I generally subscribe to the school of thought that says boo the other team, don't boo your own guys. Still, there are circumstances in which I don't think this rule of thumb has to apply. It's largely intuitive, if Coco Crisp makes two costly errors tonight, no self-respecting A's fan will boo him - we are full of love for Coco and he has earned every ounce of it. If however, a new guy joins the team as one of its highest paid players, replaces a fan favorite whom the front office did not pursue at all, and proceeds to be terrible at doing his job, I will shed no tears for him when the fans welcome him to town by voicing their displeasure at the aforementioned scenario. As I see it, the boos of Jim Johnson were not just boos for him, they were boos for the decisions that brought him here, and they were desperate wistful cries for the reliable joy of Balfour Rage. In many ways, they were rage-filled love sonnets to Grant Balfour's thrilling 9th inning performances at the Coliseum the last two years.
Fans have no power - we can't play the game, we can't decide how our beloved franchises use their resources. We just keep rooting for our team and spending our money on the game, and support the whole system. Every now and then it's frustrating, and so we get to play the yay/boo game, just like Conan O'Brien sings, "yay boo yay boo, it's lotsa fun to do. If ya like it holler yay, if ya don't ya holler boo."
I understand that Jim Johnson is trying his hardest. And I understand that all those who know him feel sorry for him. They should, they know him as a person. Most fans do not, we know him as a player. And booing is a grand old tradition in American sports (and a mostly harmless one, at that). This is not little league, there are no trophies for trying. All he gets for trying is his $10 million salary. Once he starts helping his team win games, instead of singlehandedly losing them, he will get cheers instead of boos to go along with that $10 million. He may even start to earn an admiration that a blown save can't destroy. So I for one cannot wait until everyone is cheering Jim Johnson! (Who, by the way, is handling this like a pro off-the-field, and is being done a disservice by everyone scolding the fans to feel sorry for him and love him unconditionally.)