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Jim Johnson and the Boo Birds

Let me start this piece by saying this is my own opinion, and I’m sure there are plenty of fans out there that disagree with me. But the boo birds in Oakland are a topic of much discussion, so let’s discuss.

Jim Johnson has been hearing the boos in Oakland. Granted, he has performed poorly in front of the home crowd, but maybe being serenaded with boos every time he pitches has something to do with this.


On the road, Jim Johnson has been the closer the A’s thought they acquired in the offseason, posting a 2.00 ERA. In front of the home crowd where he is openly booed at just the sight of him, his ERA soars to 7.36.

The way I see it, Johnson was nervous in his first appearance with a new team in the opening series of the season. He performed poorly, and the A’s fans starting booing him, and haven’t stopped. When he enters a game, Twitter explodes in a round of boos as well.

In Monday’s game, Jim Johnson was pulled quickly after allowing a couple of hits. I think that Bob Melvin was trying to save Jim Johnson from the fans, more than he was trying to save the win. JJ inherited a runner, and then Josh Reddick dove for a ball that he had no business diving for, advancing the runners to 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. Johnson gave up another single, and that was it for him. He didn’t even get the benefit of starting with a clean inning

If he was placed into the game after Jesse Chavez instead of Fernando Abad, Reddick doesn’t dive for that ball. There would have been a runner at 1st, and the following single would have had them at 1st and 2nd, and no runs allowed. Would Jim Johnson still get booed then? Maybe, but I doubt it. He also may have been allowed to stay in the game and induce a double play, which would have won the fans over.

Jim Johnson is on OUR team. He wants US to win. If we keep discouraging him at home, as shown, he can be very ineffective. When he is “on” however, he can be a great addition to the club and could take the A’s deep into the playoffs. Let’s give the guy a fair shot, ok?

My proposition is simple. Let’s not boo Jim Johnson for 3 games. 3. If he is still terrible, then have at it. But if he responds well, then cheer the living hell out of him because he is one of our own, and we’re stuck with him for the rest of the season.


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Tags: Jim Johnson Oakland Athletics

  • The Green and Gold

    It’s not as simple as Home vs. Away for Johnson. Keep in mind, Johnson has been put in for save situations at home, and mostly non-save, safe situations on the road. So it’s not the boos, it’s the pressure of needing to close the game.

    • Jason Burke

      Can we agree that the boos may have something to do with his performance at home, considering he doesn’t have any good experiences there?

      • Thumbdriver

        You might be confusing the direction of causality.

        • Jason Burke

          No confusion, I’m fully aware of how he has performed. But if booing him isn’t making him better, shouldnt we try a different plan of action? We all want him to succeed, right? if booing him thay important? Let’s try not doing it for a few games and see how he responds. If he’s still terrible, boo away

          • Thumbdriver

            If Jim Johnson is a *closer* who doesn’t have the mental fortitude to handle scattered boos that he *absolutely deserves* after severely underperforming while sucking $10 million from a $75 million team, then no, let the fans boo him away. A sensitive closer is not what we want to succeed. If the boos are really getting to him now, what happens in the postseason when *real* pressure is on? Better to keep him out of the ninth inning altogether.

          • Nate Gartrell

            Last time I was at a game that Johnson was booed, it wasn’t until AFTER he had already lost the game for us…I guess he must be REALLY sensitive to booing lol

  • Justin

    I think A’s fans are doing their team a favor booing Johnson. As an Orioles fan I witnessed Johnson single handedly throw away our playoff shot game after game. The problem was, no one in Baltimore booed him. Maybe if someone would have booed him Buck would have used another pitcher in the ninth. Showalter even said numerous times he stands by Johnson in the ninth, being asked by reporters why he hasn’t considered putting anyone else in. Showalter is a great manager, but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why he stuck with Johnson. I’m glad we traded him cause I guess I’m the only Orioles fan who realized how horrible Johnson was, no matter what his stats were. It seemed like if we weren’t up by three in the ninth, he would blow it every time. Don’t allow this to happen to your team.

  • whyme4

    Johnson has been in the bigs since 2006, he is a veteran, and the boos shouldn’t get to him.

  • SeanD25

    Gotta go against you on this one, Jason. Johnson has earned the scorn he’s received, and he’ll be the first to tell you that. If any reaction from the fans makes him better or worse, then I feel like he should hang up the spikes right now, especially when its “10,000″ people in attendance. I think Justin has it right here, Johnson was grossly overrated to begin with, and the wear of his 101 saves in 2 years is likely showing as well.

  • JDCaudle

    This isn’t about booing, this is about money. If he wasn’t making $10mil he’d already be sent down. So we’re all supposed to be more patient because he has a price tag? In reality, the price tag should make us less patient. Sorry, but screw that. He’s got ten million reasons to sort out his own stuff. He needs to be the one to adjust, not the fans supporting the team paying his salary staying quiet while he Pisses away another game.