Being an Astros fan: You have the power to make a difference

Bob Levey

You may be upset by the team's actions today, but wasting that without channeling it into productivity isn't the answer.

What power does one person have?

I ask this because of the situation swirling around the Astros since last night, when the team decided to cancel a long-held charitable function benefiting a great cause. Tim wrote about his feelings on the issue this morning, talking about how the Astros' loss of integrity made him question why he does what he does on this site.

He also mentioned why he's a fan of the Astros in the first place.

But, what are the Astros? Are they an abstract concept? Are they a business? Are they a collection of men who wear the same laundry?

Most times, they're an amalgamation of all three. The Astros Tim cares about are more than just a business, they're a concept of a team he came to respect. They're leadership and integrity and all sorts of human emotions that we project onto an organization.

They're also a team of men, bound by nothing more than the shirts on their backs that look the same. There may be friendships in the clubhouse, but they're all paid to play for this team, not because they live here, not because they chose to go to school here, but because they were given a job here.

That's because the Astros are ultimately a business. Fans root for a corporation every bit as interested in making a profit as Proctor & Gamble or Microsoft.

And yet, we connect with the people running the baseball side, because at heart, every one of you readers is a baseball fan first. You like watching the game. You like reading about it and talking about it. The players may change, but how much you enjoy the game does not.

But, I get back to my first question: how much power do you have as a fan?

I think about this because of the events of the past 24 hours. The Astros seemingly have canceled one charitable event to focus on another. Whether they did it last month or in January matters, but only slightly. They could have made this decision better and more timely, to give the charity in question time to deal with the budgetary shifts.

We can be upset by this as fans, but what can we do?

Here at TCB and on other Astros sites around the web, we chose to go dark for the day.

Does that really impact the team? Does it hurt their business?

Probably not.

We did manage to stir up conversation on Twitter and other places. I heard that some of the sports talk radio stations in Houston also picked up on the story. It also appears that our publicity may have driven a story about it this morning by the local newspaper.

All that is great, but will it change anything?

That's what we should be aiming for. We shouldn't be just angry about a bad decision by a business. We should strive to be agents of change, especially when it's for a good cause.

If you're upset about the Astros and how they've run their business, act on it.

The next time you plan on going to Minute Maid Park, stay home instead. Donate that money to the HAWC or to any charity of your choice. Take that time and volunteer for Habitat for Humanity or a literacy group or the food bank of Houston.

You won't be making a difference with the decisions of the Astros' business, but you can make a difference in your community.

Fans have been trying to change a team's mind for years. They've staged walkouts of baseball games, they've protested teams. But, all they do is garner publicity.

We do not want that to be the only outcome of today's blackout.

We want to make a difference. You can help with that. We'll be back tomorrow with all the Astros content you've come to expect at TCB. Some of our writers may not be back right away, if at all. Some of you fans and readers may not be back because of this team/business/laundry and what they've done. Until we come back, feel free to use the FanPosts to talk about the team. If you want to start a minor league thread there, we'll promote it to the front page so you can talk about the team's future.

Don't let the team's business side define you, though. You're a fan of baseball, after all. A children's game. A great game. If we don't take that anger, that indignity of today and turn it into something useful, then we've accomplished nothing today.

I think we can accomplish much, much more.

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