I can already feel my mentions filling up with sleeveless tees and guys holding bass fish, but you know what? It's worth it. Because I believe in you, Yankees fans. I believe in us. And I know we can be better than this.
Until the Booing Controversy of the 2022 Postseason, I had nearly no idea that other fanbases don't do this. For me? Booing struggling Yankees is just part of the game. If it's Aaron Judge after a 62-homer season? Yeah ... not the greatest look ... but if he's coming up empty with whiff after whiff in another Astros playoff series sweep, I understand why it's happening.
And, besides, nobody left the team because of it. Judge came back, enthusiastically. Anthony Rizzo returned to be his copilot. Some "anonymous" folks may have despised being Yankees that week because of the crowd, but they clearly got over it.
And yet ... what you don't need to do ... is viciously boo anybody during pregame intros at Opening Day. You know, the one game where there's unbridled optimism. The one day when the Yankees of 2023 become the Yankees of 1996, of 1977, of 1961, and so forth. The day that connects generations for a franchise with prouder tradition than anyone else.
You want me to stay proud? Don't make me defend being part of a fan base that boos a benched guy in Aaron Hicks before the first game begins.
Yankees fans boo Aaron Hicks, Josh Donaldson in Opening Day introductions
Guess I should've seen this coming, considering the fans in Tampa let Hicks have it repeatedly during early Spring Training contests. But at least he was playing in those games. At least he was competing for a starting job in left field, a role most fans did not want him to win.
Now? He's been benched on Opening Day. Oswaldo Cabrera is in left field. He's just standing there and clapping. You don't have to cheer. You can sit on your hands. But booing his existence ... it's not "disrespectful," it's not "disgraceful," it's just ... stupid. You look very stupid.
Even booing Donaldson somehow made more sense. Donaldson was starting. Donaldson probably should've found his way off the roster this offseason, but his price tag stands as emblematic of the Yankees' financial misdeeds. His price tag has also led to a fleet of weird defenses from Aaron Boone all offseason long. You want to send the Yankees a message? Boo Starter Josh Donaldson, if you must, especially since he caused real trouble last year. It's alright if you don't accept him.
But guess what? There's a middle ground between booing and cheering. When Aaron Hicks jogs out as a financial albatross who's still here, but barely, it's alright to just not react. Piling on the loser of a competition is tasteless.
There's a difference between booing to motivate (Hal Steinbrenner last summer, who went on to sign Judge) and booing a side-participant in the middle of a ceremony. As one commenter so helpfully pointed out, no, we don't recommend "baking Josh Donaldson cookies" for every time he strikes out. That's a wild false equivalence.
If Hicks strikes out in a big spot, you can let him know how you feel. If Hicks gives his teammate a hi-five, and that makes you so angry you want to scream, you should probably go back to bass fishing.