Worse than the natives are restless, the natives are apathetic

These blog posts are not written in a vacuum. They are written with a full understanding of the mood of the natives – our dear readers and commenters.

Even with the Astros getting out of the box well with a strong 6-1 start, the folks here were positive but not over the moon about the team. Facing facts, this is not 2013 when six wins would have been a good month (only a slight exaggeration). Most of the readers are aware that small samples mean little in a 162 game schedule. Also, the fans have seen a lot of success in the last few years with the four straight ALCS appearances, so winning is not as big of a deal as it was in the Ice Age of the early ‘10’s.

A more disturbing situation has come with the Astros five-game losing streak at home. There has been some anger at Manager Dusty Baker and his odd lineup, matchup, and substitution choices. But in general, a lot of the comments have included references to the fandom not being that much into this. Folks are reading books, slopping the hogs or, in my case, working on investment options rather than getting hyped up about how the home team is performing or not performing.

What is behind this malaise among the home folk?

Are we a little spoiled? One can’t argue with the premise that even with the 2020 regular season drop-down, that this team has pumped up the year to year expectations of the fans. When you look at the recent past (2017-2020), the team has won its only World Series in this time frame. They have been to the WS three times, and two of those times were in this four year period. They’ve won 11 playoff series in their history (if you don’t count the 2015 WC play-in win over the Yanks), and 8 of those series wins have been in the last 4 years. So, yes, we may be a little devil-may-care with winning, but dang it all, after suffering for so many of those years since 1962….we deserve it.

Some COVID hangover? The whole world changed in 2020, and truth be told, most of us are creatures of habit. All of our habits were disrupted last year, and in many cases, they still are. We don’t like all this disruption in our lives, we don’t like weird extra-inning rules, we don’t like 60 game seasons, we are not sure we like 162 game seasons, we don’t like games with reduced fan attendance, and we don’t like Joe Buck. Oh, that did not change. We are a little burnt out about stuff, and baseball isn’t “doing” it for us right now.

Not Big into the Politics? It can’t be put any simpler than this. Sports is supposed to be an escape from the real world, not a reminder of one version of the real world. This has caused a lot of folks to turn away.

Residual “IT” factor? It is not as bad as a spouse finding out that their “other” has been unfaithful. But there must be a lot of suppressed hurt in the fans here. We waited decades for a world championship, and then to have it become a Scarlet Letter instead of an exclamation point is psychologically hurtful to so many people. That team was too talented to do that, the heck with what Johnny and Billy were doing down the street. This has caused all of us to draw back from the team. Sorry, Lucy, we are just not that into taking a big boot at your football and end up flat on our backs again.

All of these items, along with a team that seems to be underachieving at the moment, has us all a bit apathetic. But the last one is the chronic wound that may never heal for us.

29 comments on “Worse than the natives are restless, the natives are apathetic

  1. Residual effects and permanent apathy. By all means, that applies to me. I’ve said it many times. I love baseball, I’ll always follow the Astros. I’ll always want them to be successful. But the rumors of cheating, the Taubman embarrassment, the 2019 WS meltdown and then finally the actual sanctions took away my depth of loyalty, affection and respect for the organization.

    I still hold Luhnow accountable. Hinch too. Either guy could have owned the situation and put a stop to it. Hinch got a nice ovation on Monday night. Not from me. Shit, he ruined what we had going on here in Houston. He lost my respect permanently.

    I’m still looking forward to seeing several young guys step up this season. That’s the fun part. I knew this group would be painful to watch at times. And that’s okay. But I want to see Carlos Correa really lead this club. Now is the time to do it daily. Sure, he’s a vocal leader in October when he’s got a national audience, but show it now when things are going south. That’s real leadership. I want to see Lance McCullers, our player rep, gut out a solid game rather than whining the game should have been cancelled. It’s time he steps up finally.

    In the meantime, yeah, it’s easy to tune out, pick up a good book and then read about it in the morning. That never happened a couple of years ago. I get more sleep these days.

    Liked by 2 people

    • And I hope this post was not taken as a criticism of any folks out there who are not as into it, because I am there too.
      I am not sure I can ever forgive them for tainting the one baseball championship in my lifetime, especially when I don’t think they needed to do any of it and I am not convinced it helped them overall.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Dan and Dave mirrored my feelings in their contributions.
      But I will admit that, way down deep, I’m pissed off about the entire Astros situation.
      Most especially I’m angry at the Astros for letting Hinch’s new team come into MMP and hand them three wins. I wasn’t expecting them to lay down for him.
      I enjoyed seeing Dawson beat the shift for his first hit. That’s about all the good I saw in the homestand.
      Castro’s home run only reminded me of his at bat the night before, when two runs would have really mattered.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I thought it was just me. I feel guilty for losing the enthusiasm of past years.
    I will always love the Astros but I am disgusted with MLB about a lot of things.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I consider myself a baseball fan first. That means I can enjoy a great play or hit by the opposition. I once saw the Bosox fans give a standing ovation to the opposition outfielder who made a spectacular play. That all being said, I don’t like (what I consider) lousy baseball. When you can’t hit, teach yourself to bunt. If you can’t control your 97 mph fastball, throw it at 92 for a strike. When a sacrifice fly wins the game, quit trying to hit a 3 run homer. When you are a reliever, you are not expected to last 5 innings. Just come in and throw a strike.

    So far this year, this team generates apathy. The fans are reflecting on the team’s play or lack thereof.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Just to continue with my opinion of what lousy baseball looks like. Last game, McCuller threw 87 pitches. 41 balls and 46 strikes. His previous game was 88 pitches with 38 balls and 50 strikes. The fielder’s can’t stay focused due to boredom and neither can the fans. I love Lance, but until he can throw a strike, he might as well be at the alternate site provided you have someone to bring in that can throw a strike.

      Liked by 1 person

      • https://www.mlb.com/gameday/tigers-vs-astros/2021/04/13/632229#game_state=final,lock_state=final,game_tab=play-by-play,game=632229

        And we wonder why Maldonado hit for Altuve. This link should show that Altuve took a top of the zone pitch for a strike. The next one, same height, he swings and misses. The 3rd at the same height, he takes for a called third strike. It is most difficult to complain to the ump that a pitch was high when you just took a hack at the previous pitch at the same height. (Go to second inning at the bottom and click on Altuve and then the 3 dots. )

        Like

      • AC, Lance is no Roy Oswalt. Heck, he’s not hardly even a Brandon Duckworth. But even so, I think he is the least of this team’s problems.

        The Astros team of 2021 feels uncomfortably like the Astros of 2013. We have better hitters on paper than the 2013 team did, but the 2021 bunch only hits when there is no one wearing Astro colors in scoring position. And, like the 2013 bunch we have zero consistent starting pitchers. Greinke c. 2021 is the mirror image of Wandy Rodriguez c.2013. McCullers c. 2021 is not even as good as Luke Harrell c. 2013. Jake Odorizzi c. 2021 looks worse [so far, in his short ST and first game at MMP] than Bud Norris and Jordan Lyles c. 2013.

        If you will remember, the 2013 ‘Stros, under ‘Millsy’ were absolutely horrible, finishing 55-107. We scored 583 runs and gave up 794. Dallas Keuchel finished 3-8 with a 5.27 ERA and a 1.547 WHIP.

        Well, Dusty Baker is the new Millsy. Cue Billy Joel, and ‘Goodnight Saigon’.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sandy, don’t forget, my people lived through Egyptian bondage, Babylonian Captivity, the Roman Conquest, the Masada seige, and the Holocaust. Depression over baseball is not really a viable option.

        Liked by 3 people

  4. When the COVID nightmare first hit, I found that there were so many more important things that needed my attention than feeding my childhood obsession with baseball in general and Astro-ball in particular. I went silent – not just in relation to this blog, but in relation to baseball [what little there was of it to talk about] in general.

    Only after seeing MLB take its’ recent flying fatalistic leap into the dark abyss of gross political-ideological folly recently, did I finally decide to just let it be, and try to have a little fun with old friends. With the Mad Mr. Manfred laughing manically on the flight deck, and Klingon thugs dismantling the Enterprise piece-by-piece, I now see the Star Fleet as just another dying star. I have resigned to watching the fiery conclusion with amusement. Hopefully it will be good for a few laughs with some old friends.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Did anyone notice the bill introduction in the Senate to remove the anti-trust provision from MLB? I find it very hard to get excited or even mildly enthused over baseball anymore. I still watch the Astros but it’s just not the same. I believe it’s a combination of many factors as you pointed out Dan.
    We want to support our team but then we see the absolute stupidity of Herr Manfred moving the All Star Game out of Atlanta for those reasons stated and then signing a deal with China to provide facilities for Chinese players. And the players and the owners supposedly endorse this? It all comes down to the money and people enriching themselves. I wish for one that we’d see a player(s) step up and say enough with this nonsense. However, don’t look for it.
    I remember James Earl Jones’ lines in “Field of Dreams” or Dennis Quaid’s comments in “The Rookie”. I believe those days are long since gone.
    As for the current state of the Astros all can not be well in River City or in our case Bayou City. Crane and Click said they don’t believe in LT contracts and I agree with them on that point but I’d like to see some up and coming guy who we drafted as of lately make a big splash. We’ve seen potential and flashes of brilliance but as to that young everyday guy knocking the cover off the ball or that pitcher being consistently good in performances I haven’t noticed. Of course I may be wrong but it’s just one man’s opinion.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Maybe the native just doesn’t want to be a pathetic. Whadaya think about that? It’s bad enough our team has played like a pathetic, ain’t it?
    Even a spoiled one doesn’t want to be a pathetic.
    At least we ain’t a political. That’s got to be worse than a pathetic. That’s as useless as a ppendix or A thletic

    Like

      • I am sure glad to have you back on a regular basis Mr. Bill. Some folks may think you cause them to be apple-plectic but I find your personality to be magma-etic

        Like

  7. I don’t care if you call me apathetic.

    I care if our Astros play hard and play smart. Lately it seems they have not been doing either.

    On a positive note, Yuli has been getting on base a lot. Maybe he should bat leadoff:

    Like

  8. The Recovering Astroholic Pledge

    I resolve . . . not to expect much offensive production at all from this hapless, leadership-starved group of ‘Stros;
    I resolve . . . not to expect either class or effective management from Mr. Baker;
    I resolve . . . not to expect any Astro starting pitcher to give a ‘quality start’;
    I resolve . . . not to be disappointed, whatever record this team winds up with;
    I resolve . . . not to expect either leadership or loyalty from anyone on this team, no matter what amount of money they make;
    I resolve . . . not to expect anything but political extortion from the MLB;
    I resolve . . . not to care what Angel Hernandez thinks is a ball, a strike, a foul, or a fair ball;
    I resolve . . . to follow and support this our little bunch of under-performers anyway, thinking of them as I would a group of first-year tee-ballers who just don’t know any better;
    I resolve . . . to laugh at all their mistakes and celebrate any little thing they do right, like tie-ing their shoes correctly, running to the right base, and not eating their boogers on camera.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. And let’s give everyone a “participation trophy” at the end of the season no matter how they perform or what place they finish. After all it’s about building self esteem with the guys but that just might be a bridge too far.
    We then might be moving from being apathetic to apoplectic.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. WHERE HAVE I SEEN THIS KIND OF PERFORMANCE BEFORE?

    The first car I ever drove regularly was my sister’s hand-me-down 1961 VW Beetle. The thing was a mess – and completely undependable. When I needed it most, it would break down. Every time I had to come to a stop on an uphill grade, it died. When going down a hill, I had to put it keep my right foot on both the gas pedal and the brake, and pump the gas every other second or so, just to keep the engine from dying. When I turned the engine off, it would diesel on for what seemed like an eternity. I could adjust the carburetor any way I wanted, change the plugs, and at most the performance would improve for a week. Eventually, I just had to park it and ride my motorcycle.

    Why do the 2021 Astros remind me of that car?

    Liked by 1 person

    • They also remind me of my 1971 Vega. Looked good, but you didn’t want to try to pass anybody on a two lane road. Top end was about 85. Tore the ring and pinion out of the rear end, the steering box housing broke, and finally blew the engine by popping three of four pistons right in front of the dealership where I bought the car.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. The Astros flew on a Cessna 180 to Seattle Thursday, where, sometime today or tonight, they will face the 1st place Mariners.
    If this sounds familiar, don’t get your hopes up.
    If you go to Honolulu, you can see them in the late afternoon.
    If they win, I will a pologize.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What is so intriguing about baseball is that it is so streaky and it is so immediate. Every day or every other day the team has the opportunity to turn on a dime from their previous performances. Sometimes that is good as in – going to Seattle and getting away from 5 straight losses at home and perhaps playing a whole lot better this weekend. Sometimes it is bad as when you just beat the crap out of everybody on the road and come home and spit the bit in 5 straight games.
      I won’t be surprised no matter what they produce this weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

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