Astros’ Faithful Takes a Hammock After Slow Start

by KC Baker | Posted on Sunday, April 24th, 2016
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George Springer

“Take a knee!” my bonehead junior high football coach volcano-belched at my teammates and me. We’d have endured some sadistic workout they designed and inflicted; or perhaps we were at the end of another frustrating practice following a demoralizing 2 – 1 start. But we dropped one on the grass and looked up, feeling the soothing caress from the fingertips of the god of restfulness, if for a moment.

Okay, you folks that read my “Year of the Stros” piece may be chuckling at the sad state of affairs with my home team. Yeah, yeah; and you’d be right. Sure, it’s early but watching Castro’s pathetic early squeeze and bobble of Prince Fielder’s lame pop was demoralizing. Castro gazed at it on the ground with the doofus look of a high school booger picker that couldn’t buy a date receiving his latest female rejection.

It’s not often that your struggling major league ball club exhibits painful reminders of your youth on little league fields in deep East Texas. Ones where the team stud playing first base calls you a “dumbass” on his jog to the dugout.

So my mighty, mighty Stros are 6 – 12 and cannot even string together wins at the JuiceBox. Hell, man my Jolly Orange Giants used to dominate here. And now we can’t put on a legitimate show after being humiliated by the Texas Rangers? It has become difficult to watch.

As I watched the home opener with the Sox this week, it was 5 – 0 in the 6th, like it seems it has been all season. Then George Springer tries to steal third from second and is called out. To me was an obvious candidate for reversal. His hand was on the bag when the glove was almost a half-foot away. But the Boston-NYY review committee decided otherwise. I go ballistic, spewing profanities at a level suited for 1977 me. I texted friends about the heinous review.

My wife once commented about people bitching about calls in favor of my Stros as they rolled to the 2005 Series. She said “that’s loser talk.” Damn right; shut up and play the game. It’s baseball, man.

But at that moment, I could not process the sight of Springer’s hand on the bag with the Red Sox glove 5 inches from his left shoulder and take the out. I kept bitch-texting. Then I texted B.

“It’s 5 – 0 again; is it always 5 – 0?” I asked.

B’s my crazy ass friend that works from his stunning home on a white sand beach somewhere near the Florida coast. He moved there from Dallas with his lovely wife a couple of years back. To say B is a baseball fan is to say an AC/DC concert is “kinda loud.” Idiot has a three-screen display on the main wall of his living room to allow him to watch and flip through nearly every MLB game. Hello? Anyone here buried that deep in the glorious cult that is baseball? I’m guessing that’s maybe 2% of you. Get counseling now.

More importantly, B is a Stros fan since barely past birth. He was should have been considered a tenant at the Dome and charged rent. He has five AstroDilla and seven Orbit stuffed figures displayed on his fireplace mantle. Har! Har! That’s a joke. B and me don’t dig on the “game enhancers” that the clubs use to draw non-baseball fans to the park. We aren’t interested in mascots, Kiss-Cams or having balled up t-shirts shot into our overpriced beers. It’s about the game to us.

We always needle each other about who is the best fan. He has attended games since he was a kid. I always loved baseball but didn’t get into MLB or the Stros until I moved to Houston and hit the Dome nearly every week in the summer and got hooked. He’s never had season tickets. I’ve had them for well over a decade. He consumes every bit of media that transmits baseball information. B’s a fan.

Oh, one more thing about the B I forgot to mention. His wife has the vile disease multiple sclerosis. If cancer had a DH, it would be MS. I hate cancer. And we all know how I hate the DH. B’s wife recently received a radical treatment that we all believe will turn her health around. We are so confident in it that my family is scheduling a trip to Astros Spring Training to meet B and C. But in the meantime, B cares for his woman every day; every common task from sunrise to sunset, he performs for her. And he never complains. Tito approves and assists from time to time.

I aimed a flamethrower text at B about the game. He was in his hammock hanging below the stilted beach home he designed and built. He was not oblivious to Stros dilemma. He was just bone weary; taking a day off. It was a rare moment when he was not watching our ‘Stros. I think he was spent on life and had nothing to spare for a baseball team. He was not watching my hapless Stros and said of his time in the hammock:

“It’s like a circuit breaker; I will reset tomorrow.”

Good call. B was back on baseball and behind my Jolly Orange Giants the next day, still giving me hell about him being the better fan. Like taking a knee, he took a hammock. And so should all Stros fans. Flip the circuit breaker, fall back and regroup. We will get there. Tomorrow brings another nine innings.

And we must realize that baseball, while important to me and B, life intrudes. I love baseball. But it’s merely a diversion, respite from the difficulties of daily life. Sometime you take a knee; but when it gets really rough, you take a hammock.

Or look at B’s Astrodilla collection. Har! Har! Har!

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KC Baker
About the Author

K.C. Baker is an old school Astros fan, spending many a hot summer day in the cool confines of the Dome. He just finished his 28th year as a practicing attorney and likes to spend all of his spare time in New Braunfels, Texas with his wife of 29 years and their three children. Follow him on Twitter @KenCBake

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