Oakland Athletics fans are very very disappointed with Jim Johnson. Extremely Angry. I admit, I myself was very frustrated after the second loss of the season, in which he blew a save with a one run lead. Twitter was blowing up with tweets full of hate for the new closer.
While I was frustrated myself, I’m here to stand up for Johnson and say that he doesn’t deserve the hate he is getting. The first game of the season can not be pinned on him. That game was the fault of the offense. There was not a single run scored. No pitcher in the world can win when he has 0 run support. He may have given up two runs, but the offense is to blame as well for not scoring any runs. If they had scored last night’s 4 runs, or yesterday’s noon’s 6 runs, Johnson wouldn’t be blamed for the loss. That game was a team effort, and everyone is to blame not just one pitcher.
So there goes the first game. You can’t blame him for that one. It wasn’t 100% his fault. It was an even share of the blame for everyone.
The 3rd game, last night’s, can be blamed on him. He gave up 3 runs. That shouldn’t be acceptable. But pitchers struggle early on. Remember Jarrod Parker last season? He had an ERA of over 6 in the month of April. Fans were calling for his head, saying he should go to Triple-A. But what happened next? Melvin kept believing in him, and he turned things around to go 19 consecutive starts without a loss. They weren’t calling for his head then. Pitchers struggle at times, and they can get through it.
Balfour had struggles, and was demoted from his closer position. But then he turned things around and ended up getting 41 straight saves to beat the franchise record. He made adjustments, came back and did an amazing job. When he started blowing saves, fans were calling for his head as well. They were saying he lost it. That he should get demoted. Fans started sending hate his way and he was feeling it.
A closer goes 41 straight saves without blowing one, and you call for his head when he blows a few? I love my Athletics and my fellow fans, but sometimes this fan base is so hateful that it gets a little humiliating. I understand that sometimes you’re so passionate for the green and gold that you just say things out of anger. But it doesn’t look classy at all.
It makes us all look bad when we boo one of our own after only a few games. It makes us look like a group of fans that can’t stand behind a player through struggles. Every team has athletes that will go through struggles. As a true fan, you welcome all players, new and old, and stand behind them. Support them. Whether they are on a hot streak or in a struggle, every player on that roster is a part of the team, and if you love this team, struggling players should be included.
But how does Johnson feel about the hate he is receiving? Surely a new guy to the team, he can’t appreciate it right? He must feel some sort of anger for being hated on after a game that wasn’t all his fault (the opening day game). Nope. Jim Johnson is a class act player. He accepted responsibility for both games, even though one of them wasn’t. He said he deserved the boo’s he got. He said he would have booed himself too.
As a fan base, let us show him the love of the best fans ever. Let’s act like the best fans ever. The type of fans that stick through it with our guys through thick and thin. Yes I know, I’ve been there myself, where I’ve had thoughts like that. “This guy sucks, they need to send him down!” We all have those moments. But Jim Johnson is human. He isn’t perfect. Imagine how horrible it must feel to move to a brand new city, and want to make a good impression. instead, you make a mistake, and everyone hates you because of it. Now you’re in a new place, and thousands of people hate you. I say we act like the best fans in the world and support everyone on the team. Jim Johnson, there are still fans who believe in you.