Yesterday I wrote about the fallout from the sign-stealing scandal and in part of that I wrote about the subset of online Astros fans who, for whatever reason, have decided to go all-in with a cognitive dissonance-laden defense of the team, alternating between “they did nothing wrong!” and “everyone was doing the same thing!” depending upon what suits their interests best at the given moment.
I did note in that post that, no, not all Astros fans are like that. Indeed, given how social media tends to favor those who are at the most extreme ends of any given issue, that crowd is probably a small subset at best. I do think it’s important to highlight those fans who are not insane, however. Those fans who are disappointed in the team for which they root for cheating and who have been even more disappointed by the Astros’ response to all of this.
To that end I’m sharing with you a letter a long-time Astros fan shared with me this morning. He sent it to the team in late January, after some Astros players appeared at the team’s Fan Fest and deflected questions and responsibility about the scandal. Given that, since that time, the team has largely doubled down on that stance and the team’s owner has denied basic reality, claiming that sign-stealing did not aid the team, I can’t imagine the sentiment has changed that much.
It may be fair to call this fan’s response extreme in the other direction. I mean, no one is demanding that Astros fans burn their merch and totally give up on the team as a result of all of this. No one should be ashamed to be an Astros fan. Indeed, Astros fans are victims in all of this themselves. But it is inescapable that there are at least some fans who have this sort of reaction to all of this.
No matter what you think of that, it’s not the unhinged people who yell online and passionately defend cheating that Major League Baseball should be worrying about. It’s normal, everyday fans who, quite understandably, are put off by all of this and who, as a result, are going to withdraw their time, attention and investment in baseball to greater or lesser degrees.