Mark Smith @SmithMarkredd
Oct 12, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros second basemanJose Altuve
(not pictured) fans prior to game four of the ALDS against the Kansas City Royals at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
CTH: Why did you start rooting for the Astros? (Family, location, childhood)
Smith: I moved to Houston after 2nd grade and went to the second to last game at the Dome. I began seriously following the team in 2004 when the city was buzzing from Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens coming to town.
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CTH: What is it like rooting for a team that is so far away?
Smith: I heard a lot of grief asking me why I was an Astros fan. I was playing in a softball league this summer, and I got on base and an opposing player asked if I just began rooting for the Astros this year now that they were good.
CTH: How do you keep up with the Astros?
Smith: I initially signed up for Twitter to follow baseball and specifically the Astros. I subscribe to http://MLB.TV and watch as many games as I possibly can.
CTH: Was it hard as a long distance fan during the Process period?
Smith: It was hard because I was the only Astros fan I knew. I have always been interested in prospects, trades, etc. and lacking people I could talk with was the hardest part. Very few people knew what the Astros were actually doing. They all thought they were just a terrible team without a goal.
CTH: How far did you travel?
Smith: I flew in from Salt Lake City on Friday to attend games Sunday and now Monday.
CTH: How did you justify the expense to yourself or your significant other?
Smith: I told myself I have been an Astros fan since I was a child. It had been a long ten years, especially since 2010. I earned my trip by patiently waiting and believing in the process.
CTH: As a long distance fan, what was the experience like being there last night?
Smith: It was surreal to be back at MMP in general. I liked the thought that I was there the last time it was that loud, in 2005. A lot had changed (colors, logos, concession stands, etc.) but I felt right at home. Seeing the stands in orange as opposed to brick-red was a bit odd, as I grew up with the old logo and colors.
CTH: Who is your favorite Astro?
I have two favorite Astros. George Springer, because he was the first player to come up and start the excitement. The feeling as a fan seemed to change once he came to Houston. You knew he could play, and I hoped he was the first of many to come soon. His call-up was the dawning of a new era in Houston baseball. My other favorite is Jake Marisnick. The guy has more passion for the game than anyone I’ve seen. He hustles and goes all out on every play. He may not be an offensive star, but when he gets on-base, he takes full advantage. When he returns to the field after an out, he runs down every ball and hustles for every play.
Thanks to both for taking time on their trip to answer some questions. If you thought that game yesterday was rough on you local Astros fans, what if you had to fly back home following the game. If you look at the window, you will see Eric Hosmer‘s homer still going. Continue to root for Hustle Town guys, we appreciate the faith.