Yankees fans boo Josh Donaldson, who prefers to ignore their jeers

Josh Donaldson of the Yankees at Yankees Stadium against the Mariners on June 22, 2023.

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The Yankees fans made it clear that their patience is running out with Josh Donaldson. They booed him as he made a defensive error and again when he flew out in his initial at-bat on Thursday at Yankee Stadium. It gave him a stark reminder of things turned against Joey Gallo and Aaron Hicks as fans exerted pressure on them. But the player chose to ignore the jeering by the crowd.

The fans’ frustration with Josh Donaldson was justified, given his costly error in the third inning. The Yankees now find themselves in a challenging situation with the third baseman, who has a batting average plummeting to .127. In their 10-2 defeat against the Mariners, Josh Donaldson’s struggles continued with an 0-for-3 performance.

Josh Donaldson’s defensive lapse

During the matchup against the Mariners, Josh Donaldson’s defensive lapse occurred in the third inning. The misplay involved a ground ball hit by Mike Ford, a former Yankees infielder, with a relatively low exit velocity of 45.2 mph. Donaldson’s difficulties arose when he attempted to initiate a double play but encountered trouble during the transfer of the ball.

Subsequently, in a situation where no fielder was covering third base, Eugenio Suarez took advantage and attempted to advance. Unfortunately for the Yankees, when Josh Donaldson made the throw, starting pitcher Domingo German was unable to handle it. As a result, Suarez successfully scored while the ball bounced out of play. Seattle’s advantage was further widened to 7-0 as a consequence.

However, his mistake was not the only one. Kelenic produced a softly hit ground ball in the direction of first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who attempted a backhand play but was unable to secure the ball as it bounced off his glove. The end result was two runs crossing the plate without any hits being recorded, but instead, three errors contributed to the scoring.

Josh Donaldson’s performance at the plate has taken a downturn, with only two hits in his past eight games. This slump has negated the positive strides he made after hitting four home runs in six games following his return from the injured list.

As Josh Donaldson’s batting average fell to .133, the disapproving jeers from the crowd persisted. The negative response was evident in the sixth after he grounded, concluding the inning to the sound of boos.

How Josh Donaldson reacted to boos

“At the end of the day, I’m not in control of other people and what they do,” Josh Donaldson told The Athletic. “For me, I have to focus on, how can I help this team win? How can I best prepare myself? I can’t control those things (the booing). I can’t focus on that. If I focus on that, then I’m going to get wrapped up in something that I don’t want to get wrapped up in. I’m here to help our team win in whatever manner that is. I feel like I’ve prepared myself the best possible way for me to go about that. I feel good and I feel confident.”

“My goal is to be ready for whenever my name is called, wherever it’s called. That’s really what I can focus on. I plan on just allowing myself to go play and allowing that to speak for itself and hopefully putting that to sleep for people.”

Boos by Yankees fans have a reason

Yankees' Josh Donaldson ducks away from a pitch by Orioles' Jordan Lyles on May 18, 2022, in Baltimore.
AP

Similar to the way fans exerted pressure on Joey Gallo and Aaron Hicks, there were echoes of that sentiment in how they reacted to the situation with Josh Donaldson. The Yankees fans seldom bear any player who joins the Yankees and fails to meet the expectations set by their statistics and salary, there is a sense that something more, something better, should occur.

Gallo found himself traded to another team, while Hicks was removed from the roster and designated for assignment.

Anthony Rizzo acknowledged the challenges of playing in New York and commented on Josh Donaldson’s experience dealing with the booing from the crowd. Rizzo emphasized that it is part of the job and the team’s desire to perform at their best consistently. He also made it clear that the struggle is not due to a lack of effort.

Regarding the possibility of resting Josh Donaldson, similar to how DJ LeMahieu was given rest during recent off-days, Yankees manager Aaron Boone responded with a cautious approach. He mentioned that they would evaluate the situation and have discussions to determine the best course of action.

Boone emphasized the need for several players to find their rhythm and perform at a higher level. He acknowledged that it is a crucial aspect for the team at the moment. According to him, there are instances where he believes Josh Donaldson has executed his swing effectively.

Boone expressed the importance of Josh Donaldson being more accurate in his approach at the plate, noting that there have been opportunities for him to make an impact but he seems to be going through a phase of narrowly missing those pitches.

Boone chose to support Josh Donaldson, as well as acknowledge the errors committed by German and Rizzo, attributing Ford’s grounder as a challenging play.

Boone acknowledged the discussions surrounding the defensive errors but emphasized that the mistakes were made by two exceptional defenders in a game where the team was already struggling. However, for Josh Donaldson, the mishandled grounder added to the list of errors that fueled fan frustration.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

One thought on “Yankees fans boo Josh Donaldson, who prefers to ignore their jeers

  1. It’s just not acceptable baseball at a major league level. Errors happen but Donaldson and others are just sloppy with the defense. But even with that being said, how can you win when there are so many sun .200 hitters?

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