To Boo or Not To Boo

Hamels – the one Ace with a ring (Reuters)

So perhaps you had a rough day at work yesterday, which was only tolerable because of the Phillies game you looked forward to going to last night. You paid good money for tickets, parking, and concessions on a rather miserable April night. And then just as you were getting into the game, your day was topped off with one of Cole Hamels' worst starts of his career, going 2.2 innings, allowing six runs, while surrendering two hits to pitcher Chris Young in the same inning.

I can understand how some fans, especially those who might only go to two or three games a season, would be frustrated or even angry.  You missed the three fun wins over the weekend and now were stuck with tickets to this clunker. Oh, and you probably had some douchebag Mets fans near you who was getting on your nerves all night, and taunting every Phillies fan in your section.

A loud vocal minority of fans decided that the appropriate response to this was to let loose and boo Hamels. And I cringed.  I’m all for fans being tough but fair. But booing a guy in Game #4 is a little unfair from my vantage point. 

If this was May or June and Hamels had stunk for most of the season, I’d be OK with booing him after another bad outing. In fact, if there weren’t at least a little smattering of boos then, I’d suspect that they had replaced the fans at CBP with lame fans from San Diego or LA. But not after one start. 1/162 of a baseball season is the equivalent of about five and a half game minutes of an NFL season. You can’t bring an NFL mentality to a baseball season. And if you know the game, you know every good starting pitcher has a handful of starts like this every year.

And not that he should get a free pass forever now, but he was the MVP of the 2008 World Series.  He has probably gotten booed more than any other good player on the team over the last few years. And to his credit, he seems to have handled it well. For a SoCal guy, he seems to “get” the city’s fans pretty well. He faces the music after poor starts and never says anything negative about the fans, who seem to give him no margin of error for poor play compared to other stars on the team. Could you imagine Cliff Lee or Roy Halladay getting booed last night after an outing like that? I can’t.

The two words that come to mind with these types of fans are “ingrates” and “ballbreakers." There is no doubt these are some of the Type-1 kind of fans. If we want to help rid ourselves of the unfair reputation of being a fan base of drunken louts, then we should show a little restraint occasionally.

Part of being a knowledgeable fan is knowing the right time to boo. Personally, I've only ever booed perceived lack of effort or sustained poor performance.  I embrace the power of the boo. But if you overuse it in situations that don’t really warrant it, then it loses its power.  

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47 Responses

  1. No. He should get booed. F*ck him if his feelings are hurt. Anyone making his silly money should be able to take it like a man, instead of like some Hollywood finocchio:

  2. i’m going to start selling a “three aces” shirt if anyone is interested in purchasing one…lol…hamels will bounce back

  3. I completely agree. Last week or whenever it was I completely disagreed with your characterization of the lousy phillies fans, but then I was there last night.
    Some girl next to me kept shouting “3 Aces!” I finally turned to her and said, which ace won us a world series. Booing last night showed you’re not a good baseball fan, you’re not a good phillies fan, and you were drunk, because I needed all my energy to stay warm.

  4. I am a type 3 fan. I was there last night. Worst conditions I have ever been to at a baseball game.
    I booed.
    Not Hamels….I was booing the decision to leave him out there that long. He did not have it at all, and it was evident (despite the 2nd inning). His body language also did not look good from the start.
    Discussing the merits of booing or not booing, I believe, are words wasted. If you paid money to see the game, then you are allowed to boo. It is the way it is.
    Plus, in my opinion, he did not even get booed very loudly. Hagen and others are making far too much of it.
    Sensible Philly fans known Hamels is notoriously bad in April and against the Mets. This was just a perfect storm.

  5. Did Hamels deserve to have been booed last night? I’d say no, after all, it was only the fourth game of the season, but I can understand why it happened, given the circumstances. Frigid temperatures better suited for an Eagles game, mounting frustration with a game that slipped further and further away with every hit he gave up, and the fact the hated Mets were the benefactor of that largesse, it all added up to a misguided release of emotion that just wasn’t called for.
    Whether or not the booing had been fueled by booze and/or ignorance, there’s a time and place for that sort of thing, and last night wasn’t it. I sorely wish the fans had shown more restraint, if but for no other reason than to prevent the assholes on Sportscenter and Philly hating dickheads like T.J. Simers and Mike Wilbon from being given more ammunition to rip our fans with. But hey, what’s done is done. In the future, I would hope the fans would think first before opening their mouths.

  6. Let me preface this comment with the fact that I’ve booed extensively as a life long Philadelphia sports fan. And I’ll echo the author’s sentiment of booing at the right times. If the situation warrants it, I’ll boo my face off.
    That being said..
    It’s absolutely ridiculous that you would boo Cole Hamels in this situation.
    It is BEYOND me why this city doesn’t have him on the same pedestal as Clifton or Halladay. Which of those three has a World Series MVP award in a Phillies uniform?
    Cole shouldn’t ever have to buy a beer for himself in this city, let alone be booed by ungrateful punk “fans.” Will you boo Lee when he has a terrible outing this year? (You know he will.)
    It’s not like Hamels phoned it in and flipped off the fans. He had a shitty game. Deal with it.

  7. My main concern is that my team wins. In my mind booing doesn’t help the team win so never occurred to me to to it. Also i look at the standings not the ledger so player salary means nothing to me.

  8. Booing Hamels last night is not saying that Hamels sucks or is a bad pitcher. I have been a stalwart Hamels defender. I booed Hamels last night, because last night Hamels deserved to be booed. It was a sloppy performance by a normally good pitcher. Although judging a pitcher on one performance is a bandwagon move, booing a crappy performance is merely expressing one’s displeasure with the current situation.

  9. No one deserves to be booed until we’re in double-digits in regards to games played.
    The drama queen Hamels of ’09 deserved to get booed.
    Anyone who booed Cole Hamels last night is a bad Phillies fan.

  10. Your spot on. I also only boo lack of effort. I commented to my son on Opening Day that Hamels got only polite applause and he was WS & NLCS MVP is 08′. Talk about ‘What have you done for me lately’. Cliff Lee was cheered like the second coming. I don’t get why fans don’t appreciate Hamels. I do.

  11. I think what rubs people the wrong way about Cole is that he too often loses his composure on the mound. Now whether or not that is visible to everyone in the park I don’t know. That loss of composure in and of itself could spurn some boos from people. Booing his actual performance is one thing to me. It’s April 5th, he’s not going to come right out and dominate. His career April #’s are ugly. I flamed Cole in 2009 because he acted like a child throughout the entire season and said everything wrong that he possibly could and his emotions were that of an 11 year old girl who was told that they can’t go to the Bieber concert.
    That being said, I’m not backing off my prediction that he will win the Cy Young this year. He’s way too talented and the talent surrounding him should push him even more.

  12. 1. I boo when I’m pissed and I cheer when I’m happy. End of Story. I paid the money to watch the damn game and I paid the money to express my opinion within reason.
    2. This whole classification of whether you are a “true” Phillies fan is retarded. I just imagine a bunch of little kids arguing, “No I’m a bigger fan. No, I’m a bigger fan.”
    3. I think Cole is a damn good pitcher, admittedly softer than a marshmellow, but he is still has a boatload of talent.
    4. Last night he sucked. Because he sucked, I was pissed. Because I was pissed, I booed. The next time I’m pissed, I will boo again.
    5. The girl who said the comment about the “3 Aces” was retarded. That would have pissed me off too.

  13. wait…so the Phillies aren’t going to be 162-0 this year? what the hell?!? this team sucks! BOOOOOOOOOO

  14. First off, anyone who was not at the game last night should not even be commenting on this post. You have to be able to understand the environment there….it was hell on earth in my honest opinion. That being said….
    Hamels flips out like a total child sometimes. His body language often disgusts me. Does Halladay or Lee stamp their feet and get pissed like he does? Hell, I have never seen Blanton do that either!
    4 years ago (I think it was 4) I was at a game in which Hamels was pitching perfect baseball against the Brewers until he walked Prince Fielder. He then proceeded to bitch and moan and shake his head on the mound. Next pitch to JJ Hardy landed in the left field seats.
    While I appreciate GREATLY what he did in the ’08 postseason, HE HAS NEVER BEEN CONSISTENT. I want everyone on here calling those who booed not a true fan to honestly tell me they were not pissed during Game 3 of the World Series in 09. He sucked. He knew he sucked. And it seemed to me as if he did not care.
    Halladay especially does not act like that. So…I’ll boo if I want to boo.

  15. The people that boo 4 games into a season against a team that likely will finish in last or next to last place, are displaying their lack of intelligence about the game.
    I’ve been a fan since the late 70’s – and I am tired of these so called fans that think the are helping matters at all.
    Any time our teams win, it’s in spite of you.

  16. Spencer you win for the dumbest post I have read in a long time. I don’t know one person who has booed who thought they were helping their team. They were booing to let them know that kind of effort is not acceptable.
    If you don’t like it….go be a Marlins fan.

  17. I was watching Hamels on TV and I didn’t see any outward signs of loss of composure. He didn’t have great stuff last night. It happens. It will happen to Halladay, and Lee, and Oswalt.
    But because they’re Halladay and Lee and Oswalt, they won’t get booed.
    Our numbers four and five are the only guys on this starting rotation with the rings. They deserve a pass.
    The booing was an even more disgusting display considering we haven’t even reached double-digits in regular season games played yet.
    I’m sure the fans who were booing Hamels last night are true fans. They paid for their tickets and they showed up to watch the game. They’re just BAD fans.

  18. @Nolan. I hear you. People like to praise St. Louis fans but honestly I think they are dopes. They are like robots programmed to cheer and only cheer. There is always a time and a place to boo. Last night was a little early but then again I wasn’t in the park. Had I been in the park freezing my sack off I might not have been able to restrain.

  19. No, they’re not good fans.
    I saw nothing that told me that Hamels was getting upset and phoning it in. I saw nothing that told me he wasn’t giving it his best effort.
    He just didn’t have great stuff and it showed. I don’t even mind people saying he sucked last night, because he did.
    But this is the fourth game of the season, it was his first start, and those fans should have welcomed him back the same way they welcomed back the three guys who pitched before he did.
    I will eat my hat if Halladay or Lee get that treatment on an off-day.
    Talk about mistreating someone who should be at least as high on the pedestal as Cliff Lee after turning it around the way Hamels did last year.

  20. The statement about having won a world series entitles them to a free pass is dumb. By that logic, if Adam Eaton returned with his double digit ERA, we should be totally fine with that (Absolutely, not comparing Blanton or Hamels to Eaton, just pointed out dumb reasoning when I see it).
    If you drop a steaming pile on the mound like Cole did last night, you are getting booed. In fact, the only pitchers I wouldn’t boo for an inning like that would be Bastardo and Baez, because I would expect it out of them. Personally, I think it would be insulting to a pitcher if we didn’t boo; almost like “we don’t care that you sucked today, because you always suck.”

  21. I know I’m a rare Philles fan, but I don’t boo the Phillies due to a bad performance. I express my displeasure when CBP gets as quiet as the grave. I just don’t boo my team. I don’t. I save it for the Mets, Braves, Umpires, etc.
    A Phillie would have to be a Njyger Morgan or Adam Eaton asshat for me to want to boo them.
    If someone wants to boo their own, especially if they are still in the game do you think it’s really helping? If you want to boo them when they come off the field, I guess it’s your prerogative, but I think it’s overkill for an occasional bad outing.
    The weather or how many times one can go to a game a year is no excuse. That’s baseball, no one is promising sunshine and a win.

  22. First game, shitty temperature, Mets playing agressive, whatever you want to use the excuse as, use it.
    Point blank its WAYYYYYY to early to jump on him. Leave him alone, he won us the WS with his arm, its a looonnngggggg season……leave the winner alone.
    I understand being mad that we were losing to the METS and that his best stuff may have been in the locker room, but you know the old saying, you win as a team and lose as a team. We as fans have to remember that, and put ourselves in his shoes…hes pissed off enough…last thing he wants is to be booed in the park he won a WS in….its just kinda dick…

  23. Sherry, you and I are in total agreement. I do not understand booing unless the player is acting like a jerk (which wasn’t happening) or the umpires screw something up.
    Why would you boo your own players? They’re not automatons, they’re never going to be great all the time, and expecting it is just asking to be disappointed.
    I won’t automatically deride fans who boo, but it’s far too early in the season for this nonsense from the fans directed at our first and original Ace. Maybe I’m too much of a sentimentalist, maybe I’ve got too much affection for our team and the great group of awesome guys we’re lucky enough to be able to watch 162+ games a year, but I don’t get the booing.

  24. I was there last night…AND…it was my birthday. So of course I was mad that they were blown out…but the bats were also asleep.
    Let us not forget that Hamels has given this city their first World Series in over 28 years, and that he is also a fantastic pitcher.
    To boo him when it’s only game 4 is low. It’s ONE game. We have 158 games left this season. We have the best starting rotation in the league. We live in the greatest city in the US with the greatest team. Let’s keep our eyes on the prize people and show some support to our boys!

  25. @ringo27 laughed my ass off at your comment, lol. “No, I’m a bigger fan!” lol. BUT…even though you were pissed and cold, like we ALL were last night, you can’t boo. It sends the wrong message. Be pissed. I was. Let out a sigh, punch some drunk b-bag in the face, trip a Mets fan, I don’t know, just don’t boo. Not yet, at least. It’s only April, dude. Let’s calm down. That 16-game football mentality doesn’t work in the confines of The Bank. Keep cool my babies

  26. Its Philly people, get off your high horses. If people want to boo, they boo. A “good” fan would do this, an “intelligent” fan would do this, type one, two etc IS FUCKING LAME…
    Personally I wouldnt boo him (and i want him to AND think he has the potential, to be the best starting pitcher on the squad this year), but sometimes it is called for whether or not they meet YOUR criteria.
    If you disagree with me, BOO to you!

  27. I don’t why you would boo four games in. There is no need to worry about it. Cole has shown that from time to time he will have a start where he gets squeezed and then starts throwing right down broad and pattison. It’s gonna happen. Don’t stress out about it and boo, just make overly exaggerated shocked faces and hope your on the telecast. We were a split 9-9 with the mets last year and we were still ok.

  28. I mean don’t get what I’m saying twisted. I know it’s a long season, and I knew they were going to get blown out a few more times this year. Furthermore, Cole will have a good season. In my opinion though, if we’re losing, I would rather here a chorus of boos than crickets. Cole is a big boy, he’s been booed before and he’ll be booed again, as a professional athlete (I hope) he’s used to it by now. Now if they stink up the joint and the place is silent, I just think that sends a message that, “Well we didn’t expect that much from you anyway.” On a positive note, I was pretty happy with Kendrick’s performance.

  29. PS I will be there tonight to watch my boy Joey B throw 6 stellar innings before he gets tired and leaves pitches up in the 7th. Hopefully Charlie pulls him before then.

  30. Alright – so if you’re not helping, then why do it? It has no purpose. It doesn’t motivate the player – it can only affect them negatively.
    I’m tired of hearing how tough our fans are. Actually the ones that are booing now are dumb, loudmouthed and drunk. They’re the ones that make the most noise and embarrass this city.

  31. @ringo27 Maybe some, I just know in all my years of watching the Eagles (our most negative fans) – they’ve been motivated to no Super Bowl wins.

  32. @Spencer and ringo27 – Was it me or didn’t Jimmy Rollins make a statement that a fan making a negative comment to him at Friday’s game motivate the comeback? Or am I crazy?

  33. Whats worse, booing a phillie when he blows it or being completely silent in the post season when we are down (see bottom of 8th/9th game 6 NLCS)?

  34. Then what happened between ’09 and ’10? Cole heard it from the fans, deservedly, and busted his butt to return to form the next year. We forget that Cole is still a young pitcher, he’ll get inside his own head sometimes. I feel that coddling him is not best for his development, rather, we should treat him like any other player, let him take his lumps, learn from his mistakes, and mature as a pitcher. The man is competitor, booing won’t cause him to roll over and die; on the contrary, he needs to feed off of it, if he’s ever going to fulfill his potential.

  35. Good article, John. I didn’t hear the booing when watching it on TV, but it’s far from hard to believe.
    I agree that it’s way too early in the season to start berating players for less-than-gleaming performances, but with Hamels, I would venture to say that some fans are on the offense right out of the gate. The 2009 season when Cole was publicly announcing he “just wants the season to be over” sticks out in my head.
    True, he has taken the criticism in stride, but he has had some moments of immaturity that I hope don’t reoccur.

  36. Could people please STOP saying that Cole Hamels is soft?
    His own pitching coach and manager have described him repeatedly as mentally tough. (I think they’re in a much better position to know, than a bunch of WIP-listening morons.)
    You don’t get to be the NLCS MVP and World Series MVP by being soft.
    He had an off year in 2009, and then worked extremely hard to get in shape for 2010 — and had an amazing second half, in particular.
    The Hamels-is-soft meme is lazy crap. It needs to end.

  37. Whether fans have the right to boo or not (and I think they do, even though I would almost never boo), the fact remains that Cole Hamels deserved better than the lukewarm reception he got and the front-running going amok last night.
    Grow up, Phillies fans. We’re not Yankees fans here.

  38. I will agree with you there Kate. I don’t know if it was the weather or what, but I expected more.

  39. I was there last night. It was cold, the wind was un-fucking-real, wind-burn has devoured my face. Any game I go to is a huge investment, mainly because I am forced to get my tickets off of stubhub and pay nearly double the price, not to mention $20 to park, so if I go, and the pitcher lays an egg (especially Cole, while he was incredible in ’08, his ’09 act in the playoffs is just something hard to swallow), then I’m going to let him know how I feel. Honestly, the weather, game budget, and alcohol consumption played a huge part in my booing, but this is Philly, we let players know the deal play by play.

  40. Love it Kate. Booing in the first week of the season – FRONT RUNNING. I don’t care what excuses you throw out there, you’re a fair weather fan. Go root for the Yankees.

  41. You can tell who the new fans are when you’re getting upset by “booing”. This is Philly, we booed in the Vet, and we’re damn-well gonna boo in CBP when a team is under-performing, what is with these powder-puffs?

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