Welcome Back Javier Vazquez

Yankees starter hears boos in the Bronx

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Apr 15, 2010  |  Updated 9:00 AM EDT
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Welcome Back Javier Vazquez

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It sounded odd when the boos started raining down in the third inning of Wednesday's game at Yankee Stadium. After all, it had been barely 24 hours since the lovefest of a ring ceremony and it felt like the good vibes would linger in the Bronx for a little while.

They didn't, because 2004 trumps 2009 in the memories of Yankee fans.

Javier Vazquez had just given up a run when the boos began to cascade down to the field, although it wasn't that the Angels rally was really the thing causing fans to fall apart during the eighth game of the season. It was Johnny Damon's grand slam and the 2004 ALCS collapse that was being booed because the fans never had a chance to actually vent their frustration about what went wrong that October night so many years ago.

They were stunned into silence by what the Red Sox pulled off and finally had a chance to find their voices on Wednesday afternoon. What happened in the third was expanded upon in the sixth when the Angels extended a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Was it fair? Vazquez didn't think so and many others did as well but fairness has never been a virtue celebrated in the Yankee stands.

The vast majority of Yankee fans are thrilled by last year's world title, encouraged by this year's start and reasonably concerned that Vazquez has looked like a National League pitcher punching above his weight in two starts thus far. It's not at the level of chasing the guy out of town on the next Greyhound back to Atlanta because reasonable people know its a long season, but Vazquez's fastball looked lifeless Wednesday and that's something worth watching. 

There is always going to be a segment of Yankee fans, though, that find nothing to satisfy their outsize expectations and inflated sense of entitlement. It's a group that's actually happier about Vazquez pitching poorly than by the championship because it gives them an outlet for their rage. That's life as a Yankee, unfortunate but true, and it's nothing worth getting excited about. If 27 championships can't make some people see the forest for the trees, no amount of pointing out their silliness is going to do the trick either.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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