Kapler disagrees with Rodriguez's fan criticism

Utility man called Philly spectators 'entitled' for booing players

August 28th, 2019

PHILADELPHIA – There is a first for everything, and on Tuesday, the manager of the Phillies refuted a player’s remarks that their fans are "entitled."

Phillies utility player criticized fans following his walk-off home run Monday night against the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. He had one hit and 11 strikeouts in his previous 20 at-bats. Asked afterward how it felt to homer considering his recent struggles, Rodriguez got testy. He cited his lack of at-bats and how he typically faces the team’s toughest relief pitchers.

“Who’s looking bad and feeling entitled when you hear stuff like that? I’m asking you,” Rodriguez said about the criticism he had heard. “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.”

Rodriguez started at third base Tuesday night against the Pirates. He entered the game batting .214 with four homers, 11 RBIs and a .709 OPS in 101 plate appearances, including .179 with a .627 OPS in 68 plate appearances since May 26. Rodriguez was booed during pregame lineup introductions and before each plate appearance. He even heard some boos after he doubled to right-center field to lead off the fourth.

Kapler has heard more boos than anybody during his season-plus as Philadelphia's manager. He offered a much different take about the Phillies’ fan base.

“I don't think our fans are entitled,” he said. “What our fans are entitled to do is feel what they feel, express themselves accordingly, 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.”

Some players handle boos differently. Former Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels helped the organization win the 2008 World Series, earning the World Series Most Valuable Player Award and the National League Championship Series MVP Award along the way. He was booed as he struggled in '09. Hamels also got booed after he pitched poorly in his first start of the '11 season.

“I've been booed many a time,” Hamels said that day. “If you kind of get that response, it's the understanding that people know that you're good. They expect you to do well, and when you don't, they're disappointed, just like anybody. It's human nature.”

Former Philadelphia outfielder Jayson Werth also helped the club win the 2008 World Series. He got booed as a member of the Phillies. Werth was then showered with boos for seven seasons as a member of the Nationals. But he spoke highly of Philadelphia to Bryce Harper before the latter signed a 13-year, $330 million contract in February.

“I told him, 'If you win in Philly, it’s the best,'” Werth told MLB.com. “I don’t think any city wins better. They win the best and lose the worst. It’s an awesome place to play. It’s a great city. There is no place better to win.”

Philadelphia is different than most other places. Rodriguez spent most of his career with Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay.

“If you go back in the history of Philadelphia sports, some guys embrace it, some guys struggle with it more,” Kapler said. “Some guys have really thick skin 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.

“Sean's a fiery, fiery guy. He's a fiery player. And I think what he was attempting to convey was that he supports his teammates and thinks his teammates perform best when they feel that support, too.”

Kingery to receive further tests

Scott Kingery left Monday’s game with lower abdominal soreness. Kapler said he was scheduled to receive further testing Tuesday.

“We still don't think it’s muscular, but we want to get it checked out through doing some imaging,” Kapler said. “We're on this one pretty conservatively and want to make sure he's good to go and not put him in harm's way.”