By Ashley Dunkak
COMERICA PARK (CBS DETROIT) – Torii Hunter remembers the last time Jered Weaver pitched against the Detroit Tigers – July 31, 2011.
Some Tigers fans consider it a day that will live in infamy.
The Los Angeles Angels pitcher gave up a home run that day to Carlos Guillen, who flipped the bat, stared down Weaver and took his time watching the ball before trotting around the base path.
Weaver promptly threw at the head of the next batter, Alex Avila, and was quickly ejected from the game. He screamed obscenities at the Tigers dugout as he went.
Back then, Hunter was Weaver’s teammate. His reaction to Guillen’s gestures was mixed.
“That was a nice pimp – we call it a pimp, that home run, and that was probably either the best pimp or the worst thing to do,” Hunter said. “I don’t know, I don’t know. I was on the other side then, and I thought that was the best or the worst, either or, you take it like you want.”
Earlier in the game, then-Tiger Magglio Ordonez had appeared to be doing something similar, admiring his hit, though he may have simply been watching to see if it went fair or foul.
Adding to the tension of the game was Erick Aybar’s bunt to break up a no-hitter by Justin Verlander in the eighth inning. Verlander could be seen yelling at Aybar from the dugout, motioning that he would hit him in the side at the next opportunity he got.
“That’s a hot tamale,” Hunter said. “I remember that whole thing, the Aybar bunt and different things like that. I think I better stay away from that one. Two years ago, but I’m a Tiger now. Let’s not talk about that. Be nice.”
Detroit fans may not forgiven Weaver, but sitting in the opposing locker room Wednesday, he remained confident in his reasoning for his actions as he anticipated his start against the Tigers Thursday.
“I had a lot of respect for the guy,” said Weaver, who initially blanked on Guillen’s name when recalling the situation. “He’s had a great career and did a lot of great things, but for him to do something like that, it just – [I] didn’t really like it too much.”
“It is what it is,” Weaver continued. “Fans get worked up about certain things. It’s good for the game but at the same time it’s funny also. It’ll be interesting to see what goes down, but I’m not really worried about it too much. Just go out there and whatever I hear, I hear, and just go about my job.”
Tigers skipper Jim Leyland said he doubts anyone even remembers the contentious game.
“There’s no bad feelings there or anything,” Leyland said. “I think that’ll be the last thing on Weaver’s mind tomorrow, to be honest with you. That involved two players that have been gone from here for a few years now. That’s not even an issue.”