Tuesday, July 01, 2008


Dearest Astro fans,

Thank you so much for allowing me into your beautiful city and even nicer new ballpark. Looks like you've struggled to keep it full at times. Thank goodness for a little interleague play to fill it up with the Red Sox and Yankees come to town. I know it's not easy when you build a ballpark that holds more asses than your team has in fans, but you did well this last weekend.

With all due respect, however, I found your interest in the sport, its history, your team and its players to be quite questionable. As I've found in my travels and my particular fandom for my beloved Red Sox, it's normal for fans to show the greatest interest in their team and their players and also have a level of conversational knowledge of the game, the current stars of the league and, maybe, for the advanced fan, some historical context. It was disconcerting that only images of Nolan Ryan and Craig Biggio were inspiring enough to deserve an applaud. I realize your team hasn't been around since the turn of the century, but you've had some phenomenal players come through (one, even, that the Sox let you have in Jeff Bagwell). Craig Biggio was decent, but by no means the greatest ever to play. How does Nolan Ryan get outshined by Biggio? But, hey, it's your house. I wouldn't come over to play dominos and re-write the rules so whatever.

I had a hard time understanding your hate much in the same way that I found Rockies fans to be a bit abrasive when discussing the ethnicity of the players. Turns out that, again, I'd hear a few racially insensitive comments ricochet about Sox pitcher Matsuzaka and star outfielder Manny Ramirez. Makes me wonder if it's something with the National League. Could be just some good ol' Texas racehate. I mean, this is the town where a dude shot and killed two Mexicans with a shotgun while witnessing them burgularize his neighbors house yelling, "Boom! You're dead!" Not to mention Jasper, Texas is just over an hour away. Not saying the town has an outbreak and, I should be fair in saying that I know not all Astro fans got race issues, but check out this gem that was taken from outside Minute Maid.

I wonder if it has anything to do with that stupid jackalope mascot you have. In a way, the mixed-breed jackalope might be an desperate attempt by management to build racial and social tolerance amongst the Astro fans both toward themselves, their team and opponents.
Of course, it could be that no one had any ideas of how the hell you make an "astro" into a furry mascot. Hey, you can't do it with a red sock either. We got Wally the Green Monster. I know how it feels.

Especially troubling was the early exit after going down 4-0 in the seventh inning on Friday night. I wonder if there's still some residual sadness left over from when they got swept by the White Sox in the series. I guess 4-0 might translate into "time to go home" in Houston. By the middle of the eighth inning, Minute Maid had become a full-on Red Sox Nation convention. I wouldn't think the home team would let that happen. Deafening were the cheers for the Red Sox and, while I felt quite welcome (except for the $7.25 beers), I'm concerned about your defeatist disposition and what the long-term effects are. Trust me, I'm a Red Sox fan. I understand. So Houston, pick yourself up. You gotta fantastic team (as evident by the next two games where the Sox dropped both) and you should be proud of it.

I'll offer up Tucker to replace your stupid jackalope if you would like him for the rest of the season. He's very responsive to a piano and could lead the crowd in a rousing version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" much better than a mute jackalope. My offer stands.


TX said...

Another curious note about the Astros is that Minute Maid Park neither sells, nor allows you to bring in sunflower seeds because they are, as one gate attendant remarked, "particularly messy." To add insult to injury, they DO sell unshelled peanuts...which are completely clean and not "particularly messy." Hrm.

j3 said...

shells are the bi-product of enjoyment and it's pretty apparent that the organization wants nothing to do with allowing their fans to experience the sensation of enjoyment and elation. we're lucky we got to cheer because it CAN be "particularly annoying."