ALCS Game 2: Yankee Stadium Boo-Birds & Umpire Jeff Nelson

Yankee Stadium

Most of you reading this have watched a lot of baseball. Perhaps you’ve been a fan of the game for a few years, a decade, or maybe several decades. You’ve seen a lot of bad baseball and you’ve seen a lot of good baseball. You’ve cheered, jeered, howled and booed at the TV screen or in the stands, but you’ve never booed your team like Yankees fans are booing their team in the 2012 playoffs.

Everyone knows Alex Rodriguez isn’t the same, Curtis Granderson seems lost at the plate and Nick Swisher has been bad in the playoffs. Add to this Jeter’s broken ankle. The problem is, no matter how bad it can get, fans are not required to rub a player’s face in it.

When things are this bad, as they are for the Yankees bats, a fan base couldn’t do anything worse for their team than act like a bunch of privileged snobs. Yet, that is exactly what the folks at Yankee Stadium are doing – most of them, at least. Perhaps the 27 World Series rings have spoiled them.

One look around the stadium reveals rows of empty seats, huge swaths of space unoccupied by fans who in any other city, would die for a chance to watch their team in the playoffs. There are even large sections of vacant seats directly behind home plate. This would be unheard in most places.

New York isn’t most places. As I mentioned, they’ve won 27 World Series. On top of that, they’ve won 40 pennants, and have reached the playoffs 51 times. There is no other team in the history of professional sports like the Yankees, and their fans know that.

Without entering into the issue of overpaying for underperforming players, they Yankees organization has a problem not curable by adding more players or having fireworks after the game. They have a spoiled fan base. They have fans with nothing better to do than boo their players when they don’t perform well, even though they happen to perform well enough for perennial playoff appearances.

In the first two games of the ALCS, Yankees fans have booed their own players more than they’ve booed the Tigers. Even the Triple Crown Winner Miguel Cabrera has been booed less than Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson.

Paying visitors to Yankee Stadium have a right to boo their team when it’s not performing well, but this year, they have taken it too far. These fans seem to have forgotten the point of cheering: to root on and encourage a team.


Constantly booing third-outs and strikeouts defeats the purpose. It applies more pressure to the team, successfully eliminating any home field advantage.

These two games have seemed more like regular season blowouts, as opposed to tightly contested postseason match ups, which is exactly what they have been. With all of the nationally televised Yankees games throughout the course of a season, it’s no wonder MLB’s TV ratings are low.

Perhaps if they lowered their ticket prices and let in some grateful fans, the team might receive an occasional cheer or an extended clap when more than two runs are scored. Having your crowd in the game whether you’re winning or not, goes a long way. Look how far the crowd at Oakland Coliseum pushed their A’s.

There’s no stat to measure a crowd’s effectiveness in pumping it’s players up, but one thing is for sure: relentless booing does nothing but make the situation worse.

Umpire Jeff Nelson blows a call during the 8th inning of Game 2 of the ALCS -Brad Penner/US PRESSWIRE
Umpire Jeff Nelson blows a call during the 8th inning of Game 2 of the ALCS Brad PennerUS PRESSWIRE

Blown Call

Omar Infante was caught off the bag during a play in the 8th inning, umpire Jeff Nelson, flat-out blew the call. He was standing right in front of Robinson Cano as he held the glove on Infante’s chest. It would have been the third out. Nelson really gave fans something to boo about, but by that point it was too late. The Yankees failed to score any runs up to that point – they got no help from the fans.

There’s not much to say on this one except that Nelson may have made the worst call of the playoffs thus far. The Tigers went on to score two in the 8th inning to add to their 3-0 lead.

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Tomas Laverty
Tomas Laverty, frequent contributor to the MLB section, runs a Detroit web design company called Detroit Spaces.