Just in case anybody out there was still wondering how unruly New York Yankees fans affect how the team attracts star players -- even after both Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo re-signed this offseason -- perhaps Carlos Rodón can close the case.
When Yankees fans booed the team during the ALCS, with Judge being one of the apparent targets following a strikeout, the ignorant baseball world at large simply couldn't believe it. "How ungrateful could these people be?! Booing their players when they're fighting for an AL Pennant?! This has to be the most entitled fanbase in the world!"
Turns out, some players like the high stakes and expectations. So for all the arbiters of morality out there as it pertains to sports fandom, maybe it's time to sit this one out and worry about your team and city.
Because when Carlos Rodón was asked about joining the Yankees, he specifically cited that getting booed shows how invested fans are. He mentioned that Giants fans "care a lot" and "are invested" but then detailed the gap between them and New Yorkers.
Again ... Rizzo, Judge and now Rodón, with the newest member of that trio being the most candid about a fairly touchy subject. All Yankees fans ever want is someone who "gets it."
Carlos Rodón's comments on joining Yankees are bad news for the haters
On the surface, the average fan is right: the Yankees booing their fans during the ALCS came off as brutal. But outsiders don't understand the context. Getting swept in the ALCS against yet another rival in embarrassing fashion after being on pace for the regular season wins record in June is a failure of a season.
On one hand, Yankees fans are blessed to have a 99-win season and championship series appearance deemed a waste of time. But if you've ever heard any athlete talk about their "goals" every preseason, they always end with "winning a championship."
The Yankees haven't been to a World Series since 2009. And that's the only one they've been to since 2004. They're 1-2 in the World Series since 2001. Wouldn't most fanbases be reaching a boiling point after 13 years? And, as a player, wouldn't you want the fans living and dying by every moment with you along the way?
Here's the thing for everyone who hates the Yankees out there: you can't call the Yankees spoiled for "winning all the time" and then make fun of them for choking in the playoffs for 13 straight years. You can't call them entitled when they're one of the most knowledgable fanbases out there that plays a role in holding players and upper management accountable (even if it only has a minor impact). You can't fault them for expressing frustration when all they've done is taken heat from teams like the Astros, Red Sox and Rays -- three of their most hated rivals -- since 2010.
Or, you can. Do whatever you want. Just know that some players appreciate the passion that swings to both ends of the emotional pendulum. Seems to be a dying breed.
Nobody's going to apologize for living. But Rodón will remind you that this is part of the game and it's something that players value.
Once it all pays off, the upper hand will return to the Bronx, where it eternally belongs.