Tigers' Delmon Young due to return from suspension
Young has been forced to sit out by Major League Baseball since police say he yelled anti-Semitic epithets during a late-night, drunken tussle before he was arrested at a New York hotel last week.
When Young steps to the plate for the first time - perhaps Friday night as a pinch-hitter or Saturday when he may be back in the lineup - no one is sure how the crowd at Comerica Park will react.
''I hope he gets support,'' Tigers catcher Alex Avila said. ''As fans, you have to realize people make mistakes even though obviously it's not a situation any fan wants someone from their team to be in. But I know his teammates are going to have his back and hopefully this city rallies around him, too.''
Anti-Defamation League regional director Betsy Kellman, who has had Tigers season tickets for 16 years, isn't advocating jeers for Young.
''He made an apology and I'm going to accept it as sincere,'' she said Thursday.
Brett Endelman, though, said he would boo Young if he was in the stands for his next at-bat as a Jew before cheering for him as a Tigers fan.
''If he's really sorry, he should have a press conference and let the Jewish community hear him say he's sorry,'' said the 32-year-old Endelman, who lives in suburban Detroit and has a Tigers partial-season ticket package. ''If he does that, whether I cheer or boo him will depend on whether he's hitting .300 or .200 to be honest.''
That changed at about 2:30 a.m. on April 27, when Young was standing outside the team hotel in New York.
Nearby, a group of about four Chicago tourists staying at the hotel were approached by a panhandler wearing a yarmulke and a Star of David around his neck, according to police. As the group later walked up to the hotel doors, police say Young started yelling anti-Semitic epithets.
It was not and still isn't clear whom Young was yelling at, but he got into a scuffle with the Chicago group. A 32-year-old man was tackled and sustained scratches to his elbows, according to police and the criminal complaint.
Both Young and the group went inside the hotel, police were called and Young was arrested. Young was first taken to a hospital because he was believed to be intoxicated, police said.
Young was arraigned last Friday and posted a $5,000 bond at a brief hearing. He faces a misdemeanor aggravated harassment charge. If convicted, he could face up to a year in jail.
Defense attorney Daniel J. Ollen has said there was video, which he hasn't seen, that showed someone in the other group of people said something to Young before the scuffle.
Messages seeking comment were left Thursday with Ollen and Young's agent, Arn Tellem.
Young apologized to his teammates and fans in a statement last week.
The Tigers say they're not in a position to answer questions about whether the team or Young needs to reach out to the Jewish community to apologize.
Kellman hopes Young chooses to back up his words with actions.
''I'd love to have him reach out to the Jewish community, perhaps to the Holocaust museum in the area, without cameras,'' she said.
Steve Greenberg, son of former Tigers star Hank Greenberg, one of a handful of Jews in the Baseball Hall of Fame, said he would cut Young ''some slack'' for the anti-Semitic he allegedly made.
''I would give the guy a second chance on that because there's nothing in his past that would indicate he harbors those sentiments,'' Greenberg said. ''It seems like the biggest issue he has is with alcohol, so I hope he addresses that.''
Avila said he and his teammates were ''shocked'' when they read and heard about Young's night in New York because he's regarded as a nice, low-key guy in and outside of the clubhouse.
Likewise, his former Minnesota teammates and Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said they were surprised by the reports.
''I think a lot of people who don't know him and aren't close to him, when they first meet him, he might rub you the wrong way because he has his guard up'' Twins outfielder Denard Span said. ''But once you get to know Delmon, he's one of the sincerest, friendliest and caring people I've ever played with and he has a good sense of humor.
''Those things that happened are definitely not who he is. I hope he's not forever remembered or judged because of this incident. Hopefully he can get past this and be all right.''
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