The Phillies public-address announcer had yet to even announce Sean Rodriguez’s name on Tuesday night when the boos began.
A night earlier, Rodriguez was soaked with a cooler of water after his walk-off homer in the 11th inning beat the Pirates. Tuesday, he was showered with boos as he walked to the plate for his next at-bat following his homer.
It was quite the turnaround as Rodriguez went from hero to heel in less than 24 hours by labeling the fans who boo the Phillies as “entitled” in the postgame clubhouse Monday.
The boos were even louder when he went to the plate in the fourth inning, but Rodriguez turned them into cheers with a double.
Late Monday night, the veteran utility player in his first year with the Phillies brought up the boos he has heard at Citizens Bank Park this season after he was asked if his homer felt better coming after a difficult month. Rodriguez had gone 1-for-20 in August before the homer. Outsiders, Rodriguez said, don’t understand how difficult pinch-hitting can be.
“It might not look that way sometimes, but when you come down on guys ... it just looks bad because there’s guys who don’t deserve it. There are some who do, and we’re OK with that. But there’s some guys who don’t and it’s like, ‘Man, have some feel,’” Rodriguez said. “Who’s looking bad and feeling entitled when you hear stuff like that? I’m not the one booing. I’m not the one screaming. I’m not the one saying pretty disgusting things at times. That seems pretty entitled. You’re just making yourself look pretty bad as an individual, as a person, as a fan.”
Two innings earlier, Rodriguez listened to the home crowd boo Rhys Hoskins after Hoskins popped up with the bases loaded in the ninth inning. Hoskins said he wasn’t bothered by it, but Rodriguez was.
“The guy has 60-plus homers in three years and you’re booing him. Explain that to me. That’s entitled fans,” Rodriguez said. “I don’t know if it’s them feeling like they’re owed something. There’s nobody in here that doesn’t want to win.”
Manager Gabe Kapler was asked before Tuesday’s game if “entitled” was the correct word to describe the fans of the Phillies, who have the most losses in the history of professional sports and have not had a winning season since 2011.
“I don’t think our fans are entitled. What our fans are entitled to do is feel what they feel, express themselves accordingly,” Kapler said. “And let’s go at it directly. Every great player in every sport that’s played here in Philadelphia has gotten booed, right?
"Charles Barkley was here and spoke to our club not that long ago. Charles Barkley got booed. He talked about it. Ryan Howard got booed. Jimmy Rollins got booed. Mike Schmidt got booed. Some of the greatest athletes in Philadelphia history. It’s part of playing here. And I think the best thing for all of us to do is have the thickest possible skin and not take this personally at all. It’s not personal.”
The Phillies started Tuesday one game out of the National League’s second wild-card spot, but the energy from Monday’s dramatic victory seemed to be overshadowed in the city by what Rodriguez said. Kapler said he heard the cheers when the team walked off the field. The most important thing, he said, is that they won the game. More wins, Kapler said, will bring more cheers.
“I don’t think this is unusual,” Kapler said of the boos.”If you go back in the history of Philadelphia sports, some guys embrace it, some guys struggle with it more. Some guys have really thick skins and it doesn’t bug them. And other guys are a little more sensitive. I am confident that our clubhouse is strong enough to endure sometimes getting booed, sometimes getting cheered, rolling with the punches and not taking this personally.”