It's Astros Opening Day, a day that should be declared an official national holiday and would be if it was up to me. (Maybe I should run for office on that platform!) Alas, I will have to work today, but I'll get to Minute Maid Park as soon as I can, and I will definitely be in my seat for the first pitch with a frosty beverage in hand.
Coming into the season, I find myself looking back more than forward. Looking back to all of the Opening Days over the years when hope springs eternal and a 162-0 record is a theoretical possibility. Looking back nostalgically as I think about my favorite players over the years.
But also looking back to the not-so-good times of 2011 to 2013 when the Astros lost an astonishing 324 games. That was a lot of losing and it wasn't fun. Well, it mostly wasn't fun. For those Astros diehards who went to the games then (like me and my sister), we enjoyed the cheap parking and having the run of the stadium. No long lines for concessions!
One amazing thing that came out of those dark times was the emergence of #AstrosTwitter as a force to be reckoned with. Astros Twitter was funny, neurotic, angry, imaginative, hilarious, smart, profane, impassioned and generally outraged and outrageous. We kept each other sane through laughter and that shared outrage.
But we (mostly) never felt sorry for ourselves. We (mostly) got it. We (mostly) understood the how and why of the re-build. We (mostly) bought into it even when we didn't like some of the individual moves.
And we bided our time. We took the insults heaped upon us by other team's fan bases and delighted when we could beat them, loving the win and throwing their insults back at them (aka James of Astros County doing "The Thing.") We also delighted in throwing back the insults from certain unnamed pundits. It became a badge of honor to be blocked on twitter by a few of the more miserable twits.
After the 2012 season, I started writing a post called, "Revenge is a Dish Best Served Cold." Like many other projects I've started, it went by the wayside due to lack of time or energy. But something tells me this is the year. Not necessarily that the Astros will win the World Series this year (although that would be awfully sweet), but that this is the year that the Astros will become a perennial postseason contender. This is the year that opposing fan bases will no longer be able to point and laugh without making themselves look like complete morons. This is the year that will start a new era in Astros baseball.
And I won't mind (too much) the bandwagon fans who weren't there in the bad years. I'll stand in the concession lines with them and compete with them for parking spaces. And I will be happy to see full houses in games that matter.
It's Astros Opening Day. And hope springs eternal. And 162-0 is possible, at least in theory.