Tigers’ Ian Kinsler: U.S. plays game the right way

The Detroit News

This isn’t the first time Ian Kinsler’s words have ticked some folks off, and it likely won’t be the last.

The Tigers second baseman took a shot at international baseball players this week, and drew some harsh reactions on social media Wednesday — before Kinsler’s United States team was to play Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic championship game at Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles.

Kinsler criticized the style of play of some international players, seemingly speaking about the flair — or what can be referred to as hot-dogging.

“I hope kids watching the WBC can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays,” Kinsler told The New York Times. “That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised.

“They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.”

Hmmm. As some astute baseball fans noted on Twitter on Wednesday, it’s not been beyond Kinsler to occasionally talk a little smack on the baseball diamond, via body language.

Kinsler had a key double in the 2-1 semifinal victory over Japan on Tuesday night, and he was leading off for the U.S. in the championship game.

Insightful when he wants to be and sarcastic when he wants to be, Kinsler doesn’t always give media-relations-approved answers to questions. That’s part of his charm. It also can be viewed, occasionally, as taking shots through the press, like after he was traded from the Texas Rangers to the Tigers for Prince Fielder before the 2014 season.

Afterward, in an interview with ESPN The Magazine, he called Rangers general manager Jon Daniels a “sleazeball,” and said he hoped the Rangers would go 0-162.