Orioles reliever Pedro Strop has been struggling, allowing eight runs in his last four appearances, and he was booed off the mound by the home fans last night after coughing up four runs while recording one out.
Afterward he talked about being bothered by the boos, telling Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun:
I heard it when I was walking from the mound. Booing somebody like that–I was giving everything I’ve got to help the team win and to give a good show. … They don’t care about players. They care about good results.
It’s not a big deal. I know they just want to see good results, but at the same time, they don’t know what it takes, what hard work and dedication it takes to perform well. So that’s why they boo, because they don’t know.
I tend to agree with much of what Strop said, in that booing a player simply because he’s performing poorly–as opposed to, say, not giving a full effort–has always struck me as silly. Still, it’s tough to imagine there being any benefit for Strop speaking publicly about the boos.
The type of person who loudly boos a relief pitcher coming off the mound after a bad performance seems unlikely to read that relief pitcher’s thoughts in the newspaper and think: “Hmm, I never realized it could hurt his feelings. I’ll stop and tell everyone I know to do the same.”
Instead, next time Strop struggles I’d bet on the boos being even louder. Having delved into this topic quite a bit last year when Twins fans at Target Field were booing a struggling Joe Mauer, I know there’s nothing people who boo like less than being questioned about why they’re booing.
After 18 years, 12 winning seasons, seven postseason runs and three World Championships, Dave Righetti is no longer a pitching coach for the Giants. He was removed from his post on Saturday, when the team announced a few reassignments as they shake up their coaching staff. Heading into the 2018 season, Righetti will serve as special assistant to general manager Bobby Evans, former bullpen coach Mark Gardner will step into a similar special assistant role to “assist in pitching evaluations,” and former assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will take a special assistant role in baseball operations.
According to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Righetti was the longest-tenured pitching coach in the big leagues. He helped shape the careers of notable Giants’ aces like Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain — all Cy Young contenders (and, in Lincecum’s case, a two-time winner) at various points in their careers. He was there to assist Ryan Vogelsong during his stunning mid-career comeback in San Francisco. He helped newcomers like Chris Stratton and Ty Blach flourish even as the team stumbled to the bottom of the division. He was there to take the credit when a sterling rotation clinched the Giants’ 56-year, drought-snapping championship title in 2010 — and, when things went so horribly south in 2017, he took the blame as well.
Hardly anything went right for the Giants’ pitching staff in 2017. Madison Bumgarner was shelved after sustaining a serious shoulder injury in a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto couldn’t shake a cluster of blisters on his right hand and Mark Melancon found it difficult to justify a $62 million paycheck after pitching through an arm injury to four blown losses/saves and a 4.50 ERA. It would be a lot for any pitching coach to stay on top of, and given the team’s rapid descent from 2016 postseason contenders to last-place finishers in 2017, it’s not surprising that Evans felt the need to switch things up.
Successors have yet to be named for Righetti, Gardner or Decker, though Murray hears that the Giants could have interest in former major league pitching coach Jim Hickey. NBC Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic adds that Evans is searching for someone to “put a new voice” on the pitching staff and will likely target someone who, like Righetti, brings considerable experience to the role.