Jim Baumbach is an investigative / enterprise sports reporter for Newsday. A Long Island native, he started working
Curtis Granderson doesn't understand why sports fans boo, especially when the jeers come from the home fans. The thought makes no sense to him.
"Me myself, I've never booed anybody," he said. "I see no point in it."
As the Mets' big-ticket signing from this past offseason, Granderson heard some boos at Citi Field last month after getting off to a slow start.
He has started to turn around his season, batting .311 in his past 20 games. And he heard lots of cheers from the home crowd Thursday night as he doubled in the second and tripled in the eighth.
But that doesn't change the fact that Mets fans have a tendency to be a fickle bunch. And while Granderson said hearing boos never has bothered him, he still doesn't understand why fans of any team would do such a thing.
"I've always wanted to know why someone would boo, because in the next second they'll cheer," Granderson said. "So which one is it? You like your team or dislike your team? You call yourself a fan and then you'll boo?"
To be clear, he addressed the topic because I thought it was worth checking in with him about the state of Mets fans these days.
Remember how he said "a lot of people have told me real New Yorkers are Mets fans" at his introductory news conference last December?
But our 12-minute chat evolved into a discussion about overall fan behavior because it's a topic that Granderson always has been interested in, mostly because the intensity often displayed by fans seems so foreign to him.
"I understand you're a fan, but at the same time, you aren't playing," he said. "I can see you getting that intense as a player or have played. But if you're just a fan and watching, enjoy the excitement of the game that is in front of you, win, lose or draw, whatever the case is."
Granderson believes he can speak to this point because he considers himself a "die-hard" fan, too. He grew up rooting for the Atlanta Braves, the Buffalo Bills and the Kansas men's basketball team (these days he roots only for the Jayhawks).
Still, Granderson was a teenager in the '90s when the Braves made it to the playoffs year after year but won only one World Series, so surely that had to bother him, right?
"It was real easy to say, 'Man, how come they haven't done it?' " he said. "But that was never my thinking . . . I was never going to throw anything, rip anything, turn my back on my team. That's the team I was supporting and that's the way I always looked at it."
As far as raw emotion goes, Granderson had a rare display of anger on the field Thursday night, arguing with plate umpire Adrian Johnson about a disputed third strike in the sixth.
Granderson insisted he made contact, Johnson disagreed and replays were inconclusive. So he was sent back to the dugout, and the fans booed. This time, however, their displeasure clearly was directed at the umpire in support of their guy.
If there's one thing about booing that Granderson is sure of, it's that fans won't ever do it to a player's face.
He referenced the recent skit on "The Tonight Show" in which New Yorkers booed a poster of Robinson Cano, only to instantly change their tune when the real Cano appeared.
He knows that Mets fans might boo him again someday, but you should know he won't take it to heart. Fans want players to do well. The way Granderson sees it, they just have an odd way of showing it sometimes.
"They know they don't have to interact with you so they have the ability to do or say what they want," he said. "But when they do, their passion, loyalty, excitement always comes out."