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angry-mob2Yesterday, Carlos Marmol was booed twice by the home fans on Opening Day at Wrigley Field. The first of those boos came before he’d even thrown a single pitch. The second came after his very first pitch.

Marmol, who pitched a scoreless but ugly frame, took the booing in stride, refusing to call out the fans who dumped on him.

“I hear the boos,” Marmol told Jesse Rogers after the game. “I don’t take it a bad way. You have to enjoy. I’m not saying I have to enjoy that but I don’t have to worry about it. They pay money to see us and some player not doing his job, [they can boo].”

They can boo. But, yesterday, they shouldn’t have.

I know the responses. He’s paid to perform. He can buy a lot of Kleenex with his $9.8 million. I bought a ticket to see this crapshow, I’m allowed to boo them. Cry me a river.

Those are all beside the point.

No one should deny fans the right to boo. I wouldn’t even go so far as to say that booing is never appropriate.

But, like with all things to which we have rights, there are measures of discretion. Booing a guy because he fails to hustle out a grounder that could have resulted in a baserunner? Absolutely. Boo away.

But booing a Cub during introductions at the home opener? Booing him more aggressively than Ryan freaking Braun? And then booing him again loudly when he gives up one hit to Braun?

I was reminded of the 2012 Cubs Convention when Alfonso Soriano was actually booed by fans in attendance during the pump-you-up, love-the-Cubs opening ceremonies. It was embarrassing.

Jesse Rogers collected responses from Marmol’s teammates – and manager Dale Sveum – about the booing, all of which were supportive of Marmol. James Russell’s response, in particular, stood out.

“You lose some respect for the fans,” Russell said of the booing at Marmol. “It’s your home park, they should be behind you no matter what. It’s not like he’s going out there trying to give up games. He’s out there busting his butt every day. Personally, it gets under my skin because that’s my teammate. I have his back no matter what. It kind of bugs you whenever you hear that. There’s no room for it.”

Russell is probably going to get heat in some quarters for saying that, but it certainly took gumption. In this instance, I have to agree with Russell. While I won’t tell you that you can’t boo poor performance, or even that it’s morally wrong for you to boo poor performance, I just don’t understand the upside. A guy can only do as well as he can do, and, unless he isn’t trying, booing won’t help. The front office knows the guy is struggling, so booing isn’t going to help them identify the problem, either.

In this instance, you’ve got a scuffling, demoted closer – one who’s been a Cub his entire career and has been, at times, overwhelmingly good – who’s appearing in middle relief at the home opener. And he’s greeted immediately with open disgust? Obviously I was calling for his removal from the closer spot earlier than some, but that doesn’t mean I’m angry at the guy. It doesn’t mean I don’t want to see him succeed. So why wouldn’t I cheer for him, instead of booing at him?

  • Chef Brian

    I guess I don’t understand the point of booing Marmol before he throws a pitch. The negativity isn’t helping him improve, what does booing him really accomplish? Is he supposed to refuse to take the ball or go hide in the corner? I am unhappy with his performance thus far, but I’ll never boo a hometown player that is giving his best effort.

  • http://www.survivingthalia.com Mike Taylor

    I understand the booing; it’s the apex of years of frustrating emotions, taken out on one scapegoat. Marmol was, in theory, traded before the season started and that creates the backdrop to this scene. The fans all know that he shouldn’t be on this team, he’s taking a roster spot away from Wade or Rusin or Chapman. Regardless of the circumstances, his poor performances gave the fans’ thoughts momentum (credibility in their mind).

    It’s like what happened with Bartman. Dude interfered with the play, the ump got the call wrong, and since the guy is easy to yell at and doesn’t have the authority to eject fans from the game, he’s an easy target…same goes with Marmol. He has to sit there and take it. He doesn’t have any power. The Cubs are right, it doesn’t help the home team if fans boo them. It’s like live-action trolling.

    • Coal

      If there is a curse on the Cubs, it’s the 2003 Bartman thing. Not the interference, but the reaction of the fans in the moments and days that followed. I was not at the game, but someone I know well was sitting down there. He’s a huge Cubs fan, and likely won’t live to see them win the World Series. He said he was embarrassed to be a human being that night at Wrigley.

      The boos got worse after that around Wrigley. Noticeablly. Fans felt entitled. Rooftops expanded, Tunney got paid. Owner after owner tried to pump and dump with bad contracts.

      Something happened that night, and the booing hasn’t really stopped since. It puts silly pressure on our players, works to help the visiting team, and drives a wedge between the fans and team, when we should want the opposite. It also detracts, significantly, from the Wrigley experience. When we let go of the need to boo, I think we’ll all find success will follow.

      (Not talking about booing opposing players – that’s expected and I think accepted across the board, for rivalry’s sake.)

  • Cyberhog

    We all want our players to succeed and it’s frustrating when we see someone who has had success in the past fail so spectacularly and so early in the season. That being said, booing should only be reserved for players who obviously do not give maximum effort or who embarrass the team and the city by inappropriate behavior. Carlos Marmol doesn’t fall in either camp and as someone just said, what does booing accomplish in this case. We want our players to succeed, booing them certainly doesn’t help.

  • TLoveall2003

    The same is done with every other closer that doesnt do his job with any other team.He is one that hasnt been consistent,but has showed signs of brilliance.His biggest problem is behind his ears and work ethic.

    • Drew7

      “His biggest problem is behind his ears…”

      Hmm…

      “…and his work ethic”

      I’ve never understood this. Do you witness his off-season training program? Watch all of his bullpen sessions? Spot him in the weight room? Surely one of those is a “yes”, since you know *so* much about his work-ethic.

  • Kramden

    Let’s be honest here…. If you were a player on the Cubs and played like they’re playing, would you feel undeserving of being booed?

  • Emily

    Yes, completely agree. I was there, and I cringed a bit when the booing started during introductions. During introductions of the home opener?? It’s sad. (But by the same token, I laughed when Ryan Braun was booed during intros, and immediately texted my friend who’s a Brewers fan.) Maybe that’s hypocritical, but I think it’s summed up by the other things that were shouted at each player during the game: some kid in the upper deck went nuts every time Braun came up, calling him a cheater (potentially, alledgedly, accurate?); someone lower down yelled at Marmol “you suck!” a couple of times, which just isn’t always factual (second half of last season, etc.). And it seems to become factual when he really gets in his head, which I can’t help but think booing will only perpetuate.

  • DCF

    Booing Marmol is just embarrassing for the idiots who are booing.
    But honestly, I don’t like the Ryan Braun booing either. It’s just so hypocriticial.
    It seems like the fans are letting out their frustration about PEDs and MLBs horrible mishandling of the matter out on one player. To me, he appealed, he rightfully won, end of story.

  • Timmyt

    Let’s be serious though. The management and ownership don’t respect the players or expect them to win, so why should the fans? Part of the steep price of our “entertainment” will now include booing because we’ve lost (at least the appearance of) a team that intends on contending. It brings out the worst in us.

  • Ryan fraud ryno 23 rip Ronny

    Well I was at the game in the bleachers on Tuesday with a sign saying Ryan fraud with needles and a pic saying miller park is wrigley north and fraud deserves all the booing in the world. I don’t think there is enough boos for him. He won the MVP and got caught and MLB didn’t do anything to take it away total garbage. Brewer fans think we are rivals but real it’s the cardinals and u think suburban cub fan are bad brewer fans are bad also. Don’t think we should boo our players only after blowing a game or lack of hustle I never in my life remember fans booing players until now I also never remember the bleachers being sold out like now I used to skip school an watch ryno and Dawson those were the fun days

  • Saving Grace

    I was shocked the first time I heard Wrigley boo down one of its own brothers while he was struggling. Latroy Hawkins was struggling like hell with every ounce of effort he could provide, all given towards wanting and needing to perform better for his band of brothers. It felt to me like a bunch of strangers had come into my house only after I had completed its construction after years of toiling in pain and dealing with repeated setbacks. I initially didnt hold grudge that they only now came around after the work was done. I invited them into the magnificence and unbounding elation that was my house party of house parties. Suddenly, a part of my heart was ripped out as I watched these stranger guests quickly surround one of my brothers after he stumbled to the ground. With menacing shouts they began to kick he who hath shared in the giving of blood, sweat and tears in the creation of The Ultimate House Party. A dirty piece of the deplorable nature of the world had entered and tainted something that is beautiful.

    • TWC

      Yeah, I think LaTroy Hawkins sucks, too.

      • DarthHater

        heh

      • Cubbie Blues

        He definitely is not a good thrower of the baseball.

    • Saving Grace

      :)

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