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For baseball players, getting to the World Series is the ultimate goal. Most don’t care who they play — the point is being there and getting a chance at a ring. But Houston Astros outfielder Josh Reddick does care about who the Astros play, and he’s really glad it’s the Los Angeles Dodgers. After the Astros eliminated the New York Yankees on Saturday, Reddick, who played for the Dodgers for two months in 2016, had some pointed comments about Dodgers fans.
Here’s the text of what Reddick told reporters:
“Personally, I wouldn’t rather do it against any other team. I wasn’t really a fan favorite there. I got booed a lot as a home player. I didn’t really fit in, it seemed like they thought. I tried to put that behind me. But I think it’s gonna be fun to go back, especially to beat them. It’s gonna be a really good feeling for me personally.
“Nothing against that team, that organization. There’s a lot of history and a lot of great guys over there. But the fanbase, I think it would be more personal for me to win. Just to get that reaction from them. But it’s not gonna be easy. They’re a really good team, a really good ballpark. Their fans are gonna be loud, just like it was for this series for the Yankees.”
Reddick really doesn’t like Dodgers fans, huh.
To try and understand why Dodgers fans booed Reddick (beyond his assertion that he “just didn’t fit in”), let’s examine his short Dodgers career. Reddick landed on the Dodgers on Aug. 1, 2016 as a result of a trade. He and Rich Hill went from the Oakland Athletics to the Dodgers in exchange for three players. In the first half of 2016, when he played for the Athletics, he hit .296/.368/.449. After the trade to the Dodgers, he hit a much more pedestrian .258/.307/.335.
A .258 average isn’t a reason for home fans to boo a player. But when you look a little closer at Reddick’s journey to that .258 average, the root of the booing becomes clearer. In his first month with the Dodgers, Reddick hit .161/.233/.172. He did that in 25 games and 94 plate appearances. Fans expected more of a guy who came to the team via a trade deadline deal, especially since he was playing every day.
The booing clearly stuck in Reddick’s mind, and it’s understandable. He was getting his feet under him with a new team, while the fans expected immediate excellence. Now that his new team and his old team are playing each other in the World Series, he wants to stick it to the Dodgers fans by being awesome and showing them how wrong they were.
To actually do that, Reddick’s got an uphill battle ahead of him. His bat has gone into hibernation — he had one lonely hit in the ALCS and hit .040 in the series. And wanting to stick it to Dodgers fans presumes they care about him and his two short months on the team. With their team in the World Series, and with guys like Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner at the plate, Reddick is a distant memory. Even if the Astros do win the World Series, Reddick probably won’t be the focus of Dodgers fans.
Reddick may want Dodgers fans to feel sadness and regret, but this is more about him than it is about them. He’s been using those boos as motivation to get where he is now. And the scenario is unfolding exactly as he scripted it in his head, whether Dodgers fans care or not.
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