Suppose that instead of the Astros, YOUR favorite MLB team had won the 2017 World Series by the same cheating methods as the Houston Astros and was now in the process of being synonymous with the 1919 BlackSox and perhaps worse. Imagine the cheating scum wasn’t Alex Bregman or Jose Altuve but rather your favorite all star players.
How would you cope?
Would you still follow the team with the same passion you do now? How passionate were you just two and a half years after your team won the world series? Especially with the team in the middle of a seeming dynasty and going deep into the playoffs the following two years, to Game Seven last year… and then suddenly, to find out that it was all a fraud. Be it banging on a trashcan or buzzing a buzzer, the seasons of systematic fraud suddenly coming to light would have to take a toll on you. With each new revelation, would your fandom come to task?
Observing Houston Astros fans online, most that post on twitter are still in a little denial. “Everyone does it!” they insist. Which is not true. Not everyone does it and nobody did it to the extent that they did. the absurd numbers will come crashing down this season, the egos of the one time heroes will not be able to handle the pressure of hatred they are about to get, the clubhouse could disintegrate. This is the lone possible reason for bringing in Dusty Baker to manage and even he might not be able to keep the chemistry there cool and composed.
So picture the situation as landing on your shoulders as a fan. Do you:
Behave like the Astros’ twitter twerps and insist the cheating had little effect and that a buzzerless 2020 will still see them victorious as derided underdogs triumphing over a stacked deck. If someone asks if you are still a fan of the team you reply “Hell yeah, now more than ever!”
Accepting But Loyal
Be contrite but still root just as hard for them in 2020 as ever, even if the very cheaters themselves soil the sacred uniform of your team. If someone asks if you are still a fan of the team you reply “Yeah, if you are here for the good times you gotta be here for the bad times.”
Dial it Back Some
Take in fewer games in person, less social media involvement, no new merch, kill the team alerts on your phone, watch less games and change the channel during them more often. If someone asks if you are still a fan of the team you reply “Yeah but I dialed it back after the cheating thing.”
If you are in a sports bar to see some friends you ‘ll look at the game for a while but that is it. You might check the score or story of a game that is getting particularly big news but you play videogames or work on a hobby with what had been your baseball time before. If someone asks you if you are a fan of the team you shrug, “Kinda, but not really.” Your only optimism is to add “Maybe I will be back in a few years after all the cheaters are gone…”
SCAD: Spontaneous Current Association Dissection
You sell your merch on eBay or give it away, maybe even burn it, not bothering to make a YouTube video out of the moment. If the sport still tugs at you, perhaps you adopt another team, maybe you even move to be closer to follow that new team. If someone asks if you are still a fan of the team you reply, “Hell no. Never trust a cheater.”
You become a Raiders fan.