To boo or not to boo. That is the question I ask of you. Last night Matt Kemp had a really bad day at the office, and the Dodger fans let him know about it. Kemp who has been on a season long slump went 0 for 5 with four whiffs in the Dodger’s 8-7 comeback win over the Angels in game one of the Freeway Series.
Kemp is hitting just .253 on the season and has only hit two home runs. The perennial MVP has gone hitless in his last 12 at-bats and is batting just .135 over his last ten games with 19 whiffs. Kemp’s OPS this season is a paltry .637. So after Kemp struck out for the fourth time on the night, the Dodger fans were understandably frustrated, and they let him know by nearly booing him off the field. Kemp sauntered back to the dugout clearly shaken up by it.
There is a hot debate going on across twitter right now about the incident and whether it is ok to boo your own team. The question is were Dodger fans out of line for booing Kemp? Should you boo your own team? When is it the right time to boo?
Good question. But is there really an answer? I don’t think there is a right or wrong answer here. Some people say that fans should never boo their own teams. They say it shows disloyalty, or that it is not productive, or not necessary. Some agree with it, saying that Kemp deserves to be booed for his poor play. What do you think? Which side do you think is right?
This hot topic has spurred debate all over twitter. Many people are giving their opinion that the fans went too far last night, and were not supporting the team, or Kemp. Now I agree that maybe the fans went a bit too far last night in their booing of the Dodger’s captain. It was a little too much. But do we have the right to say that every one of those fans that booed Kemp are not “real fans”?
I don’t agree with booing Kemp outright. Obviously Kemp is the only player on the team that has a legitimate reason for sucking. The man is coming off of major shoulder surgery, and it can take up to a year or more for those players to get their strength back. Most of them start out with slow bat speeds, and must work their way back slowly. Adrian Gonzalez had the same surgery a couple of years ago and talked about how his power is still zapped after over two years of recovering. Not to mention Kemp’s off-season workout schedule was interrupted because he was ordered to rest until January.
So of course we should cut Kemp some slack. But how much slack can we cut the rest of the team? I’m not advocating going out and booing every bad play, or booing every time a Dodger strikes out. But sometimes booing is necessary, and can be a welcome release of frustration.
Booing has been a natural part of professional sports since the beginning. The boo’s purpose is to point out poor play, or to point out a player’s Bumness. Sometimes the failures or Bums must be documented and acknowledged as much as the successes. If we ignore our failures than how can we learn from them? I am just pointing out that fans have been booing since the beginning of time. Should they be booing Kemp? No probably not, but they have the right to do it, without facing accusations from other fans.
I expect for professional athletes to be able to handle a little booing every once in a while. It’s good for character, and grows hair on your chest. Honestly, are the Dodger players this soft, that they can’t take a little constructive booing? Don Mattingly called the Dodgers soft, and said his team lacked grit. Maybe he was right? Because if they start crying the moment some of the Dodger fans boo a little then they are going to have big trouble lasting long in the major leagues. Just saying….
Again, I do not advocate booing Matt Kemp. I wouldn’t do it, nor have I ever booed Matt Kemp. However I believe that not only do fans have the right to boo, they have a responsibility to boo when the time arises. A healthy boo can sometimes motivate a player to play better.
Again there is no correct answer here. You are entitled to think however you like. If you believe that booing a Dodger Is distasteful, then fine, you’re well within your right. Of course if you feel the opposite then that’s ok too. What’s not ok is calling out and accusing other Dodger fans of not being “real fans”, or not supporting the team. Who are you to classify other Dodger fans? Who are you to tell other fans they’re not “real” enough? And before you answer those questions, I want you to watch Brandon League blowing a one-run lead in the ninth inning in person, and you tell me if you don’t feel like booing after seeing that?
Fans have the right to express themselves in anyway they see fit. Most importantly I think the fans deserve a little break. Not the Dodgers though, they have had a season long break from winning. Everyone handles losing differently. The fans are frustrated and they are letting their voices be heard. The Dodgers are in last place, and they have sucked all season long. This kind of play is unacceptable. Dodger fans deserve better than a last place team. Should the fans just sit there and accept the losery with smiles? Should they not make their frustrations heard?
Booing shows passion. Honestly if the fans didn’t care they wouldn’t boo. They would just sit there and not say anything. Booing shows you care. Some players don’t even care or notice if fans boo them. If you remember, former Dodger Bum Joe Blanton (Bumton), who faces the Dodgers tonight by the way, once told the L.A. Times that he doesn’t care if the Dodger fans booed him because he had heard it all before. After all, he was from Philadelphia, the land of booing.
I wholeheartedly supported the booing of Joe Blanton last season, and I will boo anyone who thinks differently on that. I will also boo anyone who still believes Blanton is a major league quality pitcher.
But whether you are Joe Blanton, Matt Kemp, Mike Schmidt, or Mike Piazza, you’re going to get booed at some point in your major league career. Especially when you allow six runs in three innings, or blow three consecutive games, or blow an entire series. You will also be booed if you put up a golden sombrero, and go hitless in 12 consecutive at-bats. I am just saying boos will happen regardless.
Just don’t go calling out other Dodger fans because they decide to vent their frustrations through some healthy booing. I myself halve booed the Dodgers a few times over the years. I rarely boo a Dodger, but I have a few times on occasion when it was merited. Does this mean I am not a “real fan”? Of course not. You can boo and cheer for your team at the same time. Booing is a part of the game, and a part of life. I encourage you all to boo me the next time I write a crummy article. I probably deserve it. Believe me, I know I have deserved to be booed many times in my life. Just don’t attack other Dodger fans for exercising their rights.
As for Kemp, I implore him to shake it off, and get right back out there and get some hits. If there is anyone that deserves a break it’s Matt Kemp, but he only can get a free pass for so long. Because if he goes 12 more at-bats without a hit, then he may just start hearing boos from many more Dodger fans, including me.