Astros go from woeful to World Series in just 4 years

Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve holds up the championship trophy Saturday after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series against the New York Yankees in Houston.

Associated Press — Eric Christian Smith

When Baylor radio’s John Morris asked, the question didn’t bother me. Nor did its follow-up.

But I also didn’t have to think about my answers.

“Do you subscribe to the idea that Rangers fans can cheer for the Astros?” J-Mo asked.

“I mean, if they want to, they can,” I said.

“But now would you cheer for the Rangers if the situation was reversed?” he followed.

“No — definitely not.”

It’s a free country. You may pledge your allegiance to the SUV window flag of whichever team you want. But as for me, I’m not a sports polygamist.

I’ve never really understood the question, “Who’s your second-favorite team?” Wait — what? Second-favorite? What does that even mean?

Second favorites are for bands and TV shows and movies and food. Maybe your kids. (Kidding, of course.) But your sports fandom equates to a marriage. Your team demands your loyalty. You’re supposed to be monogamous.

You wouldn’t cheat on your spouse, and you shouldn’t cheat on your team either.

Let’s say, for instance, that you’re a fan of the Dallas Cowboys. (Ugh.) How would you feel if you happened upon Dak Prescott in the airport, and you were wearing a Philadelphia Eagles T-shirt? Even if it were to pay off a bet, you would certainly feel a rightful amount of guilt and shame. Granted, Dak doesn’t know you from Adam and doesn’t care — in fact, he’d probably be ashamed himself that he’s at the airport instead of flying charter — but the important thing is that you’d know. And you wouldn’t be able to live with yourself.

“Um … hey, Dak, can I get a photo? I’m a huge fan — ignore the shirt.”

Cheering for two teams doesn’t make any sense to me — even if they’re in separate conferences, divisions.

In the case of the Astros and Rangers, our great state’s two Major League franchises, they were divided in entirely different leagues for much of their existence. And yet it would have never occurred to me to root, root, root for the Rangers, even if the Astros’ season was already complete.

I’m an Astros fan, period. This isn’t an open marriage. I’m not promiscuous with my preferences. There is only one (baseball) team for me. (And one football and one basketball, that’s it.)

“Go ‘Stros! I’m rooting for them,” a few Rangers fans have offered in the past week.

Well, thanks. I appreciate it. That’s very nice. Just don’t expect me to reciprocate. That’s not the way I’m wired.

If you’re going to be a fan, be a fan. Be all in. Don’t just buy the T-shirt — buy the cap, the poster, the keychain, the magnet, the necktie, the socks. Be like the guy on Aztec Drive in Hewitt, who painted a massive Astros logo into his lawn. (Dude, respect.)

Now, some may suggest that playing fantasy sports is akin to fan adultery. If you’re a Packers fan but have Tom Brady as your fantasy QB, you may someday face a situation where your allegiances intertwine, should New England and Green Bay meet. It’s a conflict of interest, right?

Aw, I don’t see it that way.

You always stay true to your first love. Basically, you hope the Pack picks Brady off four times in a 30-point win … while crossing your fingers that the rest of your fantasy squad picks up the slack.

When you choose your team, it’s for life. You promise to love them in sickness (when the franchise player is on the disabled list) and in health (when he’s not), for richer (when the general manager actually spends some money on the payroll) and for poorer (hello, Oakland Athletics fans!), till death do you part.

There will be good times and bad. Bank on it. But, honestly, what right do you have to bask and revel in the glory if you haven’t suffered through the agony?

I was 7 years old in 1980, when the Astros lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League Championship Series. I cried. I remember the roller coaster of 1986, the lean years that followed, and squealing in glee when Houston acquired Randy Johnson in the late 1990s. I whooped and hollered as Bags and Bidge made their only World Series appearance in 2005, then fretted and stressed as they (and every other Astro) couldn’t buy a hit in the Fall Classic, which seemed to be over before it started.

And I stuck with my guys through the REALLY lean years of 2011-13, when they lost 106, 107 and 111 games, respectively.

Now the reward has arrived, and you can bet I’m enjoying it.

If you’re such a long-suffering Astros fan, you’ve earned this moment, too. If, however, you cheer for that other Texas team and want to offer your temporary support, knock yourself out. That’s your right. Sports polygamy isn’t illegal, apparently.

Just don’t be offended if I think it’s gross.

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