Sunday, July 17, 2011

Fifty Years With No Parades Or Angst

Proof, not that you need it, of the media's East Coast Bias; the Houston Astros are celebrating their first half century of pro base ball this year. Have you ever heard from a single tortured Houston Astro baseball fan? Read a single column over how doomed they were, or how God hates them? Read about how Astro Fan is afraid of dying before seeing a single parade?

No, of course not. First and most obviously, because the Houston area media does not get play outside of Houston, and most importantly... because baseball fans outside of MLB+ markets do not expect championships as their birthright. Demanding a championship, or feeling that you are somehow required to have one on some form of schedule is just, well, special. For the privileged few, really.

Which does not, of course, speak to the misery index of Astro Fan. From the sudden and tragic loss of JR Richard in the '70s, to the hopeless grind of the '80s NLCS against the Phillies, leading to the even more crushing loss to the Mets... well, jeez. Nine times out of 50, they have played for October money; nine times out of nine, it has ended in tears. That's not such an amazing ratio, since the playoffs have expanded to include more teams, but still. They've made just one World Series, and when they got there, they were immediately swept by the greater tragedy that is White Sox Fandom. There's also this: they've usually spent the money to try, and had more than a few Cooperstown-level players, especially on the mound.

Now that the Giants are off the schneid, there aren't that many teams with more of a misery index than Stros Fan. Sure, the Cubs own this in spades, and Pirate Fan has 15+ years out of winning more than they lost, but 1979 exists, after all. The Padres, Rangers, Mariners, Nats/Expos... there is no shortage of tears. That's what baseball is, and does. And no one else gets to cry about it, or have anyone else listen to it.

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