Thank you, you wonderful Tampa Bay Rays…
For ending the 2020 Astros.
For anyone reading this who didn’t know, earlier this year I started a Twitter account, the “2020 Astros Shame Tour”—with the idea to document the reactions of baseball fans everywhere to the biggest team cheating scandal in the sport’s history. The booing, the heckling, the posterboards, the garbage-can costumes, and whatever might come into their righteously indignant imaginations. There was a first-rate national baseball mob on deck, jeering this team night after night, and I planned on traveling around to witness as much as possible, tweeting video dispatches from the front rows of the greatest heckling spectacle of all-time. All spring and summer long.
So it all started in mid-February, and within a week the account gained 1,000 followers. Two days later, it reached 100,000. By mid-season, a delayed season, one weirdly and ironically without fans at all, it got up to 310,000.
Within the account’s first days, there were Washington Post and LA Times interviews, appearances on national radio shows and mentions all over the internet. It was wild, a great blessing, and the underlying premise was this:
The Astros are a moral disgrace to baseball, and they deserve to be shamed for what they did.
The players suffered no punishment, and to make matters worse (as we all know), no true public-shaming occurred.
So the season played out, the Astros squeaked into a watered-down 16-team playoff bracket, and then this whole ALCS Game 7 thing happened. With the baseball gods at war with each other, or with us, with justice, or with no one knew what—their final battle in the cavernous black pit that is Carlos Correa’s soul, grasping around for the sword handle and the final, finish-him! swing.
The Rays took an early lead, held on, and then it was onto this ninth inning. Pete Fairbanks on the mound, in San Diego. With no one there to witness it, but for these two teams, their retinues, and those skeleton crews of media members.
Tucker strikes out.
Reddick strikes out.
Diaz flies out to right field.
And the Houston Astros, their pride and their season, are finished.
Good afternoon, good evening…
And goodnight. pic.twitter.com/PcWYt5ebTL
— 2020 Astros Shame Tour (@AsteriskTour) October 18, 2020
So for anyone who’s been on the 2020 Shame Tour, I can only say two things:
Thank you, for coming along.
And see you at a ballpark near you, 2021.