|Vazquez wrong with recent comments|
Written by Daniel Paulling (Contact & Archive) on April 15, 2010
Yankees starting pitcher Javier Vazquez allowed four runs in 5 1/3 innings yesterday against the Angels. When he walked off the mound, Yankee fans booed, harkening back to Vazquez's time spent with the team in 2004. This is from the New York Post's Brian Costello.
"I feel like it's unfair because that was so long ago," Vazquez said about the boos. "Like I've said plenty of times, I'm trying to concentrate on this year."
So far this year, Vazquez has looked very little like the pitcher the Yankees thought they were getting when they got him in a trade with Atlanta in December. His fastball lacked life and he failed to put hitters away once he got ahead in the count.
Vazquez left the mound with one out in the sixth to a chorus of boos. He allowed four runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
"His command is not as good as we've seen it at this point," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It will get better. [The Angels are] a pretty good-hitting club. . . . He had a hard time putting them away at times today and that can be the difference in the game."
"It was a little disappointing," Vazquez said. "It was the first game back. I don't think they're forgetting from '04. Hopefully I'll get some [wins] in the Stadium and they'll forget that."
Is it unfair for fans to hold Vazquez's performance in 2004 against him? No, not really. Fans base their opinions on performance. Yankees fans booed Derek Jeter, the beloved Captain, while he was mired in a slump. When Jeter started hitting again, the fans were cheering for him once again.
Besides, I'm sure if Vazquez pitched well in 2004, he'd appreciate cheering the cheering that came with it. You can't pick and choose what you want fans to remember or forget. You can only control your performance.
The fans are holding Vazquez accountable for his bad performance down the stretch and in the World Series in 2004. They are holding him accountable for his bad performance this season.
Vazquez is right in knowing how to stop the booing: by performing well. But he's not right in expressing himself. Performance dictates fans' reactions, not what a player wants them to do or remember.