Sustained success by the Astros has put Houston fans in an unfamiliar position

Dear Astro Fan: Quit whining and embrace your inner villain

"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain." – A quote by Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight.

Since the playoffs began there has been a constant rumble among Astros fans about the perceived bias by the national media against the team. This includes more than one "accusation" that pitch tipping by opposing pitchers has artificially augmented the Astros' success. I duck as I say this, but Houston fans have a proclivity to whine - often - about the coverage their teams receive by national outlets; and when it comes to criticisms by those outsiders, well, Houston fans aren't necessarily the toughest bunch. Whether the "hate" in these playoffs is real or just simply perceived it is something Houston fan needs to come to grips with. So with a best in the majors 107 win team still alive and kicking in the playoffs I ask of Houston fans: Why So Serious?

The time has come for Houston fan to embrace the role of the villain

Having a team occupy the villain role in the national discourse is uncharted territory for Houston sports fans, because honestly none of the Houston teams have had serious shots at a championship for multiple years in a row before. Sure you can argue the Rockets have had good stretches but they have never been the odds on favorite to win the title for 3, 4, 5, or more years in a row. Even in the years they did win back-to-back championships they are more or less remembered nationally as the placeholder champions for the years Michael Jordan decided to be a baseball player.

Now with a World Series title, multiple consecutive 100 win seasons, three consecutive ALCS appearances, and a championship potential window that looks to be open for at least a few more years the Astros aren't so beloved outside of Houston anymore. Sure in 2017 they were national darlings as they were a young likable team who were the end result of a long painful losing process. But now people outside of Houston are tiring of their domination. If the Astros are able to move on to the World Series this year I can promise you very few people outside of Houston will want to see them win. The Nationals will be the scrappy team of Avengers and the Astros will be Thanos. But hey, don't worry – Thanos wouldn't be Thanos if he didn't do a whole lot of winning.

The great thing about having your team be the villain though (not including vilification for off the field issues) is that unlike movie villains, sports villains win, and win a bunch. A team only comes to occupy that "bad guy" role among those outside of its fan base by consistent winning. Think of how hated the Yankees, Patriots, Warriors, and Crimson Tide are. Well guess what, their fans are slurping it up and it's time for Astro fan to do the same.

Going back to the Harvey Dent quote at the beginning of this article - the Astros didn't die as heroes in 2017, they have lived long enough with sustained success to become the villain. So next time the Astros get disrespected, whether its from A-Rod, Joe Buck, or an anonymous twitter egg, relish in it, channel your inner villain and think of this:



knowyourmeme.com

"Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

- William Shakespeare

You might wonder why there is a puppy picture on a story about the Astros scandal. This little beauty is my Dalmatian, Dynamo. Why is she here? To distract you. To dazzle you. Who doesn't love a puppy picture? Who cares if it has anything to do with the story? She made you look.

And the point is...

Sadly, that is the role of the media these days. Please listen to my rant. Please click on my story. Who cares if the headline isn't accurate? None of that matters. Look at me! I need likes and retweets!

The Astros cheating scandal is the latest story to be overblown, overanalyzed and overexposed. Why? Page views. Ratings. A failing media.

Exploring every angle

None of that is meant to excuse the team. Let's be honest; the Astros cheated. They will be punished, and they should. Draft picks, fines, suspensions. All are possible, and whatever they get is probably warranted.

And that is where the story should end. But that is not what the world is about anymore. It has to be endlessly debated. Pictures of a laptop on a table become the Zapruder film. There HAS to be a conspiracy. Every detail has to be debated. Which side you come down on depends on your biases.

Stupid takes

Some have even said the Astros should be stripped of their World Series title. This isn't college. It's a dumb, look at me take. It will never happen. This is not Avengers: Endgame where you can enter the quantum realm and change the past. It is real life, where events can't be changed. Did the cheating help them win? Who knows? You still have to hit the ball, even if you know what is coming. And it did not make a difference for the Astros pitchers. And harkening back to the steroid era, how do you know the other teams did not do it too and just did not get caught?

The big argument about PEDs was "oh, look at the big numbers the hitters put up." But how do you know the pitchers weren't doing it, too? The same goes here.

Truth is, you don't know. Which is why results can't and shouldn't be changed. Period. To suggest it is just dumb.

More stupid takes

On the Astros fan side, the defenses are just as silly. "They did nothing wrong. Where is your proof? Why aren't there other players coming forward?"

As an aside, let's not leave out the great misleading phrases. "Due diligence." (In other words, we know this is a bad idea, but we want to sound like we know what we are doing). "Witch hunt." (Yes, I am guilty, but this is how I deflect it).

As another aside, if you find an actual witch on your hunt, let me know. I always wanted to meet one.

They cheated. Period. And they will be punished. But the point is not that at all. It's to find every possible angle to get people to read and react. To care more about something than we should, when there are far more important things we should be riled up about. But you are being told to care, so you will keep clicking. It's the new normal, where reporters make themselves the stories and insert themselves into it. And that's why they turn stories like this into major issues. For their own benefit.

Nothing new

This is just the latest media distraction. The Patriots deflated balls saga was the most overplayed, overanalyzed scandal in sports history. Why was it so important? Because hot takes, web sites and analysts told us so. Many hinted at even bigger conspiracies. Why? Because we are a society dazzled by puppies.

Just this past weekend, the entire Colin Kaepernick story was over reported from all sides. The NFL was just doing a PR move. He just wants to be a martyr.

The NFL's waiver was broken down word by word.

Over a guy who hasn't played in three years.

The reason? He gets page views and clicks. And ratings. We keep getting told how important every aspect of the story is to our lives. In truth, it's just another distraction, a false narrative created to keep us dazzled and up in arms. Do we really care about these things? And if we do, what the hell is wrong with us?

Just like the Astros scandal. Is it a bad look? Of course. Are they guilty? Sure looks like it. But punish them and let's move on. We get it. They banged trashed cans. But punishment is never enough. People have to post pictures that might be something. Videos that might be something. Emails that might be something. Add it all up and it doesn't make things any worse. It just creates talking points. And people wonder why so many people consider the media - and social media, as the lines are completely blurred - "fake news."

In the end...

It's not fake news. It's misguided attempts to to keep us coming back for more. And too many of us fall into the trap. We are too distracted by everyone telling us these things are so important that we keep clicking. It takes on a life of its own, and then any theory is possible. Any conspiracy is possible. So we keep reading and digging and we are immersed in it. Look at this! Click on me! In a few weeks the Astros will be the most evil organization that ever lived and should be disbanded. And some of you will believe it and buy in, because that's how distractions work. And once we are distracted? We can believe anything.

Hence the picture of Dynamo. To distract you. By the way, did you notice one of her spots looks like Mickey Mouse? Let the Disney conspiracy begin. We shall start our own tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury.

And we all know what that signifies.

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