It’s the second game of the season, the New York Yankees are in town, the Houston Astros were coming off a 6-2 win during which they knocked around a former Cy Young winner in C.C. Sabathia, and they had a young flame thrower in Jarred Cosart on the mound. And the stands were empty.
I don’t mean one or two empty seats within a packed grandstand. I’m talking entire sections, not only in the upper deck, but field level too. And they can’t blame it on the rain – the roof was closed. You’re better than that, Astros fans, or at least I hope you are.
Houston honored Derek Jeter last night with the first of many tacky gifts the Yankee captain will undoubtedly receive this season. It’s too bad no one was there to see it.
If I didn’t know the date, I would have guessed last night’s game took place in the middle of August and the Astros had been out of the pennant race for months. I realize the team went 51-111 last year and didn’t do much in the offseason to improve that mark in 2014, but it’s the second game of the season. No matter how low expectations are, it’s far too early to throw in the towel, especially considering who was in the visiting dugout.
Typically, the Yankees are a huge draw as the visiting team. They’re the most polarizing franchise in the game, and their fanbase traverses every U.S. time zone. What is more, it’s Jeter’s farewell season. As soon as he announced this year would be his last, the tickets for the Yankees’ last regular season home game sold out.
For Houston fans, it’s the last opportunity to see one of the greatest players of this era and think about what could have been, had the Astros drafted the shortstop from Kalamazoo, MI with the first pick of the 1992 draft (they picked Phil Nevin instead).
I get the team has a meager $21 million payroll and that they’re not going to compete for the division, but now is the most beautiful time of the season – no one’s out of it yet.
So, wake up, Astros fans. Go to Minute Maid Park. See the young talent on your team and say goodbye to the legend who’s visiting.