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Alfonso Soriano describes Dunn boos as ‘sad,’ Chicago fans as ‘worst’

David Brown
Big League Stew

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The way many Chicago White Sox fans respond to Adam Dunn — by booing loudly — strikes a nerve with Alfonso Soriano, even though he plays for another team across town.

Because he used to be "that guy."

In a Chicago Sun-Times story sure to cause Soriano some grief, he expressed sadness for Dunn, said fans in general were ignorant of players efforts and called Chicago fans' behavior "the worst" in the majors.

Yes, even worse than New York, where Soriano broke in with the Yankees. Whoo-hoo! Chicago wins! (Sori had no comment on Philly.)

Gordon Wittenmyer dishes the details:

"The fans, they don't understand when the player's struggling, how hard it is and how he is trying,'' Soriano said. "He cannot think about [it]. He's got to try to do the best he can to just concentrate on the game." [...]

"The fans, they come to see the players do good, but sometimes they want to look at something negative and boo the guy,'' he said. "That's nothing new. That's the way it is here."

Worse than other cities?

"It's the worst," said Soriano, who has seen several teammates also booed at Wrigley in his four-plus seasons in Chicago. "I played in New York, but the fans are worse here. But at the same time, I understand. Fans can get frustrated because they want the team to win, and they want the players to hit. At the same time, the game's not easy.''

There's a lot going on "at the same time," Alfonso.

Dunn, who signed a $56 million free-agent contract in the offseason, comes into play Wednesday batting .175/.314/.323 with seven homers and a league-high 91 strikeouts in 264 plate appearances. And his team's record sits below .500.

Bad. Disastrous, even. Worth booing — if you think booing is OK, that is — and lots of fans at U.S. Cellular Field do.

Soriano thinks it's wrong. {YSP:MORE}

Soriano was booed at Wrigley Field during his first season in Chicago in 2007. He started slowly — nothing like Dunn — and had an injury after signing a $136 million contract with the Chicago Cubs. To this day, there's still a "he's not worth it" vibe around Soriano. It still must sting him.

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So, yes, he's walked back to the dugout in Dunn's shoes many a time with his head slumped.

Here's the deal, though: The fans have the privilege of booing, and players should have every reason to expect it. But that doesn't make booing effective and it doesn't mean players should expect sympathy when they complain about the fans.

There's no reason to think that booing a player makes him perform better. As Soriano said, a player already knows when he's performing badly. If booing affects a player at all, he'll probably just take a disliking to the fans. Not that fans should care. Adam Dunn isn't there to be your friend. He's there to hit home runs. Or, strike out a lot.

Fans boo anyway, because what else are they going to do? They have three choices: Boo, cheer, or be silent. Players have two: Play well or don't, and accept all of the consequences regardless.

As for Soriano's silly assertion that Chicago fans are the worst, it sounds a lot like confirmation bias at its most basic. Adam Dunn gets paid to play in Chicago, hits poorly and the fans boo. It's much like the story Soriano has experienced since he got to town.

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