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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Booing New York

The Booing New Yorker

This post has been brought on by recent discussions about booing, and recent inaccurate statements by the media about how the Mets fan thinks, and how he boos, particularly of Santana on his first start at Shea.

I want to start by denouncing comparisons to places like Boston or St. Louis. These cities are often cited as good baseball/sports fans, as if somehow the way they choose to respond to their team's form of entertainment is somehow better than anyone else's. I'm pretty sure Red Sox fans boo, and their must be at least some Cardinal fans who boo, even if they're just transplanted New Yorkers or something, but it's irrelevant. In those towns the baseball teams are part of the culture, are part of the every day news cycle and the general small-talk conversations. “Did you see the Sox game last night?” Can almost always be met with conversation in Boston. In New York, there is so much diversity of culture and variety in choices of sports and entertainment that not everyone is into the same things. “Did you see the Mets game last night?” Can be met with anything from “I don't watch sports”, to “No, I was watching hockey, the Devils looks good last night.”, to the more derisive “Mets suck! Did you see the Yankee game?”

If the Cardinals or Red Sox are bad, people still watch and root, if with less enthusiasm. In New York, the Mets are competing with the Yankees (because there are, and always will be, thousands of band wagon fans), the Rangers, Islanders, Devils, Knicks, Nets, Giants and Jets. There are dozens of news programs, sports writers, newspapers, columnists and bloggers out there trying to cover these teams and write stories. Often times those stories are negative ones, and many times when a team isn't that good, less attention is paid to it and writers grasp at anything for a story, sometimes without getting all the facts. This leads to stories about players being booed, when the facts don't support it. Sure there were some boos, take any group of 50 thousand people and you're sure to get some ignorant losers, but even the audio clips I've heard seem to suggest more cheers than boos. I've heard accounts from three different parts of the stadium, and the worst account of it was 'mostly cheers'. The media has made this into a huge deal, and probably made Santana more wary, and less liking, of the fans in general. It is the media that is painting a picture of us Mets fans as a bitter hateful group that is going to panic at every road bump this year. This is the case for some, but many of us are ready to forget and move on. As David Wright said after the Opening Day loss, last year is over and the losing streak was at one as far as we are concerned.

Not to say that booing can't or shouldn't happen. It will happen, and that's fine, the players have to get over it, and the best way to do that is to not pretend they don't deserve it. We want to cheer you, we want to scream and yell and shout your name, but you have to earn it.

I personally don't think players should ever be booed while trying. You can boo Schoeneweis when he is announced. You can boo Delgado when he grounds into yet another double play with runners on, but while they're pitching or batting they should be cheered. Nothing could be clearer that we're rooting for you, but are displeased with your performance when you routinely fail us. We, most of us, aren't booing you, but the job you are doing.

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