Booing and Bat-flipping
Posted by The Right Reverend on April 19, 2006
Much has been made recently about the issue on whether to boo or not to boo. Albert Pujols recently came out and condemned the booing of Izzy and Encarnacion, and I appreciate him being a leader and sticking up for his teammates. My personal opinion: If you paid the price for the ticket, and you want to boo, that’s your thing. I’m not going to boo because it probably does more harm then good. Tony LaRussa has said how hard Jason Isringhausen is on himself, and I don’t think him hearing boos is going to help. Sure, he’s a professional getting paid a lot of money. He should let it roll off of him. But ballplayers are human beings, and they have egos just like you and me. Take Edgar Renteria. (Please!) Tony LaRussa wondered if Edgar could take the heat of playing in a baseball rabid town like Boston, where the fans let you hear it when you fail, and Edgar went and had a miserable season in the field and at the plate. Now traded to the Braves, it appears that LaRussa was correct in his assessment about Renteria.
I have no idea what Juan Encarnacion is thinking when he heard loud boos in his first week at Busch Stadium, but I’m sure it wasn’t at all what he expected given our fan’s reputation for being supportive. I am sure however, that it isn’t helping. Winning has spoiled us as Cardinal fans, and we expect excellence and should. But booing isn’t going to suddenly alert a player to get in gear, nor will it help him go from being sorry to spectacular.
I will tell you one thing a ticket does not buy you, and that is the right to act like a complete jackass. I was absolutely disgusted when I read a recent editorial column by Brian Burwell at the P-D. It told the story of a grandfather with his grandchildren at the game Sunday hearing a nearby fan getting cursed out, heckled and booed when the nearby fan caught a homerun ball hit by one of the Reds players. The drunken “fans”-and I use the word “fan” loosely- were insisting with much vulgarity for the man to throw the ball back.
First, this brings me to a question-If these people were real Cardinal fans, why are they insisting the man throw the ball back? “Throwing it back” is a Cub fan tradition, and do we really want to imitate Cub fans? Secondly, what sort of a sick person must one be to curse out a person in a drunken rage over a baseball, and while there are children around? These sort of people should be immediately removed from the game by security. I don’t care how much they payed for their ticket, by acting like that they forfeit their right to be there.
Another issue I have seen on many Cardinal forums is Pujols’ supposed poor sportsmanship because he watches his homeruns go out and he flips the bat as he runs to first base. I’m sorry, but the man is the greatest hitter in the game, and while the bat flips appear to be in poor taste, he’s not the sort of superstar you worry about your kids emulating. As the superstar on the team, he’s always calling attention to his teammates and is their biggest cheerleader. And as I just noted, he sticks up for them when they struggle. Another thing about Albert is that he’s doesn’t soak up the glory when he does something routinely amazing. He’s always talking about forgetting it and moving forward to the future, and how he just wants to win.
Albert has an extremely focused, results-driven personality, and personalities like that can come across as cocky to some people. I thinks it’s confidence, and that he means no offense to any pitcher when he hits a 440 foot homerun and flips the bat as he jogs to first. Cardinal fans getting upset with Albert over flipping his bat after he hits a solo homerun off of Oliver Perez when the team was getting blown out seemed to have no problem with Albert watching the ball go out and slowly walking to first against Brad Lidge in game 5 of the NLCS last year.
He can do the moonwalk around the bases for all I care, as long as he doesn’t hurt himself and continues to play the way he does. Yes, I would prefer he just put his head down and run the bases like Scott Rolen. But I think what Albert does is intimidate, and as long as he continues to be a team first player and keeps his priorities of family and others off of the field, it doesn’t bother me one bit. Let Albert be Albert, because is a vast difference of Albert being Albert then say, Manny being Manny.