The Great Boo Debate of 2011

Being a blogger affords me the opportunity to not only write about baseball – one of the great loves of my life – from an objective-professional-beat-writeresque perspective, but also from a subjective, fan-first-objectivity-second perspective. After all, we are -- all of us -- fans first.

So when the topic of booing comes up, and boy, has it ever been a hot button topic this season, it stirs some interesting emotions up in my belly.

Part of me, the well reasoned, mature part, says: “Booing is perhaps the lowest form of civilization at the baseball park, reserved for only the most uncultured fans who'd just as rather be doing kegstands in the parking lot.”

But the other part of me – the part that wears his baseball-rooting-heart on his sleeve -- screams: “Booing is the ultimate form of expressionism because it is immediate, guttural, and onomatopoetic out the wazoo.”

The reason I write about this now, like I did two weeks ago, is because former Phillie and current St. Louis Cardinal, Ryan Franklin, took exception to the recent boos that rained down upon him during a recent home game. Prior to that game, Franklin was demoted from his role as closer after he blew four of his first five saves.

"I guess [the fans] have short memories too because I think I've been pretty good here. It doesn't bother me, but it just shows some people's true colors. You're either a fan or you're not. " [Fox Sports Midwest]

His comments were in stark contrast to what Cole Hamels' had to say following his first outing of the season, when he was booed by the fans at Citizens Bank Park after he allowed six runs in two plus innings.

Two athletes, two guys who routinely play in front of packed stadiums, two different reactions to fans showing displeasure for a player who was been more good than bad.

That's not surprising, considering the recent back-and-forth between bloggers and fans about when and where and how we should voice displeasure for certain players during a baseball game. Even a pair of local beat writers got into a bit of a row over this very subject.

It's a touchy subject, this booing. You want to express yourself, but you don't want to get pigeonholed as “those types of fans.” But you also don't want some blogger to tell you what to do. And you also don't want to scare off potential free agents because your city is just "too tough."

If you ask me (and let's just say that you are), I'm okay with booing - in moderation. I'm not a fan of booing just for the sake of booing, but I'm down for doing it if and when a player deserves it. Cole Hamels had a rough first start of the season? Put those boos in your pocket. But when a struggling, streaky left fielder goes oh-fer in a really important game in the Wild Card race? Fire it up.

What say you, fans? Should the players take booing to heart, or should they accept it as an occupational hazard?

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