Torii Hunter: You don’t know what’s really going on with Prince Fielder

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Torii Hunter thinks everyone needs to back off Prince Fielder, even though the first baseman isn’t putting up his usual numbers this year. Speaking on the “Ryan and Rico” show on Detroit’s 105.1 FM on Tuesday, Hunter indicated that Fielder is dealing with issues off the field.

MLive.com’s James Schmehl posted a link to the audio:

“Prince is a strong guy, man. A lot of people don’t know what’s going on in his life.” Hunter said. “He’s out there every day, won’t come out of the lineup, no matter what’s going on off the field or on the field. … Us as players, we know what’s really going on. And we appreciate him going out there every day, despite…”

He trailed off from there.

Fielder is hitting .261/.352/.432 with 17 homers and 81 RBI this year. The RBI total is fine, but his OPS is down 156 points from his first year in Detroit. His career worst OPS was an .831 mark from his rookie season in 2006. Right now, he’s at .784.

Astros greeted with boos in first spring training game

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The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.

Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.

There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.

That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.

The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.

One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.

Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.

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