Let's Debate the Argument that the Astros Have Killed Baseball in Houston
Former Astros beat writer Steve Campbell let loose with a series of tweets on Friday morning regarding the Astros that should be shared with a larger audience, and which should be addressed off-Twitter. The basic point of the tweets was that the Astros are killing baseball in Houston, noting that the most positive PR moment for the team over the past half decade has been the new uniforms, and that depending on a winning franchise to restore fan interest makes for a lousy business model.
Have the Astros killed baseball in Houston?
The Astros have been nothing but a bad team making bad PR moves, compounded with the CSN Houston debacle, that has made the team "irrelevant to people's lives." Campbell further compares the Astros to the newspaper industry, stating that "it is hard to turn the tide once you've turned off people because you put out a deteriorating product AND went into cost-contain (READ: do things on the cheap mode). It makes people angry, and rightfully so."
It's not a given he tweets that the Astros will actually become a winning team, and that if "the underlying premise is that you're going to have to be a championship team for people to care, that's a pretty lousy model." If Houston were still a baseball city, he concludes, people would care no matter what, but it appears that there's just no fan interest.
Campbell does make some valid points. Hardcore baseball fans are fascinated by the Astros experiment of blowing everything up in a try for a total rebuild from the bottom of the farm system to the very top at the very same time, but that doesn't apply to average fans who want to spend their money on a decent product. The team has instead implemented a dynamic pricing model that forces people to pay more money for major teams, and next year season ticket prices are increasing. The team not being on television hinders the ability of casual fans to become familiar with the young kids on the team, and the move to 790 AM made it more difficult for fans to hear the games on the radio. Throw in the Brady Aiken issues, the childish manager, and the constant trades, and it's easy to see just why fans have lost interest in the Astros, and in baseball.