So, what is to be taken out of this very odd conclusion to Saturday’s match-up? First, from the above, my feelings on the actions of the crowd are obviously crystal clear. There is nothing right about mocking injured players or throwing garbage on the field. It wasn’t right when Browns fans have done it in the past and it wasn’t right when it was done today. It is classless and speaks to the character of the people acting so stupidly. Not to mention, it’s also dangerous. Athletes are living, breathing individuals. I wouldn’t wish this type of treatment on any sentient creature (animals included), let alone a baseball player. I don’t think I can put it any more concisely than this: the Yankees won but these individual fans still found a way to behave like losers.
Moving to the actual implications for the Guardians, I will set aside Clase’s early struggles for the moment. It’s just so early and he’s pitched so little that it doesn’t feel right to make any statement on his effectiveness, despite a 7.71 ERA and two blown saves so far. The guy still throws gas with movement. We have no reason to believe he won’t be fine.
On a more interpersonal/clubhouse level, I genuinely think that more important than how Saturday’s game ended is how the Guardians respond on Sunday. I don’t mean that the team needs to use the actions of a few fans as bulletin board material. Rather, how the Guardians respond is an early season opportunity to block out distractions and focus on the game at hand. This is an early test of what this 2022 team is capable of. As a ballplayer, it would be very easy to look past Sunday afternoon’s game, be distracted by the previous day and the plane flight to the west coast that is on the horizon and not make the most of the 9 innings about to occur. But to make such an oversight would be very unlike a team run by Terry Francona. We will see.
Further, I absolutely love how Mercado and his teammates responded in the moment. I already spoke to how I feel about Reyes, but Straw’s reaction is equally impressive. The Guardians’ center-fielder seems entirely bought in. Remember, Straw has been with the organization for less than a year. He joined the Guardians at last year’s trade deadline. He has since signed a 5-year extension that takes him past his six years of team control. On multiple occasions, during Saturday’s fiasco, he stuck up for his teammates. If that doesn’t seem like a guy that wants to be a Cleveland Guardian, then I don’t know what one looks like.
As for the complete morons that sullied the end of the game for everyone involved, I hope you are embarrassed, but with the character you have displayed, I am willing to bet you aren’t. Just know that you aren’t special. Know that this is the one noteworthy thing that you’ve done in your life that’s been documented and it’s far from anything to be proud of. People like you are what gives sports fans a bad name. A day baseball game isn’t your excuse to start drinking at 8 AM. Seek help.
In the clips of the Mercado incident, one more thing stood out. A father with his child, probably in his/her early teen years at the oldest. These two Yankees fans saw what the crowd was doing around them and booked it out of the scene immediately. Good for them, they didn’t want any part of it. At the same time, I feel bad that their positive moment and what could have been a really nice family memory of a beautiful Saturday afternoon at the ballpark was sullied by the people around them that still think it’s cool to throw garbage at athletes in 2022.
I feel bad for them, even if they are Yankees fans. I appreciate anyone that enjoys this great game, no matter their allegiance. As for little people that use this great game as an excuse to act out, pretend to be tough and throw crap at others? Not so much.