Javy Báez embraces villain role against White Sox


White Sox fans have made sure Javy Báez hears how they feel about him this weekend with the former Cubs shortstop back in town with the Detroit Tigers.

And Báez was kind enough to return the pleasantries Saturday night at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Báez has been greeted with a chorus of boos each plate appearance the past two games between the White Sox and Tigers, something that has become a tradition of sorts on the South Side since he signed with Detroit last offseason.

But it seems to be turning into an “at your own risk” measure, at least if the way Báez is swinging the bat is any indication.

Báez went 3-for-5 with a three-run homer Saturday night in a 7-2 Tigers win — the White Sox’ fifth straight loss.

His home run trot and celebration said enough. Báez took a moment to lean back and watch the ball fly, took his time rounding the bases and cupped his hand to his ear, as if to say, ‘Let me hear you.’

When he got back to home plate, he waved his arms up and down, egging on the South Side crowd.

Báez has always been a player who thrives off fan energy, good or bad, and after the game discussed how he feeds off the boos.

"It's fun,” he told Detroit reporters, including MLB.com’s Jason Beck. “They make me focus, make me play better, so it's good for me."

Báez has appeared especially locked in when the Tigers have visited the South Side this season. He entered Saturday hitting .303 with a .576 slugging percentage — two homers, three doubles —and six RBIs at Guaranteed Rate Field this season.

“The second half he’s been swinging really good,” acting White Sox manager Miguel Cairo said of Báez. “We just got to make better pitches to him, that’s for sure. 

“And try to attack the other hitters. That’s something that tomorrow we have to work on it.”

And boo him at your own expense.

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