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Franklin: “They’re supposed to be the best fans in baseball”

Apr 20, 2011, 10:20 PM EDT

franklin cards Getty Images

Veteran reliever Ryan Franklin has allowed a whopping seven earned runs in 6 2/3 innings so far this season. He has blown four saves in five chances and has surrendered four home runs.

The guy has made mistake after mistake on the mound and has been mercifully stripped of closing duties. But his biggest flub yet came Wednesday inside the Busch Stadium clubhouse.

Franklin told B.J. Rains of FOX Sports Midwest that he was thrown off by the boos he heard on Wednesday after allowing an eighth-inning 417-foot homer to Nationals outfielder Laynce Nix and a subsequent walk to catcher Ivan Rodriguez.

It was supposed to be a low-pressure relief appearance designed to help Franklin rebuild his confidence, but he didn’t look sharp and the fans at Busch decided to make their feelings known.

“I guess they have short memories too because I think I’ve been pretty good here,” Franklin told Rains. “It doesn’t bother me but it just shows some people’s true colors. You’re either a fan or you’re not.”

The quotes only get more heated as Rains’ column goes on:

“You don’t boo your own team. I don’t care who you are or what you say or just because you spent your money to come here to watch us play that somebody happens to make one bad pitch and give up a homer and you are going to start booing him? I’ve been here for five years and four years I’ve been pretty good.”

And here’s the one that Franklin is going to really regret:

“You should go write stories about the fans booing. They are supposed to be the best fans in baseball. Yeah right.”

Will Leitch said it best in his HBT Daily chat with Craig earlier this week. Cardinals fans are nice. They don’t often boo their own players, and when they do it’s usually the result of a series of bad results. Chris Carpenter isn’t going to hear booing after one or two rough starts. Yadier Molina isn’t going to hear boo birds after an 0-for-20 stretch. But poor showing after poor showing is going to yield negative fan reaction, and that’s a fact in every baseball stadium around the country.

Franklin blew a potential Opening Day victory on March 31 against the Padres, two potential wins out in San Francisco last week, and he blew his fourth save of the season on Sunday when he allowed a walkoff home run to Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. If the Cardinals came away with even two of those wins, they would lead the National League Central right now.

Nobody likes to be scolded. Nobody likes having their job performance judged. But Franklin is 38 years old and has been doing this baseball thing his entire life. If he can’t accept that paying customers in St. Louis are voicing their dissatisfaction with the way he’s pitched to this point, it may be time for a career change.

I hear bass fishing is nice.

***********

UPDATE: Matthew Leach of MLB.com passes along a statment from Franklin. He’s apologizing:

“Obviously these last 2 1/2 weeks have been frustrating for me, and I’m frustrated with myself. I can understand why the fans are frustrated. I’ve loved my time here in St. Louis. It’s my favorite place to play. It’s just a frustrating time for me right now, because I feel like I’m letting everyone down.”

There’s more. Head over to Leach’s blog for the goods.

  1. dreadpiratesteve - Apr 20, 2011 at 10:29 PM

    You are paid to do a job. Fans pay money to come see you do a job which you are paid to do. If you are consistently failing at the aforementioned job, the fans are completely within their right to boo you Ryan.

    • bradwins - Apr 21, 2011 at 3:26 PM

      Fans definitely have a right to boo. That doesn’t mean it isn’t an embarrassingly childish thing to do.

  2. thefalcon123 - Apr 20, 2011 at 10:31 PM

    1. That “best fans in baseball” stuff is nonsense. Just ask Ray Lankford who spent ten years being known as the guy who wasn’t Willie McGee (umm…he was considerably better guys!)

    2. That being said, Franklin’s blown 4 games in 5 chances leading to four losses. He, really, really deserved to be booed. And I hope he enjoys being booed mercilessly next time he comes out onto the field.

    • spudchukar - Apr 20, 2011 at 11:25 PM

      What is nonsense, is the notion that Ray Lankford was better than Willie McGee. Had he ever lived up to his potential he could have been better, but alas, that was not the case.

      No matter how frustrated one gets, complaining about fans booing when you have failed miserably in the early going, especially from a 38-year old veteran is not going to endear yourself to those who have supported you for so long. His comments are in poor judgement to say the least.

      Are the Cardinal fans the best in baseball? Maybe, and I am sure others can make an argument for their home town. What is true, is that they are some of the most knowledgeable, they are not afraid to complement a great play by the opposition, they flood to the stadium in droves seconded only by the record-setting percentage of TV viewership, and they are loyal to those who wear the Birds on the Bat. However, while humane, they are human, and like Franklin are frustrated by the near wins that Franklin cost them and the negative response is justified.

      • thefalcon123 - Apr 20, 2011 at 11:37 PM

        Career WAR:
        Ray Lankford: 42.2
        Willie McGee: 29.5

        War in TOP 5 seasons:
        Ray Lankford: 27.3
        Willie McGee: 20.5

        Alas, Willie McGee was not better and it was not particularly close.

      • paperlions - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:11 AM

        Yeah, I was going to say….Langford was substantially better than McGee, not going to bother looking them up again but their career OPS+es are something like 122 (Langford) and 100 (McGee). Like most fan bases, StL fan attitudes about players is largely shaped by the attitudes toward that player of the managers and media.

      • spudchukar - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:00 AM

        When McGee was in his prime, the comparisons are silly. McGee approached greatness, won a MVP, and lifted the Cards to World Series champions. The word great and Lankford never appear in the same sentence.

      • seattlej - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:40 AM

        Ah, revisionist history. McGee had a single season that should be considered great, which was followed by four mediocre (or just straight lousy) seasons, before he had one more decent season. After that, he had one more average season and then fell off a cliff. Just glancing at his career, it looks like he had one great season, two good ones, three average ones and a whole lot of lousy ones. Lankford never had a season as great as McGees ’85, but he consistently put up numbers that were better than anything else McGee did in his career.

  3. paperlions - Apr 20, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    Being good fans doesn’t mean that you have endless patience….truthfully, most fans have wanted the Cardinals to find a viable replacement for Franklin for more than a year.
    .
    If he doesn’t think they are among the best fans in baseball (or at least the most polite), he should ask himself how many other fan bases would have waited so long to start booing him….and even the booing is rather quiet and polite.
    .
    When you blow 80% of your save opportunities and then give up runs in a lower leverage situation when your team is making a comeback….you got to figure not many people will be happy.

  4. thebrettman - Apr 20, 2011 at 10:36 PM

    what kind of guy keeps a goatee like that at 38 years old…

    • spudchukar - Apr 20, 2011 at 11:27 PM

      Forever Young.

    • ultimatecardinalwarrior - Apr 20, 2011 at 11:57 PM

      A Fireballer.

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 21, 2011 at 12:59 PM

      He’s commemorating the 150th anniversary of the first year of the Civil War.

  5. kmgannon - Apr 20, 2011 at 10:40 PM

    I get that he’s frustrated; I doubt he genuinely meant what he said, and that he was venting in the heat of the moment.

    But it was an incredibly poor decision nonetheless. He’s taken a bad situation and made it worse–the odds of him getting mentally straight while trying to live down these quotes under a cascade of boos are low indeed.

  6. jodave5 - Apr 20, 2011 at 10:59 PM

    Uh…no, they THINK they are the best fans in baseball. This just in STL, 1 World Series title in 28 years does NOT make you the end-all be-all of MLB. The Florida Marlins have 2x as many. Hell, the Kansas City Royals have that many, at your expense and it’s only ONE more than the Cubs have in that time frame….baaaaaahahahahahahaha

    • thegoche - Apr 20, 2011 at 11:04 PM

      You do realize that the fans don’t win the World Series right? So maybe it’s not the best metric for who the best fans are…

      That said, I don’t know who the best fans are, but it does make me sad that I know it’s not my team…though Braves fans are not as bad as people act like they are.

    • thefalcon123 - Apr 20, 2011 at 11:06 PM

      Well, I think the point is that they drew great crowds when they weren’t winning either. The Royals and Marlins draw nobody.

      Cubs fan may be the bets. Sure, they’re bitter and angry, but they still come out. And frankly, they have every right to be bitter and angry as years of soul crushing disappointment have left them hollow mockeries of the human condition. As a Cardinal fan, I love it.

  7. oldpaddy - Apr 20, 2011 at 11:02 PM

    What’s wrong with booing?

  8. The Common Man/www.platoonadvantage.com - Apr 20, 2011 at 11:13 PM

    Given his choice of beard, I am surprised that Ryan Franklin is so sensitive to criticism.

    • iftheshoefits2 - Apr 21, 2011 at 8:05 AM

      You would expect he was either used to it or oblivious to it, with that grooming.

      Telling fans not to boo their own team? Must be nice to play your career in fairy-land, where you only hear birds chirp all day and fans only provide huzzahs and “atta boy”s.

      Or is he so clueless that all those games played in Philly or NY, he never heard fans boo their own teams?

      I don’t believe its constructive to boo your own team, but when a player repeatedly makes critical mistakes that hurt the team? Paying fans have a right to voice their displeasure.

  9. frankvzappa - Apr 20, 2011 at 11:38 PM

    i knew he had been around for awhile, but 38? it is simply time to admit he doesnt have it anymore and move on

  10. xerocc - Apr 21, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    The disturbing part is how he keeps making these terrible excuses: “I made one bad pitch,” or “I made a good pitch, he just beat me.” You’re tired of us booing, and we’re tired of you blowing.

  11. mercyflush - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:16 AM

    bass fishing? i’m pretty sure that bass would boo the fishermen if they had the vocal cords to do so. they’d probably throw batteries too.

  12. mannyicey - Apr 21, 2011 at 7:51 AM

    First of all, Willie McGee vs. Ray Lankford talk:

    Ray Lankford may have better stats than Willie McGee. But Ray Lankford did play as a rookie during the 1982 World Series and hit two home runs in a single game. (and Willie was a slap-hitter, known for his speed and not power.)

    Plus, he was a vacuum in center field during that game. Remember that he made that big-time, leaping catch in the ninth inning- taking away a home run?

    I was 12, but winning that World Series was the closest thing I’ve witnessed that resembled the sheer joy in the streets as if when the USA won World War 2. People literally was hugging and crying in the streets. It was sheer pandemonium! And Willie McGee was a big hero. I mean, I don’t know if he’s even allowed to pay for drinks in St. Louis!

    • thefalcon123 - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:08 AM

      Factually stating that Ray Lankford was better than Willie McGee is not a knock on Willie McGee or meant to diminish his career. I was referring to hoards of Cardinals fans who spent ten years talking about what a scrub Ray Lankford was, and “back in MY day we had Willie McGee!”. Yeah, Willie was good, Lankford was better. The Cardinals fans have been spoiled for the past 28 years with center fielders. With almost no gap (save for Ankiel) the Cardinals center fielders list is has been this:
      82-90: Willie McGee
      90-99: Ray Lankford
      2000-2007- Jim Edmonds
      2009-2010- Colby Rasmus

      • spudchukar - Apr 21, 2011 at 11:15 AM

        We are still waiting for Lankford to bust out and have that one great year, like McGee. Those are the ones that take you to the promised land.

      • thefalcon123 - Apr 21, 2011 at 12:26 PM

        Ray was a real scrub in 1997, with just 31 bombs and a .996 OPS.
        Or 1998, with 31 homers, 105 RBI’s and hitting .293/.391/.540
        Or 1992 with his 143 OPS+
        And he was really good most of the year’s in between.
        The Cards didn’t go the the “promised land” cause Ray can’t do it all by himself…neither could Willie for that matter.
        McGee best season was better than Lankford’s best. That’s it. That is exactly like that Brady Anderson was better than Kirby Puckett because of 1996.

  13. hank10 - Apr 21, 2011 at 8:52 AM

    So St. Louis isn’t ‘baseball heaven’ as Scott Rolen proclaimed after he was traded to them by the Phils in 2002?

  14. cleverbob - Apr 21, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    OMG those fans are monsters! How dare they express discontent.

  15. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:02 AM

    You mean you pay your 100 bucks to buy a ticket and you are not allow to boo poor performance? Of course, Franklin is the guy who thought it was a bad idea to ban guns from the clubhouse while I think it is a bad idea to ban them from the stands. If the Giant fan had been armed he would never gotten that beat down in LA.

  16. cintiphil - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    OK it is time for me t get in here. What Franklin doesn’t understand about fans is this. In St. Louis and or Cincinnati, you may get a boo here and there when you are doing as poorly as he is. After blowing four in a row you can expect to hear at least 25% of the fans giving a “polite boo”. That is the kind of fan you get in our cities. I have lived in Beantown and other places in the East. I can promise you that in NY, Boston, and Philly, this guy would have been booed out of the stadium after the first blown save. I have been to games up in the East, and that is how it is. A long time ago, Philly had great hitter named Del Ennis. In the late fifties he was the leading HR hitter in Phillies history. Watching one game where he struck out with men on base, I was amazed that he was booed out of the stadium. The next time hitting a HR, he was cheered as the second coming. That is the way of baseball on the East Coast.

    Franklin should be lucky to be playing around here. Up there, he just may be tarred and feathered when he comes out of the ballpark.

    • hank10 - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:37 AM

      Franklin did play for the Phils in 2006. He hated it when they switched him from starter to the bullpen and made enough of a stink they traded him to the Reds the same year. He was terrible when he was here: went 1-5 with a 4.58 ERA in 46 appearances.

    • spudchukar - Apr 21, 2011 at 11:13 AM

      Rarely do we see eye to eye Cincinnatti Phillip, but today I think you have it pretty close to right on. One last note, the crowd was sparse and probably a little unique due to the Tuesday night rainout and early morning Wednesday start, at least out here in the West, so the boos may have been a little more noticable.

  17. Jonny 5 - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:20 AM

    “Most polite” does not equal the best of anything. Unless entering a politeness contest of course.

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 21, 2011 at 1:04 PM

      He left the place with the best fans in baseball to go to St. Louis, after bitching about not getting a chance to start—only to be sent to the bullpen for the Red Birds.

      And for things that make you go hmmm: the year before he was here, he was suspended for 50 games for steroids—and he was a lot ganglier than he seems to be now…

  18. jtsel81 - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    @Hank10, Rolen is a whining, over paid, almost permanent fixture to the DL!!!! Never cared for his constant complaining and crying about ol’ Tony picking on him all the time. Maybe if he didn’t cost so much to sit on the bench, shut his mouth & just played ball like Franklin should be doing, Cardinal fans might not dislike him so much. I for one was glad to see him go, ask Philly if they want him back!!!! I dout it, he was a whining baby there too!!!

    • hank10 - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:39 AM

      Being in Philly, I saw his petulance and his moping attitude for the better part of 7 seasons.

  19. CJ - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:34 AM

    Dude has no brains.. Gee Franklin, now that you told the fans how you really feel about them, how do you think they’ll respond the next time you take the mound?

    If they don’t boo him louder after this, it’ll be because they’re too busy throwing stuff at him.

  20. dexterismyhero - Apr 21, 2011 at 11:15 AM

    I’m booing him from Indianapolis. Hope he hears it..

  21. metalhead65 - Apr 21, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    wow what a shock another cardnial crying to the press. first st.larussa yells at them and walks out during a press conferance and now this. yea Brandon Phillips was way off base telling the truth about them wasn’t he?as lousy as the reds are playing right now you do not hear any “whining” coming from them do you?

  22. ntmare5 - Apr 21, 2011 at 4:03 PM

    Great point Metalhead. The Reds are too busy shoplifting t-shirts and getting taken to the Cincy Pokey to be whining about their on field performance. You want to hear boos at Busch? Wait ’til tomorrow night the first time Phillips walks to the plate…

  23. cintiphil - Apr 21, 2011 at 6:07 PM

    Just got back from the game. We finally managed to beat Arizona. Dusty used Cordero in a non save situation. Why? He used him last night in a non save situation also. I guess he thinks he will beat the redbirds at least by 3 in the next three days, and won’t need Francisco. What a lame brain manager we got! I think I may stop going to the games.

  24. garlicfriesandbaseball - Apr 22, 2011 at 2:48 AM

    Sorry. Couldn’t resist sharing my post about the Cardinals when they played in SF a few weeks ago.. They’re one classy group of guys, and so are their fans.

    http://garlicfriesandbaseball.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/those-classy-cardinals/

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