Baseball fans who boo pickoff moves are the worst people on Earth.
Nothing that fans do at any live sporting event that is more of an indictment of themselves, their city, their intelligence and indeed their overall quality as human beings. Even The WaveTM is more inherently virtuous than booing pickoff throws.
Booing pickoff throws is essentially expressing your displeasure that the opposing team is trying to win the game. Is that truly how you want to express yourself as a fan? Would you prefer the other team simply forfeit the game, so you can drink beer for two hours then go home happy? Booing pickoff throws is booing an elemental aspect of the sport’s strategy.
A pitcher throws to a base to keep a runner close, to prevent him from stealing and ultimately from scoring. Run prevention is the very goal of pitching and defense. A pickoff attempt is not an affront to the other team or its fans or a stalling tactic — it’s an effort to win the fucking baseball game.
In no other sport do fans consistently boo the opposition making an honest effort to win games — and in the rare instances when they do, then those fans are fucking morons too. Football fans don’t boo when the road team is up 14 points and runs the ball to kill clock. Hockey fans don’t boo if the road team is down a goal with a minute left and pulls the goalie. Baseball fans disgrace themselves and the sport they profess to enjoy when they express displeasure with throws to first base.
When a pitcher throws over two or three teams in a row, crowds grow particularly testy. They rage at the pitcher’s nerve, at how he dares to make the fans think he’s going to throw a pitch and that they might see some ACTION, only to deceive them with another boring step off the rubber.
Fans have become so conditioned to expect constant action — in all sports, not just baseball — that they’ve lost the ability to distinguish a legitimate aspect of the game from pointless delaying. Scoreboard games, blaring music and inane between-innings “entertainment” have crushed the spirit of baseball, and today’s fans are too stupid not to react to stimuli placed in front of them. “Hey, it’s a throw to first. I’ve heard people boo these before. And I’m bored. BOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”
I’m sure baseball and sports fans have always been ignorant and irritating. Old-timey gents and ladies who watched Babe Ruth run oddly and Ted Williams act like a dick had their irksome peccadilloes too. But there’s something particularly loathsome and obtuse about today’s fans, particularly then they’re booing goddamn pickoff throws.
Why not boo opposing hitters when they take a pitch out of the strike zone? That prolongs the game just like pickoff throws, and is also part of an effort to win. Why not boo opposing fielders who successfully catch fly balls instead of just letting the home team run around the bases at will?
Baseball fans who boo pickoff moves are the surest evidence we have yet that society is on the verge of collapse.
* For more on pickoff throws, check out Pitchers & Poets.