As if the Texas-Toronto feud needed any more drama.
Toronto Star columnist Bruce Arthur asserted in his Saturday column that Rangers fans booed when Blue Jays medical staff attended to pitcher Francisco Liriano after he was hit on the head or neck by a Carlos Gomez line drive late in Friday’s ALDS Game 2.
“Texas fans booed the medical visit to the mound, and chanted U-S-A as Liriano left the game. The fans in these playoffs haven’t distinguished themselves,” he wrote.
Here’s video of the play:
Gomez lines ball off Liriano’s neck
I heard booing at the time and was confused by it myself, but it never occurred to me that Rangers fans would be booing a player getting hurt, especially with an injury so potentially dangerous. You know why? Because it would be ridiculous to assume they were. They weren’t. They were booing Toronto manager John Gibbons, who most fans thought was only coming out to replace pitchers and, as several fans posted on social media, thought he was stalling to slow down the Rangers’ rally.
Booing an opposing team’s pitching change is a pretty routine fan reaction.
Most fans, based on a slew of responses on social media, said they had no idea Liriano had been hit by the ball. They were too busy watching Mitch Moreland score on the play or wondering how Gomez’s line drive ended up in right field. Gomez hit the ball 102 mph and it’s a miracle Liriano wasn’t significantly hurt. He was taken to a hospital after the game to give him a thorough exam.
Here’s a sampling:
The U.S.A. chants from Rangers fans have cropped up against the Blue Jays from time to time, especially after Rougned Odor and Jose Bautista went at on May 15.
I find the U.S.A. chants humorous, but perhaps I’m giving Rangers fans too much credit for being ironic. In May, it derived from the fact that the Rangers were playing a team from Canada, so it was natural, despite the fact that the two players at the center of the scuffle are from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.
But I’ll give Arthur any indignation over the nationalistic chants. That’s fair.
Just don’t accuse Rangers fans of being disrespectful to an injured player when it wasn’t the case.