One of the age old debates we have is whether it is appropriate for the home team crowd to boo one of their players. The Pollyanna side believe you are just there to “root, root, root for the home team.” The more cynical side believes they paid good money to attend the game, and if the player so much as strikes out just once, that ticket permits them to boo to their hearts delight.
While that is an argument we will be having for as long as baseball games are played, we can all agree what happened yesterday at Yankee Stadium was completely absurd.
Giancarlo Stanton started off his Yankees career literally with a bang. In his first ever Yankees at-bat, he hit a opposite field laser home run. Later that game, he hit a mammoth second deck home run to dead center. In that game, he was an awe inspiring 3-5 with three runs, a double, two homers, and four RBI.
In that Opening Day victory, it looked very much like Stanton and Aaron Judge were already well on their way to be the next Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig or Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris.
In the ensuing games, Stanton had just one hit, a double, over his next nine at-bats. This was hardly a slump, especially when you consider he drew four walks over that span.
With that backdrop, the 2-2 Yankees took on a completely over-matched Tampa Bay Rays team in their home opener.
And it was a complete mismatch. By the bottom of the eighth inning, the Yankees were already up 8-4, and the Rays looked dead in the water against what is a great Yankees bullpen. In that inning, the Yankees loaded the bases, and they scored a run when Judge drew a bases loaded walk. Now up 9-4, Stanton strode to the plate with Yankee Stadium in full anticipation for what was a sure grand slam.
Instead, Stanton struck out. It was his fifth strikeout in as many at-bats. In what was a miserable and cold day, Stanton was the coldest and most miserable of them all.
That’s when the Yankee fans started booing Stanton.
That’s right. With the Yankees up 9-4, the Yankee fans were displeased the slugger who forced his way to the Yankees didn’t make the score 13-4. He had the audacity to have an off day on the exact day the rest of the Yankees lineup, especially Didi Gregorius, went off scoring 11 runs in what would normally be an exciting and fun filled home opener.
This wasn’t mighty Casey striking out. This was just a blip during an otherwise great game for the Yankees, and really just a blip in the entire career of the reigning National League MVP. Stanton wanting to be a Yankee, his great Opening Day, and the Yankees 11-4 victory was not nearly enough for them, so they booed.
No matter what your school of thought is on fans booing, we should all be able to agree this was completely absurd.