MAKING HIS PITCH
John Granato: How will Astros fans react to Osuna's first home appearance?
The Astros are coming home for the first time since the acquisition of Roberto Osuna. It’ll be interesting to see how the fan base reacts when he comes out of the bullpen to pitch for the first time at Minute Maid.
His first appearance as an Astro drew a smattering of boos in San Francisco. But it was San Francisco. I’m not sure they knew about or cared about the controversy enough to boo. Their average rent for a one bedroom is over $3200. It’s hard for them to care about anything else.
What will happen at Minute Maid? Osuna’s ours now. Fan bases stand behind their guys. Milwaukee’s Josh Hader got a standing ovation for his homophobic and racist tweets. Well, I’m not sure he got a standing O because of them but I’m not ruling it out.
I don’t think Osuna will get a standing O here but I’m not ruling that out either. He did have a five pitch outing the other night. That was totally sweet. The problem is that it was in San Francisco at about 11:30 at night. A lot of Astros fans didn’t see it.
It’ll also be interesting to see what the attendance will be like this weekend too. How many people will actually live up to their promise of being done with the Astros? We’ve heard plenty of that over the last week. But it’s easier said than done. Even if you just climbed on board the Astros train last year you’re probably all-in with this team. Osuna aside it’s the most likeable team I can ever remember. They are only adding to that lately with this minor league lineup they are forced to play every night because of all the injuries and yet they’re still winning.
What does it mean if we applaud when Osuna comes in? Like Hader the national media is waiting to pounce on the reaction. Milwaukee got roasted on ESPN for the standing O but that’s what ESPN does. I don’t care what Bill Plaschke thinks of us. We know who we are and what we stand for.
To be clear, I am against domestic violence.
I have been for some time now. I have been an LSU fan for years. My wife went there. My daughter goes there. But they lost me because of how Les Miles handled issues on his team. Jordan Jefferson was seen kicking a marine outside a bar. Jeremy Hill sucker punched a really drunk guy and Jalen Mills was accused of punching a girl in the face so hard he knocked her out. All of these happened without consequences.
I found it hard to root for them anymore. Full disclosure, it coincided with my son playing at the collegiate level so it was easy to push LSU aside. Now that all those guys are gone though it’s more pleasurable to go to LSU games and root for those kids.
And we’ll root for the Astros. It’s going to be hard to watch Osuna and not think about his issue. It’s with him now forever. It’ll never go away and rightfully so. But he doesn’t define what Houston Astros baseball is. It’s exactly the opposite.
For years now we’ve seen guys with checkered pasts join the New England Patriots and tow the line. Corey Dillon, Randy Moss, Bryan Cox, Albert Haynesworth, Aqib Talib and so on. That locker room was bigger than their shenanigans. It held them accountable.
In a different way this Astros locker room will hold Roberto Osuna accountable. It’s a bunch of great players and great people. Osuna can’t take back what he did. He can only move forward with the help of his teammates and change the narrative. He will be a better person because he is an Astro.
I’m guessing he’ll get more cheers than boos. I won’t do either. I’ll be with the silent majority. I am not going to stand or applaud. I will have no reaction when Osuna comes in. I don’t want anyone to think I appreciate him for what he allegedly did. I will watch silently and take in your reaction.
I don’t know how big a dilemma this is for you. Everyone has to act as his or her conscience tells them. Mine tells me to shut up and let this play out. What’s yours telling you?