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To Boo or Not to Boo: Dodger Fans and Petey Baez



Dodgers Fans

We’re gonna cheer, and boo, and raise a hullabaloo at the ballgame, the wonderful ballgame, today!!! -It’s A Beautiful Day For A Ballgame

Top of the ninth, game tied at 2-2. Pedro Baez takes the mound to hold the score right where it is and give his team a chance to come back and take an early season series from the hapless Miami Marlins. Petey has been here before. He knows he has a reputation for making Dodgers fans uneasy. In fact, he’s become a favorite target of the fan’s ire whenever the team struggles, as if it’s all his fault. Now, here, in this game against a terrible team, he has a chance to prove to both the fans, and his manager, that his upper-90’s heat can get those high leverage outs every team needs if they expect to play into October.

“Trust your stuff,” he tells himself as he delivers a pitch to the inning’s leadoff hitter.

Thwack! Base hit to left.

“OK, OK, runner on first. Get the next guy. Maybe roll two.”

Thwack!

Double to left … runner scores from first. Lead gone. No matter that he retires the next three batters in order, too little, too late. Down 3-2 going into bottom of nine. As he walks toward the sanctuary of the third base dugout the chorus of boos rumbles down from every deck of the stadium. He catches a glimpse of the fans standing behind the dugout with hands cupped around O-shaped mouths, “Boooooooooooooooooo!”

He’s failed. Baseball players fail. It happens to everybody. It just seems like Pedro Baez manages to have his failures in a very noticeable way in front of an audience that doesn’t take well to losing. Although it comes with the territory, the boos will stick with him for awhile. How can they not?

But, as fans, people who root for the players in the home whites to succeed, does piling “boos” onto a guy, who was obviously trying to win, help in any way? I wonder.

Now, I fully understand that when you buy a ticket to a major league baseball game it bestows on the bearer the right to a seat as well as the opportunity to express their joy and/or displeasure. You are allowed to cheer. You are allowed to boo. It’s as much a part of the game as the 7th Inning Stretch, hot dogs and $12 beer. But, is booing a player’s performance helpful to the home team? Isn’t he someone you would prefer to encourage rather than berate? There’s a Gospel song covered by the great Ry Cooder called, “Always Lift Him Up, Never Put Him Down” that extols the virtues of positive reinforcement. Granted, Ry may bust a guitar string watching Petey Baez late in a game, still, I can’t help but think our behavior as fans slinging arrows at a guy who’s already dejected can build a foundation for future success.

Or can it?

Giancarlo Stanton was being booed mercilessly by Yankee fans early this season. All it took for him to quiet the jeers was a couple of 450 foot bombs, or “Stantonian Blasts” as they’re called in the Bronx, and now the boo-birds have turned all lovey-dovey and life is grand. After all, these are professional athletes. In Stanton’s case they’re “professional” to the tune of over a quarter billion dollars, so absorbing a few boos from grumpy New Yorkers should not illicit much sympathy. Did the boos help motivate the Inner Slugger of Stanton? Maybe. Could the boos coming from the Pavilions at Chavez Ravine help goose another mile or two an hour out of Baez’s heaters? I sure hope so Dodgers fans.

Opinions?

So, Dave Roberts may not like it, but Baez is a big boy playing in front of discerning fans. If Doc doesn’t want us to boo his player, maybe he should help him use those boos as fuel and force those fans to turn to cheering. I promise, we would much rather applaud Petey than boo him. I bet he’d prefer it too.

Note: Philip Fountain is the cartoonist responsible for creating the Blue, The Dodger Dog cartoons you’ve seen on social media and on DodgersBluePen.com. He has been a Dodger fan since their move to Los Angeles and saw his first game at the Memorial Coliseum. His prized possession is a bat signed by Wally Moon. He currently lives in Las Vegas but commutes to Dodger Stadium as often as possible. Follow him on Twitter @dodgersbluepen

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  1. We boo to let the team and the head office know that Baez is garbage and they need to get rid of him.

  2. This is not a position of booing or cheering him back to his expected level of performance, it’s a matter of trust from the manager to ALL the players working together towards a common goal. I think Baez’s recent failures (late last year and so far this year; is mental – he expects to fail in these types of situations. If Dave Roberts want to try and get Baez back on track, put him in less stressful positions and allow him to work through the situations or send him down to work on it in the minors. Arizona and Colorado are for real and allowing Baez to train on the largest stage only gives them more of n advantage.

  3. I think Booing your own player is never appropriate. Baez defiantly is having issues but Booing is not constructive. As Ron said above, put him in less stressful situations. Let him work it out. I’d like to Boo the Booers over this.

  4. Baez has lost his self-confidence certainly, if not his good stuff. Booing will not help him, but maybe a new team will. We have not one reliable reliever so far this year, and if management does nothing about it soon, the season will be lost.

  5. Time for Baez to play somewhere else. Today was ridiculous. 12-2 lead and he has to be removed. “Ease his pain” and let him go.

  6. In my opinion and I have Dodger opinions since 1940 keep Cingrani and look for options to get rid of Alexander. Bard probably extinguished himself in the 7th inning of game one today I have suffered and rniced many seasons. This year may end up a downer but a sweep today could start making that unhappen. Hope springs eternal but hope is not a plan

  7. Perhaps we are booing Dave Roberts for continuously putting someone in who should not be on the roster because he is too inconsistent to be on a major league roster

  8. Attending games at Dodger Stadium is not in-expensive.
    Quality games should be expected. And quality relief pitching.
    Fans have a right to boo and rightfully so.

  9. I absolutely hate it when the fans boo any of our players! It makes me sick to my stomach. Baez isn’t doing this purposely, and I know he feels terrible about it. His face said it all as he sat in the dugout after being pulled in the first game Saturday. The fans are probably making the situation worse. For sure the team is in a slump, but Baez isn’t the only player, although his slump has lasted the longest. I just don’t think it’s ever right to boo your own player, ever! It not only effects him but all the players. I’m sure they are all wondering if they will be next! I don’t care what a player earns, or what a fan pays for his ticket, booing your own players is terrible. If a fan is this upset, just stay home and boo the TV set! I will admit though, that I really wanted to attend opening day so I could boo Roberts when he was announced. I probably will never forgive him for pitching Darvish in game 7, when he could have used Wood who was doing so well and wanted to pitch. Between him and Kersh, I’m sure they would have gotten the job done! In fact, Darvish and his “tell” is the reason we lost game 3, but after that fiasco why would Roberts allow him on the mound during a do or die game? It’s like Roberts is too stubborn to admit when a player is having a problem. Nope, I’ll never get over his dumb decision that cost us the WS, and him I would love to boo any chance I get!

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