Talking Chop on Wednesday posted a long piece urging fans to be more forgiving of Melvin Junior’s epic suckitude. Well-meaning, but silly.
Atlanta sports fans are about as mellow as they come. Imagine if Melvin Jr. played in New York or Philly? The boos would never end. Hell, the locals were cheering Dan Uggla until the bitter end.
Passion can sometimes turn ugly, and I’m not ashamed to admit that I sometimes boo players, usually when they do something stupid. Or when they demonstrate they don’t give two fucks.
And that’s the vibe B.J. exuded as the 2014 season wore down. He increasingly loafed after balls in the gap, positioned himself poorly, missed the cut-off man and carelessly ran the bases. His body language varied between “meh” and “who cares.” It was obvious to anyone watching, though its understandable why many people weren’t.
You could attribute B.J.’s apathy to frustration, but he has a pretty long track record of such behavior. He almost came to blows with Evan Longoria in June 2010 after allowing a triple that shouldn’t have been. Joe Maddon benched him for not hustling at least three times in 2008 and 2010.
The data strongly suggests that Mel Ju, by squandering his enviable talent, deserves not empathy but pity. And when you make roughly $15 million a year, stink up the joint and act indifferently, there’s going to be some boos. And that’s not something anyone should feel bad about.