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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?

  • RoughRider

    I don’t agree with it and have never booed a player that played on my favorite teams. ( Cubs & Bears). I know that the players want to succeed. They don’t intentionally play bad. Booing just puts more pressure on them and makes it harder. Most people who boo, in my opinion, are clueless.

  • bbmoney

    Meh..if anything booing is counterproductive. That said, if paying fans want to boo professional athletes who are making 100’s of thousands of dollars or more. Fine. Go for it. My answer is different for college athletes or anything less, but pros ought to be able to handle it and understand it.

    You look kind of lame doing it, and I choose not to, but dang it, I’ll defend to the death your right to boo. Well, on second thought, maybe not to the death. But I’ll write this reply to Brett’s post defending your right.

    • Richp

      hear,hear!

    • caryatid62

      I think you missed this quote from the article:

      “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.”

      The post specifically states that you should have the right to boo. But that doesn’t release you from the critiques of those who think what you’re doing is stupid.

      • bbmoney

        Yeah, Brett’s a pretty smart dude. He once again nailed it. What can I say? Sometimes I like to post in agreement.

  • cubmig

    I like booing. I regret the booing wasn’t continuous and the loudest at the home plate umpire. He deserved to hear the measure of his abilities from the stands—–especially if the leadership of the team offended did nothing to protest.

    I also think booing is therapeutic for us. It vents feelings that could turn one inside out. I mean read the game thread comments, or for that matter the ones posted here daily. There’s always finger-pointing going on, sides taken, bitching bordering on disrespect, or sink it completely. We’re imperfect—-we boo, and often do it without worrying about discretion.

    I think Marmol understands why fans boo him. He knows the reason. He can’t change what fans do; he can only keep on striving to find the mastery that turns those boos into cheers. His situation will change. He might get better—–or, he might become worse, but it will change. His situation will change, but will ours? Will we get the winning team equaling the patience generation of fans have and are serving up? Who’s hate of losing and continuous wait-til-next-year doesn’t eat away at self-discipline and falls prey to booing?

    Marmol understands his predicament. But…..what he –as well as all Cub players AND the FO– need to be reminded of, is how time is wearing through the loyalty shield. We don’t want to settle for half-ass play from anyone. We’ve given all to this team (if we are die-hards). We expect something back—-something much better than what were being given to witness. To borrow a baseball phrase…..We are out of options. Only booing lurks to find a way out. The Marmol episode unfortunately opened the gate. I suspect it won’t be the last.

    We are imperfect, hard nose Cubs fans. The remaining games will define just how imperfect.

  • Kev

    Well said, James Russel.

  • Sloathcheck78

    When a Cubs fan is at a game at Wrigley to watch this 2013 version of the Cubs, I think the appropriate reaction to all but maybe 4 of the players is to show apathy towards them. Most of the current players probably won’t be here when this team is good again. If I was there yesterday, I would not have booed but I would have sat there in silence when Marmol and others were announced before the game. There is no denying that this is a bad baseball team. I watch every game and hope they win. However, I would be wasting so many brain cells if I was to try and convince myself that they could be competitive in anyway. Marmol seems to be getting hit HARD this year. Much harder then even last year. And he’s walking guys too. Of course I hope he turns it around but he really makes it hard to root for him. If he just put together 5 or 6 stress free innings in a row I may begin to feel he has found something but he really would have to be convincing for me to even think he has began to turn it around. He doesn’t deserve to be cheered for his performance and booing as Brett said should be held for a player that didn’t hustle. Marmol doesn’t deserve acknowledgement of any kind with the way he has been pitching. If you can’t do that then just give him 3 sarcastic claps and a generic “yay.” At least until he turns it around. Until then he deserves no acknowledgement of any kind.

  • Tsb

    Maybe the fans should be required to remain utterly silent during the game. We wouldn’t want a highly paid player to go the DL because the peons hurt his feelings!

  • Andrew

    When it comes time to land that big FA, having a reputation for unsupportive fans won’t help. Just as we’re getting close to fixing the day game and player facilities issues, too.

    • DarthHater

      I don’t buy this argument at all. Every city has its share of loud-mouthed schmucks. Chicago actually has a pretty well-deserved reputation for idolizing superstars – see M. Jordan, W. Payton, R. Sandberg, E. Banks, etc.

  • DarthHater

    I agree that it’s silly to direct booing over poor performance at a player unless you are booing his lack of effort. In the Marmol-type situation, however, I think a lot of the booing is not really directed at Marmol, so much as it is directed at the FO for keeping the guy on the roster and at the manager for putting the guy in costly game situations. Understood that way, the booing seems a bit less irrational.

    • Rebuilding

      I think this is right. When a guy is put in a role that he can’t perform or at least not perform well then that is the FO/manager’s fault. I think Marmol is just taking the brunt of the fans frustration with the fact that he arguably only had his role to enhance his trade value. That frustrates people. As the losses mount there will probably be anger directed in many directions before it lands at Theo’s feet. Lets hope we start winning before the average Cubs fan loses faith in the current leadership, but until then there is going to be booing at the only people the fans have a chance to boo

  • Spriggs

    I must be getting soft in my old age. I have booed many Cubs in my life. Broglio, Murcer, Mitch Webster, Lee Elia, Keith Moreland, Dave Smith, and Latroy Hawkins, come to mind. I regret some of those in looking back. Right now, it hurts me to hear Marmol — and soon Russell get booed. They are trying the best they can, or damn close to it.

    I see them work hard all spring and see them talk to fans in friendly and cheerful ways. Other times more out of a perceived duty no dobut… I have never seen Marmol work as hard or interact with fans as much as he has this year (yes, you can do both). A PR move? Maybe, but he’s been a Cub for almost half his life now. He has been incredibly effective and successful at times. We were all on his side then. His life must be in a state of turmoil now (family and pitching problems). His livelihood is slipping away from him. I think it’s a bit shameful and hypocritical to kick him now, while he is down so low. But different strokes for different folks, I guess.

    • TWC

      I boo Moreland about 162 times a season.

      • hansman1982

        Moreland is a different beast all together.

        Plus I think you confused season with game.

    • college_of_coaches

      Well spoken.

  • DONNIE621

    Booing is an expression of frustration over losing. To me it’s not so much Marmol but the whole thing. I think Marmol expressed it well… the fans pay the money and they have the right to express their frustrations.

    I think you have to admit that it is pretty frustrating when your closer can not close a game with a 3 run lead. And this is becoming more common with Marmol pitching the 9th. The fact that he was once good is not mitigated by the fact that he’s not good now.

    I think the Cubs made the right move. Marmol has to improve or bear with the boos. He’s not complaining, so, why should anyone else. He gets 10 million to get bood… this is the Majors not little league where everyone gets a trophy!

  • Beardface

    It’s frustration. I don’t necessarily agree with the booing, but understand it. At least there were people filling the stands unlike many other ballparks. To me it is a way of saying we are here for you but we also are getting tired of constant implosions. It is probably not going to change anything by booing but to me it does show emotion and a want to win.

  • mul21

    I don’t have a problem with it. He’s not being booed because he’s not trying. He’s being booed because he’s become bad at his job. If he/his teammates don’t want him to be booed, he needs to play better. The Soriano thing at the convention, yeah, definitely out of line, but when a player not performing up to expectations is on the field, he’s fair game in my eyes.

    • caryatid62

      “If he/his teammates don’t want him to be booed, he needs to play better.”

      I’m sure they’ll get right on that. After all, it’s so simple.

  • miggy80

    The bottom line is that it’s just a game and hear for our entertainment. Don’t take the highs to high and the lows to low. I know ONE day the Cubs will win the World Series but after it’s done your still in your own shoes, so wear them comfortably.

  • cooter

    It sure is fun to boo the other team though.

  • ttat

    I just don’t think its cool to boo a Cub at home. What does it say to the rest of the team? Marmol has given us some oustanding innings. Y’ever have a crappy day at work? I have.

  • corey costello

    Marmol’s reation was perfect. He smiled, he clearly doesn’t give a fuck.

  • Njriv

    I can understand booing him after blowing a save, but at the introductions was just embarrassing. I instantly thought about the Soriano situation at Cubs con last year. Can you really blame Soriano for taking more money? I know Marmol hasn’t pitched well so far this season but he does what he’s asked to. They tell him to pitch so he does. He doesn’t deny getting the ball. I’ve always liked how Marmol handles these situations, it’s just unfortunate that it has happened more than once.

  • brian

    All these players can do better, and as long fans pay to watch this terrible baseball we’ve seen they can boo whoever and whenever things are going poorly. Always liked Russell, but one of the team leaders should say what he said, not a guy with 187 mediocre innings to his name. Marmols been brutal all year. Those boos aren’t cause of one walked batter, but rather his previous performances this year. Maybe the booing made him get his shit together out there.

    • caryatid62

      I’m 100% certain booing had absolutely nothing to do with whether or not he can throw strikes.

      Explain how they can do better. They’re not a good team. They can’t will themselves to be better players.

      • mul21

        If Marmol wasn’t fat and out of shape, he might be performing better. Just not being in shape is an indication he hasn’t been working as hard as he could have in the off season.

  • Rich

    Like one guy said he clearly doesn’t not give a fuck so why should we ! Every paying customer has the right to cheer or boo . I’ll say this to Russell if Marmol doesn’t give a F— either do I so I chose to BOO Mr. Hall of Famer Russell !

  • DarthHater

    “Booing the home team” is such a great topic for flushing all the lurking douchebags out of hiding…

    • Chase S.

      +1

  • cooter

    Why would any of you think he doesn”t care. If he ends up not doing well, he won’t ever make another dime in this sport. I’m sure he is racking his brain all day every day trying to solve his pitching problems.

  • Jeremy

    Stop sucking at baseball and we won’t have to boo you.

    • DarthHater

      BOO!!! This comment sucks, blows, and bites! Stop sucking at commenting! BOO!!!

      • Spencer

        Oh man, now so much extra stress and pressure is going to be put on Jeremy the next time he comments. He can only do as well as he can do, and he’s trying, so the booing won’t help. You should cheer for commenters instead of booing them.

        • TWC

          Lulz.

    • JR

      Jeremy, you should only comment in low stress posts. Try waiting until Brett posts something about Garza and the cats pajamas. Those posts seem to be very easy going. lol..

  • Rich

    Yea that’s me mr high moral darthhater !

    • DarthHater

      I never said a word about who the douchebags might be, but you clearly have no trouble recognizing yourself, so, well done, I guess.

  • Red Baron 42

    The only time I boo a hometeam player is for lack of hustle. Even then the player could be nursing an injury that hadn’t been previously disclosed that would make it inappropriate to boo in my opinion.

    Somewhat related- I had never been more embarassed to be a Cub fan than being at game 6 of the NLCS in 2003..aka the Bartman game. The louder the boos, then the chanting seemed to just add more fuel to the fire. What a nightmare that was..

  • Rich

    I guess it was just by coincidence that you made that comment after mine . It’s your right of free speech as is mine . Like you I will try to enjoy the season .

  • augiepb

    I know it doesn’t really go here, but Whitenack was just designated for assignment by Cleveland.

  • http://deleted Mr. Gonzo

    Warning: reading this comment may lead to hearing my opinion. Agree with it at your own risk.

    I admire Russell for standing up for his teammate, and I respect him more for it. It shows character to stand up for a teammate in the media who isn’t executing in a prominent role. I was disappointed that the fans booed Marmol during announcements and before he even pitched – that’s not very tactful. I understand why the fans booed, I just don’t agree with it.

    If you are going to boo your own player in a hometown opener for not playing consistently lights-out, at least wait until he gives up a double to Braun, throws a wild pitch and then walks a guy. The boos then have more meaning. If you want to psyche Marmol out with boos before he even gets on the mound, that’s, like, your opinion, man. I fucking love the Cubs.

  • Pingback: The thing about the thing about the booing | The Ivy Drip()

  • Katie

    I was actually at the game yesterday in the bleachers and I didn’t boo him. But I didn’t cheer for him either. I saved my yelling for Braun and Gomez. I screamed at Braun at the top of my lungs and I’m hoarse today. The chants of “STD! PED!” still are making me smile. And the douchenozzle Brewer fans yelling “MVP” made me sick.

    We are frustrated fans and we have a right be frustrated but booing Marmol at the beginning of the home opener was a tad harsh. That being said, I got the hell out of the bleachers when Marmol was summoned. I was afraid of rioting.

  • http://bleachernation arcola

    My thirteen year old loves bleacher nation and reads it daily. So here’s a big BOO for those of you using the F-word.

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