On June 7th, 2008 starting against the Orioles at the Rogers Centre, Burnett gave up 8 runs in 4 1/3 IP and on his way back to the dugout, mockingly doffed his cap to the crowd. Classy. The score was 8-1 at the time and the loss Burnett dropped to 5-6 on the season. If it wasn't less than a year ago, it would be easy to chalk it up to immaturity but this was after he had already spent almost two and a half seasons with Halladay, who had supposedly made much him so much more of a professional. The guys on RSN cited it as a major reason he was getting booed last night.
He wasn't particularly well liked when he was there either, with some claiming that some of the many chunks of time he spent on the DL, he wasn't even injured:
Early in his first season as a Toronto Blue Jay, Burnett became a lightning rod for disappointment, opting to stay on the disabled list despite no physical evidence of injury. And he would stay there for long stretches of his first two years in a Jays uniform.
I alluded to it last night, but here is the full quote that caused him to miss the his last start of the 2005 season with the Marlins, when he needed to pitch only one inning to reach the 210 mark, triggering a $50,000 bonus:
Burnett represents the most frustrating type of pitcher, the one with electric stuff but inconsistent performances. He'd throw a shut out one start and get tagged for 8ER the next. All this stuff reminds me how much hatred I put aside when Yankees committed $82.5M to him this offseason.
We played scared. We managed scared. We coached scared. I'm sick of it, man. It's depressing around here. A 3-0 ballgame, I give up one run and leave guys on base, it's like they expect us to mess up. And when we do, they chew us out. There is no positive, nothing around here for anybody.
He sports a pricktastic sneer that makes appear constantly pissed off. A.J. looks like he would have been the biggest asshole in your entire high school. Yes, it's a pretty superficial judgement to be making, but there isn't a whole lot more we have to go on as fans. A player's on-field demeanor makes up a tremendously large part of your perception of them, whether we like it or not. And it's not like he's done a whole lot in the "Performance" category to make up for that. Of course, if he's dominant his next time out, much of this will be forgotten.