Darryl Strawberry calls out Dodgers fans, says leaving New York ‘biggest mistake’ of career

Darryl Strawberry left the Mets for the Dodgers as a 28-year-old with the resume of a future legend.

His sweet-swinging approach from the left side of the plate had led to Rookie of the Year honors and seven All-Star Game appearances to that point. He hit 252 home runs and stole 191 bases for the Mets. He was a World Series champion.

But Strawberry’s career unraveled in Los Angeles. Injuries and addiction kept him off the field and prompted a fall from grace. He still regrets leaving New York for Hollywood and says the switch contributed to his decline.

In a Tuesday interview with SNY, Strawberry called signing with the Dodgers “the biggest mistake I really ever made in my career” and called out fans in Southern California as less dedicated to the success of players.

“The fans are so different in New York than LA,” Strawberry said. “LA fans come late and leave early. New York fans come early and never leave. They wait until the end of the game, whether you win or lose, and I was used to that.

“I was just more used to the aggressive fans and playing in New York City and letting people be over the dugout and yelling at you running across the field. And when you suck, they tell you you suck. And you look at them like, ‘Yeah, I do suck right now. I need to get better.’”

Strawberry said the way New York supporters hold players accountable was an important structure for him that held him in check with the Mets. Once he moved to Los Angeles, the loss of that system perhaps contributed to his downfall.

“They want you to get better and that’s what I love about playing in New York,” Strawberry said. “It was heartbreaking leaving the Mets and that was the biggest mistake I really ever made in my career was leaving New York to go play in LA.”

Strawberry finished his career with 335 home runs but remains one of baseball’s great what-ifs. Had the second half of his career gone better, he probably could have approached 500 long balls.

Still, he left the game having made an important mark. When fans think of MLB in the late-’80s, he’s one of the first hitters to come to mind.

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