Alex Rodriguez was cut loose last month. David Ortiz got a muted farewell in Baltimore last Thursday, and on Sunday Mark Teixeira plays his final game for the Yankees — against the Orioles.
Where have all the villains gone?
Orioles fans enjoy having someone to boo, and for years, Ortiz, Rodriguez and Teixeira received their fair share, and in recent years, Toronto’s Jose Bautista got some, too.
With Big Papi, A-Rod and Tex not returning for 2016, Orioles fans better hope that Bautista, a looming free agent, doesn’t bolt the Blue Jays.
Who would they have to boo?
Yordano Ventura, who ignited the Manny Machado brawl in June, isn’t much of a target. He plays for the Kansas City Royals, who only appear in one series a year in Baltimore, and Ventura is a starting pitcher, so he’s not even guaranteed to appear in each series.
Ventura is a decent pitcher, unlike the others, who were and are some of baseball’s best.
Bryce Harper? He only plays two or three games in Baltimore a season, but the jeering he gets is more lighthearted than the hard core boos the others got.
An ideal target is someone the fans get familiar with—and plays in the AL East.
Evan Longoria has often hurt the Orioles, but there’s no hate for the Tampa Bay third baseman. Mookie Betts owned Baltimore this season, but he’s too good and not polarizing.
Maybe Orioles fans can hope that when Harper’s contract is up after the 2018 season, he jumps to the Yankees — and Machado stays put.
That would be a rivalry to talk about.
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