It made sense. The game was played in an NL West ballpark. The Dodgers have been the preeminent team and highest-spenders of the past four years, finally capping their efforts with a World Series win in 2020.
We also live in an age of Twitter where opposing fans have taken great pleasure in delegitimizing that 60-game season, and want nothing more than for LA to go away in the light of a new day.
Luckily for us, the Dodgers have no intention of doing so.
At the break, they’re 56-35, sporting one of the best records in baseball despite myriad internal roster issues. They sent four players to the All-Star Game itself (Mookie Betts stayed home), three of whom were the residue of incredible player development — Max Muncy, Chris Taylor and Justin Turner are shining beacons of the Dodgers’ incredible front office and staff.
Managing the All-Star Game is a thankless job. We knew some fan bases would eventually be dissatisfied with Dave Roberts’ usage of their players. We perhaps didn’t think the boos would precede first pitch, though — but they did, they were hearty, and they were directed at the champs.
The Dodgers were the most-booed team at the 2021 All-Star Game.
Even though fans understand why their players are being roasted, it never gets easier. On the road in a World Series? Of course. Channel it. Thrive off the hatred. In the All-Star Game? Isn’t this supposed to be a showcase for the league’s best? Why is Xander Bogaerts getting booed?!
Without the Astros, though, there was a clear booing void, and the Dodgers filled it for a disaffected city that didn’t have the opportunity to boo its own owner for dropping Nolan Arenado on St. Louis.
The one fan base that might have the right to express their displeasure with the Dodgers and Dave Roberts? Philadelphia.
Roberts somehow failed to use Phillies ace Zack Wheeler until the game was all but decided, with one out to go in his first All-Star experience. Egregious on the surface, at least he didn’t shove other teams’ players (like Carlos Rodon) to the bench in favor of his own players who’d only made the roster as a last-ditch replacement (like Andrew Kittredge) in the same way Kevin Cash did on the other side.
For the most part, Dodgers fans seemed to take the boos in stride, though. One even found a way to further needle the Rockies, hitting them where it hurt with a savage reply.
More good news for the Dodgers, though? They host this game next year. Expect a different kind of ovation.
As long as MLB brings back the individual team jerseys and doesn’t clothe everyone in weird unitards for the game.