Three Reasons Why Booing the Mariners is OK and Three Reasons Why it is Not

Tampa Bay Rays v Seattle Mariners
Tampa Bay Rays v Seattle Mariners / Steph Chambers/GettyImages

Last night’s Mariners’ game against the Tampa Bay Rays was full of boos. This was certainly a painful loss for the Mariners who started out ahead by four runs and then lost by 11 runs.

Three Reasons Why Booing the Mariners is OK

I am clearly not a fan of booing so this section is somewhat sparse.

1. The United States protects a person’s right to free speech. To boo in an American stadium would fall under this freedom. It is legal to do so.

2. Booing is a means to communicate disappointment, anger, frustration, and other emotions just like cheering communicates appreciation, excitement, approval, and similar feelings. Communication is valuable.

3. Booing is a release for the person attending the game who feels disappointed and frustrated that the Mariners are not playing better.

Three Reasons Why Booing is Not OK

My own perspective is that booing is a damaging type of communication that has little benefit except providing a release of some sort for the attendee.

1. Booing players who are already aware that they are falling short is overkill. If the team were oblivious to their recent shortcomings, perhaps they needed an alert to these realities. Those attending also knew that if Bryce Miller had not left early in the game, the game might have ended differently.

2. Booing is a non-specific mode of communication. Who were the targets of the boos? The players? Several of the players but not others? Scott Servais and the coaches or just Servais? Jerry Dipoto and the management? John Stanton, the owner? The whole organization? Cheering also sends an ambiguous message, but it does not matter as much since it is so positive. Half the people in the stands could be booing the ownership but the players hear it as a condemnation of each of them personally.

3. Booing does not help a team play better. Professional athletes say that booing does not improve their performance but rather adds to their own discouragement and sometimes causes them emotional distress that outlasts the game and stays with them.

4. Mariners’ fans owe an allegiance to their team. I am adding a fourth reason here. I saw that a writer had said that the fans do not owe the players anything. Of course, people attending a game are free to express themselves. Of course, the players receive good salaries to play this game. True fans, I believe, support the players in good times and in bad. This does not mean that fans support every decision that the team management makes. Fan support can help the players improve their game.

While we do not know the players personally, most fans can sense that these are good men. They do not come to work to play poorly. Each has advanced as far as he has because he is a talented competitor. Has the management made the best decisions in the last few years? I am not able to judge.

Baseball is a mental game as much as a physical one. Fans can really help the players in the mental game. We know the potential of each player. We see that they are not playing to their potential, and we do not know why. To me, booing could be seen by our players as a complete lack of confidence. I believe that we should build them up instead.