When the Dodgers are introduced tonight at Oracle Park, just about every single one of them will hear boos, some more than others. Max Muncy has become Public Enemy No. 1 in recent seasons, but nobody in blue is spared, not even Clayton Kershaw, who is as charitable and well-liked as any player in the big leagues.
The same holds true down the coast, as Buster Posey -- who, like Kershaw, has a spotless reputation -- hears it the loudest from the faithful at Dodger Stadium. That's exactly the way it should be, Duane Kuiper said on this week's Giants Talk podcast.
"I think visiting players if they get booed, I think they think it's great. Because I think they feel like, 'I have done something to cause these fans to dislike me, and if I've done that then I'm doing my job,'" Kuiper said. "And I believe Giants fans should boo Clayton Kershaw. I don't care how many charities he's involved in and how many great things that he does, we're talking about a Dodger, we're talking about a guy who pitches great at Oracle Park. Boo him, boo him when he's warming up, boo him when he sticks his head out of the dugout, because in a lot of ways he's taking that as a compliment."
Kuiper knows from experience, although a lot of the booing he heard was at home when he played for the Cleveland Indians. That's why he was surprised earlier this week when the Mets tried to fight back against their own fans, with Javier Baez, Francisco Lindor and Kevin Pillar giving "thumbs-down" signs to their fans.
Kuiper said he mostly heard from opposing fans in Boston and New York, two cities where he knew they had done their research. The fans back then were particularly fond of making fun of the fact that he was from a farm in Wisconsin.
Kuiper said booing really got to him when he was a player, particularly at home.
"I hated it. It went right to my bones when I got booed and I tried to figure out a way to get them to stop booing as fast as I could," he said. "I just didn't want to hear it. It wore me out, I hated it. You've got to figure out a way to deal with it, you really do. If not, then you're not a big leaguer."