Return of the Prince

When Prince Fielder took the field during Gatorade All-Star Workout day preceding the Home Run Derby a week ago, the fans in attendance voiced their displeasure with the Milwaukee Brewers star first baseman. Shouts and jeers pummeled Fielder from the bleachers as fans expressed their thoughts on him not selecting Arizona Diamondbacks right fielder Justin Upton to be part of the Home Run Derby.

Fielder attempted to ignore the comments from the fans going about his business preparing for the All-Star game and Home Run Derby. His seemingly nonchalant attitude merely made matters worse and the fans increased their volume. This continued into the introductions for the Home Run Derby where the fans not only booed Fielder but also turned their wrath on Brewers infielder Rickie Weeks.

Part of me cringed at the treatment Fielder and Weeks were receiving from the local fans. The other part of me secretly applauded these fans. For much of the time baseball fans in Phoenix tend to be rather quiet only cheering when told it was appropriate by prompts on the scoreboard.

Last week the Arizona fan base took a huge step forward showing their passion for the snub of their local All-Star. They took every opportunity on Monday and again Tuesday during the actual All-Star game to let Fielder know they were holding him personally responsible for Upton’s absence.

Tonight the Arizona Diamondbacks welcome the Milwaukee Brewers to Chase Field for a four-game series. The Diamondbacks are coming off a series win against the Los Angeles Dodgers while the Milwaukee Brewers have climbed atop the National League Central Division by splitting a series with the Colorado Rockies.

The story should be about two franchises who are fighting for a trip to the post season. Why then do I find myself looking forward to tonight’s game not because the Diamondbacks have a two-game winning streak and are pressuring the San Francisco Giants but because I want to see whether the boos for Prince Fielder were just a one-time occurrence or indicative of how loyal the Arizona fans are to Justin Upton.

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