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Death of the Boos

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I'm probably preaching to the choir here, because I sincerely hope nobody who reads this site would actually resort to booing B.J. Upton over striking out. I can understand voicing displeasure over baserunning gaffes or clear displays of lackluster effort. People pay money to go to games, they have free speech, and so on. I'm not trying to oppress people into only clapping and playing along as cheerleaders. That's not my intention nor is it my act. I've made many, many sarcastic cracks about numerous players over the years. My point of discontent is the catalyst of the sounds.

Striking out, whether swinging or looking, is not a result which should be met with boos. Are we not at a point in our society where we can move past stigmatisms in the past given logic and facts that suggest strikeouts are only marginally worse than a pop out or groundout? There are a few situations where strikeouts are ultimately evil. A few. You know, when the score isn't 7-1 in the late innings.

Plus, at this point booing Upton is so 2008. Over the last 30 days, Evan Longoria is striking out nearly an identical amount as Upton and has a lower ISO (meaning he's hitting for less power than B.J.) meanwhile Pena has a higher ISO, but he's also striking out 10% more of the time. I don't recall either getting booed during this timeframe, and why? Because people know better than to boo those two just like they should know better than to boo Upton. In 2007 Upton was the second best positional player on this team behind Carlos Pena. In 2008 he was again the second best positional player behind Evan Longoria. This year he's having a rough go, but a lot of that can be traced to off-season labrum surgery. It's safe to say Upton has been one of the three or four best players on this team over the last two seasons, so why is it that we have to boo him? Do we not want him to enjoy playing here?

Maybe I'm a coward. I don't want Upton pissed with the area. I don't want him to leave via free agency and end up in Boston, or New York, or Seattle, or wherever. Maybe I'm just upset because he's my favorite player. Maybe it's because Upton seems like a decent enough guy who is yet to say anything bad about this area despite being the goat for most of last year.

Or maybe it's because of the double standard. Carl Crawford has made a pair of mistakes on the paths, as has Gabe Gross and Gabe Kapler without so much as a "boo". But Upton...Upton strikes out with the Rays staked to a six run lead and gets booed.

People can and will mention racism. They can point to Mike Alstott and John Lynch being held in higher esteem than Warren Sapp and Derrick Brooks. I'd rather not go that route, it's neither productive or up to me to judge. The people in this town with far more range in their voices than I can hope to achieve have dug the grave for Upton. He doesn't care, he's lazy, he's a thug, and every other stupid thing uttered.

I'm not asking you to be cheerleaders. That's none of my business. I'm asking you to not be sheep.