What is a dad to do?

Responsibility of a Sports-Dad

Astros fans at a playoff game

We are living in uncertain times my friends. No, I'm not talking about Coronavirus – I'm talking about being a sports-dad during these trying times for Houston sports. With one young son and another soon to arrive, I am now faced with decisions on how to be a good steward of their sports fandom.

My son will turn two next month, and he already loves sports. Outside of Mama and Dadda his first word was "ball". He wants to play with his tee ball set all the time, and during the season he would sit and watch football (even the XFL) yelling "catch" and "tackle" at the TV. Even when playing with his cousins he yells tackle and then goes in for a full wrap-up and pull down tackle (very good form). What he hasn't figured out yet though is what being a fan means, but I know that is coming soon.

Over the past couple of months with the Astros cheating scandal I have at times wondered if it makes me a bad parent to encourage him to root for them. I have come the conclusion that it does not. By the time he is old enough to understand what happened the scandal will be many years in the past, and frankly the team composition will likely be very different. I would not want to miss out on opportunities to take him to games, or just sit on the couch on summer nights watching baseball because people got all bent out of shape about sign stealing. While I certainly won't tell him he has to be an Astros fan, I won't discourage it either. Speaking of discouraging things - this brings me to my main sports-dad area of concern.

What is a dad to do about the Texans? For a while I have thought about whether I encourage my son to be a Texans fan – I was on the fence about it until this week. Instead of having him grow up and letting his fandom fall where it may, I have now unequivocally have decided to actively discourage him from being a Texans fan. As his father I feel it is my duty while he is still young and malleable to steer him away from a path that will undoubtedly bring a lifetime of disappointment.

I myself have become much less invested in the team over the past couple of years despite still loving football. Texans games are no longer appointment viewing for me and their blunders have become comedic rather than painful (I couldn't help but laugh when they blew the 24 point lead to Kansas City). Despite those personal feelings, I always hoped my son would love watching football like I do, and figured he would probably root for the Texans if for no other reason than they were the local team. The actions of this week though have made it clear the organization does not deserve my son as a fan, and they sure as hell do not deserve my money as the parent of a fan. As a father I hope to spend many future Sundays watching football with both of my boys , and we will be doing so as fans of a team not named the Texans.


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Astros defeat the A's, 6-3. Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Jake Meyers hit a three-run homer to highlight Houston's six-run fourth inning that backed Justin Verlander's winning start, and the Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Friday night.

Verlander (3-2) struck out nine over six innings to increase hit total to 3,377, passing Hall of Famer Greg Maddux (3,371) for 10th on the career strikeouts list. He gave up two runs — one earned — on eight hits and didn't walk a batter for a second straight start and seventh time this year.

After another milestone to add to a long list of them, Verlander wasn't sure exactly how to feel.

“I feel like I should be more excited but I feel like I’m a little more introspective and reflective,” Verlander said. “A lot of sacrifices you make in this game, a lot of time away from the family, but I love it, so it’s pretty amazing. I don’t know if as a 21- or 22-year-old kid in professional baseball if I’d thought I’d be in the top-10 in anything. This sport’s been around for so long. Hard to put into words, but a lot of thoughts, a lot of thoughts went through my mind.”

When his teammates celebrated him once the special outing had ended, Verlander allowed himself to ponder the meaning.

Verlander remembers his first strikeout and he recalls one against Hall of Fame slugger Frank Thomas here at the Coliseum — and the pitcher wears No. 35 because of Thomas.

“I have a lot of great memories here,” he said.

A's manager Mark Kotsay, a former Oakland outfielder, has been witness to some of those.

“He’s just tough. He’s a Hall of Fame pitcher. He knows his game plan and he executes it really well," Kotsay said. "He doesn’t make a ton of mistakes.”

Yordan Alvarez added an RBI double and Josh Hader finished the 2-hour, 31-minute game with his seventh save for the Astros, who began a seven-game road trip.

After right-hander Ross Stripling (1-9) retired the first nine Houston hitters in order, Jose Altuve singled to start the fourth for the first of four straight hits that included Alex Bregman's two-run single.

The A's drew an announced crowd of 9,676 for the series opener after winning two of three against Colorado following an eight-game losing streak.

Miguel Andujar came off the injured list and immediately hit an RBI single in the first off Verlander and finished with three hits in his A's and season debut — including another run-scoring single in the seventh.

Andjuar's RBI marked the first time the A's have scored first in 18 games — ending the longest streak in franchise history. Batting cleanup, he also singled in the third.

Astros left fielder Chas McCormick robbed Max Schuemann of an extra-base hit when he crashed into the wall to make a great catch ending the eighth.

“That was a big play at the moment,” manager Joe Espada said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP José Urquidy was pulled from his rehab start with Triple-A Sugar Land because of right forearm discomfort. He has been on the injured list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. ... 1B José Abreu is scheduled to rejoin the club Monday in Seattle after playing at least two games with Triple-A Sugar Land as he works to regain his hitting rhythm.

Athletics: Andujar had been sidelined all season after having meniscus surgery on his right knee. He was claimed off waivers from the Pirates on Nov. 6. Oakland created roster room by optioning INF Brett Harris to Triple-A Las Vegas.

UP NEXT

RHP Spencer Arrighetti (2-4, 7.16 ERA) pitches for the Astros in the middle game opposite A's LHP JP Sears (3-3, 4.31).

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