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updated: 4/9/2013 8:37 PM

No reason to silence boo-birds at Wrigley

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  • Fans who nearly need to take out a second mortgage to see a game at Wrigley Field should feel free to boo any Cubs player they feel deserves it, according to Daily Herald columnist Mike Imrem.

    Fans who nearly need to take out a second mortgage to see a game at Wrigley Field should feel free to boo any Cubs player they feel deserves it, according to Daily Herald columnist Mike Imrem.
    Associated Press


This must be a joke, something out of Second City or "Saturday Night Live."

Or are people actually debating whether fans in Wrigley Field should have booed Cubs' former closer/current mop-up guy Carlos Marmol.

Of course they should have.

What was the alternative? Throwing beer bottles at the mound like this were an East Texas honky-tonk? Throwing vegetables like this were 1930s vaudeville?

Money is at the root of all this, of course, and not because Marmol is being paid $10 million in 2013. The Cubs offered to overpay him, he accepted like any of us would have and life goes on.

The money aspect is based on the Cubs' pocket schedule that rests on the lap of my laptop and on the ticket prices listed on one of the flaps.

Assuming that Opening Day was a "Marquee" game, the cost ranged from $114 for a Club Box Infield seat to $29 for an Upper Deck Reserved Outfield seat.

Whether a fan should boo might depend on where the cutoff for such behavior is. Should he or she be allowed to boo from the six reserved ticket categories ranging from $114 to $77 but not from the six ranging from a measly $59 to $29? General admission bleacher patrons reside in the middle at $69 per seat, so do they get to boo or don't they?

The caste system in sports gets too complicated so the best way to sort all this out is to proclaim that fans in any seats have the option to boo or not to boo as long as they aren't profane and they leave the beer bottles and vegetables at home.

Seriously, this issue comes up all the time: Should fans boo Marmol in Wrigley Field, should they boo whichever Bears quarterback threw that most recent interception in Soldier Field, should they boo the Bulls' Carlos Boozer when he misses a defensive assignment in the United Center?

Yes, yes, and yes if they want to they should.

This isn't back then, when a parent could send a kid to a ballgame with a dollar for bus fare, a ticket and a cup of pop. This is right now, when a parent needs to win the lottery to send a kid to a ballgame.

Money does matter.

To be fair, however, the cost of seeing the Cubs fiddle away the summer isn't nearly as costly as going to see the Rolling Stones rock the United Center. But let's face it: The probability of the former giving customers their money's worth is nowhere near what it is for the latter.

Somehow, sometime, we reached the point where a baseball fan needs to make almost as much as Carlos Marmol makes to afford to go watch him blow a save. Economics, a few innings' worth of beer and a season of Cubs' follies add up to a potential for extreme hostility. The same fan who arrived at Wrigley Field to cheer a victory is one gopher ball or flubbed groundball away from booing.

Belching boos is good for the soul anyway. It's a lot better than going home and ranting at your spouse, feeding the kids rocks for dinner and hurling the cat through the TV screen.

Cubs managers are hired to be fired, Cubs' players are signed to be maligned and Cubs' fans are conditioned to be unsatisfied.

That's how it will remain until a bleacher ticket costs 50 cents again or the savior Theo Epstein proves that he really is a boy wonder.

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