Fan Confidence: Boo Birds

Jun. 20, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Aaron Hill (right) is congratulated by Justin Upton after hitting a solo home run in the first inning against the Seattle Mariners at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE


The boo birds have been spotted at Chase Field. A migratory bird, it appears, against all logic, in Arizona during the summer months. Its distinctive features include a scarlet plumage, and loud, low call. Local Fish and Wildlife officials are asking that residents refrain from feeding the birds, or providing cool refuge areas, as it only encourages the birds, dubbed by one anonymous official as "rats of the sky," to mate and increase their population.

Obviously, the above paragraph is written in jest. Booing your own players, though often fretted about by concerned fans and members of the media, has long been a part of sport. Whether it should be part of sport, I will hand over to you, the reader, but it certainly can have its place.

Those attending sporting events certainly have a right to express their emotions. They invest themselves in the outcomes of the game, and unlike plays or movies, which can have unhappy endings that are accepted as valid, people want to leave a sporting event happy. To deny a fan the opportunity to express their disgust is unacceptable, unless you want to also deny them the opportunity to express their happiness. You're not a "bad" fan if you boo, though you might be a bit hasty in judgment. Still, a fan shouldn't have to sit and take a bad team, or bad performance. If someone wants to boo, they should boo.

Of course, it becomes a problem if the booing is misinformed. Justin Upton has had to endure some light booing the past few games against the Mariners, and looking at the whole season (or perhaps just the performance on Tuesday) it might seem justified. But it certainly doesn't make sense if you look at the month of June.

He's getting more hits this month, and he's not striking out that much more than May. He has a chance at matching last month's RBI total, and will almost certainly match or pass May's run scored total. If he's deficient for the month of June it's in power and walks. He's only managed one home run, which was yesterday to give the D-backs a lead, and he's certainly not taking a ton of walks. Both of these are hurting his slugging and on-base percentages, but he's still slapping the ball.

It could be suggested that the power will soon come back, and he just needs to make a little adjustments to draw more walks. He's certainly not having an awful month. It isn't superstar level, perhaps, but the pieces are there to finish the month strong and have a better July.

But he isn't booed for having a decent month. He's being booed because people want epic months, ones that stretch across the season and fill the pages of our calendars until the record book is full.

One other strange thing to note for the season on Justin Upton. His splits between games the Diamondbacks win or lose is a little ridiculous. In wins he hits .286/.382/.438 with 5 home runs. In losses he hits .231/.297/.308 with only 1 home run. We win when he wins. If there's any set of statistics to explain why people are booing him right now, it's those. People are frustrated with him, because they're frustrated with the Diamondbacks. But when he heats up, so will the team.

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