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Wysocki’s list of Pittsburgh sports personalities you love to boo

He resigned via text — a low-class move even by scumbag standards.


Booing an athlete can be very therapeutic. Releasing hostility toward a perceived pampered adult who is not playing up to expectations is only natural. Fans pay hard-earned money and want to see at least competency in return. Enemies of Pittsburgh sports like Claude Giroux, Jake Arrieta and Joe Flacco always hear boos and hisses from the crowd. (Side note: Why don’t people hiss anymore?) But sometimes we turn that frustration toward our own, so this week we review the Pittsburgh athletes that we hate so much.

Jaromir Jagr tops the list because unlike everyone else on it, he won the big one. Winning cures almost everything. He’s the second greatest player to ever play for the franchise, and we hate him. Two Stanley Cups isn’t enough to forgive Jags. The turning point was asking to be traded because he was unhappy. Then he cemented that distrust by donning a Dallas Cowboys jersey in the Pens locker room just a few months after the Steelers lost their first Super Bowl to Dallas. He’s still booed vociferously every time he touches the puck at Consol. His actions even led to the decline of mullets in the area; you just don’t see them like you used to.

Barry Bonds was never really loved during his tenure as a Pirate. Between snarly interviews, butting heads with manager Jim Leyland and a poor postseason performance, we had reasons not to like him. In 68 at-bats in the playoffs for the Pirates, Bonds hit .191 with a single home run and three RBI. His teammate Andy Van Slyke hit .198 in that same span, but wasn’t as roundly criticized, mostly because he wasn’t a jerk. When he returned to Pittsburgh as a Giant, a Pittsburgh fan even rented an airplane with a banner that said, “Nice throw Barry.” The banner, of course, was in reference to Bonds’ limp-wristed throw in Atlanta that was beaten by Sid Bream and crushed our spirits. Bonds happily skipped town a month later and was booed during every single at-bat for the next decade.

Next on the list: every Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback who has not won a Super Bowl. Every single one of them. Starting with Cliff Stoudt and going all the way up to throwing sacks of garbage on Tommy Maddox’s lawn. Kordell Stewart was a phenomenon for a few years until he lost a playoff game and, subsequently, his confidence. Neil O’Donnell’s name is still a swear word around here. Three picks in a Super Bowl loss will get you a permanent spot on the list.

Wham, bam, thank you, Todd Graham makes this list and he did it in less than one season; it’s almost admirable, in a perverse kind of way. After a lackluster 6-6 year as Pitt’s head football coach, Graham started talking to other schools about a head-coaching position. He recruited players to play for him and quickly left. When the University of Pittsburgh’s athletic director told him he couldn’t spend time looking for a new job, he resigned. Not only that, he resigned via text — a low-class move even by scumbag standards. Yes, Graham wasn’t an athlete, but if we ever get a chance to boo him, it’ll be good.

The 1993-2012 Pittsburgh Pirates earned a constant 20-year boo that went from Three Rivers Stadium to PNC Park. The boos weren’t really out of hatred. You’d have to be a special kind of mean to hate something that pathetic. The losing streak was almost old enough to drink when it was mercifully snapped, in 2013. We are back to booing again this year, but they clearly deserve it because, unlike the 20-year losers, this team has good players.

As you can imagine, most booing emanates from the cheap seats of a stadium or arena. These seats usually contain riff-raff, much like myself, and since our lives haven’t turned out the way we thought, we’re more inclined to show frustration. So go boo the next multimillion-dollar jerk who takes for granted that he plays a game for a living; you’ll feel much better.

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