KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kauffman Stadium is not a place where you typically hear fans boo anyone from the home team.
That’s partly because of the courteous nature of Kansas Citians, and also because the Royals haven’t been significant enough in the minds of fans here for them to care enough to boo.
But that has changed recently as the Royals hang on the fringe of the playoff race.
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Last week, Royals utility infielder Elliot Johnson was booed loudly after letting a routine grounder go through his legs, leading to two unearned runs in a disheartening 5-2 loss to the Marlins. Johnson was released the next day.
On Tuesday night, second baseman Chris Getz got an earful of the hometown fans’ wrath as well.
First, Getz got doubled up at first after a botched hit-and-run play in the third inning when Jamey Carroll flied out to center. Getz was off with the pitch and rounded second before realizing Carroll’s short fly would be easily caught. He was an easy out trying to return to first.
A scattering of boos greeted Getz as he headed back to the dugout.
Then in the eighth inning, with the Royals still trailing the White Sox 2-0, Getz singled to lead off. On the very next pitch, Getz got picked off first.
And the boos from the small-but-vocal Kauffman Stadium crowd of 13,060 rained down on Getz as he again headed back to the dugout.
“He (left-hander John Danks) put a good move on and I froze,” Getz told me. “No excuses.”
Getz said he certainly could hear the boos.
“I mean, it’s part of the game,” Getz said. “They obviously want to see us win and they want to see positive things all the time. Now, that’s just not the reality of things.
“Do they know what we’re trying to do? Do they know what we’re trying to create? Probably not, because we’re the ones putting on (plays) and trying to get things going.
“I’m certainly aware of (the booing). It’s not something I enjoy. But I certainly understand why. I could hear their frustration. They’re pulling for us and they want us to win these series and they see things go the other way, they’re going to show their frustration.”
Getz did notice the booing of Johnson, too, last week.
“When things like that happen, you don’t necessarily take it personally,” he said. “I understand where they’re coming from. They haven’t seen a winner here in a while, and this is their most recent window of success. They get excited about it and they want more and more. I get that. That’s good.”
In some cases, fans are booing the play, not the player. Getz hopes that it is the former in his case.
“I would think so, as a whole,” he said. “But that’s not always the case. Sometimes it is the player. That’s part of professional sports.
“I grew up a (Detroit) Lions fan. There were some bad years. I was probably one of those guys booing them, so I understand.”
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org