the Tigers were swept at home against the Seattle Mariners. "But there's no hard feelings whatsoever. This is my family. This is where I've been my whole career. I'll miss the guys."

Inge, 34, still could wind up with another team. Despite, his struggles at the plate. There's a chance a team will hope that a change of scenery could just be what the doctor ordered. ``But a chance to go play maybe somewhere else, it may be a good thing for me personally,'' he said. ``But my heart will always be in Detroit, 100 percent, forever.''

The Tigers were very loyal to Inge as well. Some players would have been released long ago. The Tigers even let Inge get a chance to win the second base job after losing his third base spot when Miguel Cabrera moved from first to third.

"It's not my happiest day, obviously, but that's the way it is," manager Jim Leyland said. "You have to make tough decisions, and at the end of the day, I think this was the decision we felt we had to make."

Bye to Big Ben

It appeared as if another fan favorite was done, too.

Although there's nothing official, Ben Wallace probably played his final game for the Pistons Thursday night at The Palace. At least, that's how the Pistons played it. And rightfully so.

Wallace, 37, was a huge part of the success the Pistons enjoyed for nearly a decade. He was the throw-in in the Grant Hill sign-and-trade deal with Orlando. At the time, most didn't know who he was other than that he was in shape. After all, he was an undrafted, bench player.

Instead, Wallace became a defensive stud, winning four NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards and helped the Pistons shock NBA America, winning the championship over the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004.

The only reason most won't shut the door completely on Wallace is that he's still in great shape and could probably come back and be a bench player in a reduced role for a few more seasons if there was room for him on the roster.

So just in case, that this is it, the Pistons had a nice tribute for a player who did so much for the franchise over the years.

Lions Draft Tackle

No one ran out to buy season tickets after the Lions' first round pick. Heck, even Iowa tackle Riley Reiff wasn't sitting around waiting for his name to be called either in the NFL Draft Thursday night in NYC.

Reiff, the 23rd overall pick, was considered by the experts as the second-best tackle available in the draft. Hence, most thought it was a solid pick. Still. most hoped the Lions would go after a cornerback. They need help in the secondary.

Reiff is looked at as a possible replacement for longtime left tackle Jeff Backus. "It was a great feeling when the Lions said they were going to draft me," Reiff told the media.