I can remember long ago taking a business course in college in which we learned about cognitive dissonance, or buyer’s remorse. That’s when you make a big purchase and soon start to worry that you made the wrong decision. The baseball version would include regretting a trade. But after Opening Day, the Orioles can’t be feeling any cognitive dissonance.
In the offseason, they traded away their 50-save closer, Jim Johnson, to the Oakland A’s and have installed Tommy Hunter in his place. Hunter is 1-for-1 in save chances, pitching out of a jam of his own making, including facing down the Boston Red Sox’s David Ortiz while locking down a tight game on Monday. Meanwhile, the O’s ex-closer had an inauspicious beginning to his A’s career.
Johnson exited the mound to boos from the home crowd after giving up the game’s only runs in Oakland’s 2-0 loss to the Cleveland Indians.
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"I would have booed me, too," Johnson said (via mlb.com). "I sucked today, I'll admit it. That's fine. I deserved it. I expect that. The next time they're probably going to be cheering. Everything you're not supposed to do as a pitcher, I did. Pretty much the opposite way I wanted to start."
And if those mea culpa quotes sound familiar to Orioles fans, so will the supportive talk from A’s manager Bob Melvin, who spoke like Buck Showalter in defending Johnson: "He's always the type of guy who's one pitch away from getting a double-play ball, but it just didn't happen for him today. It just wasn't his day."
Johnson’s day went like this: Enter a scoreless game in top of the ninth. Walk Asdrubal Cabrera to open the inning. Give up a single to David Murphy. Hit Yan Gomes with a pitch. Yield a sacrifice fly to Nyjer Morgan. Give up an RBI single to Nick Swisher. Leave the game while the fans vent their displeasure.
That booing would be the sound of cognitive dissonance.