Tales of Houston Astros’ Fans Who Traveled to Watch the ALDS
Long Distance Fan Spotlights Part 1
Oct 12, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Fans cheer for Houston Astros shortstopCarlos Correa
(1) during the fifth inning
in game four of the ALDS against the Kansas City Royals at Minute Maid Park. Correa hit an RBI double in the at-bat. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
One thing that I have learned in my time on Twitter and writing for CTH is that the Houston Astros have a strong following across the United States and abroad. During the offseason, I will reach out to some Twitter personalities from outside of Texas, but for this post I wanted to focus on a few individuals. One of them has been a follower of CTH way before I even came aboard, and the other one has emerged a little recently, but we will see that he has a rich Astros history.
Photo by Paul Barnes
Paul Barnes @CanadaAstroFan
CTH: Why did you start rooting for the Astros?
Barnes: I live on the east coast of Canada (Newfoundland). When I was 10 or 11 (in the late 1970’s) my father worked for a company whose head office was in Montreal, Quebec. Occasionally he would take me with him there on business trips, and we would stay over the weekend and take in some baseball games. He took me to my first MLB game in Montreal to see the Expos. The Expos were playing the Astros, and we had tickets for a weekend set of games. The Astros had those rainbow uniforms, and they were playing really good then and they became the team I began to be most interested in, and I’ve been a fan ever since.
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CTH: What is it like rooting for a team that is so far away?
Barnes: In the 1970’s and 80’s it was much more challenging following the Astros than it is today. The Expos and Blue Jays were the most prominent games broadcast on TV except Boston or New York as our TV package included channels from those States. To catch an Astros game on TV in the 1970s/80’s they had to play the Expos or the Mets or be lucky enough to be the Saturday or Sunday night game of the week. I would follow them via the newspaper or with baseball magazines like Si, sPorting News or Baseball Digest. I subscribed to all three at one point. Much easier to follow them and be a fan today with the internet.
CTH: How do you keep up with the Astros?
Barnes: I keep up with the Astros through MLB Network, which I subscribe to. For a period, I had a TV package called MLB extra innings that showed all MLB games over multiple TV channels. This year I have followed along on Twitter and often download podcasts. I also plan trips to see the Astros when they come to play in Toronto or NY city as both cities are easy to fly to from where I live. I am also in Houston at least twice a year on business and make sure I get to Minute Maid at least once.
CTH: Was it hard as a long distance fan during the Process period?
Barnes: I believe the process was hard on all Astros Fans regardless of where they live. A true fan stays with their team through thick and thin, however. I do admit my interest did wane from 2007-2011. I kept following them but hardly took in any games live.
CTH: How far did you travel?
Barnes: For this weekend I traveled a total of seven hours by plane to get here from where I live in Newfoundland.
CTH: How did you justify the expense to yourself or your significant other?
Barnes: My wife came with me for this trip. She likes baseball but is not a devoted Astros Fan like me. She likes to travel and shop so we spent the weekend in the Galleria area. Enough said!
CTH: As a long distance fan, what was the experience like being there last night?
Barnes: MMP was electric today. First time I’ve been in the park where it has been so loud and so full of people. Most folks I’ve ever seen wear Astros fan gear. Last year I took in the KC-Orioles ALCS set in Baltimore. The place was very loud and fans were going crazy mostly dressed in Orange. Today topped that.
CTH: Who is your favorite Astro?
Barnes: In grade 8 I did a paper on Nolan Ryan. I would say he is my favorite Astro.