the other side: we don’t need them anyway

If they don’t believe in us, they can get the hell out. We don’t need them anyway. We need the people who will support us, who are with us. I know they are all happy now, but they didn’t believe in us when we were down.

-Greivis Vasquez as quoted in the Washington Post

Greivis Vasquez was wrong to tell the student section to “Shut the fuck up” during the game this Saturday against Georgia Tech. He’s going to apologize. Gary Williams will apologize.  Deborah Yow will apologize. The Terps will get out of Dodge and head down to Miami.  Vasquez will inevitably get taunted by Hurricanes fans shushing him every time he gets the ball.  He’ll pay the price for what he said.  It will all come to an end the next time he puts the team on his shoulders and wins a game, which will come sometime in the next week or so.

My recollection of the “booing” at the game this Saturday differs a bit from my colleague MASH’s recollection.  I remember that it persisted through most of the game, and was at times loud enough to get our attention.  We discussed it during the second half, and I said, “It’s a shame that our fans are booing their own team at home.  We used to boo the visitors, but never the Terps.”  I also remember that most of the boos were directed at Vasquez.

In the D.C. Sports Blog, Dan Steinberg reminds us that the D.C. area is notorious for its fair-weather fans.  I couldn’t agree with him more.  The Comcast Center was 2/3 full for the ACC opener!  Where was everyone?!  One bad loss to Morgan State and everybody jumped ship on the Terps. It’s hard enough to have a winning season in the ACC, but its impossible to do it if you don’t have a home court advantage.

I’m not making excuses for what Vasquez said to the fans during the game, but his post-game comments were well placed. The Terps don’t need fans that cheer when the team is ahead and boo when it’s down.  The oddest aspect of the D.C. fair-weather fan phenomenon is that the fans tend to have the greatest amount of disdain for the best players.

If you want to point out that Vasquez’s greatest flaws are that he turns the ball over too often and at times exhibits poor shot selection, then you must acknowledge that these flaws are a result of the fact that he has the ball in his hands more than anyone else on the team, and this is because he is the best player on the floor.  He receives more defensive pressure than anyone else, and is expected to create his own shots.  Yet, Vasquez still leads the team in points, rebounds, and assists, and has a two-to-one Ast/TO ratio!  What more do you want from the guy?

If you’re a Maryland fan and you’re watching the game at home, feel free to boo Vasquez all you want. If you go to Comcast Center for a game and you want the Terps to win, then please don’t boo their best player for missing a few shots. The Comcast Center should be a place where the home team is loose and the visitors feel pressure from a hostile crowd.  Somehow, some of the fans forgot who they were rooting for.

I’m with Greivis Vasquez, the Terps don’t need fair-weather fans at Comcast Center.

6 Responses to “the other side: we don’t need them anyway”

  1. 1 M.A.S.H.
    January 12, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Interesting points. That’s a good point about the fairweather fans in D.C., and except for the Duke game, the Comcast Center crowds have been tepid for a few seasons now. Is that justified given the team’s recent underachievement? I don’t know. It’s almost like a chicken-or-the-egg argument.

    I still think Vasquez mishandled all this, even if his point is generally valid. He’s gotta focus more on playing ball and less on the crowd reaction. If a good portion of the students turn on him, and Vasquez doesn’t back down, that could be real trouble. We’ll see at the next home game.

    Oh, and by the way, it’s “D.C. Sports Bog,” not “Blog.” It’s an inside joke of sorts…when Dan Steinberg told Ralph Friedgen several years ago that he was starting a blog, Fridge replied that “I don’t know what a bog is.” So there’s the useless trivia for today.

  2. January 12, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    Vasquez definately mishandled things on the court. He needs to back off his stance to diffuse the situation. When he does, the fans really need to let it go. If they don’t it’s going to be a long season at Comcast Center.

    I fogot that D.C. Sports Bog anecdote. That’s funny stuff. The Fridge is definately one of those old school guys that uses the land line telephone for communications and reads a print newspaper in the morning to keep-up with world events.

  3. 3 Lindsey
    January 12, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Oh puh-lease. Perhaps I’m a little biased, but Vasquez needs to take a flying leap. If he doesn’t want to get boo’d, he shouldn’t be an asswipe. It’s that simple. And stop defending the asswipe. This is Shell Games. Asswipe needs to get a tougher shell. Fear the Turtle, not the fan.

  4. January 13, 2009 at 9:59 am

    Again, I’m not defending what Vasquez did on the court. He simply should not have let the fans get the best of him during the game. He should learn to tune that stuff out and play ball.

    There was merit to what he said afterward. My concern is that the students will think it’s “cool” to be hecklers, and that we will lose whatever home court advantage the Comcast Center gives us. Home court advantage is more important in some sports than it is in others, and it is of paramount importance in college basketball. In so many words, Vasquez was saying it hurts the Terps when fans boo the home team, and I agree. It distrubed me to hear it during the game.

    As for Vasquez’s claim that he is getting a “bum rap”, he’s right about that, but he should keep those comments to himself, too. The sporting world has no sympathy for the “nobody likes me!” plea. People want to see winners. He’ll learn that he’s better off keeping those thoughts to himself. He had to say something to the Post to explain why he was cussing out the student section. At least he said something valid.

  5. 5 mdbirdlover
    January 13, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    Damn. I missed the Terps game Saturday and stumbled on your blog about Morgan State.

    I had no idea this went down at Comcast Center Sat. My husband told me they played for shit but got lucky in the end (or something like that) to win it. Here is my take on Vazquez and this situation: he is not getting paid per se so I don’t think he should be held to a professional athlete’s standard, do they teach these college kids how to deal with the media? I’m not sure. When they go pro, I think they get a crash course…
    No he didn’t handle it well and yes he needs to stop fanning the flames but still…Lindsey I think you might be treating him a little harsh. Maybe this is the lesson he needed to learn…

    I totally agree about Wash. fans, fair weather all the way.


  6. January 14, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    It’s not unusual for college basketball players to give post-game interviews, but Maryland does grant the media more access to their athletes than most schools. I would imagine that the school provides the players with some sort of media coaching. Ultimately, Vasquez is a kid, and kids need to make mistakes in order to learn. At least he isn’t breaking any laws or dropping out, right?

    I’ll check out the blog birdlover.

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