|Posted by Ark_Razor on November 2, 2017 at 3:05 AM|
I remember it well....... it was my first "Big league" baseball game I attended. June 9, 1962, Colt Stadium, Houston. The Houston Colts beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 13-1. I had liked baseball before Houston had a MLB team. They already had the Oilers, but I really didn't start following them until 1963.
So, it became that the Houston Colts became my first "favorite team".
While the LA Kings have supplanted them as my overall "favorite team", the Stros are a clear #2 for me. I've probably gone to over 100 Astros games in my life. More of them against the Dodgers than any other club.
Yea, I didn't spend several hundred thousand $$$ on them through season seats and road trips, and while they were off my radar screen during the dark years of even a few years ago; they were still my favorite BB team. I had minor struggle when they moved to the AL West, where my 2nd favorite BB team resided (the Angels), but that got resolved.
Just like your first boyfriend or girlfriend in elementary school, you don't forget them.
I've lived through a lot of heartbreak with the club.....
A 10.5 game lead on July 4th in 1979 evaporating into a 1.5 game loss of the division to the Reds. That was a collapse more than the Reds playing well. No post-season appearances yet.
I was there for 2 of the 3 games in LA at the end of the 1980 season when the Dodgers swept to force a one game playoff. Fortunately, Tommy LaSorda started Dave Goltz instead of some mid-season call up by the name of Fernando Valenzuela for that game. I was there when they won that game to advance to the LCS against the Phillies.
I sat in front of my TV for Games 4 and 5 of the LCS (the greatest LCS ever played BTW) as the Phillies fought back from 2-0 down in the 8th of G4 at Houston (where the Stros were 55-26 in the regular season) to win in extra innings. That was a precursor to the real heart ripper.
Game 5 in Houston where the Stros were ahead 5-2 going into the 8th with Nolan Ryan on the mound. PHI plated 5 that inning. The Stros came back with 2 to send into extras and PHI won in the 10th 8-7.
I was at Dodger stadium for Game 3 of the NLDS with the Astros one win away from advancing. They lost. No big. I figured they would win one of the next two. Nolan Ryan was on the mound for the deciding Game 5. I was there. Well, Jerry Reuss outdueled and Rick Monday broke the game open in the 6th Dodgers win 4-0 and eliminate the Stros.
I sat in front of my TV for Game 6 of the 1986 LCS when Mike Scott was waiting in the wings for Game 7 at home. The Mets scored 3 in the 9th to tie. They went ahead in the 14th. Houston tied it in the bottom half of the inning with a HR by Billy Hatcher. The Mets got 3 runs in the 16th only to see Houston get 2 in the bottom half with Kevin Bass wiffing with the winning run on base.
In 1998, I figured it was their year. They had acquired Randy Johnson at the trade deadline and had their best regular season record ever. That didn't work out so well as Kevin Browne was hotter and they got Game 1 in Houston. The series never made it back to Houston for the Game 5 decider.
Well at least it was different than losing to the Braves in the 1st round in 1997, 1999, and 2001.
In 2004, they actually won a playoff series for the 1st time, beating the Braves on the road. Some guy by the name of Carlos Beltran was knocking the cover off the ball.
They lost the 1st 2 games in STL, then won the next 3 in Houston. One win away. They wasted 3 perfect innings of relief by Brad Lidge in Game 6 and lost in extra innings. Then with Clemens on the mound they lost in Game 7.
When they broke through to the Series in 2005, even that was bittersweet. Up 3-1 in games and at home and up 3-1 in the score, Pujols sent his moon shot off Lidge (they were one strike away from advancing), denying the Stros a celebration in front of their home fans. Yea, they won in STL, but became the first team to get swept in their WS debut (the White Sox doing the honors). They lost their last 3 games at home that season.
I certainly remember the trifecta of 2011-2013 where they had the worst record in the majors in EACH of those 3 yrs. Most people don't remember that they didn't have a winning record until 1972. I do.
So, maybe some will understand my reticence and reluctance to go all-in emotionally. I can't even watch any of the games. It's too tough.
Some of you know that when they made the Verlander trade, I said the only payoff would be a WS Championship, not merely an appearance.
Plus, this was against my most disliked team in NL, the Dodgers, tormenters from the old NL West.
I was bitter and angry after the Game 6 loss. At least I didn't feel like Verlander had let the club down. He was the primary reason the Stros even made it that far, and he pitched OK.
I thought about placing a big bet on the Dodgers for Game 7. I had put the Dodgers chances at about 80% for the game. Vegas had the line at 140/130 LA. That meant a $1000 bet would pick up about $930 for me. I would have been more than happy to pay $1000 to see the Astros win. If they lost, I might as well get paid for my seemingly perpetual disappointment.
I really thought a lot about this. Good odds for the Dodgers in my eyes. But there was a problem.
If I bet against the Astros, I felt I was formally betraying my team. I couldn't do that for $1000.
So, I thought about a $10000 bet instead. I probably would've paid $10K to see the Astros win; but that doesn't guarantee anything. At least $9300 would make a noticeable impact on my family.
Of course, the other issue is that $10K is a lot different to me than $1K. I couldn't justify the expense to my family. Doesn't model good behavior for my kids (and you could argue the same thing BTW with a $1K bet).
Then there was another issue of me probably rooting for the Dodgers if $10K was on the line. I didn't want to go there either. The betrayal of your first love comes into play.
So, I sequestered myself away from people here in LA for Game 7. I did not get near anyone. I even stayed in an industrial area while the game was going on. I told my wife to not text me until the game was over and have her say "it's over". Yea, I didn't listen to the game or see it.
It was only when I walked in the door when I saw my deadpan wife and youngest son when I looked at the TV and saw the Astros celebrating.
I had figured I would cry when the Astros won. While I was emotional, that didn't happen. However, I was grateful to the Lord for a number of things.
1. This was unmerited favor (much like the Kings winning) towards me. Let me make it clear, I don't think the Lord "rigged" the WS for me. I realize that the Lord can work good regardless of who wins. I'm just grateful I was on the winning side.
2. I got to see my "first love" "get married" in my lifetime!
I think about my dad, who was a Cubs fan. He never saw them win. He then became an Astro fan. He never saw them win.
3. For the Astros to win it all on the tail of Hurricane Harvey. Wow, that is something else. There will now be a special bond between the city and club as never before. The players took their off day to hand out supplies at the George Brown Convention Center.
My mom has dementia. When I saw her before Game 6, I tried to explain to her that the Astros were in the World Series. She didn't understand. The Astros were her "first love" when it came to teams also.
Maybe I will have better success explaining to her that they won! She turns 93 this month.
Perhaps though, what this impacted the most about is the definition of "long suffering fan". I thought I was a long suffering fan with the Kings. I was. However, being a long-suffering Astro fan dwarfs this. 56 years. Plus, I had been rooting for them ever since they came into existence.
So, that gets to the real meat of this.... how my perspective of being a fan has changed. The Astros winning have had a greater impact on me than the Kings winning.
JDIN, I've had a lot of beefs with you. And I will continue to call a spade a spade whether you like it or not. Deal with it. I did not appreciate you saying "Houston you have a problem" when neither of us had advanced.
With that being said though, for baseball anyway, the teams I root for has now been re-prioritized.
So, now, here are my favorite teams in order.......
1. Houston Astros. Do you expect anything different? I will always want them to win.
2. Cleveland Indians. Yes, JD, you read that right. However, you are younger than me I suspect probably by about 5 yrs. With that being said, there are CLE fans that are older than me born after 1948 (or don't remember it). You are still the longest suffering fan base.
3. San Diego Padres. The city has never won a Big 4 championship. 2nd longest drought in BB as a city (not a franchise). Plus, I like SD better than LA.
4. Los Angeles Dodgers. You guys do not understand what a reach that is for me. You do not understand the idea of entitlement until you've met a Dodger fan! The major impediment to my Stros and their arrogant "Daja" fan base. Yet, the quality of the players on the club, the ownership now that that Boston parking lot guy is gone, and particularly the grace of Dave Roberts in defeat has changed my tune. Plus, it has now been 30 years since they won themselves. Maybe one more for Vin, provided it's not against the Astros!
Yea, there are other cities that have suffered longer in MLB (DET, SEA, MIL); but I live in LA!
So, now I will wake up tomorrow and say, "Wow, the Houston Astros are World Series Champions".
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