How to have fun at a baseball game when the home team is lousy

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

I admit, I am a fair-weather fan.

But, each year I go to see the Houston Astros play a few times, and when I go, I expect them to lose. If they win, that’s the icing on the cake, totally not necessary, sort of a bonus.

I go to enjoy the company, break away from the routine a little, exercise the vocal cords.

I could make a lot of Astros jokes here, but I’d rather take the high road and order another beer.

Just when I thought the team would be mathematically eliminated right after the All-Star break, it started winning. The under-achieving ‘Stros won six games in a row. Then they lost seven, but who is counting?

I think this team will now hang around at least until the end of August before it marches into the mathematical sunset for another year.

Having said this, it’s a lot of fun to watch the Astros. I have no clue who the players are. I don’t recognize their names. Biggio and Bagwell, they are not. But each time I go, I root for these no-name, league-minimum salaried players and have a lot of fun doing it.

I like an underdog. I like it when a team is written off, and they play like they have a chance of winning everything. They have zero chance. That’s reality.

For that one night, when I am sitting in the stands, if they win, they have beaten all odds. I like that, and this time they did.

Maybe we’ll see one of those “Moneyball” years. On second thought, not a chance.

When they get a hit, I jump up and celebrate while trying not to drench with my adult beverage the wide-bodied fan next to me. That would not be safe.

I really like it when we sit by third base near the front, and the other team’s fans get obnoxious after a few. Two White Sox fans did just that recently while I tried to enjoy the game and finish off a bag of peanuts and a box of Crackerjacks. Someone ought to write a song about that.

Then it was our turn. When the good guys got a few hits (actually, they reached base on errors, but so what?), in your face, how do you like that? How come you’re not jumping up and down now, sucker? Welcome to Houston. I think your team is losing. Obnoxious? Who is obnoxious? Maybe a little.
One of them pulled out a sign that read “Repeat.”

Repeat what? Oops, there goes another Astro on base. I have no idea how he got on. He must have sneaked on when nobody was looking. There is no chance that he got a hit. But there he is, so let’s play ball.

I like to sit as close to the field as possible. The mezzanine and nosebleed seats don’t agree with me too much. I like to be right there where the action is, among the other team’s fans.

I also like it when security guards check tickets and throw out the squatters who bought nosebleed seats and upgraded them by simply moving down a few hundred rows.

Hey, I got my good seats fair and square (and cheap) on Craig’s List. Don’t appropriate the seats around me because you don’t know how to use a computer.

I especially like the barkers who walk up and down the aisles selling all kinds of ballpark goodies – like beer.

When I buy something, the money has to be handed way down the aisle, and then the item handed to me the same way. By the time I got my beer, it was half gone.

I’ve got to give it to the Astros, though. They may be one of the worst teams in baseball, but they sure know how to put on a good fireworks display on Friday nights. It’s worth the price of the Craig’s List admission.

While the fireworks are readied, the squatters slip into the front seats. The game is over. What difference does it make where you sit? Just look up for the fireworks. It takes place in the sky.

I guess they can then tell their friends that they had front-row seats.

Some of the best memories I have of the Astros is when they still played in the Astrodome, and after the game they brought in some pretty famous rockers, like the Beach Boys.

We were dancing in the seats while the boys on the stage were singing about surfing.

We were surfing also by then, but not in water. Hint, hint.

Moral of the story: Even a losing club like the Astros can be entertaining. And, if they happen to win, that’s even better. Just don’t count on it.