Best of Houston® 2021

Best Of Houston® 2021: Best Sports Fans

Houston Astros have fans coached their team into playing with an edge
Houston Astros have fans coached their team into playing with an edge Photo by Jack Gorman
Best Sports Fans: Houston Astros

The symbiosis between professional athletes and sports fans isn’t too complex. The folks in the bleachers root  for the home team and if they don’t win it’s a shame. When they do win, as often and spectacularly as the Houston Astros have, they become a source of pride for their enthusiasts. They win on the field and we reap a weirdly vicarious reward. That’s how it goes. It’s a relationship as cliché as “taking it one game at a time.”

That ho-hum communion got turned on its head when Houston's World Series winners became the poster children (some say “scapegoats”) for MLB’s little problem with unfair advantages. There may be no crying in baseball, but there’s plenty of cheating it seems, enough to go ‘round in fast, frenetic, hard-to-pick up movements, like a baseball covered in Spider Tack. In the wake of “the cheating scandal,” the fans’ once-banal relationship turned them into armchair counselors. They heard the vitriol, toiled over it together, talked it out and came to terms with whatever occurred in 2017.

Best of all, they moved on, something the Astros’ rivals like the now-mediocre New York Yankees and their fans just can’t seem to do. The Astros have moved on, too, thanks largely to this coaching from the fans. When the team's devotees brashly stood up for them on Twitter, sports talk radio and at visiting stadiums, the symbiosis came full circle. It was odd but evident as a 70-mph fastball: Astros fans fought the detractors and the team took its cue from them. They've remembered how good they are at the sport, played with an edge, shaken off the haters. It’s an approach that has them headed once again to baseball’s post-season and it started with the city’s best sports fans.

Houston Astros Fans
Minute Maid Park
501 Crawford, Houston
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