Jesse Winker will quickly endear himself with the Cincinnati Reds’ fans. However, the reaction will not be the same when he and the Reds are away from Great American Ball Park.
It started on Monday night after the Cincinnati Reds defeated the New York Mets 5-4. Jesse Winker smashed a solo shot off Mets’ closer Edwin Díaz in the top of the ninth inning. As the Reds walked off Citi Field with the win, Winker began to wave at the fans in the left field seats. While the opposing team’s fans will despise this type of behavior, Reds fans are sure to love it.
Jesse Winker may not have endeared himself to the fans in Queens, but the fans in the Queen City are sure to jump on board. Let’s be honest, as much as fans love a player who respects the game and acts like they’ve been there before, we also love to see athletes show emotion and express their excitement. That’s what you’re seeing from Jesse Winker.
In no way do I believe that Winker is out there to show up his opponent. I think he’s just having fun. Jesse Winker’s personality shines through in his interactions with teammates and media personalities. He seems to be just a fun-loving guy.
Not only did Jesse Winker wave good night to the New York faithful on Monday night, but after making a sliding catch to seal the 1-0 victory on Wednesday night, Winker popped up and gave a friendly wave to Mets’ fans once again.
Now, let’s not kid ourselves, as much as we may see Jesse Winker having sarcastic interactions with the opposing team’s fanbase, do not be too oblivious to realize that those same fans are not innocent victims to Winker’s gestures either. Whatever he’s dishing out, he’s getting right back.
If you tuned into yesterday’s day game, you probably heard the jeers, boos, and excessive commentary from the New York Mets fans. The crowd noise came to a crescendo when Jesse Winker was ejected in the top of the ninth inning for arguing balls and strikes.
The Cincinnati Reds return home tonight to face the San Francisco Giants. As excited as Reds fans will be to see Nick Senzel make his major league debut, I also expect a rousing ovation when Jesse Winker steps to the plate. The Cincinnati Reds fanbase is looking for a player to gravitate towards with the absence of Scooter Gennett, and Winker may be that guy.
The Reds have a bevy of characters on the team. You could argue that Eugenio Suarez, Joey Votto, and of course Yasiel Puig let their personality shine through when they’re on the field. In fact, the interactions that Jesse Winker had this week in the Big Apple are eerily similar to some of the hijinks that Votto has had over the years with fans of opposing teams.
Remember when Joey Votto faked out the fans in Philadelphia? Joey snagged a foul ball and rather than throwing it into the crowd as a lot of players do, he pumped faked a toss into the stands and then threw the ball back into the field of play. Votto then gave a fist pump and insighted the Phillies’ fans, which is not hard to do.
There was another occasion in Philadelphia when a blooper fell into foul ground on the first base side of the field, and rather than let the ball roll towards the fans, Votto quickly chased down the ball and tossed it back into the dugout.
So why does Joey Votto, Jesse Winker, or anybody enjoy messing around with other fanbases? Votto via MLB.com talked about his interaction with the fans back in 2016.
“I was just having fun with them. You know, they give you a hard time during the game and it’s my way of giving them a hard time back. Really, it’s just me playing around.”
It’s just Joey being Joey, and what we’re seeing from Winker is just Jesse being Jesse. Opposing fanbases are sure to despise this type of stuff, just as Reds fans like to give it to Yadier Molina, Javier Baez, and no doubt the way the Reds’ faithful are soon to give it to Chris Archer when the Pittsburgh Pirates return to Great American Ball Park.
Baseball is supposed to be fun, folks. It’s a game you play as a kid and it’s a game that allows for great interaction between the fans and the players. Jesse Winker will have a section of the left field fans cheering him on during every game at GABP and booing his every move when the Reds leave the friendly confines of the Queen City.
As long as it remains civil, I’ve got no problem with Jesse Winker waving to the fans and wishing them a good night. If he does, that means the Cincinnati Reds, in all likelihood, will have walked away with a victory.