Friday in his first home plate appearance of 2013 Yankee fans mostly gave a warm and positive greeting to Alex Rodriguez, the number one whipping boy of the media because of his suspension (under appeal).
Media sources tended to describe the noise as 50-50, cheers and boos. Watching on television I'd place it as 60-40, cheers over boos. Maybe I was influenced by the unexpected number of signs, all of which supported Rodriguez:
- Alex, we love you.
- Alex we support you 100%.
That type of thing. I was shocked to see signs. I simply had not considered that possibility. The signs all appeared to be home made, apparently by Yankee fans who support their own players even in hard times.
Maybe it was partly a reaction to the treatment that Rodriguez had received in Chicago when White Sox fans persistently booed Rodriguez except once, when he was hit by a pitch; then they cheered. This act was called into question as a societal problem by Yankee manager Joe Girardi after the game.
But what of the people at Yankee Stadium who booed one of their own? Are they biological and/or figurative descendants of the assholes who have booed Yankees over many decades? Here is a partial list.
Joe DiMaggio - because he held out during the depression for more money than Lou Gehrig
Mickey Mantle - for not being Joe DiMaggio
Roger Maris - for not being Mickey Mantle
Reggie Jackson - for being Reggie and not Thurman Munson
Alex Rodriguez - for being A-Rod and not Derek Jeter
I've probably booed Yankees, too, probably out of frustration for poor play. I haven't in a long time. Rodriguez was booed after he had struck out in his first two times up but that's misleading in that there is no positive option. Yankee fans are not going to cheer a strike out to show support. And I'm sure that some of the original cheering fans succumbed to the herding influence of those booing.
There are reasons to show the home team players that you care by booing, including:
- sloppy play
- stupid play
- lazy play
- mean spirited play
- unsportsmanlike play.
Other than that why boo any player home or opponent? Booing an opposing star is a sign of respect. I get that. Booing home players because they fail is unacceptable, especially for batters who obviously fail most of the time.
Does anyone think Rodriguez does not try? No. If that were his offense then why don't Yankee fans boo Robinson Cano who often and with specific commentary by Yankee announcers does not run hard out of the batter's box and elsewhere on the bases? Cano is in his walk year and due for the biggest contract of his career, which makes his lack of leadership by example all the more inexplicable and unacceptable. He has the chance to become the leader of the Yankees and has failed. More on this in a future post.
In the past Yankee fans have even booed Mariano Rivera for blowing saves. He has just started what may be the meltdown that I predicted to a friend a couple of months ago. If Rivera blows a a few more in a row, will Yankee fans once again boo the sainted Rivera? I'm sure he's trying just as hard as ever.
Why boo one of your own?