My conservative cousin, formerly of New York, looks at past instances in which leaders have been publicly abused by disenchanted citizens. He writes:
There are plenty of precedents for political leaders being jeered by sports fans. In ancient Constantinople the appearance of the Emperor at chariot races sometimes caused jeering Hippodrome crowds to erupt in violence.
American crowds are a bit less raucous in displaying disapproval of their leaders. Some examples:
Herbert Hoover was booed at the 1931 World Series in Philadelphia. Raspberries were heard when Barack Obama was introduced at an All-Star Game at his home turf on the South Side of Chicago.
In NYC leaders of all political stripes face noisy disapproval at sporting events. Some years ago when Bill Clinton was introduced to the crowd at Belmont Park, a race track a spectator yelled “Hey Clinton keep your hands off her ass”. The crowd roared.
Of course, the mood was quite different after 9/11 when George Bush threw out the first ball at a Mets game. The applause was deafening. I can’t imagine this kind of display of unity would occur after an attack today.
What’s unique about the “F##K Joe Biden” chant is that the President doesn’t even have to be present for the crowd to erupt. Just imagine the reception Joe Biden would receive if he were actually to show up to throw the first pitch of the World Series in Houston. Even if the game is held in Deep Blue Boston, the crowd might be less than enthusiastic.
Another difference with the Biden chanting is that it involves obscene language (or a placeholder for it).
I can add two examples to my cousin’s account. In late 1980, I was at a performance of “Amadeus” in Washington, D.C. When a besieged President Carter showed up, there were a few boos (not by me, even though I couldn’t stand Carter).
President Trump attended Game 5 of the 2019 World Series. He was loudly booed by a substantial portion of the D.C. crowd.
In front of me, a kid — maybe 12 years old — booed so vociferously that I thought he would turn blue in the face. May he be mugged by reality.