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.