Blog Entry

When home boobirds attack

Posted on: April 12, 2011 6:12 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 6:16 pm
By Matt Snyder

As we get close to the end of two full weeks of baseball in the 2011 regular season, we're already being treated to our fair share of boobirds in many major-league stadiums. It's a long season, but out of the gate every fan base has at least a modicum of hope for the campaign. When things don't go as planned, players get booed. That's nothing new.

It's just that, on a personal level -- and I'm sure I'm not alone -- some of the booing frustrates me. Allow me to use an example to illustrate.

Vernon Wells was traded to the Angels in the offseason and the deal was met with mostly venom from Angels fans. He's gotten off to a poor start and is getting booed. Presently in the OC Register 's Angels Blog , there's a poll to see why fans are booing him. Shockingly (I'm being sarcastic), the No. 1 reason he's getting booed is because of his contract. Not because he's making mental mistakes or isn't playing hard. Nope, because he makes too much money.

It reminds me, in a way, of Alfonso Soriano in Wrigley Field. He leads the Cubs in home runs and RBI while sporting a nice .871 OPS thus far. He's had several clutch hits at home. But when he failed to haul in a fly ball -- on a dead sprint up against the wall in the corner, mind you -- he was booed. It wasn't even ruled an error. Meanwhile, Tyler Colvin is hitting .115 with a horrible .503 OPS and hasn't heard a single negative word. Reverse the stat lines and imagine how much Chicago would be in love with Colvin and despising Soriano. The reason for this is obviously the difference in contract.

My annoyance with things like this exists on several levels.

First of all, every single player in the league is loaded. The league minimum is $414,000. What percentage of fans make even close to that? If you want to just hate all rich people, please stop watching network TV shows, attending movies and definitely don't listen to most music. Those people all make way more than you, too. And if their performances could be measured in such things, they wouldn't be hitting a home run every single time out either.

Secondly, the players I mentioned above are playing hard and aren't bad clubhouse guys. I can't think of a time I ever heard a cross word from teammates of Soriano or Wells. We aren't talking about Milton Bradley and Manny Ramirez here.

Also, let us not forget someone had to offer those contracts. If you're Soriano, are you going to turn down that money, saying you are going to be almost 40 years old before it expires and there's no humanly way you'll be even close to the 40/40 mode by then? If you're Vernon Wells, should you tell the Angels not to make the trade because you aren't nearly as good as the contract you were offered by Toronto brass?

Look, there's definitely a place for booing. If someone pulls a Manny and dogs it because he doesn't feel like running out a grounder, by all means boo loudly. If someone makes a series of mental mistakes, again, bring those boos down. If a player is selfish enough to get suspended for using PEDs and returns, let him hear it. The players are professionals and shouldn't be giving anything less than 100 percent effort or professionalism -- just the same as none of us should in our respective professions.

I also understand that when you purchase a ticket you have every right to boo players for whatever reason you wish, but do you really wanna be that petty, jealous person who just screams and boos based upon salary? I just don't understand how booing a player for physical performance due to a salary he was offered by someone else is productive for anyone.

If he's giving it his all, someone like Wells should at least be allowed time to bust out of his early funk. After all, he's played 10 games. In 157 games last season he hit 31 home runs with an .847 OPS. He'll start hitting sometime soon.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Since: May 9, 2009
Posted on: April 14, 2011 10:05 am

When home boobirds attack

I can understand booing a guy who's underpreforming.  That goes with the territory for being a professional athlete.  In the case for Alfonso Soriano i think fans of the Cubs just got tired of his hot dogging in the OF and swing for the fences only to strikeout style of play. 

I wont even get into Chicago being the most racist and segregated cities in the USA.  For those of you that live here with me, if you dont believe that then you have to open your eyes.

Since: Sep 4, 2006
Posted on: April 13, 2011 8:02 pm

When home boobirds attack

To be fair, I'm sure Angels fans would be booing Tony Reagins given the opportunity. And they should. Jim Hendry got booed at the annual Cubs convention this past offseason, which was appropriate. The guy seemingly has 9 lives.

Since: Feb 22, 2011
Posted on: April 13, 2011 1:13 pm

When home boobirds attack

Just to clarify up front, I am a Cubs fan, and I don't boo Cubs players, even though I have been suffering for 53 years. I have booed opposong players, umpires, managers, and people who throw out the first pitch.

I don't think you should boo the home team, unless their is lack of effort.

However, your salary analogy does not hold water.

Let's use this analogy: I own a company. I have a dozen sales people of varying seniority. They are all paid a base salary , and have the opprortunity to earn a bonus.
I pay my salesman with the longest tenure a base salary of $60,000. I pay my brand new salesman a base salary of $20,000.

Do I expect my senior salesman to perform better than my new guy? I think everyone knows the answer.

Why would you think sports is any different ?

Since: Oct 20, 2008
Posted on: April 12, 2011 7:25 pm

When home boobirds attack

A lot of it comes down to expectations and broken promises.  Vernon Wells gets paid $72 million for the remainder of his contract, and damn well better perform to a high level for the amount of money he and the front office agreed to.  Tyler Colvin makes $440k a year, compared to Wells' 18 million.  Colvin is therefore fairly expendable both in the mind of the GM and in the hearts of fans.  The front office is stuck paying Wells' high salary, and pretty much has to pay him to get any return at all on their investment.  If Wells starts to hit, the boos will subside, and the potential behind signing Wells to such a high-paying extension will be at least partially realized. 

There is always a place for booing though, Mr. Synder.  Fans support the game and its players, not the other way around.  If fans feel shortchanged because one highly paid player is absorbing salary for what could pay for a 50% improved bullpen, then it's their right to complain.  Alfonso Soriano hasn't been such a fixture in Chicago long enough that fans shouldn't expect him to justify his salary.  A "series of mental mistakes" doesn't sound like a very good performance, and someone would have to be loved by fans very much to forgive the crimes of a multi-error game, a 20-game slump, or getting thrown out of a game on an obvious call. 

Let's take an example: Let's say that the Yankees decide they can bid on Albert Pujols in the next off-season, and that they're willing to pay $380 million over the next 11 years.  It would involve all kinds of assumptions like maybe DH Mark Teixeira or move him to OF- whatever, the point is that the Yankees want him and they get him.  If, after the first 3 months of regular season play in 2012, Pujols has a stat line of .195, 8 HR, 21 RBI, and an OBP of .320, would you figure that Yankees will and should cut him some slack?  Everyone knows what a great guy Pujols is, but they'd still boo him.  For that kind of money, players have a responsibility to play to their fullest potential- the high salary is a promise, not a reward.

Since: Feb 11, 2009
Posted on: April 12, 2011 6:17 pm

When home boobirds attack

I never boo a player for the money they make, but the plays they do not make.  Wells will eventually hit and play good baseball and does not deserve to be booed for early season troubles.  If a player (Manny) does something else like cheat, then go for it.  Manny did everything to prove his was a cheater and not as talented as first thought.  Vernon Wells is a great human being similar to Torii Hunter and should not be judged on the size of his wallet

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or