This morning in ATH, I asked why Philly fans hate Rod Barajas. It was explained to me in the comments that it was because Barajas wussed out when he should have been blocking the plate against the Marlins a couple of years ago, allowing a run to score. The great Bob Timmermann — a librarian, and you don’t friggin’ mess with librarians — sends along a news account from that game, revealing that it was actually worse than even the Philly fans in the comments described. From the Knight Ridder report, May 24, 2007:

Aaron Boone singled to shallow leftfield. Jayson Werth fielded it cleanly and fired home, where Ramirez was out by at least 20 feet. Except Barajas chose to rise instead of block the plate. Ramirez slid under the tag. Home plate umpire Tim Timmons called Ramirez safe; tie game.

Barajas went ballistic. He got ejected. Manuel soon followed.

Replays convinced Manuel of Timmons’ correctness, though.

“Ninety-nine times out of a hundred they’re going to call that guy out,” Manuel

Barajas believes he should have gotten the call.

“I didn’t see anything conclusive,” Barajas said.

He didn’t see the big deal, either, concerning his tagging technique.

“I wasn’t sure what [Ramirez] was going to do,” Barajas said. “I didn’t want to be down low and give him a good shot at me, maybe knock the ball loose.”

Manuel seethed over the mental miscues.

“Those are mistakes that you don’t make,” he said.

Barajas’ take: “Since we won the game, we can look back and laugh at some of those plays.”

Except you couldn’t laugh, at least not if you’re a Phillies fan. The inning was supposed to be over, but it went on due to Barajas’ mistake. Two pitches later, Brett Myers injured himself on a pitch and would not rejoin the club for over two months. Pitches, the article notes, he never had to throw.

I suppose it’s an open question as to whether it’s right or even healthy to hold a grudge like that for two years, but at least now I understand why they hold the grudge.

(And thanks Bob!)

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  1. John_Michael said...

    Perhaps there’s an equally good story explaining why the Philly Phaithful boo Wes Helms…?

    I don’t recall anything from the 120 games he played for them in 2007.

  2. Splint Chesthair said...

    It’s even worse than that.  Bottom of the 9th, Phils leadings 7-3, Brett Myers comes out to pitch, WTF Charlie?  But OK, whatever, he wants the CG.  Single, Single, then a Dan Uggla triple makes it 7-5.  Ramirez hits a grounder to third, does Dobbs go for the out?  Nope, he tries to get Uggla out at home, only it wasn’t even close, not if he had Vlad Guerrero’s arm and they were playing at the Vet does Dobbs make that play.  Simply boneheaded.  That put Ramirez on in the first place. Myers guts out two more strikeouts leading 7-6 before Boone’s single to left and Barajas letting Ramirez slide free through his 5 hole.

  3. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Splint—that was the year Myers was in the pen, wasn’t it?  Relief situation, not a CG situation.

  4. Splint Chesthair said...

    Yeah, my bad, I just remember the multiple hits to start the 9th and thinking Manuel should get him out of there.  Funny how you remember things.

  5. Ian said...

    Saw this somewhere today:

    Rod Barajas, 2007 Season with Phillies, 48G: 4HR 10 RBI
    Rod Barajas, Last 5 games vs Phillies: 4HR 10 RBI

  6. chicks dig the longball said...

    Myers was on to close the game, he did not start it.

    on that play Barajas opened his legs like a two dollar whore and then tried to laugh it off.  He was, and always will be, the opposite of a gamer.

  7. Mark Armour said...

    Perhaps it would be tacky to point this out the Phillies’ fans, but it is illegal for the catcher to block the plate without the ball.  Hence, Barajas performed properly.  Sorry, Phans.

  8. Ben Lea said...

    Damn skippy you don’t friggin’ mess with librarians!

      Opinions cited here those of the author alone, and not the major library system for which he works…

  9. TC said...

    Mr Armour –

    As we all know, there are the rules of the game, and there are the unwritten rules of the game.  Catchers block the plate all the time, and I cannot recall a single instance of a runner being ruled safe on the basis of the catcher blocking the plate illegally. 

    Of course, not all catchers block the plate all the time.  Some merely position themselves next to the play, ready to tag as quickly as possible.  Barajas MOVED OUT OF THE WAY TO AVOID POSSIBLE INJURY.  Moving out of the way earns you boos.  “I didn’t want to give him a good shot at me” recalls in the Philadelphia collective sports mind, the Eagles’ RB, Ricky Watters, infamously asking “For who? For what?” when questioned about a failure to block. 

    Fans want to believe that the players on their teams want to win as badly as they do.

  10. Splint Chesthair said...

    Yeah, I take my family to CBP all the time, no problems whatsoever.  One time against the Padres, people booed Milton Bradley unmercifully for 7-8 innings, he later came out of the game and his replacement, some AAA call up got the boos.  The kid turned around and was like WTF?  And everyon elaughed.

  11. Utpal said...

    Oh, Philly… Thanks for the reassurance, guys. I’m in my early 20s myself, but it’s good to know where the goons hang out—I’ll avoid. I wouldn’t want my party and I—a small pocket of Cardinals fans—to get mustard packets thrown at us, like Joe Maddon’s granddaughter…

  12. Utpal said...

    It’s things like this that make me scared about living in Philly and going to games at Citizen’s Bank next year…

  13. George said...

    “Perhaps it would be tacky to point this out the Phillies’ fans, but it is illegal for the catcher to block the plate without the ball.  Hence, Barajas performed properly.  Sorry, Phans.”

    Or perhaps it would be tacky to point out that Barajas had the ball while Boone was still 20 feet from home plate?  Hence, Barajas performed pussily.  Sorry, Mr. pour reeding comprehenchun guy.

    I’m a Phillies’ fan and season ticket holder, I only boo Barajas and JD Drew.

  14. George said...


    I have brought my son to games since he was born.  There’s never been a problem.  As far as being a fan of the opposition, most are treated well.  If opposing fans try to talk trash, they get shot down quickly.  If they get obnoxious, Phillies’s fans will get even more obnoxious. 

    But, if you go to have a good time and have a good nature.  You’ll be treated well.

    although, staying out of the cheap seats is probably a good idea.  Tailgating is also a pretty good at CBP.  but “college nights” and saturday night games bring out some idiots

  15. TC said...

    Oh, don’t be.  The Bank is a mostly friendly experience, and most of the jerks are in their teens and early 20s, trying to live up to the city’s reputation (ya know, instead of providing it naturally.  Most of these idiots hang out in the upper deck behind the right field foul pole.  Sit anywhere else in the stadium, and you’ll nearly always have a pleasant experience.

  16. TC said...


    Really?  JD Drew?  The only people I want to boo when I think of JD Drew are the Phils’ brass: Lee Thomas, Ed Wade, Montgomery, Bill Giles, whoever else might have been involved.  Before the draft, Drew/Boras said they’d sign for $10 million and no less.  The Phils tried to lowball the guy, and Boras showed the team that they did not have all the leverage.  Why boo him?  What he wanted might have been outrageous, but if the market would bear it, why shouldn’t he demand it?  As far as I’m concerned, the Phils, as much as I love them, were trying to bully a kid, and they didn’t get away with it.

  17. George said...

    If a team offers you the most money ever offered to a drafted player as a starting point in the negotiations, that player should at least visit the city once to negotiate in good faith.

    Instead he became a Boras stooge and sat out a year while Boras unseuccesfully tried to have him declared a free agent.  Then he took an offer after sitting out a year that he likely could have received from the Phillies if he had any interest in negotiating. 

    He had no interest in playing for Philly.  So that was a big “F-you” to phillies’ fans. so, you know, “F-him”

    Boras is asking for $50M for Strasburgh, should the Nationals not have drafted him because they have no intention of paying $50M?

  18. Richard Dansky said...

    If memory serves, the local nickname for Barajas while he was in Philly was “the Walking Dead” for his general lack of effort. The Craig Billington moment was just the cherry on that particular stank sundae.

  19. Drew said...

    I still don’t understand why it’s completely acceptable to railroad a catcher.  In any other position on the diamond, this type of play would be considered completely unacceptable (imagine a runner stealing second and instead of sliding into the bag, diving shoulder-first into the covering shortstop) and all it can lead to is injury for one or both of the parties involved.  Sure, everyone likes a good collision, there’s a visceral rush that comes with it, and all that.  But I don’t see how there’s really a place for it in baseball.  If A-Rod can’t slap the ball out of the pitcher’s hand when he’s coming over to tag him out at first, why can Prince Fielder crush Todd Greene?  It’s unfair to players who already play the most physically demanding position in the game that they should be expected to risk potentially serious injury any time a runner is coming to their base to be tagged out.

    That said, given the current rules of the game, Barajas has to make that tag.

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