So What Happens to the Astros if They Lose Their Fans?
A friend from out of town was in Houston on Wednesday. He wanted to watch the Minnesota Wild in game seven versus Colorado. I wanted to watch the Rockets. So I found a sports bar where we could watch both, and arrived early to get a booth so I could get near TVs showing both games.
Photo by Groovehouse No telling how many fans the Astros have left.
Arriving early, I figured I would get to see the Astros losing to the Nationals on one of the TVs while waiting for the Rockets and Wild games. The sports bar actually had CSN Houston, after all, so it made sense that the Astros would be on one of the TVs, at least until the Rockets started. But the Astros weren't on any of the televisions. The Spurs/Mavericks were on a bunch of screens. And the Nets/Raptors. The Flyers/Rangers NHL playoff game was on a big screen. And the rest of the TVs were tuned to the CSN Houston Rockets pre-game.
This isn't the first time I've noticed this. I went to a sports bar several Sundays ago. The Astros were playing the Rangers, but the screens in the place were all tuned to the Masters, the NBA, bowling and a figure skating competition. The excuse last year was that very few sports bars had CSN Houston. The excuse this year is that no one gives a damn about the Houston Astros.
I argued last year that the Astros weren't killing baseball in Houston. The issues with CSN Houston weren't helping fan interest, but baseball wasn't dying. Instead, I argued that things were returning to a normal of front-running, bandwagon Houston sports fans who only pay attention and show up when a team's good, but can't be bothered the rest of the time, kind of like sports fans in Dallas, Atlanta and Miami. But I have to concede that I might have been wrong.
The difference I'm sensing is the anger that many people I talk to have about the Astros. These people think the Astros are tanking games on purpose, that the Astros are more concerned with some far off future than whether or not the big-league club, charging big-league prices, loses 100-plus games year after year after year after year. The logic of what management is trying doesn't matter. Many of the people I've met, talked to, think the team holds them in contempt and thinks they are such idiots that they'll pay outrageous prices on the mere promise of a potentially vague payoff years in the future.