I had the poor fortune of attending Monday night's game at Shea. Aside from the obvious things that happened during the game (as detailed in El Guapo's post here), there were some other things worth pointing out. Basically, Chan Ho was who we thought he was: A mediocre pitcher who gave us a mediocre outing. I have rarely, if ever, left a game early, but in the 4th inning, after Hanley Ramirez's moon shot off Park, I almost cut my losses and headed home.
But, something told me to stay. I at least got to see the Mets make it somewhat interesting before eventually falling short 9-6. Kudos to Beltran for his 4 hits, and Green and Reyes also chipped in with some key hits.
Lost, if you shut off the game early or you were present and didn't stick it out was one of the more disturbing phenomenons developing at Shea lately.
David Wright is being booed. Loudly and willingly.
I was sitting near a group of 5-6 gentlemen, who stuck it out most of the game. Wright was, at the time, mired in the middle of a miserable stretch that he has begun to come out of with some strong performances on Tuesday and Wednesday. But let's flash back to the 7th inning on Monday. Beltran and Delgado have singled to lead off against Olsen. The game is still on the Marlins' side, at 8-4, but the Mets have rallied and appear to be on their way to doing so again. Olsen is removed from the game and is replaced by Randy Messenger. Wright is up, and, to this point has had a horrible game. In the first, with 2 on and 2 out, Wright popped out to second. In the 3rd, with 2 on and 2 out, Reyes and Beltran pull off a double steal before Wright flied out to right. A hit in either of those two spots would have made this game much more interesting.
One of the gentlemen near me states, "He better get a hit here, or I'm booing the shit out of him!"
One of his friends objects.
"You can't boo your own guys!"
"Hey, you don't perform, you get booed. Beltran got his, now it's Wright's turn."
In sequence, Wright takes two fast strikes, and hacks wildly at the 3rd pitch, foul tipping the ball into the catcher's glove. Strikeout. Rally short-circuited.
And the boos begin.
In the 9th, leading off, Wright grounds out weakly. He's frustrated. He's bewildered. He's booed some more.
And it bothers me. Why boo your own guys, especially guys who have done well, and are counted on to be the cornerstone of your team. I can understand the guy's point, that you're going to be judged by your performance. In 2005, Carlos Beltran underperformed after coming in with a huge contract, and he was booed. He was even booed after going hitless through the first two games in 2006, before responding with a standout season.
But the prime example of the fickle-ness of Mets fans would be throughout the summer of 1998. Mike Piazza had arrived with the franchise player tag, and immediately had unseated the popular, but injured Todd Hundley. Piazza was also set to become a Free Agent following the season. And while Piazza got his share of hits, and HRs, and only managed to hit .348 with 23 HRs during his time with the Mets that year, it wasn't enough to please the fans. Piazza was booed with horrifying regularity, to the point that I cringed every time he made an out. One such game, I had the poor fortune of sitting near some drunken idiot who screamed "YOU SUCK, PIAZZA!" after every pitch of his at bats. With the reception he received, it was a small miracle that Piazza re-signed with the Mets before the 1999 season. But he did. And the result is that he became one of the Greatest Heroes this team has ever seen. The power of patience. And the power of perseverance on Piazza's part.
And other such players have been booed. Glavine, which was justified after his miserable start in 2003, Kaz Matsui, who never lived up to his lofty expectations. Cliff Floyd took his share in '04 when injuries and frustration mounted. Butch Huskey got it during a rough start in 1996 (and he was a rookie, no less).
But I've never really been able to see it fit to boo my own team's players. You stick by your team. They may piss you off sometimes, but you have to stick by them. Sometimes, they really do deserve it, as in the case of Mel Rojas, whose continued flameouts in 1998 probably cost the team a playoff berth, or Roberto Alomar, or Roger Cedeno the second time around. But there's only one case where I can say that booing your own team's player regularly and vociferously was truly earned...
...You guessed it. Fuck you, Bonilla.