Good morning, Fackers. As I'm sure you know by now, Matt and I are unabashed Javier Vazquez supporters. We spent several posts this offseason discussing whether or not his reputation as someone who is not clutch is deserved and during Spring Training, I explained why I was rooting for for Javy to do well this season. Matt wrote the previews for both of his starts this year and in yesterday's, he said:
Yet as Javier Vazquez returns to the Bronx, makes his first home start of 2010, and tries to re-establish a home in New York, I fear he may be facing a higher degree of difficulty than most, particularly in light of those who saw what they expected to see in his first start. I hope that these fans, who are so often told they're the best in the world, don't prove my fears to be well founded.Of course those fears came to fruition when Vazquez had a poor outing - which was exacerbated by the fact that Joel Pineiro had an excellent one - and a vocal minority of fans decided to boo him. It's not surprising, but the fact that we were expecting it doesn't diminish the ridiculousness of it.
Everyone has a right to voice their displeasure if they want to, but the right to do something doesn't absolve you from being wrong for doing it. Just ask this guy.
Although the type of people who root against their own players are probably not the same ones who read a lot of baseball blogs, I'm glad that Craig Calcaterra noticed the "classless, ignorant" reaction to Vazquez's outing and wrote a short post at NBC about it:
These boos are almost certainly a function of people thinking back to 2004, which is amazingly weak given that, you know, the team just won the World Series five months ago. For a fan base that fancies itself so much more knowledgeable than anyone else's, this was pretty bad.
Obviously there are painful memories of Vazquez that none of us have completely forgotten, but as Craig points out, the Yanks just won the fucking World Series. All grudges concerning 2004 should have been erased by now. I'm not sure it's about "knowledge" so much as arrogance and entitlement, that are the issues at hand though.
A lot of New Yorkers (rightfully) believe that it's the best city in the world, which isn't exactly a controversial point, but it tends to taint the way that some of them follow their sports teams. Success and failure are magnified through the lens of the Big Apple to the point that the city becomes the reason for every poor performance that happens in it, which of course, is bullshit. These are the same people who take it upon themselves to determine who "belongs here" or "can handle it". They feel like they are a part of the city and telling themselves that not everyone can "make it here" as Sinatra said, grants them an added feeling of supremacy.
Rob from Bronx Baseball Daily thinks that the expectations for Javier Vazquez are too high, but I actually believe the opposite to be the case. I think the jerkoffs who booed Vazquez as soon as he gave up runs in the third inning were fully expecting him to fail and pounced on the first opportunity to display their disgust. Obviously we saw the same thing happen with A-Rod in Octobers past as his postseason struggles began to snowball. We even witnessed it in the beginning of last year when Mark Teixeira got of to a slow start and the home fans got restless.
To his credit, Vazquez is keeping his head up and saying the right things ("I feel like it's unfair because that was so long ago"), but I'm still ashamed that people I share a rooting interest with fans would treat someone who is vital to the team with such derision the first chance they got. Clearly they don't think he's cut out to play in New York, but apparently haven't figured out that booing the guy is just going to put more pressure on him.
Michael Kay and John Sterling both love to tell us that Yankee fans are "the best in the world", but that's only true when things are going well. As Neyer says, passion cuts both ways. When it turns sour (or in this case, before it even has a chance to), there is a contingent of Yanks fans who can be some of the absolute worst.