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?

  • Mark

    1) I hate articles like this because it’s saying the Cubs fans are the only ones that do it. That is false.
    2) If anyone has a’s Cubs fans. How long have we waited?
    3) Every time Marmol comes in to pitch, I say “welp, that’s it…game is over…we lost” no matter if we’re winning or losing. The majority of the time, I’m correct.
    The booing is the fans way of telling coaches, GM’s and owners…NO! We do NOT approve of this. We are tired….we want a winner. Give us our best chance to win and that’s not with Marmol.

    • hansman1982

      Soooo…In the case of Marmol, what is accomplished with the booing?

      • The Dude Abides

        I get it your saying boo Sveum for putting him in.

        • Mark

          Exactly. It’s more than just booing Marmol. I’m not the coach and I knew not to put Marmol in…how could he not? He can’t be trusted and I think it’s the fans right to let Sveum know that.

        • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

          ITS NOT HIS CALL!!!! The FO wants him to use him just like normal for trade value. We are going to suck. He is a part of that. But, he is one of the few that can bring back value.

    • EvenBetterNewsV2.0

      How is it saying Cubs fans are the only ones doing this? Then you build a case on the “right” to do it because we have waited so long? How does that even come into the equation? Booing doesn’t change their mind. Open seats changes their minds.

    • Believe in 2015

      You have to understand what the player is going through. He wants to succeed just as much or even more than you want to see the Cubs succeed.

    • JBarnes

      1) Its a website focusing on the Cubs, I would “hate” it to come on here and see an article about another teams fans booing players.

      2)I think it was noted in the article that fans have the “right” to boo, there’s just a time and place for it.

      3) The MAJORITY of the time you would then be incorrect. Although it isn’t pretty, Marmol gets the job done the MAJORITY of the time.

    • Goldcoast cub

      I’m not telling you you can never boo, and I’m pretty sure Brett said exactly that above, but booing marmol louder than freakin Braun during the roster announcements, uncalled for.

      Also, I love the “everyone else does it so I can too” argument. Just because “they” do it doesn’t make it right.

    • NorthStreetRaider

      Marmol has successfully saved over 80% of his career save chances. I think you need to look up the word majority, because you have no idea what it means. Either that, or you failed statistics.

      • Mark

        I see you took it literally, eh jackass?

        • lukers63

          When making a blanket statement, it tends to be taken literally…..

        • caryatid62

          Why did you need to exaggerate on that…and do so in such an incorrect fashion?

    • João Lucas

      Number 2 was so stupid that I immediately regretted even having read number 1 (at least I knew better than to go on and read number 3).

    • JoeyCollins

      “The majority of the time, I’m correct.” 108 saves in 131 opportunities since 2009. I can see where you got majority from.

    • AnonAuth

      You’re so full of shit that it is disgusting. You completely missed the point with your first two arguments. Who cares what other fan bases do, let’s have some integrity in ours. One-hundred-plus years of poor stewardship has infinitely more to do with the Cubs lack of success than one pitcher.

      And, numbers don’t lie,
      Marmol took over the closer role in 2009. Since then he has 108 saves, fininshed 199 games, and has 17 loses. Clearly, he is doing better than you have suggested.

    • Westbound Willie

      Russell should take his comments and his 80 mph fastball and head back to rookie league as he is about ready to get crushed this year

      • caryatid62

        And he’d still have a better job, meet hotter women, be richer and more famous than you could ever possibly be.

        So there’s that.

  • TT

    Spot on. The only time it’s acceptable to boo the Home team is in a clear case of lack of effort. A guy doesn’t run out a ground ball and still gets thrown out after a fielder boots it. A fielder gives up on a pop fly and watches it land in play within their range. Or in extreme cases when whackos like Todd Hundley flip off the home crowd. Booing poor performance is just stupid. It makes the home environment hostile to the home team, doesn’t accomplish anything(Marmol is acutely aware that he’s not pitching well), and sets a precedent for nonsense like booing Marmol during introductions or anyone at Cubs Convention.

  • I love marmol

    Booing a player of his caliber is outrageous!

  • Kyle

    I hate the scapegoating this fanbase loves to take part in.

    There should be a lot of boos directed toward a lot of people in the Cubs organization. Marmol isn’t even in my top 10.

    • MightyBear

      Pray tell. Give us your top 10.

      • Kyle


        • MightyBear

          Stewart hasn’t played since February. Are these pre-emptive boos?

          • Dale’s Ear

            Kyle is in a constant state of booing Ian Stewart

            • ETS

              I think Kyle is just the handle Ian Stewart uses when he posts on this site.

              • Kyle

                We had a pleasant Twitter exchange about pro wrestling this week. He seems like a cool guy.

                • ETS

                  that’s cool

                • Drew7

                  Wait, the guy didn’t block you after you accused him of making up injuries? He must be one helluva guy.

    • Dale’s Ear

      I love both Marmol and Russel’s reaction to this topic, both of them are doing exactly what they should be in this situation. Look, this is the situation the Cubs are in for the near-term. It’s what Theo Epstein was brought in for and it’s the path that a lot of us have bought into. The Cubs are probably going to suck for a while and both the fans and the players have to understand this. With high ticket prices, cold weather, and an inevitably long season ahead fans are likely to be a bit anxious when players who have performed like Marmol has in the past are not doing their jobs now. Marmol took it in stride and gave great answers to the interview in not calling out the fans because face it, the guy has been very shaky these last two seasons. Russell also said exactly what I like to hear, it isn’t the fan’s job or responsibility to pat players on the back when they’re down, that responsibility falls on the teammates and coaches. I don’t know, I guess the booing thing to me is just whatever. If fans feel like they have to do it then whatever floats their boat, but if the players have a problem with it in this case I think they need to take a look at the bigger picture and realize that the booing is not directed 100% at the individual but at the frustration with the team as a whole. The situation just gets magnified on the most under performing players because sports is a scapegoat business. Part of our booing is accumulated frustration that comes simply from being a Cubs fan, we get the most crap out of any fans of any sports franchise and yet we still stay loyal. Also, I would argue that while Chicago fans might boo too much, they also cheer louder than anyone when their team is winning. Passion for sports is a double-edged sword and hopefully some players on this team get to realize that in the next few seasons.

      P.S. I am very disappointed that we didn’t boo that greasy haired cheater Ryan Braun harder than Marmol.

  • JR

    This whole booing thing is ridiculous and Russell is an idiot for acting like a badass by calling out the fans. Marmol has been SO frustrating for a really long time, and has cost the Cubs so many games. Who cares if people boo him? Yes, he’s still a person and what not, but it’s part of the risk of being an athlete. Kind of like football players getting concussions. Part of what you sign up for…

  • Jacob

    Mark, i agree 100% with everything you said. Because its true, when Marmol comes in, we all worry and it seems like every time he pitches. Its either a walk fest or he gets lit up and struggles to get out of the inning. I really hope the Cubs release this guy or trade him soon.

  • Eric S

    Alfonso Soriano, and Marmol are not or will not be the last to hear BOO birds make the rounds at Wrigley. It’s become more frequent, and it’s heartbreaking every time. This is OUR TEAM. We come and watch them through thick and thin no matter what. So why would we Boo someone that we are supposed to support? Going back a bit further the Boo Birds made their rounds with Jacque Jones, Latroy Hawkins, Corey Patterson, Marlon Byrd at times in 2012 the list goes on and on, and on. It has to STOP when it comes to OUR team at home.

    • Dave

      Fans boo because they are frustrated.
      By the way who made you the booing police.
      As far as Russell’s comments go nothing can be gained by calling out the fans.

  • Josh

    While I can understand the booing at the entry in the 8th, I too disagree with the booing at the introductions. This was a celebration of the team, and not a time to voice displeasure with a single member. If they had issues, then they should have just held back any applause, and let him hear the silence…sometimes that stings more!! I also understand the frustration with Marmol, since he has been playing at the same poor level since last season. The time to voice displeasure with his lack of performance, was when he came out in the 8th to do his supposed job. Especially, after the Upton love fest he showed. Fans need to understand that even though they think they have the right to voice their displeasure, there’s a difference between voicing an opinion and being disrespectful.

  • Cody

    JR – how was Russell acting like a badass for sticking up for his teammate? Also, I don’t think booing and concussions is a good comparison, especially when you mention football.

    • JR

      Russell saying he loses respect for fans for booing seemed like him trying to act like a bad ass too me. And I was simply saying that professional athletes who make sick money should know and be well aware that a good hard boo from the home fans may come if you suck. Marmol has sucked for a very long time. He had it coming. Football players in today’s society should know that getting concussed is a possibility. If that’s not cool, then don’t play.

      • caryatid62

        It may come if you suck, but it doesn’t make it any less stupid.

        • JR

          Yeah I am not saying that booing isn’t stupid. Because I think it is stupid and childish and have never boo’d at another grown man. But what I am saying is that it’s part of professional sports. And really don’t think it’s a big deal when the moron who think it’s cool do it.

      • caryatid62

        It may come if you suck, but it doesn’t make it any less stupid.

  • Mrcub1958

    Brett, you raise a fair question. Contemplated this and a number of things attending my 25th Opening Day yesterday. The true Cub fan continues to be taken advantage of, now cubed, as the product on the field is accompanied by the hilarious hijinks of Chicago politics and the continued Wrigley Field love fest? What does the owners/team expect of us? How do you fault someone for booing Carlos Marmol who has PTSD from watching said Carlos perform the past few years? Why did I stand in a trough line for 20 minutes yesterday while Tom caters to the RTOs? How come I couldn’t watch a replay of a couple of the close plays? Why was it $45 to park away from the ballpark? Why would anybody live in the neighborhood if it wasn’t for the Cubs?
    Be careful, Tom. Never take your eye off the customer.

  • jstraw

    Brett, anyone you have to explain this to isn’t going to get it.

  • caryatid62

    You buy a ticket, and you have the right to speak your mind and boo.

    I also have the right to call you a jag for doing so.

  • forlines

    I’m torn on the issue. I think Marmol is a hunk of crap, and want him gone ASAP. Having said that, I don’t think I would join in the chorus of boos if I had been there, but I certainly can’t fault anyone who did.

  • Miles Baltrusaitis

    I’m squarely in the never boo anyone for any reason camp. Not even cheaters or criminals.

    If you’re going to jeer, at least think of some creative and offense-appropriate sign (braun=cheat, for example) or jaunty phrase to shout. It’s just the sound of a collective “boo” that sounds feeble-minded to me.

  • Ron

    I think Russell and others defending Marmol is a goodsgn. It shows solidarity in the club house. Imagine how big of a story it would be if noone defended him.

  • dash

    1.) Players are real human beings.
    2.) Players often have real family members sitting in the stands.
    3.) Players do not intentionally try to fail.
    4.) Even at their worst, players are 1,000 times better at baseball than you or I ever will be.

    • Kyle

      5) Players voluntarily entered careers in a spectator sport.

  • Richp

    I think in many instances the “BOO” is greatly misunderstood. In the case of Marmol we have to ask,”what is the intent?” Does any fan want to see Carlos Marmol fail? I think in cases like yesterday many of the fans boo because it gives them the feeling it will possibly shame the player into performing at a higher level than he has shown. I am reminded of when the Cubs brought in Fred Mcgriff to play 1st base. Man were we stoked. We were sure the crime dog would come in and put up the same respectable numbers he had when he was good. By the time he came to the Cubs he was washed up. My friend and I booed him mercilessly. Not because we wanted him to break under our scrutiny,but to excel in the ways he had before,in ways we new he could if only he were properly inspired. Is booing misguided? Usually,but as a fan,we have a tendency to feel incredibly helpless in what we can do to help our team succeed. In the case with Fred Mcgriff,his better days were behind him when he came to the Cubs. In our subconscious mind,filled blindly with disgust,we felt if he’d only get his head in the game,or try harder he would surely regain his past level of excellence. We have watched Carlos Marmol excel as a pitcher,and at times it is hard to understand why at times he can be so good,and at times so bad. I am not now,nor have I ever been a prolific booer(is that a word?)but on that one particular day,I could no longer hold my tongue in regards to booing Mr.Mcgriff. Did it help? We were in the upper deck,so I doubt he even heard,but in the moment,it sure made me feel better.

  • Dynastyin2016

    Love thy neighbor (and your team). Positive reinforcement is ALWAYS more effective than booing. Unless a player is dogging it (Ian Stewart?), give them support.

  • waittilthisyear

    people boo to express disapproval (an obvious, but sometimes overlooked, point). the fans do not approve of marmol’s performance, of managements’ handling of the bullpen, or having to watch a losing product. chicago fans show as much love as any fan base i’ve seen, and they give multiple chances. i know he is struggling. hell, i see it every time he pitches. figure shit out, and if you can’t, prepare to be booed.

    that being said, i agree that it is tacky to boo someone before they even throw a pitch. and james russell can loose all the respect he wants. i’m aware that he is an above-competent lefty, but he can shove it if he is going to whine like that

    • caryatid62

      How is it whining when someone asks your opinion and you give an honest answer? He didn’t seek out the reporter; the reporter came to him and asked a question.

      Fans don’t want honesty from players–they want players to be honest, as long as that honest confirms all of their beliefs about everything. Otherwise, “those guys need to shut up.”

      • waittilthisyear

        an honest answer to the question can be whining.

        q: how is your dinner?
        a: it is shitty and undercooked.

        very well may be the case, but it is whining, IMHO.
        i do appreciate Russells’ honesty, or as Brett put it, gumption, i just think it reflects upon a weak constitution.

    • Dynastyin2016

      So it’s okay for fans to boo, to show disapproval, but it’s not okay for Russell to do the same thing?
      Booing is a classless act.

      • waittilthisyear

        again, i am not saying it is not ok. he can do it all he wants, and i can judge him all he wants, same as you judge me for understanding why people boo. multiple people w/different can be right (or wrong), and i believe that is the case here

  • Richp

    AND,for all you elitist posterior suckers who choose to stand in judgement of those fans who choose to exercise their right to show their unhappiness with a particular athlete via the boo,would “we want a pitcher,not a belly itcher” be less offensive to you?

    • caryatid62

      No, but it would be equally stupid and pointless.

      • Richp

        I’m glad to see you knew who I was talking to.

        • Carytid62

          If I’m a elitist posterior licker because I think booing is pointless and stupid, then ill wear that label as a badge of honor. I’m happy to stand in judgment of such a pointless meatheaded practice.

  • Ian

    Booing accomplishes absolutely nothing. It won’t make a player better (though it might make them press, which is actually making things worse), it won’t change the manager’s strategy and it won’t coerce the front office into getting rid of a player/manager.

    That said, if people want to boo a player, they can knock themselves out.

    And if I wan’t to think they are meatheaded dolts for doing so, I will.

    • TonyP

      Hey, focus on getting your quad healthy or your ass will be hearing the boo birds also!!!!!!! 😛

  • Tyron

    Relase the guy or trade him for a bag of nuts.
    The fans will keep booing him, we have other
    Options , so dale get with it.!

  • Patrick G

    I just read in some baseball magazine, between 08-12, Marmol has walked the most batters with the bases loaded, at 13. More than any pitcher, which is crazy to think of because everyone else on that list was a starting pitcher.

    • Ian

      That’s simply because he’s really wild. His slider has huge movement. We all overlooked it when he was going good because everyone he wasn’t walking was striking out. Now he’s also getting hit, for whatever reason, and he’s public enemy #1.

      But it’s not an effort issue, so I’m fairly certain booing him mercilessly isn’t going to remedy the problem.

  • Hack Wilson

    Regarding boo-birds, Lee Elia said it best, “@&$?&$.”

  • Mike

    I think booing when a player is announced on his first day of a new season, at his home ballpark, is a little distasteful. That said, Cubs fans are tired of the losing ways. There will be more and more booing until the Cubs start winning more than losing, and those boos may not stop for another couple years or so. And, lots of money goes into buying tickets, only to watch a team perform poorly on a regular basis. Players and coaches just have to suck up the booing for a while. Fortunately, this FO has eliminated some problem or non-hustle players the past year/year and a half. I think the FO is trying to do the right thing, the right way, in trying to build the Cubs into a winner long term…but booing will be a part of the growing pains of building a winner. That’s not to say I agree with everything the FO or Sveum does, all the time. I think part of the problem, in addition to not just not winning, but winning the division or wild-card in more recent years. We’ve come so much closer the past 15 years, on and off…it makes the losing seasons even harder when victory has been so much closer lately.

  • Kramden

    It’s all about value….

    If you bought something kind of expensive (like Cub tickets) and didn’t feel that you were getting your money’s worth and your only recourse was to join others who feel the same way by booing…. Would you boo too and hope that you were voicing your displeasure with others who feel similarly in the hopes of being heard so someone of authority might be able to do something?

    • Ian

      If you rent a movie and feel it wan’t worth your money, you can boo your TV as well. It’ll do about the same amount of good.

      And you’ll look only slightly more ridiculous.

  • clark addison

    Booing is easy from the safety of the stands. It’s cowardly. Would you boo him to his face if he were standing in front of you?

    The worst major league player is 100 times more talented than anybody reading this. The worst AAA player is 90 times better.

    None of us has the talent to step on a major league mound and try to get the last 3 outs.

  • Jason

    honestly who cares if he’s booed or not? Does it accomplish anything …. no. Does it hurt anything …. no.

    As fans you can’t fire players or kick them off the team, but you can boo them to show that type of performance isn’t acceptable.

    If you don’t like to boo, don’t boo, but who gives a damn if people do. As long as they aren’t throwing out personal insults or throwing stuff on the field at the player it should be a non-issue.

    • Richp

      Well said.

  • Kyle

    I never asked for your respect, James Russell. Only the prime athletic years of your life.

  • Strugz

    Real fans don’t boo the home team. ‘nuf said.

    If you don’t like, don’t attend, thank you.

    • Richp

      How would you know what real fans do?

    • Dave

      People will attend and boo if they want.
      Fans have a right to show up and decide to boo or not to boo regardless of what you think.
      And who are you to declare what is and is not a real fan.