mellicious: Astros' very colorful uniforms of the 70s-80s (Astros' rainbow uni)
[personal profile] mellicious
 OK, I'm going to try to talk about baseball, but it's difficult because I have SO MANY FEELS about it and they all try to come out at once. Luckily for you guys, I remembered that I actually wrote something down a few weeks ago, and it's much more coherent than I manage to be most of the time. So that's what's below, pretty much verbatim.


Here's the thing - the Astros have been losing as long as I've been alive. Or not quite - I'm 57 and the Astros are 56. But that bit of nitpicking aside, I have to admit that I didn't really grow up an Astros fan, because the Astros were so terrible I couldn't get interested. We went to the occasional game - supposedly I was taken to some Colt .45s games when I was 3 or 4 years old, but I wouldn't have known it from a little league game at the time. Once they moved into the Astrodome, the building itself was at least impressive to a child.

Later on, they started giving out free Astros tickets if you made the honor roll or something like that, and those are the first games I actually remember going to. The Astros almost always lost when I went. In those days you played your own division far more than they do now, and the Astros were in the NL West, along with Cincinnati, don't ask me why. Those were the days when the Reds were known as the Big Red Machine, and I can say very definitely that I saw Pete Rose and Johnny Bench and those guys play, a number of times - which I guess is why the Astros always always lost, come to think of it.

The Astros didn't finally make the playoffs until 1980, but I was in college then and I mostly wasn't paying any attention to what went on in Houston. I did gradually start paying more attention, though, and by the time I moved back to Houston in 1986, the Astros were much improved. So that's when I actually really became a baseball fan. We went to a few games in 1986 - I particularly remember the one the night before the Astros clinched the division, in which Nolan Ryan pitched and struck out 12. The next day Mike Scott threw his no-hitter. Then the Astros proceeded to get eliminated by the Mets, pretty spectacularly. That was the way it always went, for a long time. I've talked to a number of long-time Astros fans who say the same thing - it's just almost inconceivable that they actually won the World Series. Right up until the last out, we all just sat there and waited for the big heartbreak. You can tell yourself all day that this team was different - and clearly it was true, and there was a part of me that really knew that and believed it the whole time, but it still doesn't stop you from believing that something bad is going to happen. When they actually won, both in the NLCS and in the World Series, I wasn't jumping up and down and screaming. I just sat there and literally said, "Oh my god. Oh my god" over and over.

I'm sure this is true of other baseball teams - the Red Sox and the Cubs come to mind. We're not the only team that ever had this problem, I know, but at least the Red Sox and the Cubs had won a World Series in their history, even if that was a long, long time ago. I think there was something especially sort of pathological about the way that Astros fans felt about it. We just waited and waited for the blow to fall, you know? and when it didn't come, we didn't quite know what to do for a while.


(I'll write something else and talk about Altuve and Springer and all that later. This certainly isn't all I have to say on the subject!)
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mellicious

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