A Letter to Jim Johnson


Dear Jim Johnson,

On behalf of all the Athletics fans that support you and want to see you do well, I apologize for the shameful, disgraceful, rude and childish behavior that was displayed towards your wife this weekend.  When I saw Susan Slusser’s report that your wife was harassed and booed at a charity event over the weekend, I was ashamed to be associated with the so called “fans” that would do such a hurtful thing.

You have done nothing for the Athletics except go out and try to do your best.  You have excused the boos you received on opening night and have handled the situation, which I imagine is still hurtful no matter how long you’ve been a pro, with maturity and have given A’s fans no reason to dislike you on a personal level.  For fans to turn around and treat your family in such a shameful manner is appalling.

I didn’t appreciate that, and she wouldn’t even tell me everything that was said.” Jim Johnson to Susan Slusser of the Chronicle 

A’s fans are the greatest fans in baseball.  We don’t leave games early when we’re winning and don’t lose hope when we’re losing.  We support our players when they are peaking and wish the best for our players when they are slumping.  You, Mr. Johnson, had the unfortunate timing of having a bad game on your first outing with the team in front of a sold out house.  If you were a veteran Athletic with 100+ saves in two years and you blew a save on a Tuesday night in April in front of the die hards, we wouldn’t have booed.  I’m not excusing the treatment you’ve received, just trying to illustrate that, like politics, the loudest 5% seem to be representing the masses in a negative way.

I want you to succeed.  I want you to help my favorite baseball team reach a level they haven’t seen since 1990.  I want you to be a name that we chant for in the right field bleachers.  I fear, though, that the treatment we have given you and, now, your wife will forever tarnish the relationship you’ll have with the best fans in baseball.  I fear that the anxiety of being booed is taking your mind out of the game.  I fear that the embarrassment of constant ridicule is as demoralizing as we all hope it would be when we boo our opponents.  You deserve better.  A’s fans should do better.

You have not been perfect this year but you’ve done nothing to deserve this treatment and your wife should never be treated in such a disgusting fashion.  She is not a pro athlete who can get “used” to the name calling and the booing.  She hasn’t blown a save, she isn’t batting .125, she didn’t speak ill of the fans, she didn’t drop a crucial ball, she didn’t do anything except represent her family at a charity event.  If fans can boo a woman for charitable acts, I’m not sure I want to go to games any more.

Mr. Johnson, I hope that your perception of the A’s fanbase can be repaired and that you will enjoy playing here as much as your team mates claim to.  No slump lasts forever and a little support from the fans might be the best way to overcome what has, I’m sure, been a frustrating and painful three months.  Please pass my words on to your wife; the majority of A’s fans are glad you’re here and happy to see you doing good work with the rest of the A’s family.  Please do not let the behavior of some idiots keep you from visiting our park and participating in future events like this weekend’s.

Good luck,

Tony Frye

*I encourage anybody that agrees with my sentiment to include comments to Johnson in the comments below.  Let’s show this family what being an A’s fan is really about.

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Tags: Jim Johnson

  • Isaac Soto

    Very unfortunate! C’mon Jimmy, you can get out of this slump! As an A’s fan we want to see you as one of the greats!!

    • http://swinginas.com/ Tony Frye

      At this point, I’d settle for him succeeding just to shut up the naysayers.

  • Katie Souza

    Embarrassing on all levels. Us true A’s fans are better than that.

  • Debbie Edwards Lucero

    To the johnson family, it is appalling that a human little lone an A’s fan to behave in such a manner, please dont think in anyway a true fan of the Oakland Athletics and a fan of the sport of baseball would treat anyone the way your family has been treated by a a few idiots who claim to be fans. I hope you can forgive the ignorance. ..Go A’s

  • rick rodrigues

    He’ll be back to his old self, as much as the fans hate him, I like him, he’s an awesome guy. Yes he was supossed to replace Balfour with the closers role, but Balfour was not only the teams closer, he was the bullpen leader with his veteran presence. Johnson is also there to replace Balfour’s veteran precense in the A’s bullpen. It’d be great to see him close again. Maybe it will be fun watching him set up for Doolittle soon. He’s a good player getting the wrong support, and these fans are just terrible. Im ashamed with these fans, just like most of the players. If I were there at the games everyday, I’d sure as hell support him

    • http://swinginas.com/ Tony Frye

      It’s also worth noting that Johnson and Balfour had identical ERA’s last week. Johnson is a good guy and if his first blown save were a couple weeks into the season instead of game 1, he wouldn’t receive this treatment. At this point the booing has become like yelling “doooooo” or doing the head banging, it’s just part of the game, which is wrong. Glad to see him pitch well yesterday.

  • Richard Paloma

    I agree that his wife should not be brought into this at all. However, regarding his performance, $10 million for a now “mop-up guy” who has problems pitching at home deserves criticism.

    • http://swinginas.com/ Tony Frye

      There’s a difference between critique and booing him every time he takes the mound, even when he pitches ok. Plus, who’s money is it? We’re not fronting the bill on this one. Give the guy a little support or, at the very least, silence and maybe the A’s will get some value out of this huge investment.

      • Richard Paloma

        The booing of family members is always uncalled for and shouting obscenities at him when he takes the mound is a bit much, but that being said, why is it a bad thing to boo his
        sub-par performance? If fans shouldn’t boo as a critique of a poor performance –
        I generally do mine in writing – should they then not applaud for good performances? It’s a two way street and if they want the good, they have to take the bad, provided it’s not out of line offensive. Incidentally, if Johnson thinks that he making good pitches, then he either lacks a complete sense of self-awareness or doesn’t understand what a good pitch is. That’s most likely why he gets lit up. Maybe if he looked at the charts and data, he would “get it”.

        Who’s money? You look at ticket prices this season? Doolittle is doing the job of what Johnson is paid $10 million compared to Doo’s $550K salary

        • Dave

          Have YOU looked at ticket prices this season? Only seven ML teams have a cheaper average ticket price, and only four have cheaper “premium tickets”. And what do we get for it: three of the top starter ERAs in the league, three RBI leaders, probably three All Stars and a team that, given the run differential, some are comparing to some of the best teams in fifty years. Games like Sunday’s: great games even when they lose.

          I’ve been coming to A’s games for twenty years. I *never* heard booing of an A’s player until the first game this season. I assumed it was bandwagon “fans”, which also happened in the early 2000′s. Drunken ho-hos that don’t get baseball well enough to understand that 1/3 of the time, no matter how good you are, you are going to lose. I was shocked when it continued on into the season. Really, what possible positive effect can booing a home team player have? Name one, besides salving a dementedly inflated sense of self-importance. It’s like yelling “You suck” at the likes of Derrick Jeter. Really? And your authority comes from, exactly, where?

          I was really, really sorry to hear about the incident with Johnson’s wife. That was beyond the pale: Mat tGarza territory. But it’s where this psychotically inflated sense of fan’s self-importance has brought us, I guess.

          • melovibes

            I don’t believe this is a case of bandwagon fans booing Johnson. There is a big correlation with how good this squad has been the previous two seasons and the high expectations of this team. Johnson came in as a 50-win pitcher in the previous two seasons and we all held high expectations to duplicate what he did in Baltimore. Unfortunately, he hasn’t proved to be a consistent player when the team is trying to win ball games. This may have a lot to do with him not feeling comfortable with our staff and players, or it might be the mental aspect of him not playing well. Whatever it is, he will continue to feel this pressure until he is back to pitching how he used to.

    • Sheila Sandholdt

      Can you pitch?

      • Richard Paloma

        Can I pitch? Probably not because if I tried I’d end up giving up hits to NL pitchers who maybe have 3 in their whole career or HRs to guys who were on the cusp of getting cut… Wait a minute.
        In all seriousness, as a fan I feel I can judge based on that I KNOW I can’t pitch and would never ask for $10 million if I couldn’t produce

  • [email protected]

    Nobody should boo his wife. She has nothing to do with this.

    However, A’s fans aren’t used to seeing high priced players sucking like this. The beauty of a team with no high priced stars is that when a guy can’t get the job done, there is no hesitation to demote or release and try someone else. Unfortunately, Johnson cost $10M and the only way to get any value out of him is to A. Let him work it out so he can contribute or B. Let him work it out to the point where he can be traded. Either way, this guy better get his act together FAST if he wants to try for a ring. Just shows how stupid the arbitration process is. This guy is worth $10M about as much as Reddick is worth $3M. Both may be nice guys, but most nice guys in the world don’t make a $$$ for being at the bottom of their profession.

  • Peter McQuhae Walton

    Can we make a sign for the bleachers that will show support for him? Some sort of sign to let him know that A’s fan en masse are still on his side

    • Sheila Sandholdt

      Great idea, show Jimmie the real A’s fan.

  • Angel

    Everyone, needs to just relax and enjoy the game. Johnson, is a professional. He will figure this out, and be great. I myself being a long time A’s fan, know this one fact to be true. I would much more prefer to have him pitching for us at his best, which I am sure is still to come than have our boys face him, pitching for another contender when he is at his best. Last and definitely not least, leave his family alone! Give them the respect, that you would expect to be given to your own… family is not to be #$&??, with. This is just a game, that bonds us, to our past, and future memories.

  • Liz

    Take the world cup cheer, modify it like we did for Vogt. “I believe in Jim Johnson” every time he is called to the mound. Because he is our player, and we are his fans. He deserves our kindness and faith and encouragement.

  • Sheila Sandholdt

    Mr. Johnson , I am an original A’s fan born in Oakland. Please apologize to your wife for the behavior of some immature fans. I also want to apologize to you for the treatment on the 1st day you went to the mound as an A player. I believe you have the right stuff to help the team go all the way. Please don’t give up on the real A’s fans. They will have your back. If your wife wants to meet a real fan, you can contact me.