Matt Gelb wrote a terrific piece today for the Athletic detailing why in fact people are still booing Sean Rodriguez after his comments following Monday night’s game. The main thrust of the article can be summed up here (but I’d encourage you to read the entire piece):
Maybe this is why people booed. They crave authenticity. They want a team that can move the runner over. They want hustle and home runs. They want pitchers who throw quality strikes. Maybe they booed because the front office retained Rodríguez, such an insignificant piece in this whole thing, when a replacement-level player would have sufficed. Perception matters and this is something these Phillies have struggled to master.
Gelb perfectly nailed why exactly the fans are ignoring and booing the performance by the team, and players specifically, while in the midst of a playoff chase. We’ve been subjected to terrible baseball for the past 6 years. We’ve had to sit through Jeff Francoeur throwing a ball behind him, Bob McClure unironically waving a white towel in an actual game, and someone named Kevin Correia getting major league innings. If the city wants to boo Rodriguez after his comments labeling fans “entitled,” they’re allowed to do that.
But c’mon... we’re done here, right?
In yesterday’s game, Rodriguez was booed when he walked to the plate during his first plate appearance, then was cheered when the ball hit him. When he hit a double later in the game and the fans continued their visceral display of what they were feeling, the cameras caught Rodriguez voicing his opinion.
Sean Rodriguez was seen mouthing “TERRIBLE” when mPhillies booed him during the game tonight. #YouDeserveIt ♂️#Phillies #SeanRodriguez #MLB #RingTheBell— A2D Radio (@a2dradio_com) August 28, 2019
(via - @ShadesOfLamp) pic.twitter.com/raA5JEq6L0
Guess what? He’s right! It’s a little silly that people are this worked up over the comments made in the heat of the moment by the struggling utility man. However, this is the same thing that happens all the time whenever the city of Philadelphia gets its feelings hurt by a national media outlet bringing up Santa Claus, batteries, and J.D. Drew. A portion of fans throws a hissy-fit and lights up the phone lines on talk radio to talk about how players shouldn’t disrespect the fans who want blue collar, lunch pail players that play hard and stay quiet. And they’re right, to a point.
Calling out a part of the team’s fans seems a little dunderheaded when the player making the comments has an OPS that would make even Larry Bowa blush. It’s not the greatest public relations move to be made by a player on a team that in about 11 days will be lost to irrelevancy to the shadow of the team across the street for the remainder of the year.
But folks - it’s Sean Rodriguez. Is this really worth all of your time? We’re getting riled up by a player with a career 89 wRC+. By a player that in nearly 2,900 plate appearances has compiled a measly 6.7 fWAR. By a player who in the coming months will be tossed into the ether of Phillies’ history, randomly popping up on highlights of the season for his game winning home run. I think we can well establish that his isn’t worth our time anymore.
I’m sure that many of the people out there will rush to the side of “You don’t understand! This is about respect!” and that’s fine if you think that. Go ahead and continue to nurse the bruised feelings you harbor about the situation. I even retweeted this nugget from our own head guy here:
I don't doubt people have shouted vile things at Sean Rodriguez, and that's always dumb.— Justin Klugh (@justin_klugh) August 27, 2019
But I'll tell you what--you get that BA up to even, let's say, .250, and you then can start mandating what noises come out of people's mouths. https://t.co/Q2q1LuzTXD
As I said earlier, it wasn’t the most savvy move by Rodriguez to call out fans when he’s having trouble hitting the ball this year. Justin’s point here is valid. What I think is more valid is what Justin said next:
But also: C'mon, people. It's Sean Rodriguez. He's going to be getting booed by other fans in another town in less than a year.— Justin Klugh (@justin_klugh) August 27, 2019
It’s time to realize how silly this all really is. In the end, it’s Sean Rodriguez. He’s not worth the time anymore and we should all move on. There are more important things to worry about with this team than what the 24th man on the roster feels about some fans. Let’s close the book.