I've been a fan of your organization since I could pick up a baseball. My dad pitched in the minor leagues for you. When I was a kid, I'd sneak into his closet to see the multi-colored jersey hanging proudly. I grew up watching Craig Biggio rub pine tar all over his helmet, and the Bagwell squat was something I tried to perfect in my backyard throughout my childhood. I have been cheering you on through the highs and the lows. All of this lead to the 2017 World Series...the pinnacle of my Houston Astros fandom. That is, it was until the Commission's report revealed that you cheated to bring home a championship.
I can deal with this as an adult. I get it. Other teams were probably doing similar things. I'm not naive enough to think that you were the only team using technology to gain an edge. But, it's time for me as a father to speak up.
I now have three boys of my own. Three boys who wear the jerseys of their baseball heroes like I once did.
And guess what. They have chosen the beloved Houston Astros to be their role models.
We have traveled from Indiana to Houston to watch games at Minute Maid Park, and we have created our own dugout stare videos at home. My boys want to be like you when they grow up. Altuve. Springer. Bregman. Correa. In their t-ball games, they want to wear their socks up or down like Bregman and Correa. In the backyard, they bat through the entire Astros lineup, taking turns announcing each player as they walk to the plate. During the summer months, they fall asleep trying to watch as much of your games as their little bodies will let them.
My boys deserve better.
I know that things will look different for your team moving forward because you got caught in the act. But I'm here to remind you that what you did is not okay because you are in a position of influence.
When this sign-stealing strategy started, why did NO ONE on the team take a stand? Wrong is wrong. Someone, anyone could have changed the narrative by simply being a leader and shutting it down. I haven't heard one player, coach, manager, or executive say that they tried to do the right thing. How can this be?
When Mike Fier's came forward claiming that this was something that happened, why didn't you confess right then and there? You knew you were going to get caught. Why wait until the evidence surfaced before confessing your guilt? We all make mistakes. But you waited until the final report surfaced to admit your guilt.
When the report finally was released, why did you wait to apologize? I understand that you all wanted to get your story straight. I'm sure that the organization told you not to talk until everyone had a chance to get together at Spring Training. But when you are convicted of cheating and don't apologize right away, it comes across like you don't care. Altuve and Bregman's answers (or lack of answers) at the Fan Fest last month were arrogant at best. Overnight, you went from America's favorite team to the most hated team in baseball. And it is getting worse, not better, as time goes by.
And when you FINALLY did apologize, why did you decide to try to sweep this whole scandal under the rug without remorse? Did you seriously believe that knowing what pitch was coming didn't affect the outcomes of any of the games you played? There will always be a question mark next to the 2017 World Series. All the individual awards you have obtained in the past few years will be disregarded by others. The trophy that you hoisted in triumph just over 2 years ago might as well be taken away because it means nothing now.
I'm sure you want to put this nightmare behind you, but please, for the sake of the next generation of baseball players, for the sake of the kids who call you heroes, consider your words and actions on and off the baseball field. You are paid to play America's Greatest Pasttime.
Over the past few years, Major League Baseball has had some great promotional material encouraging all of us to "LET THE KIDS PLAY". I have loved this campaign because baseball is a kids' game. But it's time to take some cues from the kids that are watching you.
Winning isn't as important as your character.
Sincerely saying I'm sorry can bring much-needed forgiveness.
Having fun and giving your best effort between the lines is what it's all about.
I'm still a fan. I know that all of you are human and make mistakes just like I do. And I also know that what you did for the city of Houston after the hurricane was something that was bigger than baseball. You brought hope to so many in their darkest hours. We will all be okay because after all, it is still just a game. There are bigger things to worry about in the world.
As a dad, all I'm asking is for everyone involved to recognize their status in the eyes of kids. You make a bigger impact than you will ever know. Kids are looking up to you just like you looked up to others not too long ago.
Here's to moving forward--
A father and a fan