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Volume 70, Issue 161, Thursday, August 4, 2005

Sports

Boo Beltran? Fans out of line at games

Out of Bounds

Jordan Overturf

I went to the Houston Astros game Sunday against the New York Mets. The thing that astonished me more than the Astros 9-4 loss was the thunderous roar of boos from the entire crowd anytime Mets outfielder and former Astro Carlos Beltran would move an inch.

OK, so maybe it was not that dramatic, but anytime Beltran would come up to bat or make a play the crowd would chime in with its displeasure. The unity of the crowd's reactions to Beltran made me start to wonder: What has become of spectators in the world of professional sports?

Let me clarify my position on the matter with Carlos Beltran leaving the Astros. True, it was bad form to leave the Astros for over $2 million more a year, but it was a good business decision for himself.

With that said, do the Astros fans lose out by Beltran leaving, or does Beltran lose out for abandoning a solid team? I would have to say the latter just by looking at where each team is in the standings thus far. The Astros are in a good position to take the wild card again over the Chicago Cubs. Meanwhile, the Mets are struggling yet again, even with the $120 million man.

What better justice for the Houston fans than to see their home team take down Beltran and the Mets three times in a four-game series. So wouldn't you think that all that, coupled with the more than likely possibility that Beltran will not be in the playoffs, would make the chants and catcalls unnecessary?

The situation that Kenny Rogers faced in the All-Star game was more than valid for the fans, though. Obviously, Rogers was way out of bounds for using a loophole to participate in the game, which gave fans more than enough reason to be in an uproar.

But these things bring up a more concerning issue, which is fan conduct at sporting events. The attitudes of fans at games has evolved from a peaceful and fun atmosphere to that similar to a riot. One example is the ludicrous incident that involved the Indiana Pacers' Ron Artest and the Detroit Pistons fans at the Palace of Auburn Hills, which led to the suspension of Artest, as well as other professional players.

The fan who threw the beer that landed on Artest was completely out of line. I wasn't happy with the way Artest responded, and neither were the majority of America's sports fans, but I also think that the fan had it coming.

So where do we draw the line between fan and crazed lunatic with delusions of grandeur? Possibly between the incident with Artest and the tragic events that led to the deaths of such superstar figures as John Lennon, Selena, and most recently "Dimebag" Darrell of the rock group Damageplan.

Will anything like this ever happen within the bounds of the sports world? Not likely, but the implication is that professional players are doing a job just like everyone else.

So would you like it if some of the players came to your job and booed, like in the commercial with the pro's cheering on an average person? Didn't think so. This week, the fans of Houston are out of bounds for their lack of understanding. Beltran is just like you and me, aside from the fact that he gets paid $120 million to swing a wooden club.
 

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