PHOENIX – It may have taken Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez two days, but in the end they learned how to get Arizona Diamondback fans behind them.
Both Gonzalez and Fielder were on the wrong end of loud boooos on Monday night and during the day on Tuesday. While it was for different reasons — Gonzalez for speaking out about SB 1070 last summer or being a former San Diego Padre and now a member of the Boston Red Sox and Fielder for leaving hometown star Justin Upton off the Home Run Derby participant list — they both certainly heard the crowd.
Fielder understood it and took it in stride.
“I didn’t pick one of their players,” Fielder said on Monday of the fans booing him while Upton sat off to the side during the derby. “You’d expect that, it means it means a lot to them.”
Gonzalez was asked about his issue and comments from last summer and he wouldn’t get into it.
“I’m not answering questions about that — about the immigration stuff yeah,” Gonzalez said Monday at the MLB All-Star Game media day. “I just want to focus on baseball here.”
During the actual All-Star game on Tuesday they both let their bats do the talking.
Gonzalez hit a fourth inning home run to the right field bleachers he peppered throughout Monday during the Home Run Derby. The solo shot was the first run of the game and gave the American League the early lead. With plenty of Red Sox and New York Yankee fans in the building there were plenty of cheers for Gonzalez after that home run.
Fielder answered Gonzalez in the bottom half of the inning with a blast of his own. This one had two runners on base and put the National League up 3-1. The NL never looked back in the 5-1 win.
The home run made Fielder the MVP of the game. The NL’s starting first baseman finished the game 1-for-2 with three RBI.
It was an interesting couple of days for Fielder.
“Yeah, I don’t know if I transformed them but I understood,” Fielder said of the crowd booing him and then cheering for him. “That just shows you how much Justin means to them. I didn’t take it personal at all.
“Like I said, I understood it, no hard feelings. But the home run obviously, I guess it would change because it helped us win. That’s why I didn’t take it too personal when they were booing.”
The All-Star week may have started out rough in getting the fans approval but by the end of the festivities it was cheers around. The stars that descended on the desert showed why they were here.