No matter how much players deny paying attention to fans, they all hear what we say. They may ignore you (even if it’s by using ear plugs), but they hear what is said about them. The difference is some players thrive off heckling and hate (see Barry Bonds) while others can’t handle it (see Randy Johnson).
Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano has been affected by booing in the past, so he can empathize with Adam Dunn, the White Sox’s free agent acquisition who’s hitting below .200 for the season. The White Sox and Cubs are playing a three-game series during interleague play and Soriano said he feels badly Dunn is getting booed.
“It’s very sad for him,” Soriano said after Tuesday’s game. “He’s a great player. The fans, they don’t understand when the player’s struggling, how hard it is and how he is trying. He cannot think about. He’s got to try to do the best he can to just concentrate on the game.’’
Then Soriano said the Chicago fans are worst when it comes to booing — and that’s coming from a guy who played with the Yankees for five seasons.
“It’s the worst. I played in New York, but the fans are worse here. But at the same time, I understand. Fans can get frustrated because they want the team to win, and they want the players to hit. At the same time, the game’s not easy.’’
And here we all were thinking Phillies fans were the worst. According to Soriano, it’s Chicago fans that are. I understand the frustration for the fans — Dunn was the big offseason acquisition and he’s hit at least 38 home runs per season seven years in a row. To see him hitting well below .200 with only seven home runs is a major disappointment.
Dunn started off the season just fine, so I have to wonder if his early return from the appendectomy threw him off. Matt Holliday has done fine since his operation, but it could have messed with Dunn. I feel badly for the guy, but as I said when Orlando Hudson complained about home fans booing, if players are performing that poorly, they’re going to hear about it. As long as fans don’t get too personal with their heckles, I understand booing.
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