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Booing, Booers and Boors of Home Teams -- Gutless Cowards

Booing home teams is a sport engaged in by cowards, punks and miscreants. Do't do it.

Years ago at an Orioles' game I was sitting behind home plate, and several rows behind me a Baltimore sportscaster, there as a fan, was booing the Orioles.

Decades earlier, my favorite baseball player of all time, Pittsburgh Pirate star Roberto Clemente, in the midst of a rare mini-slump, was booed at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. Clemente is the player after whom Major League Baseball's coveted "Roberto Clemente Award" is named. This award is presented each year and "best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement, and the individual's contribution to his team."

The latter event has had a life-long effect on me, because while I have contempt for fair-weather fans, I literally detest those who boo their home teams' players, unless said players are simply not trying. Ever seen an outfielder lazily jog after a ball hit over his head or a tennis player who has given up? Go ahead: boo him or her. He/she is violating the implicit contract between athlete and fan.

As I have heard booing resound throughout sports stadiums (and other, non-sports environments) over the years, I have noticed some critical explanatory facts (and written on this previously as well): first, the sound of booing makes it seem as if many more people are booing than actually are. I have been to many events -- sports and otherwise -- wherein I heard what seemed to be an entire audience booing, and yet I could not see any particular person doing so. Call it the Law of Disproportionate Booing Volume (LDBV) -- 3-4% of people booing reverberates throughout a stadium, auditorium and most other environments, making it sound as if everyone is doing so, not just the boors. Journalists, never having had Booing 300 in college, report it as "the crowd booed," not realizing that it was a tiny percentage of those in attendance who did so.

Second, when I have seen people I recognize booing their team, they have never been high quality people. O.K., I have on rare occasion booed a fatuous or offensive speaker, but it was always an opponent, never a friend, a teammate, or someone or the representative of something I supported.

I taught my children never to boo their home teams, and I think -- think -- I was successful.

Yesterday, the latest example manifested its ugly self: there was loud booing at the Baltimore Ravens game as the team made serial mistakes in the first half, but there was no lack of effort.

In a Baltimore Sun column by Jeff Zrebiec, Ray Lewis was quoted as saying that he had no problem with the booing because the fans would turn around and cheer when the Ravens "put some points on the board."

Exactly -- booers of home teams are gutless, fair-weather fans.

Let me put it clearly: booing your hometown players -- singly or as a team -- is the refuge of a coward. You usually won't be noticed or called to task, but you are utterly beneath contempt.

And there is a special place in hell for those who boo minors -- any minors.

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Red Maryland: The Premier blog of conservative and Republican politics and ideas in the Free State, named one of Maryland's best political blogs by The Washington Post.

Prof. Vatz, a Cockeysville resident, teaches communication at Towson University.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Dan Garber November 02, 2011 at 01:28 PM
Thank you for the well articulated post. Though you certainly have the credentials and pedigree far exceding most, I wonder if the gutless coward moniker is a bit overkill. IMHO, historically many home town teams have had an unspoken partnership with the fans. In today's ego driven sports society, athletes, team execs and fans alike have blurred that bond. With today's disproportionally high prices for tickets, food, merchandise, etc., some may think it ok to express displeasure as well as support of the performance, not the effort. Few would argue that athletes do not try on and mostly off the field, but how many do so for the love of the team or sport? It is a rarity to find the athlete that takes a pay cut to remain with the team he started. Few players ever finish a career with one or even two teams. Fans have become jaded in some cases. Boos reflect that...a disappoint with performance, not effort. Yes, a few can make the boos seem louder and more numerous than they may actually be, but expecting unblinding loyalty from organizations that may have forgotten seems idealistic. Does booing a home team make you less of a fan? Does scolding a child for an error make you less of a parent? Team loyalty may be unconditional, but frustration may raise its head now and then. Just as athletes past rarely taunted, excessively celebrated, and danced; fan behavior has changed as well...perhaps not for the better. One thing I hope never changes...Never boo any minors!
JDStuts November 02, 2011 at 02:24 PM
I regularly read your column and blog but this was by far the worst thing you've written. Ever. Booing is bad unless you do it and justify it? You identify your self as a political observer but then posit we should never be critical of the home team? This walking mess of logic starts and stops appears to have been phoned in. Boo. And boo on the Ravens for that first half as well, players and coaches. Needing a whole half to warm up and adjust schematically shows poor preparation the week before. For highly paid professionals charging top dollar for seats/food/drinks that warrants criticism.
opbilly November 02, 2011 at 08:04 PM
Are you kidding me??? Your logic is just stupid! So after the Ravens sleep walked through an entire first half against an inferior team after losing to an inferior team the week before, we the fans who paid good money to go support them aren't supposed to tell them what we feel!!! Even some of the players said that it was good that they got booed. It gave then the message that they were stinking up the joint! I dont do it very often, but last week was necessary and I dont feel bad about it at all.

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