Yesterday was the Cubs’ home opener at Wrigley Field, and already the Cubs fans in attendance were voicing their displeasure with certain players on the roster. Clearly, this is not the same group of Cubs fans that used to be in the stands at Wrigley every afternoon.
I understand that booing is part of sports. It is natural for fans to boo the opposing team. That happens at every stadium in every sport. What is not natural is for fans to boo their own team. Sure, there are a number of fan bases that do this on a daily basis (which doesn’t make it right), but Cubs fans have never been a part of that group, until now that is.
Yesterday during the player introductions prior to the first pitch, Carlos Marmol was booed like crazy by the Cubs fans in attendance. He was then booed as he ran in from the bullpen heading into the eighth inning. This wasn’t the only booing that took place yesterday, but I won’t get into all the rest.
Being a Cubs fan like I am, I know that Carlos Marmol has had his struggles in the past, to say the least. This past weekend he blew a save in Atlanta and then surrendered a walk-off home run to Justin Upton in the bottom of the ninth. Prior to that outing, he had a couple of very shaky appearances in Pittsburgh during last week’s opening series with the Pirates.
Having said that, you don’t boo a player during the home opener team introductions or when they take the mound in the eighth inning as a relief pitcher. Does anyone have any idea how much more difficult that makes it for a player to succeed when he’s booed before throwing a pitch in front of his own fans? Cubs fans went to a new low yesterday with their booing, and it needs to stop.
Wrigley has gotten a reputation in past years as being a big “drunk fest,” and that may be accurate. Obviously not everyone in attendance is drunk or consuming alcohol, but a large portion of the fans are, especially in the outfield. These “drunk” fans are mostly young people in their 20’s and 30’s who show up just to party. They are not true fans. It is these people that are ruining Wrigley’s reputation, and it is these people that are leading the booing and making their own team turn against them.
I guess the opposing argument to mine regarding the booing would be this:
The players on the field are getting paid millions of dollars to perform, and so when they don’t perform, they deserve to get booed.
I can’t say that I completely disagree with that. At the same time, however, when a pitcher or any other player is out there giving it 110% and not succeeding, they shouldn’t get booed. If a guy is being lazy or their head isn’t in the game, causing them to make mistakes, then they should get booed. You don’t, however, boo a guy who is giving it everything he’s got, and you don’t boo your own player(s) as they get introduced or take the field.
It is sad that Dale Sveum had to comment on this matter in his postgame interview yesterday after just one home game. To sum it up, he said that it’s tough to perform when you get booed in introductions or when you take the field. I couldn’t agree more.
Any true Cubs fan knows that this team is in a rebuilding process. The Cubs are not going to be good this year, or next year. If people are showing up at Wrigley Field expecting this team to win on a daily basis and boo when they lose, then those fans are simply not intelligent. Don’t go to Cubs games if you’re expecting them to perform like a first place team.
Hopefully this will be the last time I write about this, because it makes me sick to know that so many dumb fans are taking over that park and ruining its reputation.
Dysfunctional ownership/fan relationship aside, I’d hate to see Wrigley disappear. I think that suggestion is a bit excessive. Simply wanting to “teach them all a lesson” does not justify bulldozing one of the game’s most iconic centerpieces. This happens to be a ballpark which fans from around the country appreciate for history and aesthetics regardless of which team they cheer for. That being said, it’s unfortunate that so many sports fans have terrible attitudes. There was a story the other day about Terry Francona getting lost on his way to work, and he couldn’t believe how nice the Indians fans all were in helping him find the park. Having grown up in Massachusetts, I immediately recognized the flip side of his comment- mainly that anyone would seem nice after spending years in the fan-cesspool of Boston.
Can’t be mad at Marmol, what was he supposed to say, “I’m not gonna take that $9.5 million?” Boo whomever wrote the deal, the onus is not on Marmol. The mess that was formerly known as the “Friendly Confines,” has been approaching a crisis state of deterioration since before the Black Eye that was the way Cubs fans treated Bartman. There’s 30 teams in baseball, making for 4,860 regular season games. Only at the Friendly Confines is it commonplace to throw your garbage onto the field in fanatical dispute of balls and strikes. The Cubs need a divorce from Wrigley Field and that damned neighborhood. The relationship between ownership and the community is an abusive relationship that will only continue to spiral south so long as the political machine that’s Chicago is involved with how an owner runs his company. Pull out of Wrigley, let that neighborhood, along with her residents and tainted leadership learn a hard lesson on property value.