LAKELAND - To Detroit Tigers fans, Hall of Fame outfielder Al Kaline is legend. To Colin Kaline, he is grandpa.
Al Kaline has spent 56 years in the Tigers organization and serves as a special assistant to the team's president.
He retired from play in 1974 after collecting 3,007 hits and is beloved by Tigers fans who flock to Lakeland for spring training. But Tuesday marked the first time his grandson was on the other team.
Freshman Colin Kaline plays second base for Florida Southern, which served as fodder for the Tigers at Joker Marchant Stadium. Detroit dropped the Moccasins 17-4 in the opening game of the Tigers' exhibition season.
"This might be the only time I ever root against somebody other than the Tigers," Al Kaline said. "I would love to see him get a hit, but if he doesn't, that's not a problem."
Colin Kaline went 0-for-4, the first time he's ever faced major-league pitching in a game situation. He is batting .293 after 11 games for the Moccasins. He's been steady at second base, and was flawless in the field Tuesday.
He said he wasn't nervous, even with his grandfather watching.
"He's always tried to come to my games, so I knew he was watching," Colin Kaline said. "He's been to most of my college games so far and just comes to have a good time. If I need to ask him a question he will answer it for me, but other than that, he's just my grandpa."