Back in the piney woods of East Texas a large brick building sits at the end of a snaky entrance road. The Bill Spiers Center for Astroholism and Related Conditions houses many of those Astro fans who are trapped in their 53rd season of non-championship ball.
This summer day – one of the long time patients, Dan Peschong is having his exit interview with head physician Dr. Melfi in one of the 1st floor offices.
The burly patient wearing a Mark Lemongello jersey is sitting with his arms crossed defiantly in an uncomfortable metal chair. “I don’t understand why I have to go.”
“Dan – there is nothing else we can do for you. In the world of fan-dom addicts – you are Tony ‘Scarface’ Montana. I expect to find you in your room with two Astros programs rolled up and stuffed up each of your nostrils.” The doctor sighed deeply at this image imbedded in her brain.
“I’ll try harder. I’ll work harder at this. I know I can beat it.” Dan’s words were positive but there was uncertainty in his eyes.
“Listen, if three 100+ loss seasons cannot drain the Astros gene out of you – how can you possibly get this monkey off your back now that they are bad instead of horrid.”
Dan had a problem with meeting Dr. Melfi’s eyes as he said, “I’m not that bad – I’m not that far away from being cured.”
Dr. Melfi pulled a large stack of papers from a brown accordion folder and began grabbing papers at random and reading them.
April 29th – Patient gets in altercation with another patient in the cafeteria over a chicken fried steak he claims looks like Gerry Hunsicker.
May 19th – Patient has dug a hole in a stucco wall behind a poster of Jimmy Wynn and is hiding a scale model of Minute Maid Park in the cavity.
June 12th – Patient found in room with homemade crystal radio set. When the set was taken from him he said, ‘Wait – Steve Sparks is about to do play-by-play next inning.’ Steve Sparks, Really??”
Dan shrugs sheepishly.
“This file has recorded more than 45 such incidents in the last year. It is obvious that you are incurable and with our recently scaled back resources – we need your bed for patients who will at least try.”
“I guess I understand Dr. Melfi. So today will be my last day. Who gets my room tomorrow?”
“Some Louisiana blog writer named Chip.”
“Dr. Melfi, you will be begging to get me back next week.”