Hi, I'm Susan, your blogger. But you all know me as Astros Fan in Exile. The blog, the website, the custom jerseys. Starting back in the early 2000’s, the miracle of the Internet meant that an out-of-town fan could get more than two sentences and a box score in the next day’s newspaper. First it was full game writeups, with pictures. Then pitch-by-pitch, with more and more stats every year. Then, in 2004, I got my first subscription to mlb.tv, with live video coverage of virtually every game. In 2005, I went to Spring Training for the first time, and sitting behind the bullpen, I had my epiphany — a vision of the Astros in the World Series. And then it turned out to be true, despite the naysayers. Astros Fan in Exile went online the following spring, and being an Astros fan-atic has eaten up a good deal of my waking hours, 7 to 8 months of every year since. It takes a lot of time to watch and write up nearly every game of the season. Despite the Astros' tumble into the major league gutter (a cellar is way too nice to describe their most recent season), I’ve tried to find reasons to stay the course — we’re rebuilding for the future, it’s fun to watch the young kids play, we get first pick next season…
And now, going into their 50th anniversary year, the Astros have been sold and banished to the American League.
And I’m thinking of becoming a Nationals fan.
I’m not jumping ship without thinking it through. I feel a bit like Tevya in Fiddler on the Roof: On the one hand… on the other hand…
Reasons for moving on: (1) I don’t like the designated hitter version of major league baseball. It ruins the strategy. Pitchers are professional atheletes — let them bat and run! (2) With the Astros in the AL West, a large proportion of their games will start so late at night (after 10:30 my time) that I won’t be able to watch live games and still get up in the morning for work. (3) I don’t know any of the players. The era of my beloved Bagwell and Biggio is long gone, and most of my more recent favorite players have already been traded. If I’m going to jump, this is the perfect time for it. (4) If I become a Nats fan, I can actually go to real live baseball games all summer long.
Reasons for staying: (1) All those great fans I’ve met in Kissimmee at Spring Training, who stay in touch in email and Facebook in the off season. (2) Fifty years of cheering for the Astros, from back when I went to my first baseball games in Colt Stadium as a little kid! It’s really hard to abandon a tradition like that.
I need to decide in the next couple of months. If I’m going to learn to cheer for the Nats this year, I really ought to go to Viera (near Cocoa Beach), not Kissimmee, for Spring Training, to get to know the team. Should I just do it? Or maybe, with the AL move still a year away, I should just give it one more season to decide?
Help me out! What should I do?