Dodgers fans’ treatment of Kenley Jansen in return was despicable

Thomas Carannante
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 19: Closer Kenley Jansen #74 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates with catcher Travis d'Arnaud #16 after closing out the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on April 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 19: Closer Kenley Jansen #74 of the Atlanta Braves celebrates with catcher Travis d'Arnaud #16 after closing out the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on April 19, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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Uhhh … what alternate universe are we living in? On Tuesday night, we watched Atlanta Braves closer Kenley Jansen shut the door on Los Angeles with new Dodgers slugger Freddie Freeman recording the final out.

The night prior, we saw Freeman record his first home run as a Dodger … against his former team. Baseball storylines never cease to amaze.

However, there is a disturbing little nugget in here from Tuesday night’s contest, and it was the Dodgers fans’ treatment of Jansen, who is the franchise’s all-time greatest closer and one of the best in the history of the sport.

When Jansen made his way from the bullpen to the rubber in the ninth inning, he was showered with boos from the home crowd. Nothing new, though! He’s been booed by the fans at Dodger Stadium when he was succeeding as a member of his former team.

This is absolutely despicable behavior from the unruly sect of Dodgers supporters. Jansen left Los Angeles under very normal circumstances. He wanted to return and the team wanted him back, but the lockout, in addition to the pursuit of Freeman, threw things off course. Blame the Dodgers for giving nearly a combined $25 million to Tyler Anderson, Andrew Heaney and Daniel Hudson.

Jansen’s price was always going to be high after his tremendous rebound in 2021 and everyone knew that. The Dodgers waited too long and addressed other areas of the roster they felt were more important, which forced Jansen’s hand. He couldn’t wait any longer.

Dodgers fans booing Kenley Jansen is such a tired act

Being a closer is admittedly a thankless job. You succeed, and it’s expected. You fail, and you’re a pariah. Jansen has been hearing criticism from Dodgers fans throughout his 12 years in LA despite historic success. He didn’t hear the end of it last year despite recording a 2.22 ERA, 3.08 FIP and 1.0 4 WHIP with 86 strikeouts and 38 saves in 69 innings.

Not sure what else you want from the last line of defense in the bullpen. And if you hated him so much as your closer, then why boo him because he left? By that logic, you should be happy!

Jansen is the Dodgers’ all-time leader in:

  • WHIP (0.93)
  • Hits per 9 IP (5.75)
  • Strikeouts per 9 IP (13)
  • Games played (701)
  • Saves (350)
  • Games finished (519)
  • Adjusted ERA+ (164)
  • FIP (2.37)
  • Strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.01)

Would’ve been nice if more fans wished him well. Some did, in fact! But there were far too many boos overshadowing the good intentions.

There’s an argument to be had that Jansen is one of the most successful players to ever be disrespected by his own/former fan base. With the exception of Mariano Rivera, just about every closer in history escalated tensions a bit with a portion of their showings in the ninth inning.

Jansen is no different … except for the fact that the converted catcher could finish his career as a Hall of Famer.

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