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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.

  • Bex

    He doesn’t hustle! He’s afraid of the damn wall! He did not work hard in the off season! YES I WILL BOO HIM.

  • http://www.twitter.com/baseballjen baseballjen

    How do you know what he did in the off season? Did you live with him? There was one report of him stating he was avoiding the wall, yet we have seen him crash into it before. Give him a break.

  • http://www.cubblogging.com Jen

    I say boo the other team, boo the umpires, but don’t boo your own guys. If I thought it accomplished anything then maybe I’d consider it – but baseball is a mental game and it seems to me that an angry mob is only going to make a player press more and lose focus. Plus it makes our entire fanbase look like a bunch of dicks.

  • Bex

    hi baseballjen twitter friend! no, I didn’t live with him during the offseason. There’s just a bunch of things that don’t add up. He led the league in outfield errors last year, and then he comes back this year and makes some more. He had knee season in September, yet during spring training, he wasn’t playing at 100% (in his words anyway). And it was minor knee surgery. I give him props for staying classy about the booing, but I think it’s within our right as fans to express our dislike when our highest paid player ever is consistently underperforming. I realize some fans boo because they are a drunk “bunch of dicks,” but I think many fans just want some accountability.

    • Scarey

      Bex,

      I think what Ace is saying is feel free to hold him accountable, but what good does booing actually do? Do you expect Soriano to come to the realization that he’s sucking it up because people boo him? He knows he’s not playing well, the boos aren’t helping him play better. At best they have no effect on him, at worst they’re causing him to play worse.

  • BT

    I’m fine with booing your own players. However the treatment Soriano (who has never been a problem player whatsoever) is getting is over the top.

  • Butcher

    If I thought booing our own players would lead to a positive outcome, then I’d say boo away. But it doesn’t. Enough with the booing, Cubs fans. It’s embarrassing. It’s gotten to the point where we’re booing rookie pitcher Caridad for a bad outing in Cincy? Unreal. It’s classless.

    Soriano knows he isn’t playing well. Your boos serve no purpose.

  • gurg

    I was at Wrigley today, and Fonsie only came in for one pinch hit appearance. People booed him as he came up to bat! Come on, at least wait until he has a chance to perform before you boo. He ended up drawing a walk!

  • brian

    I just want to bring up what a true class act Soriano is, after the “Bradley Experiment” Soriano’s reaction is quite refreshing. While I may be one of the Soriano critics my disdain for Soriano is 50% defense and 50% Jim Hendry’s idiocy, but not the man himself. Booing the him at every instant is counterproductive and will do no good in the overall picture. That being said, when Soriano pulls one of his outfield folly’s the boo birds will fly and I personally feel they are warranted, but booing him as he walks up to the plate should not happen. If anything, everyone should be cheering that he puts that giant piece of lumber on the ball and hope for the best.

  • Kevin G

    Hell he all knew he was a DH playing the OF when he came here, so why boo him for something we knew already. I say BOO to Hendry for his stupid contract!

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