The Major League Baseball season can often feel like it goes on forever. The 162 regular season games every year is 10 times as many as the NFL and twice as many as played by NHL and NBA teams. This doesn’t prevent baseball fans from having rather extreme reactions during Opening Weekend, however, and either declaring their teams the eventual World Series Champs or calling on management to completely revamp the team.
In Philly, for instance, fans were already boo’ing Bryce Harper on Opening Day. The superstar was playing in his first game of his 2,106 game contract with the Phillies and had used some of the $330 million he’ll earn to sport some Philly Phanatic green cleats. But that wasn’t enough to win over some fans as he was clearly boo’ed after striking out twice. This is despite the Braves still having enough respect for Harper that they intentionally walked him to load the bases during the seventh inning.
But since Philly fans are famous for boo’ing everyone (they even boo’ed Santa Claus, after all), we can look a little further north for another example of fans overreacting a bit to Opening Day. One Boston Red Sox fan took to Facebook to ask “So when do we get worried”after the Sox lost to Seattle on Sunday and fell to a 1-3 record to start their campaign to defend their World Series title. This was one of the tamer remarks from Boston.
Most of the negative comments from Red Sox fans were directed towards the pitching staff. “It feels like Christmas in Seattle right now. Our starters are getting lit up,” declared one Facebook user. There’s also a lot of speculation online that Chris Sale might have injured his elbow because his velocity was down during his start and an anonymous twitter user claimed “Rick Porcello can go eat [expletive].”
This is a somewhat understandable reaction when you consider how poorly the starting rotation has pitched for Boston so far — especially after they also had a rather disappointing Spring Training. Chris Sale only made it through three innings and has a 21.00 ERA, Rick Porcello went 2.2 innings for a 13.50 ERA, and both Nathan Eovaldi and Eduardo Rodriguez have an ERA over 10.00. In other words, this is not the pitching that lead Boston to 108 regular season victories last year and a World Series championship.
But this clearly ignores the fact that the Red Sox will still play another 158 games this year. They haven’t even played the equivalent of one NFL game and there will likely also be more slumps in the future. These struggles are simply gaining attention because they have started off the season poorly and found themselves in the cellar of the AL East. Most pundits will tell you this is extremely unlikely to continue for long, however, as many people predicted Boston and New York to compete for first place and potentially the AL championship.
Fortunately, there are some reasonable fans out there who actually took up on this theme this weekend. One person took to a Facebook group for Boston fans to say “the season is early, so take a deep breath and relax.” Many more took to the internet to complain about all the fans who had gone extremely negative so early in the season.
If Boston’s woes continue for an extended period of time or Bryce Harper doesn’t live up to his enormous contract, then the early boo birds might become warranted. But as it stands right now, they’re mainly coming from fans who don’t truly understand the grind that is a Major League Baseball season.