Fan-Tastic, Part 3

Joe Nathan, the Detroit Tigers closer, got a little frustrated during Wednesday’s game versus the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Tigers won and all, but Nathan was a little shaky in the ninth, walking the first two batters and making things interesting. (He’s been “a little shaky” a lot this season.)

This led to some booing from equally frustrated Tiger fans.

So, Nathan did this.


Let me say this about that.

Joe Nathan, I don’t care if they booed you. No need to be a dolt.

And, fans, don’t boo your players.

Even when they frustrate you and annoy you and make you want to slam your head into the wall. Even when they blow the save or give up a walk-off homer and lose the game. (Brian Matusz, you sure do work my nerves some days.)

They’re doing their best.

Okay, there are a few times when you are allowed to – even encouraged to – boo your team.

  1. Not running out ground balls to first.
  2. Lack of hustle.
  3. Not hustling.
  4. Lazy hustling.
  5. Hustle atrophy.
  6. Hustlessness.
  7. When cheering for your favorite player sounds a lot like booing … Nelson Cruuuuuuuzzzzzz … Louuuuuuuu Pinella.
  8. And, of course, when your closer does this to you …

But, booing, generally speaking, doesn’t help. (Oakland fans, are you listening?)

It won’t make the blown save disappear or turn a bottom-of-the-ninth two-out strike out into a walk-off win. It won’t make anyone play harder. It won’t make anything better. And, it could make things abundantly worse. (Oakland, I’m not kidding here.)

The only time booing really made a difference was in ancient Rome when the cries of displeased fans would occasionally determine which gladiators lived and which, uh, umm, didn’t. Joe Nathan would have been a short-lived gladiator.

But some of us must boo, mustn’t we? Like the dinner party guest who must poo-poo every story you tell … one-up your vacation … your job … your kids.

(Oh my, your precious daughter won a Scrabble tournament with the word ‘jonquil’? I see why you’re so proud. My cat beheaded a mouse on my Yoga mat, dissected its intestines and set them aside, and then barfed the rest of it up into two separate piles. Can your daughter do that?*)

* True story: My cat Polly barfed as I was writing about cats barfing. How cool is that!


Polly. Not sorry.

Nathan apologized for his obnoxious behavior the next day.

And, he should, because, despite sometimes booing, baseball fans are the most wonderful hodge-podge of people around.

Like Tim Pinkard who attended his first Houston Astros game on Tuesday and caught Chris Carter’s home run ball. And, then caught another Chris Carter home run ball. Watch it here.


Here’s to the fans. The managers may be the brains. The players may be the brawn. But, fans are the heart … and without them … well, there’s no $9 million payday for Joe Nathan is there, Joe?

“I do love … the baseball that is in the heads of baseball fans. I love the dreams of glory of 10-year-olds, the reminiscences of 70-year-olds. The greatest baseball arena is in our heads, what we bring to the games, to the telecasts, to reading newspaper reports.” ~ Stan Isaacs, Newsday sports columnist (1929-2013).

Davenport Field

Fans on the hill. Davenport Field, University of Virginia

Squirrel Girl

Richmond Flying Squirrels, The Diamond, Richmond, Virginia

Oriole Bird

7th Inning Stretch, Orioles Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland

Cardinals Fans

Cardinal Fans at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland

Orioles Fans

Orioles fans at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland

Beverly and Francisco Squirrel

Beverly brings “Francisco The Flying Squirrel” to nearly every Flying Squirrels ballgame. (It “stands” during the national anthem and the 7th inning stretch.) The Diamond, Richmond, Virginia


Here’s more …

Fan-Tastic, Part 1 ~ Our grandparents were bad (and dangerous) baseball fans. 

Fan-Tastic, Part 2 ~ Today’s rules of proper fan behavior.  Bring your miniature horse to a game? Okay. How about a grapefruit? Not okay.

Fan Photos: Davenport Field, Charlottesville, Virginia. Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore,  Maryland. The Diamond, Richmond, Virginia. 2014

13 thoughts on “Fan-Tastic, Part 3

  1. The word boo is appropriate when preceded by peek-a- or followed by -hoo. Thank you for expressing the futility of booing. It has always made me cringe. By the way, Polly doesn’t look like she’s ever sorry about anything — but then I don’t believe sorry is part of a cat’s vocabulary.

    • Hi Gloria! I will confess I have booed the other team on occasion (A-Rod has gotten a boo or two from me), bad calls, and pitchers who throw at players. But, I won’t boo my team … even when they make me pull my hair.

      Editor/Husband’s response: “I boo bad calls by umpires and opposing managers who come out of the dugout too much. I don’t think of it as booing, I think of it as providing critical social commentary.”

      • You’ve made my day! The next time I want to mutter a something at a driver who cuts me off on the road I’m going to shout out “social commentary” and feel much better:):)

  2. You quoted Stan Isaacs. I hadn’t realized he had died last year until I saw the quote. I had read Stan Isaacs in Newsday as a kid. He was one of the best sportswriters and he had a great sense of humor. I’m sad to find out that he had died.


    • Hi Glen … I didn’t know either. I wanted to include a link to him, in case people were interested in his writing. And, that’s how I discovered his obituary. A good sportswriter — with an edgy wit, a love of baseball, and a refusal to treat readers like stats-only-please dummies — is a true pleasure. The Washington Post’s Tom Boswell is like that as well and is one of the main reasons why I love baseball (even though he’s had to turn his main focus to the Nats and away from the O’s). Thank you for stopping by!

      • Did you grow up on Long Island, too? Being that you read Newsday, I’m thinking you did. I grew up in Queens and then we moved to Baldwin when I was seven years old. We subscribed to Newsday, which was a good newspaper at one time, long before the Dolan brothers bought it and ruined it. I graduated from Baldwin High School, which is what accounts for my great ejukayshun.


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