Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The Moral Integrity of the Boo

So I wanna talk about this video that's been making the rounds today. I could describe it, but hows about you just go ahead and watch it:

Now there have been many conclusions drawn from and conversations had about this video. Some people have talked about how this is just a real life example of the dangers of depersonalizing a human being because it leads you to treat them like garbage. People have drawn comparisons between this and what happens on internet message boards and comment sections and so on. I've seen people saying that Yankees fans are scum because they did this. I've seen sports fans in general vilified because of the mob mentality that seems to overcome sports fans, leading them to do despicable things like booing athletes they formerly hero-worshipped. I can see arguments for all these conclusions, though I may not necessarily agree with them. These conclusions are all interesting in their own right, but they ignore a much deeper problem.

From this video one might get the impression that there is something inherently reprehensible about the boo. It seems to be making the claim that to boo an athlete or team or what have you is the equivalent of discounting the humanity of that athlete or team or what have you. The video takes the fact that in every case the fans immediately recanted their boos and even welcomed ol' Robbie Cano back to New York and uses it as evidence that to boo demonstrates a depraved morality. For me, however, the problem isn't that these individuals booed, but rather that they went on to take back their boo. To be ashamed of it. To even apologize for it. This is the moment where I see a lack of moral fiber. Each and every one of them lacked the moral integrity to stand up for their boo.

See, the boo was and is and will be warranted. Robinson Cano abandoned the Yankees. He abandoned the team. He abandoned the organization. And most importantly, he abandoned us, the fans. (It's most important because that's the group I identify with, so naturally it's most important.) Now I'm obviously not Robinson Cano, so I don't know what all actually played into his making the decision to go play in Seattle. Maybe he wanted to live in a place where he could go lick the Space Needle any time he wanted. Maybe he wanted to be closer to Canada. Maybe he secretly wishes he were a Goonie. Maybe he hates sunshine. Who really knows? The narrative that we've been fed by the media tells us that he left because, as Brian Johnson and the Young brothers would have us know, Moneytalks. But in all reality, it doesn't matter what his motivation was, because ultimately, he abandoned us.

Now before you get all upset at me for making the Yankees out to be the victims (the Yankees-as-villains opinion is much more acceptable currently), let me say that Yankees fans, and I count myself among that number, have feelings too. Robinson Cano was primed to be the face of the organization going forward. With Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera all having retired in the last couple years, and with Derek Jeter set to retire at the end of this season, the old guard is all but gone away. It's time to give the reins to the next in line. Robbie was going to be that guy. We all knew it. He was the next Jeter. In a time when the Yankees have made some widely despised moves to buy away star players from other teams, a tendency that I've always had mixed feelings about, Cano was the exception to all that. He was guy that made his way up through the ranks. He started his career with the Yankees, and he was going to follow in Jeter's footsteps to eventually die in pinstripes. But then he left. He just left. It was almost like if John Stockton in his prime had decided that he could do better than the Jazz, and left. Okay, that's not a fair comparison. Mostly because there does not exist a fair comparison to John Stockton. Not now, not ever. At least not in this little boy's heart.

But anyway, back to Robinson Cano. So you can see that from the perspective of a true Yankee fan, a boo is warranted. Now let me qualify that boo. I will always be a fan of Robinson Cano. He seems like a good dude. He represented the pinstripes as well as any, and I hope he finds success. (It's easy to have this perspective because he's playing in Seattle. If he were playing in Atlanta or Boston or St. Louis it might be different. But he's not, so I don't have to worry about it.) That said, I want a way to express my displeasure at his departure. I want an avenue to let him know that I'm disappointed that he abandoned what was to be his and our future. But he abandoned that future, and he sold his birthright for a mess of pottage. And I want to let him know that that is how I perceive the situation. These feelings are perfectly rational, and the boo is the widely accepted means of expressing them. In this instance it's not intended to demean or dehumanize, but rather to communicate displeasure. Now, I'll readily admit the fact that some fans do get too carried away with their boos, and it can become a very ugly gesture, but it isn't intrinsically so.

But given the chance to actually let Robinson know how we feel at his abandonment, not one of those fans stood up for himself. Not one had the guts to stare into the bright lights of Cano's celebrity and hold true to his conviction that what Cano did was wrong. I wish that just one of these fans would have had the backbone and moral integrity to look directly into Robinson Cano's eyes and said, "Look, I love you man, but I don't apologize for my boo. When you left the Bronx I was upset. And I want you to know that I was upset. You cut me deep, Robbie. You cut me real deep."

Maybe some day, he'll see the error of his ways and come back to the fold. Because let's face it, he'll never look so good as he does right here:

But until he does, the boos will be warranted. 

1 comment:

  1. I hate the Yankees. I hate everything about them, they are a classless . . . oh wait. ;) You know where I stand about the Yanks but I agree there is nothing wrong with the boo and you have to stand by it. Tell the guy the truth, the video was pretty funny. Interesting discussion/thoughts about the whole thing. All fans wouldn't be real fans if they didn't get caught up in those moments of betrayal, excitement, anticipation, disappointment, etc. That is how it is and anyone who says they are horrible people for booing is obviously not a fan. Oh and one more thing I think he would look better in red and blue, that is right Braves baby. But that is ok he can waste his life away in Seattle with no sunshine.