Sports Q: Have you ever rooted for a player on a baseball team you couldn’t stand?

"Jeter? Nope. Never. Great player, but he got too much credit, and his smirking face represented Red Sox anguish for almost a decade."

Josh Reddick #22 of the Houston Astros hits a foul ball against the Oakland Athletics during the fifth inning in Game Four of the American League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 08, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

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Did you ever find yourself rooting for a player on a team you hated? I kind of feel that way about Josh Reddick and the Astros now. I liked him when he played for the Red Sox, and I still do, but I hope his cheat-wagon team never wins another game. Does that make sense? Has this happened to you? – Lynn J.

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I suspect this happens a lot across sports – I imagine there are a lot of Celtics fans who don’t mind seeing Rajon Rondo win another ring, even if it’s with the Lakers – but we’ll keep it to baseball here.

The best answer for me is, yes, and it applies to a couple of Yankees in the ‘80s. Even though I couldn’t stand that team – I first became a Red Sox fan in ’78, so the bitterness started early and ran deep here – I always liked Dave Winfield and Willie Randolph.

Winfield seemed the epitome of cool, and I felt bad for him when George Steinbrenner tagged him “Mr. May” after he went 1 for 22 in the ’81 World Series. He was never a True Yankee in all the obnoxious ways.

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And Randolph just seemed like a low-key, classy dude, running counter to the image of the Yankees then.  Still think he could have made a play on Yaz’s 3,000th hit if he really wanted to, but Yaz was struggling, and Randolph … couldn’t … quite … reach … it. Randolph was also a really good guy to have in your lineup in Strat-O-Matic, because he walked a ton. It all comes back to Strat-O-Matic, you know.

I imagine a lot of Sox fans will say Mariano Rivera or Derek Jeter. I get Rivera – he was incredibly gracious when fans cheered him during player introductions on Opening Day 2005, when the Sox celebrated their World Series win. But Jeter? Nope. Never. Great player, but he got too much credit, and his smirking face represented Red Sox anguish for almost a decade.

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What does everyone else think? Have you ever rooted for a player on a baseball team you couldn’t stand? I’ll hear you in the comments.

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