Bates: A brief history of booing in the Bronx

From SABR member Michael Bates at The Hardball Times on April 30, 2018:

Condemned to pay the wages of sin for Derek Jeter and the Marlins’ suboptimal debt-to-income ratio, [Giancarlo] Stanton stared down the former Yankee captain. Jeter reportedly tried to force Stanton to accept a trade to San Francisco or St. Louis. But the reigning NL MVP refused to go. If he couldn’t stay in Miami, Stanton wanted to play in either New York or Los Angeles. And, because he had both the leverage and the will to use it, Stanton got his wish and, like a reverse LeBron, took his talents out of Long Beach.

But after belting two homers on Opening Day, Stanton has been showered with boos from Yankee fans who expected better than his .239 batting average, 107 wRC+, and 40 strikeouts in 124 subsequent plate appearances (at the time of this writing). As Stanton struggles to hold back the boo birds, it’s worth remembering wanting to play for the Yankees, like wanting to buy a house in Iowa, has rarely worked out in the modern era.

Take, for instance, Ed Whitson. When people tell Whitson’s story these days, they tell it as if he simply couldn’t handle playing in New York City. But, looking back, that’s incredibly reductive.

Whitson was 30 years old and coming off of a career year in San Diego where he’d won 14 games, posted a 3.24 ERA, and become a postseason hero and then goat in the span of a week. He had hoped to stay in Southern California in 1985, but the Padres didn’t pursue him in free agency and George Steinbrenner made him the Yankees’ biggest target on the free agent market. Overwhelmed, he signed a five year, $4.4 million deal.

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Originally published: April 30, 2018. Last Updated: April 30, 2018.