Apr 10, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Houston Astros shortstop Jonathan Villar (6) celebrates a three run home run in the seventh inning with second baseman Jose Altuve (27) in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

A Letter From An Angry Astros Fan


Let’s get this straight, right off the bat.

I’m not angry at the Astros.

I’m angry for the Astros.

Houston is historically a fair-weather town.
We LOVE our Texans!!! (Until they have a rough season and fire the two people we’ve wanted shipped out at the end of every season in the recent past).
We LOVE our Rockets!!! (Until they get knocked out of the playoffs).

We…. hate our Astros?

I don’t get it. No matter what, the Astros are getting a raw deal. I feel like this is one of the only cities in the country that rips its baseball team down despite a fair knowledge of how the season is going to go. We’ve known for a while now, guys. The Astros had no chance to do anything these last few years in terms of winning 70+ games, bringing in high dollar talent, winning a World Series, etc. Still, everyone’s blown away by what we already knew. Other teams don’t have this issue. Other teams that have had some down years (many) don’t seem to lose a fan base.

Let’s take a look at the Chicago Cubs. Over the last three full seasons, the Cubs haven’t won more than 71 games (losing 101 in 2012). They’ve placed 5th in the National League Central Division in each season since 2010 and have only seen the likes of 1st or 2nd place in the division 5 times… since 1994. Yet, during the 2010-2013 seasons their attendance ranged from 2.64 to 3.06 million. Traditionally, the Cubs have some of the most dedicated and defensive fans in baseball. Believe me, I know some.

Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Next up? The Boston Red Sox. I’m not going to rattle off how awesome they are. I’m simply going to give you an attendance stat that I thought was something special. Red Sox fans are rabid. Rightfully so… but they’re also a family. “Red Sox Nation” pulled out 200,000 more in attendance in 2012 (3.04 million… in a year they lost 93 games and finished 5th in the division) than they did in 2013 (2.83 million… when they won the World Series). I know, I know. They’re the Red Sox. They’ve been around forever. Their stadium is a staple of the city and they’re baseball fans have had the sport around for 113 years… and they don’t turn their backs when the team is down. They rally.

I’m not gearing up for an Astros to Red Sox comparison.

The Astros have finished either 1st or 2nd in 12 of the last 20 MLB seasons, with 6 post-season appearances during that time… one of which was our ill-fated trip to the World Series. All of this is in spite of the fact that our attendance has dropped steadily each year since 2007, and obviously there are issues with television viewers… (CSN HOUSTON MUCH?). BUT WE WENT TO THE WORLD SERIES!!!!!!!!

Echos of the words, “Houston We Have A Pennant” still ring in my ears.

I don’t think I’ve been as excited about sports in general as when I was watching the Astros at bat. Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio stepping up to the plate in October was quite the sight to me. Of course, it was also like getting punched in the stomach repeatedly while having to watch that goon, A.J. Pierzynski, and all his friends hoist the trophy as I stood in silence surrounded by fellow Astros fans… surrounded by fellow Astros fans.

There’s something I haven’t said in a while.

Where did all those die-heard Astros fans go? I’m not sure. I do know that some of you true fans are still out there. Some of you are wearing your gear and representing your team with pride.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

As for the rest of you? Well, I’m sure I’ll see you all in a few more years rooting alongside the rest of us when George Springer, Carlos Correa, and the rest of the guys are pushing into the playoffs… waiting for the next lull to pretend you’re a fan of the Dynamo or something.

(No offense Dynamo fans).

I know that to a certain extent, fan bases are earned, not given. We’ve had some historically bad seasons, but nothing worthy of dropping a team all together. At least they’re not burning anyone’s jersey.

I’m looking forward to the days when the Astros are winning far more than losing. In the meantime? Let’s watch the progression of our team from the bottom to contention. Quite a few of the faces we’re seeing now, probably won’t last long. Does that mean we shouldn’t support them for the time being?

No.

Pay attention now, because when we start winning on a regular basis (and this WILL happen), you’re going to appreciate it that much more.

Houston used to be a baseball town. Now we’re lucky enough to have a young basketball team with what looks to be many years of success ahead of them. We have a football team that had a rough year and is poised to make one of the biggest choices a franchise can make for better or worse. (Yes, they’re marrying the draft).

I’m not bitter. I’m just dedicated. Maybe I’m a bit foolish, but so what? I’m a fan. This is the type of behavior you can, and should expect.

In Luhnow, we trust.

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Tags: Houston Astros

  • Parker Turner

    What a great article. Top-notch stuff, sir. It’s interesting to see someone else with the same views as me. Again, awesome job.

  • Brian Reading

    Wow, I was expecting to read more of the same crap I see in the comments section on chron.com: “DUHRR HOUSTON DONT HAVE A TEAM ANYMORE, ‘CAUSE AMERCAN LEAGUE”, “CRANE IS TERRIBLE, SO I WONT GO TO GAMES”, “ASTROS ARE A TRIPLE-A TEAM”, “CSN HOUSTON MEANS ASTROS SUCK”.

    These same people will be all over this team, trying to hide their Arlington Rangers ball caps in a few more seasons. These people will be claiming die-hard status, but I’ll feel free to call ‘em out.

    On the other hand, this article sounds exactly like what I’ve been saying for the past couple of seasons. Good job.

  • David Blankenship

    I have been an Astros fan since I was a young kid growing up in South Texas. I convinced my parents (non-sports fans) to take one of our vacations to the Astrodome so I could watch the Astros play. The deal was that I had to buy the family’s tickets to the game. I spent one summer mowing yards just so I could go. The feeling of excitement I had as I walked through the concourse and seeing a MLB field for the first time is a memory that I will ALWAYS from my childhood.

    The family was on vacation in Atlanta as I once again convinced my parents to go to a baseball game because the Astros were in town (they paid for the tickets this time) and I watched Dickie Thon hit one of his very first MLB home-runs. I remember watching my scrambled HSE cable channel as Mike Scott threw his no-hitter to clinch the division for the Astros in 1986. The feeling of seeing the Astros make the WS for the very first time was equally exciting.

    Now today…seeing the Astros move to the AL is definitely jarring (it should have been Milwaukee) and will take getting used to but I can resolve myself to this move. The thing I struggle with the most is the loss of being able to see the Astros on television. The fact that I now live in the DFW area and haven’t been able to watch the Astros play on Opening Day for the last three years is discouraging. I want to blame Jim Crane for this historic run of a MLB team not able to be viewed by the majority of the Astros fan base but I wish I knew more about what the true issues were preventing the team from being on TV.

    As a life long Astros fan it is painful to not be able to turn on the TV and watch a game. It has been over 2 years now, whether the issue is Jim Crane, Comcast or someone else, they should all be locked in a room together until it is resolved. The billionaires are screwing over the fans and I don’t blame fans of the Astros for rooting for someone else or finding something else to do with their time even when the Astros are back on television for the masses.

    Frustrated Astros Fan

    • Rich

      I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • John Steward

    Like David Blankenship, I’ve been an Astros fan since I was a kid. I lived in Houston as a young child, and attended games every month. To give away my age, my Astros Buddy was Jimmy Wynn.

    Growing up in CC, I would listen to the games on the radio. Later, I could watch them on TV. I now live in San Antonio, so I haven’t been to a game since 1999. Our recent struggles, plus the lack of TV, have alienated the marginal fans, while the diehards continue strong.

    The price of attending a game, combined with a struggling team, would probably be enough to depress attendance. Add the TV/Cable situation, and it’s an even worse situation. Your column sums this up very nicely. I think the league needs to intervene on the TV situation immediately.

    While I’m at it, (bleep) Bug Selig.