Twins fans boo Josh Donaldson in his return to Target Field
Now that the Twins have wrapped up a fairly predictable Yankees series. I have to address something I thought was a bit bizarre – the booing of Josh Donaldson. I was sitting right behind the Yankees dugout (I unfortunately have Yankees friends) on Tuesday for the first game of the series when the boos came on pretty strong. I was surprised! I expected one or two hoots and hollers expressing disdain for Donaldson, but not roaring boos.
My Yankees acquaintances were equally as surprised. Hopping onto Twitter I learned I was not the only one who thought this:
I don’t get it. Was he not liked as a twin? Because it wasn’t his choice to leave if that’s why they’re booing
— JP (@JP2972) June 8, 2022
I understand there is a strong disliking of Donaldson from many Twins fans and fans across all of baseball, calling him a ‘cancer’ or a ‘toxic teammate,’ but ultimately these are article headlines from writers, stories with a couple comments from former teammates (now competitors) and a lot of inferring. He also recently got suspended for his interaction with Tim Anderson, is this why fans are booing?
I mean besides the racial “jokes” he made that even his teammates and manager wouldn’t defend…..I wonder what it could be.
— Jimmy J Locke (@JimmyJLocke17) June 8, 2022
In a recent press conference with Byron Buxton, Buxton was sharing his thoughts on how Carlos Correa is a great leader and teammate. Buxton added that it’s something the team has not had in a while. Buxton said nothing about past players, but writers pounced on that to call out Donaldson for being a bad teammate. Is this why fans are booing? If so, that’s true irony because I also was at the Twins vs. Astros series last year, and booing Correa was some of the most energy I’ve seen out of Twins fans in a while.
When I think of Josh Donaldson, I think of a Twins killer. While with the Blue Jays it was terrifying seeing him come to the plate. I mean, in his career – when facing the Twins – in more than 200 plate appearances, he has hit .391 with his highest OPS against any team at 1.302. So yeah, that’s annoying, but booing because someone is good…
Obviously, the booing wouldn’t have JUST been because he was good and some thought he underperformed with the Twins (in my eyes he didn’t.) He had a hefty contract with the Twins making $18.8 million in his first year with the Twins and $22.8 million in his second. In fact, it made for the largest free-agent signing ever, at the time. Yes, people were angry about this, I guess, but his past success is why he was worth that. He was the 2015 AL MVP and averages 30+ home runs a season.
The Twins were atrocious in 2021, but when you lose your first 8 extra-inning games, games where extras were needed because you blew it down the stretch, it really puts a damper on a young season, and there was no return from that in 2021. I don’t blame Donaldson at all for 2021, but I think when with the combined other stuff, this is why Twins fans were booing. Maybe?
I doubt it was the sticky substance talk that aggravated Twins fans. I only add this because it was another sideline antic of Donaldson. In a bad season though, it was actually some entertainment coming from a Twins player. He confronted Lucas Giolito and now-teammate Gerrit Cole. A White Sock and a Yankee, I think all Twins fans could get behind razzin’ them up a bit. The MLB is now doing foreign substance checks, and this is something Donaldson has been talking about for a while. Look at him go, a trailblazer.
When booing a player I think that player has to personally attack your team or fanbase. Donaldson hasn’t done that. Unless fans were booing about his recent comments to Tim Anderson, which I don’t think they were, I don’t really get the booing. He was traded and was an average, veteran player for the Twins.
Dan Gladden: “Boy how quickly they turn on him. He had a great second half for the Twins a year ago. He was a bright spot.”
— Kamie Roesler (@KamieRoeslerTC) June 8, 2022
I mean he’s the Bringer of Rain. The Twins even had a special umbrella hat night for him last year. Cue the umbrella hat:
Donaldson responded to the boos saying “it is what it is.” At the end of the day, the Yankees came away with the series win, but I have to know, what do you think?
Lastly, this reminds me of another player who left the Twins and got booed all the time: A.J. Pierzynski. If you’d like to hear more about the history of his time being booed by his former team, check out this lovely Twinkie Town article from a few years back: