Is this the hardest time ever to be a baseball fan?


This is not a “woe is me” diatribe by a fan whose team played to the very end of the postseason. This was brought on by a comment from good friend of the blog Diane in a comment a few days ago…

“A bunch of stuff has happened in the last few weeks that has been painful. In some ways, losing the Series is the least of it. I know this is big business with baseball icing, but I’ve stuck with it so far because it’s a tenuous thread to my long-gone hardworking daddy who toted me out to get mosquito bit on South Main, and to the Buffs before that. Baseball was what he got for faithfully holding a low-paying job and never failing his family. I know there will be more news coming, but I’m thinking I might not want to hear it. I still love ‘Tuve and Springer and others, and my heart goes out to A.J. Hinch, because as I wrote here in the playoffs, he was showing extreme fatigue — not just physical but mental — and it might have even affected his ability to make crucial decisions in that last game. These are highly paid human beings, but human beings nevertheless, and I’m thinking the season is too long. When you play almost every day and travel too, it’s asking a lot. That and cash considerations are taking us over a cliff.”

This brought me to the realization of how different the fan experience is these days and that most of the folks, who check in here have lived through sometimes agonizing changes in the game and how we experience it. Don’t get me wrong, some of the changes have been for the best, but some have not and for some of us any change is difficult to swallow.

The In-person Experience

In the 1950’s and early ’60’s the experience was minor league bleacher seats at old Buff and then Colt Stadium with lights as beacons to every mosquito in Harris County and the sweat index staining your shirts and blouses. It was an intimate game played fairly close to the fans and played at a reasonable cost and played fairly poorly by the home team. The games were quick and quiet in that 2 hour range. You could hear the smack of ball to glove during the in- between innings warmups.

Back in the 1960’s and ’70’s the in-person experience in Houston was fairly affordable – especially if you were sitting upstairs or in the outfield at the Astrodome. You parked within decent straight walking distance somewhere around the circumference of the Dome for $5 as I recall and rode the escalators up or down (normally up) to a cushioned seat in air conditioned, mosquito free comfort. The food and drinks cause more than in the outdoor world, but were fairly simple hotdog, peanuts, popcorn, beer and soda fair. The scoreboard had cartoons and exploded when the home team reached the far away and up high bleachers with a rare bomb. The team was sometimes better than the early days, but rarely sniffing a pennant race

In modern times, again the ticket prices, parking and food/drink have been on an unending steady rise. The average ticket last year ran about $68 at Minute Maid. Parking can easily cost you $15-20 a few blocks from the stadium. Inside the park there are literally hundreds of food and drink choices and hundred is a good word to use as a family of four can get to that cost fast. The park has a roof that rarely gets opened and again the people are protected from the skeeters and the elements as needed. The games are a lot longer and a lot louder. Three hour to four hour games are the norm. Young ladies in shorts shoot T-shirts at the crowd as they ride around the park or jump around along the dugout roofs. Loud music is piped in and between innings are filled with videos, games and thinly disguised advertisements. The teams have either been horrid or much, much better than the old days. The team tries to compete with the “excitement” of the NBA and NFL experiences with an untimed game. There is more to experience today, but sometimes less is more.

The At-home Experience

In earliest times, the “experience” was tied to a transistor radio broadcast of the game or a quick review of the morning newspaper that may or may not have the box score and a write up from the night before. The newspapers had journalists, who travelled with the team and their columns and game summaries were the life blood of information about your favorite team.

TV coverage of baseball was pretty basic. One national game was broadcast per week with Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese, later replaced by Curt Gowdy and Tony Kubek and in the 60’s the Astros occasionally were on as their home games were a safe backup to a rain out on the main game. The Astros would be on TV for their Sunday road games only. These were special treats to be savored as we could actually see in a grainy way the team we adored on the radio and in the newspaper.

This of course has morphed into today’s world where every game is available to fans (or should be – sorry Becky) on pay cable or on our smart phones or on our computers. This includes the crazed ability to watch any game by any team in the majors if you so wish (and have access).  It is better today in some ways, but sometimes we wish for the quiet “theater” of just us and our radios and our imaginations.

Knowing the Teams and the Players

There is a moment in City Slickers where the “guys” are talking to the one gal on the cattle drive …..

Phil Berquist: So, do you hate baseball?
Bonnie Rayburn: No, I like baseball. I just never understood how you guys can spend so much time discussing it. I mean I think the game is great but I don’t memorize who played third base for Pittsburgh in 1960.
Mitch Robbins, Phil Berquist, Ed Furillo: Don Hoak!
Bonnie Rayburn: See, that’s exactly what I mean.

At one time there were only 16 teams in the majors (20 after the Astros, Mets, Senators and Angels were added 1961/1962). And in reality, most fans only cared about the teams in their league. Your team would only play the other league in the World Series and you would worry about that one team at the time. So, it was possible to memorize the 200 players from those teams in your league and know that Don Hoak was the 3B for the Pirates.

Today, teams play inter-league and there are 30 teams to boot and our brains are smaller and clogged and there is no possible way for us to remember the 750 players on the roster at one time. And even if we did…..they move around so much – leading to this.

Player Movement

To be perfectly honest, players did change teams in the old days, but it was always at team’s discretion, either by getting released or traded….. I float back to Spec Richardson sending the future of the Astros (Rusty Staub, Joe Morgan, Mike Cuellar) elsewhere. But since players were granted free agency, there are even more players moving either of their own choosing in FA or by teams trying to avoid getting nothing for their players when they choose FA.

In the old days, players were chained to their teams and were in a take it or leave it on contracts. If you want to see what can result from an owner shoving under market contracts on their players – read the book Eight Men Out about the 1919 Black Sox scandal.

But its tougher on the modern fan, especially if it is a player you really don’t want to lose (Gerrit Cole) that you suspect you will.

The Inter-league Experience

In the Astros case, the inter-league experience has too meanings. The team changing leagues and the team playing across leagues.

Growing up we were aware of the other league and we knew and maybe even idolized the big stars like Mickey Mantle or Carl Yastrzemski. But we rarely saw them and of course our teams never played them. This was a chunk of baseball that was not filling up our platter, because we were not trying to remember who the LF for the White Sox was in 1966 (Ken Berry – and no not the guy from the Andy Griffith show). We might get a glimpse of some of the other teams on the Game of the Week, or the World Series, but it was a here today, gone tomorrow thing for us.

And then the designated hitter happened in the AL and baseball was not the same in every game and it sure was not the same when these teams played in the World Series. Purists did not want it. Folks who were sick of watching pitchers making outs wondered why this did not happen sooner. And folks like me are wondering how you can continue to have two sets of rules in the MLB. Oh, Boston Celtics – you know how you built your team around making 3 pointers, well the Western Conference outlawed those, so when you play on the road at LA in the Finals you need to play a different brand of basketball. Totally, goofy.

Today we see the teams from the other league on a fairly consistent basis and it is not quite so special anymore.

The Money

The money has gotten to the point that we can’t really understand it anymore. In 1980, Nolan Ryan became the first player to make $1 million in a season. Justin Verlander makes about a $1 million…..every time he takes the mound. The league “minimum” is almost $600,00 a year – a number most of us will never see in our lives, maybe even cumulatively.

Of course back in 1974 Nolan was a 5 year veteran making a cool $27,000 a year. For a long time, the players had off-season jobs to supplement their income. My father-in-law talks about growing up in Brooklyn and a lot of the Dodgers lived right there among the fans.

And of course you had owners like Bill Veeck who would sit out in the bleachers with the fans. Most of the owners were quite rich men, but these days it is mostly corporate with our view of the owners being from a camera pointed towards the plate and seeing them close to the players in those seats we could never afford for the games they deign to attend.

Its billionaires, taking money from us (through tickets, food, TV revenue) and giving it to multi-millionaires. And both the billionaires and the millionaires talking “po-boy” about it all. Hard to take it all in….

The Stats

Let’s face it. Growing up the stats consisted of a pitchers W-L and possibly his ERA and a batters batting average, home runs, and RBIs. For the speedsters we cared about the SB numbers, but we never got much farther than that.

Back then WHIP was something we might see on Rawhide and WAR on Combat. Now we are pulled into worrying about individual players stats like RISP. Back in the day, we never knew a player’s batting average with runner’s in scoring position was. We just knew we would rather see Jimmy Wynn up with ducks on the pond than Dave Adlesh.

There are numbers for everything and everyone and every situation. We know how Michael Brantley hit against left handers in the 7th inning and later in games that are within 2 runs. But we sometimes forget our nephew’s name.

How the Game is Played

Again, back in the day, when players never lifted weights and more were built like Terry Puhl and Enos Cabell than Greg Luzinski the game was built on skills and variety. The stolen base, the sacrifice bunt, the hit and run were all integral parts of the game, not things that were avoided because statistics say the chances favor those who swing away (like Joaquin Phoenix in the movie Signs).

The modern player is still terribly skilled. But the games have become whiff-fests, slug-fests where the winner may be the team that figures out how to position its players better (or luckier) than their opponents. The game is not necessarily worse, but it is very different than in our youth.

What We Know

The latest “situation” with Roberto Osuna highlights one of the biggest differences between the old game and today’s game. Back in the day, we did not know what we know now about the players. We did not know who drank, who might be running around, who supported who politically, who might be getting some extra performance enhancing chemical “help”, who might be taking recreational chemical “help”, who might have anger management issues, who might be abusing women, etc.

In some ways back then ignorance was bliss.

The Wrap-up 

Normally, I set things out and then ask for you opinion without directly throwing out my opinion. In this case I will share my opinion first. Like a lot of other things in life, the modern world has made baseball more accessible to the modern fan, but it includes a lot that we might be happier without. To me it is tougher being a fan today than in my youth.

OK – now it is your turn.

58 comments on “Is this the hardest time ever to be a baseball fan?

  1. The in-person experience – for me, it’s finally over.

    1. Too boring – this team is technically good – on paper, in regard to stats great -but to fans in the stadium, they just do not connect well and appear predominantly disinterested, lackadaisical, and uninspiring;
    2. too pricey for my ‘nearing retirement’ budget ;
    3. the seats are wayy too tightly crammed together and way too uncomfortable.

    And this from a guy who virtually grew up at Colt Stadium and the Astrodome, and who virtually raised my kids at Enron/Minute Maid.

    The at-home experience – replays and recaps only, thank you!

    Most innings are truly boring beyond imagination. This team, because it is so focused on home runs, launch angles, and contract incentives, tends to score its runs in clusters – clusters that are usually confined to one or two innings in a long, 9-inning game. When no one is hitting a home run [which is most of the time], they just flail. Lots of walks, lots of Ks, lots of popping-up four-seams and rolling over sinkers, but not much to get excited about. And this team doesn’t have the discipline to ‘hit where they ain’t’ with RISP or when losing late. I’ll just check the boxscores, watch the highlight reels, and read Chipalatta.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Knowing the players . . .

    Uh . . . well . . . we know their names and their stats – and we have all looked up how much money they are making playing this game – but we used to actually know THEM – or at least think we did. Now its all hype, agents, arbitrators, security guards, and foul-mouthed people blowing up Twitter.

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  3. Player movement . . .

    It is hard to get too excited about, or feel to close to, a player that you know is going to – indeed can’t wait to – ‘Carlos Beltran’ you in Boston, LA, Chicago or Damn-Yankee-ville!

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  4. I took my kids to their first MLB game this summer – in Kansas City. We had fantastic seats that cost around $20 each. I went multiple times to the concessions stands and my wallet was noticeably lighter when we left. We stopped at the major souvenir shop on the way out and bought a few more things. They had a great time and really got into the home team cheering and clapping. I took them to minor league games in two different cities this year as well – one during April and another on Labor Day weekend. The seats were cheaper and closer. The concessions were slightly cheaper and we certainly made a few trips there. We also visited the souvenir shops on the way out…where we spent a lot more money than we had in KC. They had a great time and really got into the home team cheering and clapping. I would be seriously shocked for them to become lifelong Astros fans the way I am, however.

    We often times make fun of San Diego sports fans. The common thread is that the weather is so nice there is just too much to do outdoors that competes with watching a sporting event on TV or in person. While the weather aspect may not hold true everywhere, I think entertainment options are so numerous and readily available that baseball will have trouble competing as we move forward. It’s probably not in dire straits the way golf or NASCAR are right now, but I don’t see the sport maintaining its grip the way it used to.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The Inter-League experience

    The whole idea is flawed. It fuels gross inequality in scheduling, and almost always disappoints the fan. But it is easily hyped, and makes money for the networks, so it will probably continue.

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  6. The money . . .

    I don’t care how much money the players make. I don’t care how much money the owners make. I don’t care if the owners refuse to bite on guys who want to make more than the GNP of a third-world country. I just don’t care about the money. But I just laugh when I hear the players association poor-mouthing and its millionaire agents inciting class-hatred.

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  7. The stats . . .

    I used to love the stats. Now, I fear the overuse of stats has severely compromised the heart and soul of the actual game of baseball – i.e. the match-up, the head-to-head, etc.. The main reason the players play now, it seems, is to build a stat base for their arbitration case and/or their next contract negotiation. Does anybody actually love THE GAME anymore?

    Liked by 2 people

  8. How the game is played . . .

    I remember in 2018, when the Astros complained that the Red Sox were using technology to steal signs. The league basically said: ‘Shut up and deal with it!’ So, the playoffs, at least, have now become largely a matter of espionage and counter-espionage. Best spy agency wins!

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  9. Man, that sure is a lot to chew on.

    When I was a kid, everyone played some form of ball, whether it was Little League, or stick ball on the street or wiffle ball off the garage door or backyard ball, each yard in the neighborhood with customized rules. Hitting it over the fence next door with the German Shepard was an automatic three outs and worse, the batter had to get that ball back, one way or the other.

    Everyone had baseball cards, everyone knew everyone’s stats. To get a chance to go into the city (starting with the Polo Grounds and then Yankee Stadium) was a once a year event, maybe more thrilling than Christmas. And those hot dogs were a quarter. And then I moved to a new foreign land where the Harris County Domed Stadium loomed. It became my new baseball home in 1970. My father started getting tickets from time to time at his office. I soon dropped the Mets and became an Astro fan. By then I could drive to the park in my battered Nova and park free. I never did like Astro Turf, but I did adapt. I sure liked not getting rained out.

    Today I can’t compare in any way my baseball experience to that of my youth. It was a totally different environment, it was a game played much differently. The average fan understood the game. You could talk to the stranger next to you about the squeeze play getting ready to happen as Craig Reynolds walked to the plate. I’m not sure if it was 1975 or 1976 at this point, but at about 20 I was able to buy season tickets, box seats, split with a buddy. Each seat was 3.50 a game. We spent more than that on Budweiser every night. And in those days I started going to 60 plus games a year. The Dome was my local.

    And then the Curt Flood renaissance finally took hold. Free agency dated back to 1970, but it took a few years for guys to start moving from club to club. The owners were a formidable group, but the players association really started building power. Those years really were the beginning of todays game. It became all about revenues and how to pay the skyrocketing salaries, and everything got more expensive, every year. Today, similar seats to my own in the Dome, still in my name at the new park but paid for by my brother and other deep pocketed lawyers are 100.00 plus each before dynamic pricing is added. And today, ticket revenues account for less and less of a clubs total income annually.

    Sometimes I’ll go into Facebook and see what the people on The Houston Astro Fan Page are talking about. They’ve probably got 25,000 members. Much of the discussion is about what latest Astro gear is coming on the market as a limited opportunity for purchase. I think it’s safe to say that up to 50 different hat styles are pumped out annually these days. Every fan in the park wears something that says Astros on it. I still remember my first game in Brooklyn in 1962 when half the crowd had a suit and tie on. Some fans today have a closet full of Astro jerseys, one for everyday of the week.

    But most of those same die hard Astro fans on Facebook don’t know a whole lot about our game. But they do apparently have the disposable income obviously targeted by the Astros to fill the park, to buy the stuff, to support the club without questioning an Osuna acquisition or a Taubman issue and will continue to support the team, at least as long as it remains relevant in the standings.

    Our players are also different. I don’t like it when Alex Bregman acts like Carlos Gomez. I know MLB encourages this “individuality”. Why else would the camera spend so much time in the dugout? It’s obviously what our kids want to see these days, what the Facebook fans want to see. It’s baseball marketing 2019. But at the same time, I am still able to put all the debris off to the side and still appreciate the game, maybe more in some ways. Today, it’s an old friend. I’m already psyched up for 2020. I want to know what our roster is going to look like. How many homers will Alvarez hit? Can Verlander and Greinke give us two more great years? I’ve got so many questions. I want to see what happens. Bring it on!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Dan, yes it seems you’ve caught a wee bit of the nostalgia bug. There’s no cure for that, thank God.

    I have fond memories of watching the Astros at the Dome. I’ve seen so many of the great players in baseball in person.

    But there’s a special thrill of watching non professionals play the game. When you watch a baseball game with Pros on the roster, you watch the game with prior expectations, and whether or not they’ll surpass them. Watching a game with players that you don’t know about can be exciting too.

    There’s the old maxim of the game that goes “never take your eye off the ball.” I forgot that saying one day when I was playing first base with a man on the bag beside me. I turned away to watch the pitch to the batter, and was immediately clocked in the side of my head by a speeding fastball. I was knocked out for a while.

    Never forget the lessons that life does give you.

    And Dan, just keep your eyes on the ball. Always expect the unexpected!

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  11. We do still have one player who actually is fun to watch . . . .

    I need to temper my assessment that this team is boring by giving due praise to the one or two exceptions we have. Exception #1 is Jose Altuve. Jose’ is a true joy to watch on both sides of the ball [not so much when he’s on the bases, goes brain dead, and we all cringe]. Exception #2 is George Springer. George is fun to watch both on defense and when he’s on base. As a hitter, he is also exciting to watch when he leads off a game or inning – just not so much when he comes up in the middle of an inning or when he takes his swings with RISP. If the team had two or three more position players – and at least one pitcher -with Altuve and Springer’s infectious energy, playfulness, and love for the game, the games would probably be a lot more watchable.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. For whatever it’s worth, I don’t think I’ve ever read an article by you (or anyone else for that matter) that brings a certain kind of emotion and almost a tear to my eye of the “days gone by”. Gone or the days when baseball was a game played by grown men who as Shoeless Joe Jackson stated in Field of Dreams, “Man, I did love this game. I’d have played for food money. It was the game… The sounds, the smells. Did you ever hold a ball or a glove to your face?

    I moved from Houston in 1964 to NC but the Astros were still my team, as were the Oilers. Upon returning to work in Houston in 1984 I finally got to watch quite a few games at the dome which I will always remember fondly. If you remember, that was quite a talented team.

    Now I subscribe to MLB.com so I get to watch almost all of the games for about $95. I figure its pretty cheap entertainment and I don’t have to pay for parking or pay high prices at the concession stands. Now, I like most of us here I wait for February and Spring Training when we get to do this all again. As the quote from The Rookie goes, “You know what we get to do today, Brooks? We get to play baseball.” In our case it’s “we get to watch our Houston Astros”.

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  13. I’m visiting my sister in Ft. Worth for a few days…..if I get a chance to chime in further I will, but we have a lot of shopping to do!
    Money has nearly killed baseball. The players no longer get a nice paycheck to raise their families…..the word *MILLIONS* has taken over.
    My late husband and his mom and I had season tickets for 5yrs in the Dome, when you could still be a season ticket holder and not have to rob a bank to afford it. We used to go to several games a year but have cut down to two or three…..I won’t go at night, just too creepy getting to your car.
    I try very hard not to fall in love with these guys, but I always do.
    I’m still old school, I take my radio to every game…..I never get tired of Robert Ford calling a game! His “you can kiss it goodbye” and “astros win, astros win, astros win NEVER GETS OLD”!! We really are a little spoiled, we are going to watch the 2018-2019 team ALL back for 2020! The pitching rotation will look a little different as will the bullpen, but for all intents and purposes these guys will look as they have for the last two years. I know what to expect from them….that’s kind of comforting.
    MONEY- MONEY-MONEY ..it’s killing baseball…so is this commissioner.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I was wondering. As we seem to get more and more players getting these mega contracts, do we think that eventually we might achieve some kind of parity between the teams? After all, there’s only so much money going around and only so many teams willing to pay multiple 30MM/yr contracts. Right now we’re a prime example. It would seem that we have and could continue to have 3 -4 players earning around $30MM/year. Top that off with another 5 -6 players earning 15 – 25MM. It’s mind-boggling to say the least. The Red Sox are rumored to be wanting to unload Mookie Betts and maybe JD Martinez to cut their costs. I have no idea what our brain trust will do but we better start developing some “lower cost” options because there is no way we can continue the threshold that we established and not win. I think that Cole will go to either the Angels or Padres and will add another 30MM per year to their payroll. That would mean for the Angel that 6 players make up 130MM in payroll. For the Padres in would be 4 players taking 115MM in salary.
    Is it possible that Baseball begins to price itself “out of the market” for the average fan. As many have indicated, a night at the ball park now costs ( average)about $80 per person. I don’t know about all of you but I have to save a lot of change to afford that. I hope to see the Astros in Atlanta for their 2020 season ending series so I better start saving fast.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t know how you achieve parity in a league where one team is averaging
      48,000 fans per game and hasn’t won a WS since 1988, and another in the same league who is averaging less than 10,000 fans per game and unloaded 4 all-stars within the span of one year.
      Baseball has fundamentally changed in the last decade. People now know how bad umpires really are.
      Players don’t just not bunt, they don’t know how to bunt.
      Players don’t just not steal bases, they don’t know how to steal bases.
      Players don’t just not hit to the open field, they don’t know how to hit the open field.
      Pitchers don’t just not pitch deep into games, they can’t pitch deep into games and aren’t taught how to pitch deep into games.
      Do you know how much money you can make selling selling 50,000 alcholic beverages a night at 8-12 dollars a pop for 90 games a year? Do the math.
      Then add in all the other food and drink sales, shirts and hats at ridiculously inflated prices, tickets at ridiculously inflated prices, parking at ridiculously inflated prices, on-field advertising at ridiculously inflated prices and TV revenue at ridiculously inflated prices and you have a money making train with no brakes going downhill.
      This is not really baseball. It’s a giant sports bar. Similar to a casino where the owners and the performers make huge amounts of money at the expense of people who are willing to spend huge amounts of money to be entertained. to be entertained.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Got to agree with your comments. Baseball IS BIG BUSINESS! The game is almost a sideline and nothing but a means to an end. The parity comment was more or less hypothetical assuming all these high priced players can’t play for the same team. They eventually have to go somewhere and winning is not necessarily the end game. Just look at the Marlins (I suspect that was who you were talking about). Who knows what in the world those guys are thinking.

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  15. Paging Joe Walsh, Don Henley, Glen Frey, and Randy Meisner. Apologies, fine sirs!

    “On a hot city freeway . . . chem stench fills the air;
    traffic crawls at every on-ramp; the city’s in disrepair!
    But up ahead in the distance . . . the glow of stadium lights
    takes my thoughts back to my childhood, and growin’ up in the Heights.

    I parked my car near a hotel; and walked what seemed like ten miles;
    stood in line for an hour or so and still couldn’t see the turnstiles!
    Finally got to a window . . . where tickets were offered for sale;
    Kept repeatin’ to myself “Remember Bidge and Bagwell!

    Chose my old section from memory; they told me what I would spend;
    I heard a voice softly whisper: ‘You always used to attend!’
    So I pulled out my billfold; threw all my greenbacks away;
    I shook my head, ‘ere I’d walked ten steps . . . I heard a sweet voice say:

    “Welcome to the shop where we adorn you . . .
    with Astro merchandise . . . step up and pay the price!
    The cost may be steep; but . . . did nobody really warn you?
    You’re gonna want a beer . . . program and souvenier!”

    Had to finance a hotdog – MasterCard did the trick;
    fought my way through the concourse; got sloshed with beer by some prick;
    Found the way to my section; went to my aisle and my seat;
    guys on both sides were doin’ man-spread; they wouldn’t move their big feet!

    Slipped and slid into chair four; felt crammed in like sardines!
    I was feelin’ claustrophobic; had I had all my vaccines?
    “Relax,” said the Jumbo-tron, “we all share your pain!
    Have some peanuts or some popcorn; check out the MMP Train!”

    When the game finally started; we went down two off the bat.
    Our hitters swung for the fences; our pitcher’s fastball was flat.
    After awhile I started wondering: “Is this even the same game
    I used to love in my childhood? Then I heard someone exclaim:

    “Welcome to the shop where we adorn you . . .
    with Astro merchandise . . . step up and pay the price!
    The cost may be steep; but . . . did nobody really warn you?
    You’re gonna want a beer . . . program and souvenier!”

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Where there’s choke there’s Fiers.

    We cheated in home games in 2017? HOME games? Do you remember our home record in 2017, Mike? If we cheated at our home games, we were absolutely the most inept group of cheaters in history.

    Somebody check in on Terrence Mann again – and ease his pain.

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  17. I am on my phone and can’t send a link but on the Astros web site on MLB they don’t deny the sign stealing (a learning from the Taubman situation) but state they are investigating this and cooperating with the MLB.
    I get a feeling it may become even harder to be a fan…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Folks . . . the video they have doctored to argue that the Astros were cheating in 2017 was of Evan Gattis swinging and missing at a fastball, then not getting a hit. This is their smoking gun?

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  19. First of all, Dan I really enjoyed your post and so did my husband.
    So our beloved Astros go from the point of every baseball joke to the biggest cheaters in the game.
    Can’t understand all this hate for a team that was sold under duress, forced to change leagues, cleaned house and rebuilt from the very bottom up, fought its way back from humiliation to finally win a championship.
    Just to get accused of cheating.
    Don’t anyone try to tell me the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, and many more don’t do the same or worse.
    Makes me so dang angry.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You know Becky I don’t think we will ever be forgiven for “tanking”.
      It is as though every one of our key players was taken in the first round of the draft after a 100+ loss season. They don’t like that and they don’t like a team that is not on either coast doing this well. And throw the Osuna signing on to this – they are dying to discredit us

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    • Sandy, I think you answered your own question if you reread your post and stop at “won a championship.”

      Alabama or LSU or Florida can win the National Championship. But let Vanderbilt or Boise State get in there and “they cheated.”

      Like

  20. Ok, then let’s remove Ipads in the dugout and any other electronic devices for all teams. Then we’re all back to the same rules. This is BS! At least I hope so. And Fiers can ESAD for all I care. Sure as hell didn’t mind it when he played for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. A whole lot of people have always hated the Yankees. They’re winners. They are arrogant. We’re similar, including the arrogant part that I could do without. This is todays version of the spitball as far as I’m concerned. I hope we’re not guilty. I don’t like having an asterisk . Regarding Fiers, he led our team in innings pitched in 2017, then got left off the post season roster. I’m pretty sure he does not like us.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. It’s obviously premature to comment before we know all the facts, but just the other week we had an article published talking about Gerrit Cole which included mentions of how he improved his approach since joining the Astros. One reference was to video study and the author noted that MLB has employees in the dugout, in the tunnel, and in the clubhouse watching so players cannot go watch video during the game. How is it possible the Astros had secret cameras providing a live feed to a monitor just inside the door to the tunnel but the MLB employees never caught it? Why was it not a national story that Aaron Judge and another Yankee were viewing iPads in the dugout during the ALCS until the cameras caught them at which time they hid them from view?

    Like

    • Devin
      I do know that the MLB putting employees all over the place happened after the 2017 Red Sox were caught using Apple watches – so they probably were not in place back in 2017.
      But you are right – I was seeing the same thing you were on the ipads and the Yanks. Maybe it is allowed for certain things like looking up historical data on a pitcher/hitter but not for game time shots. But as you say – they hid it – why? And why was it not brought up….

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  23. How Ironic that this particular scandal comes to light in the midst of this particular post in our blog.
    I’m an old time baseball guy. It’s actually part of my blog name.
    If the Astros did this, they should fire the manager and the GM, if he knew it was happening, and start over.
    If it’s true, admit it, remove those responsible and keep going with the plan.
    It’s not like Crane isn’t willing to replace guys who mess up. He did it with the removal of Reid Ryan, who oversaw Media and Communications during the Taubman fiasco
    This team is too important to its fan base to put up with this BS. And this team is too good to let this drag it down.
    Find the culprits, make the necessary changes and let’s go back to real baseball. Nobody is bigger than baseball itself. If it happened, heads should roll.

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  24. Thanks for the well written post Dan. I think baseball will do very well for the next 20 years while many retired Baby Boomers have time on their hands and money to support the game. When the Boomers start passing away en mass baseball will be in very big trouble. Younger generations simply do not have the same ties to the sport.

    Like

    • I unfortunately believe you are right Mike. I think the pace of the game is for the cerebral sports fan and too many of the younger generation have attention deficit order when it comes to sports (though – yes the games do go way too long). I wish we could send all hitters to the Yordan Alvarez school of put your butt in the batter’s box, (pitchers are just as bad) see the ball and hit it. I don’t need to watch everyone adjusting their batting gloves between every swing (while undoubtedly listening for the garbage can lid to be slammed in the dugout to signal the next pitch).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Baseball has always been of interest to both the thinking fan and the casual sports fan. The four hour games bore both groups.

        Like

  25. now wait a minute. i know my memory is not what it once was but didnt cora and beltran receive praise for their abilty to steal signs? didnt beltran have conversations with players while here and later after he left, that suddenly had bats coming alive? wasnt a part of that anticipating pitches and stealing signs? where are cora and beltran now? were they punished or did they advance? stealing signs (or the attempt to) has been a regular part baseball for a long time.
    now using technology to do it is a new development, at least to me. does this make it suddenly worse? i would say yes.
    is the ability to be a careful observer and see a pitcher holding his glove a certain way on a certain pitch thereby tipping his pitches the same? i say no.
    watch the third base coach. doesnt he give an extensive amount of signs to the batter? why? to keep the opposing team from knowing the batters instruction. is it the same to try to read these signs as well? i say no.
    when a runner is on second base the catcher routinely changes the way he is giving signs to counteract the runner trying to determine the upcoming pitch.
    is this the same? i say no.
    get any and all electronic devices, lenses or other non-human devices out of the equation by making them illegal and enforcing it.
    leave the human interaction alone. if you are clever enough to see a pattern and take advantage of it (using nothing other than your baseball acumen) good for you and its on them to correct their mistake.
    baseball has been changed enough lately, correct the electronic crap and leave the human factor alone.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Interesting comments, rj. For what it’s worth, Carlos Beltran has told the New York Post in a text message: “I was not aware of that camera.” A. J. Hinch has so far declined comment.

      Like

  26. WELCOME TO THE *NEW* AMERICA. I can accuse you of ANYTHING and you have to just shut up. That’s it in a nutshell. It doesn’t matter if Mike Fires is a liar or not…….he said it so THAT means it’s true, it’s up to the Astros organization to prove it’s not. Have a nice day.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I pick up my phone and receive a Google alert for a FOX news story saying Yu Darvish is receiving apologies due to the Astros cheating in the 2017 WS. I’ll save you the time and give you a summary: the article says it was thought Darvish was tipping his pitches and only lasted 3 1/3 innings in the series including the decisive game 7. It then shows his twitter feed where people are offering him apologies. However, it does not include that game 7 was played in Los Angeles. It does not mention that no one could throw a slider because Manfred had them use balls that were too slick. It also doesn’t mention that the apologies are coming from FANS.

    I imagine next week there will be a story that Justin Verlander was deflating balls in the outfielder before game 6.

    Liked by 1 person

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