This is just the latest in a long line of events that have made me angrier and angrier with the unruly mob that is Cubs fans:
``It's never comfortable,'' he said after going 4 for 4 with a homer in Tuesday's 15-6 loss. ``It's hard to be comfortable when you don't get a hit and get booed every time. When I go home and look in the mirror, I like what I see. My family's there. I have people I can talk to who are very supportive in spite of everything and all the adversity and hatred you face on a daily basis. But I'll be all right. I always have.''
I realize not all Cubs fans act this way (most probably do not), but enough of them do. Bottom line: if you're a Cubs fan and you boo players you're hurting the team. If you're a Cubs fan that watches other fans boo players without saying anything about it, you too are hurting the team. I've been silent long enough and have finally decided to speak up on this issue in this public forum. Last warning: rant against Chicago Cubs fans imminent...I've had something on my chest for a long time, and after reading this I have to get it out there: I hate the way Cubs fans treat their players. In particular, I hate the booing they receive on a regular basis as I consider booing of the home team to be one of the most selfish, arrogant, megolmaniacal, and destructive acts a fanbase can participate in. There is almost no good that can come of it; the most likely tangible outcomes that can come of it are things like this event, where one of the more talented players on the team feels uncofmfortable in their own ballpark... and for what? A slump that lasted a few months? Congratulations, those that boo or think that it is acceptable! You're succeeding in driving one of the most talented players in town right back out of it. Enjoy watching Sam Fuld in right field. Wait... let me put that another way you'll probably understand better: enjoy the "lovable losers" that will go something like 80-84 every year.
Unfortunately, this is far from an isolated event. Milton Bradley, LaTroy Hawkins, Corey Patterson, Neifi Perez, and Jacque Jones have all been booed mercilessly. And if Milton Bradley is traded away, I have no doubts that the mob will pick a new player to boo next season (likely Soriano). I take pride in the "home atmosphere" Cubs fans create for the team when it travels on the road, so it pains me greatly when I see that for certain players many fans create an "away" atmosphere when the team plays at home.
Here are 10 commonly stated reasons for booing a player, along with my counter-arguments that they do not justify booing:
1.) It's their job.
No, it isn't. Their job is to play baseball games. Booing is only something that people with these jobs deal with because there are morons out there that think booing them is somehow productive, right, or entertaining. This argument represents very poor logic by the booing crowd: boo players -----> see argument against booing -----> claim everyone gets booed (because you booed them), and that it's a part of their jobs!
2.) I paid $XX dollars for my ticket! I have the right to voice my displeasure!
Yes, you do. I also have the right to walk into a public square and yell "I'm a moron!" at the top of my lungs. I can also do so with a bunch of friends just to make sure my point is made. That doesn't help anyone, nor is it smart.... but I have the right to do it. Having the right to do something is not a reason to do it.
3.) I'm telling management how I feel.
Be honest. No, you're not. If that were the case the obscenities we've heard shouted at players by their own would not be so personal. Booing is inherently an emotional release, not a logical call for a different course of action. And even if you boo for different reasons, you are in the minority here and are only helping to support the din of those that boo players directly.
4.) They're making $eleventy-billion!!!! They can deal!
This argument is so absurd I doubt it should even have to be countered... but since people make it all the time I suppose I must. If you want to boo somebody because they don't make a lot of (perhaps too much) money, go to your nearest corporate headquarters and ask to speak to the CEO. Or just hang out. The amount of money one makes has nothing to do with whether or not they should be booed, and it has nothing to do with whether booing them is acceptable. It isn't, regardless of someone's salary. The two things have nothing to do with each other. The only way in which they're related is that you are jealous that they get paid a lot of money to play a game. And in that case, you're just booing because you're a petty individual. That's your fault, not theirs.
5.) They have to know when they mess up!
Are you kidding me? Do you think someone that is talented enough to get to the major leagues and has had a myriad of different coaches explain the nuances of the sport to them doesn't know when they messed up? Do you think Milton Bradley doesn't know he screwed up when he threw the ball into the stands? Do you think Corey Patterson thought it was productive for him to strike out at pitches thrown at head level? Do you think LaTroy Hawkins would have been a better closer if only he knew that blowing saves was a bad thing? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're a fool.
6.) They must try harder!
While I agree that there's something romantic about the guy that sprints as hard as he can to first on every routine ground ball, there's also something silly about it. What if a star player gets hurt trying to leg out that single? Oh, wait... That happened. At least twice. What if one hurts himself crashing into the wall? Should he try to play through the pain and "tough" it out? If he does, will you boo him when his season is horribly short of expectations? Tell that to Alfonso Soriano. Let me be clear here: yes, players should hustle. But when you boo a player for not hustling, you are making a number of assumptions, any of which could be wrong. First, the player may be nursing an injury that while doesn't make them worse than the backup demands caution on the basepaths or in the field. Second, you assume that your booing will let them know that they weren't hustling. Most of the players know this themselves 99.99% of the time without your inputs, and even if they stop hustling because of a mental lapse (as opposed to an injury) they realize their mistake immediately. They also have managers and coaches that know the injury concerns of these players, and that know a lot more about baseball than you or I do. Let them handle it.
7.) But Jimmy "go-go" Ballplayer said it was O.K.!
So what? One player not caring about or being affected by booing does not make it O.K. or acceptable to boo all players. If Jimmy thinks it helps him, then fine. Boo Jimmy. But everyone's mental makeup is different and that doesn't mean it will help or be ignored by most players.
8.) But they're the enemy! We're supposed to make them feel bad!
Don't get me wrong here. Boo opponents all you want. Boo umps too, when they blow the call. That's part of a team's home field advantage. I just don't see the point in booing your own team.
9.) But they have to deal with it on the road!
Yes, they do. That doesn't mean it helps them to hear it at home, too. I you feel booing the opponents will help your team's chances of winning a game then by logical extension booing the home team will hurt your team's chances of winning.
10.) It makes me feel better.
This is the one I won't argue with. If booing makes you feel better, fine. If it's the emotional release you need for a player or a team or a life that has disappointed you, fine. If you enjoy being the center of attention for it, fine. If it makes you feel justified because they're making more than you even though you work so darn hard, fine. I just hope you realize that you do these things at the following costs: adding unneeded pressure to a franchise and players that have enough pressure (100 years worth) without your contributions, making the Cubs a less attractive free agent destination -- particularly for African American players as they have been more often than not the target of booing, making you and your allies look like complete morons, and turning one of the best, most loyal fan bases in the world into a disadvantage. So if it makes you feel better, I won't argue that isn't true. That's for you to decide. But I will tell you that you're an arrogant, selfish, megalomaniac for thinking that makes it a justifiable course of action.
Like I said earlier, I know this doesn't apply to everyone, but it does apply to enough. There is very little good that can come of it but a whole lot of bad that can come of it. I believe that if a "curse" exists in Wrigley Field it is solely from the pressure the fan base puts on the players; it certainly has nothing to do with some long-dead goat that has nothing to do with the physical or mental performances of today's teams. In other words, I consider you (the "boo-ers") to be the most logical explanation for a curse (if one exists). Even if the chances are small that you are having an effect on the players and even if the size of the effect is small... it needs to stop. Your selfish acts are hurting the team I've loved all my life, and I'm pissed at you for it. If I were one to boo people, I'd boo you. Stop it.