The thing about the thing about the booing
By now we all know Carlos Marmol got booed yesterday during player introductions and again when he entered the game and pitching a scoreless 8th inning.
So where am I with this?
The booing doesn’t feel right, but I’m not gonna be as quick as others to condemn it. It’s true that the context of both booing episodes was inappropriate, and maybe I’m being naive when I say I believe that had the season opened at Wrigley, Marmol would have heard cheers during the intros and even when called on for the save (of course those would have turned quickly to boos if he pitched as he did in his first appearance in Pittsburgh).
But I can’t really blame fans for expressing disapproval that had been building over the first week of the season. The folly of inserting Marmol to preserve 9th inning leads was becoming increasingly obvious to everyone watching. It feels to me more like those fans were booing not so much of Marmol the pitcher (and of course not Marmol the person) as voicing their disapproval of the role he had been assigned on the club.
You may think I’m giving the fans too much credit here, but I’m not necessarily talking about the booing as a conscious indictment of Marmol’s handling, which hasn’t been helping anyone, but as a primal scream directed at something obviously broken.
Did Marmol deserve to be booed? No. Did the Cubs’ use of Marmol this season deserve to booed? Yes. Is that a good enough excuse? I don’t know.
This stirs up some stuff in me, I guess. I often feel that Cubs fans have to ride a line in a way that, say, Phillies fans don’t. There’s a dual set of knocks on Cubs fans: that we unfairly boo players for poor performance (I’ll just leave it at that; there are nastier versions of thisone); and an opposite criticism that we’re a complacent and don’t care about winning or losing (the most infuriating thing Dave Eggers ever wrote does not help).
Where does that leave us? Seems to me this should probably be a year to take our lumps as a bunch of drunks who don’t care whether our team wins or loses. Hopefully we’ll have plenty of time to be high-strung in the not-too-distant future.