When is it OK to boo a player on your favorite team?
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On Tuesday, Giancarlo Stanton went 0-for-5 with five strikeouts. Despite a promising start to his Yankees career, fans in the Bronx booed him for the performance. Do you think it was warranted? If a player isn't performing well on the field, and he's on your favorite team, is it ever OK to boo them? If so, when? If not, why not?
Chris Landers: If I may address my fellow Yankees fans for a moment: absolutely not. Especially when the player in question is the reigning NL MVP and can send baseballs to Neptune.
Matthew Monagan: Well, he did hit a home run today. The hardest hit home run of the year ...
Chris: That's a good point: Maybe Giancarlo needs the negativity to inspire him. Maybe Yankee Stadium is playing three-dimensional chess, and we're just down here playing checkers.
Gemma Kaneko: I agree with you both -- I don't think you should boo players on your own team. Not unless it's secretly cheering. Obviously Bryce Harper thrives on the "overrated" chants and boos. Remember that Harper profile from a few years ago about him hitting a home run and making direct eye contact with the fan behind home plate who booed him? That kind of thing is awesome, and I'm all about vengeance-inspired dingers.
Adrian Garro: A few seasons ago, the A's brought Jim Johnson on to be the closer -- and he got off to a *very* rough start. A's fans booed him mercilessly, and then the A's traded him a few months later. Every time he's pitched against the A's since that season, he's seemed super determined and focused. So, if you believe the fans' booing motivated him, then it in turn kind of hurt them in the end.
Chris: We know Spike Lee loves the Yankees, we just need to get him to channel that Reggie Miller antagonism towards his own players and Giancarlo will hit 85 dingers this year.
Dakota Gardner: But players are people too! How would you feel if someone shouted at you while you were trying to work?
Michael Clair: I feel like all of you were bullies in elementary school, but called it "life coaching" or "motivational lunch money removal."
Eric Chesterton: I think that's the wrong question, Dakota. Most people don't work in environments where fans are an essential element. Being a fan is inherently an emotional endeavor; they're not analysts. If fans are frustrated by a player, it's well within their right to boo. That said, I don't think a week into the season is the time to do it.
Adrian: Maybe Yankees fans just wanted to boo Giancarlo while they could, since he'll inevitably give them nothing but things to cheer about for as long as he's in town.
Dakota: But, like, it's not like the player wants to be bad! He wants to be good. He probably wants to be good more than you want him to be good. So, how is being booed really going to help?
Gemma: Here's the question -- would any of you ever personally boo a player?
Eric: Like one-on-one?
Chris: If you're not willing to boo a player directly to his face, maybe don't do it.
Matthew: Yeah I don't think I could boo a player face-to-face. But from the upper deck of Citi Field -- sure.
Michael: I, personally, would never boo a player. But I think there are three times when it's OK to boo your team's player: 1. Obvious lack of effort. 2. A spoken desire to play for another team. (It's every player's right to want to go to a new team, and it's every fan's right to boo them for it.) 3. An off-the-field issue. Otherwise, support your team. That's what you're there for.
Eric: You can express disappointment to your kid by shaking your head or other subtle gestures, but that doesn't easily convey in a stadium experience. Booing is just a substitution for those more subtle gestures of disappointment and frustration.
Chris: Eric, this actually gets to a point that I've been thinking about a lot RE: Giancarlo-gate. Is it possible that we fans are falling victim to a communication gap? No matter what you're trying to convey, there's only one universally accepted negative expression at a ballpark. But "boooooooooo" and "I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed" aren't the same thing!
Michael: You're all acting like booing is this grand right that fans have. Shouldn't we look to make the ballpark a happier place?
Dakota: Mike is making the right point here. The question is not whether or not you can -- of course you can, you bought a ticket -- but rather, whether or not you should. And my rule is that you shouldn't treat a player any different than you'd treat a stranger in any other context.
Michael: Dakota: You have definitely booed me when I missed a deadline.
Dakota: There are exceptions to every rule.
Gemma: Who is anti-all booing?
Dakota: I am. I'd never boo a player unless they, like, popped a beach ball or something.
Adrian: Oh popping a beach ball, for sure. I've seen that, and it's amusing.
Eric: What about a pitcher who throws to first too much?
Chris: THE WORST KIND OF BOOING, ERIC.
Dakota: Eric, that is my biggest pet peeve in sports. That's LITERALLY his job.
Matthew: What about booing another fan? For dropping a foul ball.
Adrian: Booing an adult fan for visibly stealing a foul ball from a kid is also acceptable IMO.
Chris: Strong agree.
Dakota: Yeah, boo other fans all you want.
Matthew: How about: Boo the fans who were booing Stanton.
Dakota: I endorse that.
Michael: Then you have the confusion of, "Are you saying boo Stanton or boo the booing Stanton fans?"
Eric: Can we say for sure that wasn't what happened? What if one fan started booing Stanton, then everyone else was just booing him?