05/08/2004 9:32 PM ET
Notes: A-Rod boos puzzle Boone
Second baseman remembers feeling
By Jim Street / MLB.com
SEATTLE -- The animosity Mariners fans still feel towards Alex Rodriguez puzzles second baseman Bret Boone.
|Bret Boone wasn't around when Alex Rodriguez turned down a long-term offer from Seattle and signed with Texas for bigger money a year later. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
"I wasn't here when everything came down, but I really don't understand why he gets booed the way he does," Boone said. "He is such a good player, I think it's almost a respect thing."
Rodriguez rejected a five-year, $101 million offer in 2000, the year before he became eligible for free agency. Either he, or his agent Scott Boras, decided that being the highest-paid player in Major League Baseball at the time was fine -- as long as A-Rod didn't have to play half of his games in pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.
Rodriguez might have realized that he couldn't accumulate the kind of numbers necessary to become known as the greatest shortstop in the history of the game if he remained in Seattle. So, he turned down the offer, tested the free-agent market with the intention of signing with an organization that had a chance to contend for a World Series championship every year.
Mariners fans might have accepted Rodriguez signing with proven winners like the Yankees, Braves or Dodgers. But after publicly saying money wasn't the key issue, he accepted a 10-year, $252 million offer from the Rangers.
Seattle fans perceived him as being untruthful and they haven't forgiven him for bolting the way he did.
Boone says he certainly doesn't blame Rodriguez for accepting the Rangers' offer, nor does he feel bad for A-Rod when he comes to town and is booed from the moment he sticks his head out of the dugout until he goes out of sight.
"I think people are mad that he left and booing him is just an accepted thing to do in Seattle," Boone said. "When Alex comes to town, they boo."
Boone knows the feeling.
"I was booed in my hometown (Cincinnati) in 1997," he said. "I hit .230 that year and by the end of the season, I was getting booed. My teammates tried to make me feel good and said the fans were 'Booneing' me, but I can tell the difference and it's not a good feeling."
Boone said he gets a kick out of getting booed on the road, because it means he is having a good game or series.
Philadelphia is regarded as the boo capital of the world, but Boone says there's no place like New York.
"They boo everybody," he said. "They boo you when you're down, but cheer you when you do well. They let you know either way how they feel about you. I saw that happen to my brother (Aaron) last year. It went from 'Boone stinks' to 'Boone's the man' when he hit that home run (in the 11th inning of Game 7 of the AL Championship Series to beat the Red Sox and send the Yankees into the World Series).
"That's just the way it is and you can't take it personally."
Except if you are Alex Rodriguez playing in Seattle. In that case, it's still personal.
Winn robbed: Center fielder Randy Winn nearly had his second assist of the season and first at home plate in Friday night's game.
With Hideki Matsui on second base in the fifth inning, Kenny Lofton lined a single up the middle. Winn charged the ball, fielded it quickly and made a superb one-hop throw to catcher Dan Wilson.
"As soon as I let it go, I thought we had a chance of getting (Hideki)," Winn said. "It was low enough to be cut off, but when it went through and hopped right to Dan, I thought we had a chance. I can't tell where the plate is, though."
Wilson seemingly tagged Matusi's shin before the runner's foot touched home plate, but umpire Ed Rapuano, standing at least 10 feet away, gave the "safe" sign.
"It's not easy to throw out people from the outfield," Winn said, "no matter who you are."
Opposing teams have been trying to take an extra base on balls hit to left- or right-center field and some are even tagging up and second base on medium-deep fly balls, testing Winn's throwing arm.
"People even run on Ichiro and he has one of the best arms in the game," Winn said.
Select company: The next homer designated hitter Edgar Martinez hits will be his 300th and put him in some select company. Since 1900, only five players have hit at least 300 home runs, 500 doubles, walked more than 1,000 times, have a .300 batting average and .400 on-base percentage.
Martinez went into Saturday night's game with 299 home runs, 500 doubles, .314 career batting average, 1,239 walks and a .442 on-base percentage. Only Stan Musial, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Ted Williams are in the same group.
Feeling better: Backup infielder/outfielder Willie Bloomquist says his back felt so good Saturday he could play if he weren't on the 15-day disabled list.
He has been sidelined since May 2 with a strained back and the game plan is for him to accompany the team to Minnesota on Monday, continue to work out and then join the Double-A San Antonio Missions in Memphis, Tenn., for a brief rehab assignment while the Mariners are in New York next weekend.
Coming up: Mariners left-hander Jamie Moyer (1-2, 4.50) opposes left-hander Donovan Osborne (2-0, 3.18) in Sunday's series finale.
Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.