Jim Johnson has a 6.55 ERA in 22 relief appearances in his first season as a member of the Oakland A’s. Meltdowns have become a common occurrence for Johnson, the latest coming Thursday against Detroit when he gave up two runs in the 7th inning.
A’s fans have been letting Johnson know that they don’t approve of his propensity to give up big runs late. Now Johnson’s teammate Sean Doolittle is rushing to his defence, asking fans to please stop raining boos down on Johnson’s poor head.
“We spent all offseason telling the new guys about how great our fans were,” Doolittle said via HardBallTalk. “And from game one — game one — he got booed off the field. We’re sitting in the dugout looking around. I can’t remember that happening since I’ve been here. We went through some rough patches last year when we were pretty bad, but I don’t remember the boo birds coming out like that.”
But it hasn’t only been boos coming from A’s fans. They’ve also been firing off some obscene gestures.
“I mean, we all take notice of it,” Doolittle said. “One guy was giving him the double-barreled middle finger above the dugout after one of his outings. That’s disgusting. That’s pretty ridiculous that he has to deal with that.”
Johnson was acquired in a trade from Baltimore in the offseason and signed a one-year $10 million deal with Oakland. That’s not a ridiculous contract for a relief pitcher, but still fans don’t believe the A’s are getting enough for their money.
Maybe they should cool it with Johnson and let him figure it out without the boos and the middle fingers. Then again, maybe they believe this is the best way to motivate the pitcher. Or maybe they’re just being Oakland sports fans. I don’t know.