My Threatening Letter to the Astros

Dear Astros:

Last night, you and the Cubs drew the second-smallest crowd in the history of Minute Maid Park. I say that both teams drew that crowd because any time the Cubs come to town, a legitimately vocal portion of the ticket-buying audience is comprised of Cub fans, so hence that paltry sum is on both teams.

Regardless of the mix of fans, that's an ominous sign for your organization. I mean, when one of the three or four biggest "transient fan" road draws (Red Sox, Yankees and one other rotating team depending on performance/star power are the others) only nets the second-lowest paid attendance in park history, then what's going to happen when the Diamondbacks or Pirates come to town?

Now, I get into the games for free because of my media pass, but on occasion I will want to bring my children to the ball park. Those times, I pay for tickets. But at 2-8, not only does your 32-win pace make my prediction in the Houston Press print edition this week look utterly foolish, but (news flash) this is also some very unwatchable shit.

If you're going to win, say, 60 games this year while trying your hardest and exercising sound judgment (and right now 60 wins is incredibly generous), then honestly I'd just as soon you win 20 games employing some completely irrational, borderline self-mutilation style tactics. That would entertain me greatly.

(I feel strongly enough about this to put off my summary of the Jim Rome Smackoff in this blog for one more day. Translation: I haven't found two hours yet where I'd rather listen to the Smackoff on podcast than do whatever it is I'm doing, which last night was (a) watch Monday Night Raw and (b) download Angry Birds Rio.)

I'm still willing to spend money to come out to the park -- not a lot of money, but I understand that Drayton's ivory backscratchers aren't going to pay for themselves. So I'll still pay to bring my kids to the park, but only under the following unflinchingly rigid conditions:

1. Every time Carlos Lee reaches base, he will be given the steal sign. There's nothing funnier than a fat guy being asked to do skinny guy things. Sprinting is one of those activities. Hell, combine it into a promo and have "Carlos Lee Astros Oxygen Tank Night."

2. Along those lines, please have a bobblehead promotion night for Carlos Lee, except I would ask that the head and legs of the bobblehead remain in a fixed position and that the midsection be made to bobble and jiggle. Much more realistic.

3. If a pitcher blows a save or gives up more than five runs, then the next time they pitch they have to throw with their opposite hand. You know the feeling we all get when we have to throw with our opposite hands, when we feel like we are (and actually are) throwing like our little sisters? It would be fun to see Brandon Lyon have to hum it up to the plate at 42 mph throwing like Lamar Latrell throws the javelin in Revenge of the Nerds.

4. For kids' birthday parties, allow the birthday boy or girl to pick one Astro and that player must be led to the plate blindfolded, spun around three times like pin the tail on the donkey, and then be required to swing at every pitch. (To make it not completely unfair, the play by play from the radio would be piped into the public address so the player knows when the pitch is about to be thrown. And also to be fair, it would be done during the one inning that Milo Hamilton is taking a break, because if Milo is in the booth, the batter won't even know if the game is still going on.)

5. Softball night! Kegs at each base, four outfielders, and the Astros all have to wear those uncomfortable-looking nuthugger shorts. The Astros also must all go out after the game, be extra loud at whatever bar they're at, and then go home and brag to their wives or girlfriends about how they went five for five with eight RBI's (even though they went hitless). In short, the Astros all have to become "Overly Serious Softball Guy."

6. (Suggested by one of my listeners, @SheriffBlaylock on Twitter) Have a Tron night, turn out the lights, glow-in-the-dark uniforms, neon lines. If this means we get a Cindy Morgan autograph booth ("Yori" from Tron...also "Lacey Underalls" in Caddyshack) at the ballpark, then this one is really nonnegotiable.

7. Two words: Dollar beers.

I have several other demands that I will save in the event the tailspin continues. Just know that if you want to see one more dollar of my hard-earned lettuce, you will implement these changes immediately.

You want me in that crowd. You need me in that crowd.

You have 24 hours,

Sean Pendergast

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays and follow him on Twitter at

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast