Last night I sent the most significant tweet last night during Game 6 of the World Series.
I immediately received 11 retweets, 12 @replies and 8 new followers. While I’m not going to break my arm patting myself on the back, it was definitely one of the most interesting experiences I’ve had on Twitter to date.
Then I started thinking about the Astros, this World Series, and how it makes me feel as a Houston sports fan.
The 2011 World Series gives an Astros fan a lot of food for thought.
Nolan Ryan vs. Lance Berkman
Nolan Ryan and Lance Berkman are easily two of the most beloved players ever to wear and Astros jersey. They were also both involved in two of the most unfortunate events to happen to Houston’s baseball franchise. Nolan Ryan’s departure from the Astros is still a hard thing for local baseball fans to think about. That he may win a World Series with the Texas Rangers applies a fresh coat of salt in that wound. Lance Berkman was one of the leaders of the Astros first and only World Series team. His departure was part of a swift and painful demise of the once proud franchise. That he could win a World Series ring with a hated division rival, only makes the misery that is being a Houston Astros fan today more depressing.
Old Rival vs. New Rival
This World Series is a match up of two teams that are or will be the Astros most hated rivalry. The Astros are slated to be sold to Jim Crane. The sale also involves a possible Astros move from the National League Central to the American League West. Last night’s Game 6 was a perfect example of why I don’t want to leave the National League. While it may not have the glamour (read: Red Sox and Yankees) of the American League, the National League just plays more exciting baseball.
On the other hand, moving into the AL West would give us a chance to build a great rivalry with the Texas Rangers. The Cardinals are going to cease to irk me as much when LaRussa leaves and/or Pujols retires or moves on to another team. The Rangers bring a Texas-sized opportunity for fun and excitement we just haven’t had as Astros fans. Outside of the Braves and Cardinals, there really isn’t anyone we get charged up for. Besides, we could finally rid ourselves of all those Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs fans that descend upon Minute Maid Park every year.
Houston vs. Dallas
The #1 sentiment that came out of that tweet was that it was no secret Houstonians were cheering for the Cardinals. While I generally roll my eyes at the whole Houston vs. Dallas debate, it’s seething beneath the surface in this year’s World Series. I also think there are purists who simply cheer the National League team, even it is the hated Cardinals. A World Series title is the last major championship to be won by a Texas professional sports team. The Cowboys have their Super Bowl, the Mavericks completed the Texas Triangle with their recent NBA Championship, and the Stars have their Stanley Cup.
Houston is YEARS away from competing for another World Series. The move to the American League will probably lengthen that timeline. The Rangers, whether they win tonight or not, are going to be in prime position to compete for the next couple of years. The odds are not in the Astros favor. Still, making three World Series in a row is not easy. Tonight could the Rangers last good chance at a World Series win.
Who do you cheer for?
The Astros lost Nolan Ryan many years ago. He now belongs to the Rangers. Berkman will enter the Hall of Fame in an Astros jersey. I think I want the Astros to stay in the National League, but if the move to the American League is a done deal, then we need to inject a good bit of venom into the tree of rivalry between the Astros and the Rangers. What better way than to cheer WILDLY for the Cardinals tonight? I’ve said before, Texans are not obligated to cheer for the only Texas team in any sports match-up.
I’m also going to say the Cardinals feel like those scrappy Astros teams from 2004-2005. They were BIG underdogs coming into this series, and last night’s comeback felt like that Jeff Kent walk off in 2004.