Chicago Cubs fans have become booers.
Commensurate with the increased expectations that have accompanied a dramatically increased payroll, Cubs fans desperately want to see a return on that investment. This has bred an ironic entitlement – fans feel like they are entitled to see good performance, even though the Cubs haven’t won this thing in a really long time.
The current target of fan ire? Overpaid and underperforming outfielder Alfonso Soriano.
Soriano misplayed a carom off the wall that allowed a run to score from first and elicited the latest, loudest boos from the home fans toward their early-favorite whipping boy.
”I had no choice,” Piniella said. ”I had to double-switch there. You don’t like to see your players booed.”…
Of the booing fans, Soriano said, ”They can do whatever they want; that doesn’t bother me. It makes me come back tomorrow and work a little harder to do better. That was nothing. I take those negative things and try to use it to get better.”
If that’s the case, he has plenty of material to work with just two games into the home schedule.
”I’m not a rookie; I’m not a young man anymore,” Soriano said of how he’s able to dismiss the booing. ”I’m 34 and have been in [the majors] 10, 12 years now. It’s not like it’s something that hasn’t happened before.”…
Soriano committed a costly error in the seventh inning Sunday in Cincinnati, then was replaced for defensive purposes Monday after batting in the sixth. He was allowed to remain in the game Wednesday, only to venture so close to the wall on Corey Hart’s double over his head that the ball caromed quickly past him toward the infield as Rickie Weeks scored from first to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 4-2 lead.
He was replaced after one more at-bat when Piniella made the second of back-to-back pitching changes, and was showered with boos all the way back to the dugout.
”I think if they knew him, they wouldn’t do it,” shortstop Ryan Theriot said. ”This is a guy who’s the ultimate professional, who works hard, shows up early, stays late.”
Theriot defended Soriano on that particular play. But it’s no secret — even to Soriano — that he has had trouble in the outfield since signing with the Cubs before the 2007 season. And even earlier in this game, he mishandled a fifth-inning Weeks drive into the corner, turning a possible double into a triple.
That’s why he was out early Wednesday working on fielding drills with outfield coach Mike Quade, something he’s making a daily routine before batting practice.
”I’ve got to do a better job on defense if I want to play nine innings,” Soriano said. CHICAGO SUN-TIMES.
This is clearly not a guy who deserves your boos.
A guy who doesn’t hustle? Boo that guy. A guy with a terrible attitude? Boo that guy. A guy who isn’t performing, but doesn’t work hard to improve? Boo that guy.
Alfonso Soriano is not that guy.
He’s simply a guy who is getting older and dealing with injuries. He’s a guy who was never a particularly good outfielder. He’s a guy who came to the Cubs with the weight of profound expectations on his shoulders. He’s a guy who was paid way too much money for way too many years. And most importantly, he’s a guy who’s going to be here for a long time to come.
Booing him – for all of the righteous indignance that your purchase of a game ticket buys you – does nothing good.