There’s no denying Toronto sports fans have a reputation for booing athletes who previously played in their city. Some deserve it (Chris Bosh), some don’t (Lyle Overbay) and others, we need to just let it go after nine years. (Vince Carter.)
In any event, we shouldn’t be too surprised that Blue Jays fans have been booing Yunel Escobar, who is currently in town with the Rays for a three-game series.
The question is, does he actually deserve to be booed? In all honesty, yes and no. Here’s why:
1) HIS TALENT
There’s no denying Escobar has superior talent. However, for every highlight reel clip created, he has just as many ‘brain-fart’ moments. (That’s the technical term in case you’re wondering.)
For example, the clip above displayed Escobar’s power at its best, as he blasted a grand-slam home run for the Blue Jays. However, one of the more common complaints usually associated with his time in Toronto, was how he didn’t take full advantage of his explosive hitting power.
2) HIS CELEBRATION ON VICTORIA DAY
After hitting a two-run homer on Monday against the Blue Jays, Escobar pounded his chest with his right fist and flashed his arms wide in a safe sign as he crossed home plate.
On the one side, maybe you shouldn’t be acting like this after all the problems you caused in Toronto last season. In fact, maybe Escobar shouldn’t be doing this at all, given his reputation in general. (Remember how relieved the Braves were to get rid of him when he was traded to the Blue Jays?)
However, sport is all about emotion. Be honest, if you were getting booed by 30,000 people every time you came to bat, wouldn’t you want to respond in kind? (I’m afraid I live by the motto that two wrongs do make a right.)
3) SIGNING AUTOGRAPHS
Despite everything that’s happened, isn’t it nice that Escobar still takes the time to sign autographs for the fans? Seems like a generous and stand-up thing to do, despite getting booed by the fans.
On the other hand, it’s pretty much part of the unwritten job description for a professional athlete. In fact, who does Escobar think he is, arrogantly going around offering his autograph to everyone? (Yes, that’s right. We’re only at number three and I’m already struggling to come up with decent reasons.)
4) THE HOMOPHOBIC SLUR
This was pretty much the straw that broke the camel’s back, leading to Escobar leaving town and becoming the main reason/excuse for fans in Toronto to boo him. But was the intent of the message as sinister as a lot of people believe?
Call me an idiot, naïve, or whatever the hell you want, but I reckon this was a cultural mistake. I genuinely think Escobar has grown up in the type of environment where this type of language is used (and accepted) regularly.
I refuse to believe he fully appreciated how much of a backlash this would cause. Also, as has been pointed out before, it is almost like the guy was being thrown under the bus to distract the fans from a season that turned into a disaster after the All-Star break. Are you really telling me no one from the Blue Jays saw the message before the players stepped out onto the field?
However, this still remains as the toughest one to defend on Escobar’s behalf. There are no circumstances when gay slurs should be used in professional sports. With the possible exception of any scenario where the two athletes involved in a slanging match are both gay. In that case, it’s just ironic.
So there you have it, four reasons why Blue Jays fans should and shouldn’t boo Escobar. I won’t hold my breath as to which scenario is likely to be more prominent during todays game at the Rogers Centre…….
Photo credit: @www.mysanantonio.com
If you have any tips or information about any of Toronto’s sports teams, please email me at Englishpaul@hotmail.co.uk