Six Biggest Villains To Root Against In MLB Playoffs

Two Yankees are featured on the list


October 6, 2022

The Major League Baseball postseason is where players vault themselves into hero status by their respective fanbases. But not all players are meant to be heroes. Some are actually much better served as villains.

With the stakes growing exponentially starting with the Wild Card round getting underway Friday, fans will almost inherently begin to dislike a certain player or two on the opposing team. Maybe even fans from one of the 18 teams that didn’t make the postseason cut want to see someone fail on the elevated stage.

There are certainly plenty of likeable stars in the playoffs, but here are six villains fans will love to root against in October.

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees
Cole is without a doubt a terrific pitcher, but he tends to shrink in the pressure-packed moments. His career postseason numbers — 8-5 record with a 2.93 ERA — are better than imagined, but if the Yankees ace doesn’t get his way, it can lead to the 32-year-old throwing a tantrum as he did during a late September contest against the Boston Red Sox this season. And be sure Cole will have an excuse for it, too.

When everything is going wrong on the mound for Cole, it’s a horror show for the Yankees and such a delight to opposing fans. Cole needs to perform well in the postseason to live up to the exorbitant contract he signed with New York, and he hasn’t done that yet with the Yankees.

Aaron Boone, New York Yankees
While we’re on the Yankees, their manager won’t generate a lovefest, either. Boone’s annoying antics at his postgame press conferences this season should rub fans the wrong way. He routinely gets on the home plate umpire as well and isn’t afraid to come out of the dugout and argue if he thinks one of his players was done wrong. Mainly, it just feels like Boone is just along for the ride and many probably wouldn’t mind seeing him make a poor decision in a big-time situation.

José Altuve, Houston Astros
Someone from the Astros had to be on this list. While some of Houston’s big-name stars have moved on to other teams, there are a few holdovers from the 2017 squad which won a World Series title but later got caught in a sign-stealing scandal. Altuve will bear the brunt of opposing fans not forgetting the team cheated. And they surely would like to see Altuve and the Astros stopped short of making a sixth straight appearance in the American League Championship Series.

Manny Machado, San Diego Padres
Machado is an extremely talented ball player that does boneheaded things from time to time, which gets him in trouble. He grew a reputation as a dirty player for some of his on-field antics and that seems to have stuck with him. He’s always been a highly touted and highly paid player that doesn’t necessarily do the little things, like running hard to first base, to win over fans. Machado is already viewed as “the most hated player” in baseball and that probably won’t change this postseason.

Marcell Ozuna, Atlanta Braves
Need a feel-good story? Well, Ozuna isn’t it. The Braves slugger has had legal troubles off the field since last season that make it hard to believe he even has a job as a professional baseball player at the moment. Ozuna was arrested in May of 2021 for a domestic violence incident, in which he was seen via police body camera footage of putting a hand around his wife’s throat. Then not even two months ago, Ozuna was arrested and charged with driving under the influence. Not exactly the type of player a fan would want to root for.

David Price, Los Angeles Dodgers
Price turned around the postseason narrative surrounding him with the Red Sox when he helped the club win the World Series in 2018. But the left-handed pitcher can’t completely wipe away the stain he left with his consistent irritable attitude toward the fans and media during his time with the Red Sox. Maybe the West Coast has mellowed Price out, but sometimes the 37-year-old, who is in a lesser role with the Dodgers, gave off the perception that he knew it all. And that’s tough for fans to get behind.

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Thumbnail photo via Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports Images
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