The case for fanaticism and vigilance from Astros fans

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The Astros have been punished by Major League Baseball for their sign stealing scandal. The fines, loss of draft picks, and scarlet letter led owner Jim Crane to fire then manager A.J. Hinch and then general manger Jeff Luhnow on the same day, literally within hours of the league announcing their findings and sanctions. Mind you, this was in the offseason between the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Yet opposing teams, and especially their fan bases, have continued to give the Astros the business regarding the scandal and its fallout.

There have been trash cans, banging on trash cans, cheater memes/signs/paraphernalia, amongst other things used to try to distract this team and tease its fans. Shirts, hats, and signs with various forms of referencing the scandal. There were even inflatable and actual trash cans being thrown onto the fields. There's been enough crap thrown at the Astros and their fans! It's time to fight back dammit!

Ever since the 2017 World Series win, and especially after the scandal, I wear Astros gear every chance I get! When I know I'm going to be around fans of opposing teams, it makes me want to wear my gear even more. When I rejoined the dating scene and was encouraged to make online profiles on dating apps, I made sure to have pics of me in Astros gear. Any woman I'm going to get involved with on any level is going to realize I'm an Astros fan and will have to accept that. I've taken a "bleep you" approach when it comes to my Astros fandom. Like it or love it, you'll have to respect it.

Photo via: Jermaine Every

Astros fans need to do the same thing. Instead of being polite, respectful, and friendly, lean into the dark side! Embrace the hate! Let it fuel your interactions with other fan bases! When they start to boo your team and make signs about the scandal, point at them and laugh, then ask where their rings are. The Dodgers won a ring last year in a pandemic shortened season. The Yankees and Red Sox were also found to have cheated, but MLB has shielded them and other teams from punishment by hiding evidence. If you're waiting to see that infamous Yankees letter, you'll likely die a thousand deaths before we see even a redacted form of it.

Did other teams cheat? Hell yeah they did! Did they get punished like the Astros did? Bleep no! MLB couldn't have any of their flagship franchises in hot water. Has sign stealing been around a long time? Yes, since the beginning of the sport itself! Should we give a damn that opposing teams and fan bases continue to hold a grudge and make jokes? Bleep no! Lean into it and let them know we don't give a damn!

I wrote an article published on February 13, 2020 about the Astros embracing their heel turn. This time, I'm not only calling for the team to embrace this, but it's time for the fans to do so as well. Don't be jerks to opposing fans, but don't be overly hospitable if they show signs of being dickweeds. Boo their best players. Cheer their mistakes. Don't go as far as cheering injuries, but definitely push the envelope. Most of all, have fun, but do so safely. Rooting for your team isn't worth losing your freedom or life. Lean into being the bad guy. It may be the last shot you get because this team may not be this good for long.

Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM
A new hotel is in the works near Minute Maid. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Astros owner Jim Crane says the team is ready to break ground on a major construction project that will include a hotel and entertainment complex across the street from Minute Maid Park as soon as the 2023 baseball season wraps up – hopefully with another World Series parade in downtown Houston.


But another hotel? Another entertainment complex? More construction downtown? My first reaction was, how much more does Houston need? I remember when the Super Bowl was held in Houston in 2004, clubs and restaurants sprung up downtown practically overnight, only to disappear virtually the morning after. When it came to downtown development, the expression “less is more” turned out true. At least that Super Bowl.

I asked my contacts in government and the Houston welcome wagon, is this a good idea, building a hotel and entertainment complex next door to Minute Maid Park? Do we need it? Can we sustain it?

The answer every time was a resounding yes! For a couple of reasons: first, downtown Houston, coming out of Covid, is booming, leadership is creative and budget-minded these days, and most important, if Jim Crane is behind the idea, you can trust it’ll work. The guy’s got a track record.

“In 2004, the idea was to turn downtown’s Main Street into Bourbon Street. Is that what we really want? It was a misguided plan, the wrong philosophy, and businesses opened and closed in short order,” a source told me.

It was a different story when the Super Bowl returned to Houston in 2017. This time Houston saw the Marriott Marquis, a 1,000-room hotel complete with an iconic Texas-shaped swimming pool, open in time for the tourist onslaught. Also, Avenida Houston greeted downtown visitors with new restaurants and entertainment venues. Both the Marriott and Avenida Houston have continued to thrive long after the Super Bowl left town.

“We want our downtown to attract visitors while providing services for the growing number of singles and families who are making their home downtown. As we continue to host major events and conventions, there will be a need for more hotel rooms,” the source said.

The Astros’ plan to build a sprawling hotel and entertainment complex originally was discussed in 2021 but was put on hold due to Covid. Now Crane and the Astros are ready to come out swinging. Similar complexes operate successfully next to the baseball stadium in St. Louis, Chicago and other cities.

An Astros-themed hotel adjacent to Minute Maid Park is particularly intriguing. The lobby could be home to an Astros museum and team Hall of Fame. Rooms and restaurants could be decorated in honor of Astros legends – the “Nolan Ryan honeymoon suite,” or “Strech Suba’s Bullpen Bar and Grille.” There could be meeting space for autograph and memorabilia shows. There could be a broadcast facility for post-game interviews and analysis. And maybe one day, fingers crossed, a betting parlor like the Cubs have at Wrigley Field.

The Astros have a contract to play at Minute Maid Park through 2050 – the only long-term contract that doesn’t make Crane cringe. Anything that enhances the fan experience and generates revenue is good for the team and the city. I might even consider going downtown on non-game nights.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome