My Favorite Posts—The Pink Elephant - THURSDAY, JANUARY 15, 2009 The Pink Elephant It's the gigantic pink elephant in the room. It's what everyone who watches sports has thought about at one ti...
Friday, July 29, 2011
Spectator Booing in Sports
A blogger (Peter) I know yankeesredsox.com posted yesterday a self analysis piece on whether booing athletes is a good/decent thing to do after hearing of Hideki Irabu's suicide. Peter wondered out loud whether, in the smallest of ways, his booing of Irabu while with the Yankees could have contributed to his ultimate demise.
I don't believe a fan should ever feel guilty of "casual booing" in fact I believe it is part of the sport and athlete/fan relationship, certainly at the professional level. Don't get me wrong, if you boo college kids, high school etc. then the line may be crossed. After all, they are not profiting from playing (yet).
I believe there are at least a few types of booing.
1) Booing your own team, this is out of frustration, whether it be a multi millionaire not performing up to snuff or the team in total struggling it is a necessary boo to let management and players know that the seats might not always be full. I willingly partake in this one.
2) Booing every single opposing player no matter the situation. Often these types are either drunk or are such negative people in life that they would think they hit the lottery if they were walking behind you and you drop a $20 bill on the ground and they pick it up and keep it rather than return it to you. I cannot remember doing this ever, although I would have if older at the time shortly after a big brawl between the Sox and Yankees in 1976 when Nettles and the Yankees retaliated ( 1976 brawl ) to some lip service Bill Lee had been providing with a physical (and cheap) beat down.
3) Booing only particular players on the other team. This one is easily the most popular. Visiting players, whether good or bad, get it from fans. This differs from #2 in that there is room left for respect of the opposing players if deserved. I would never boo Derek Jeter but when A-Rod comes up to bat, watch out. I obviously partake in this version.
Unless you take it (way) too far and have altercations with a player outside of the field of play, as long as it is kept within limits, booing is a good part of competitive sports and fan viewing. Professional athletes are entertainers and make obscene amounts of money. The tickets and secondary costs of going to an event or game are real and significant to fans. If the booing were ever regulated/forced out of that relationship you might as well have an empty stadium and have it only televised with no live viewing.