Texas Rangers and Houston Astros fans have been raging against each other the past few years. Maybe it’s time to have a friendly rivalry.
I used to cheer for the Astros. Seriously. When they were in the National League, I rooted for them because they were from Texas. When they faced the White Sox in the 2005 World Series, I hoped they’d win. The Texas Rangers were bad back then, and of course I wanted a team from Texas to win the championship. But they didn’t.
The Astros were swept and then went into a free-fall. Then, Houston moved to the AL West. They became division rivals, and I couldn’t cheer for them to win. Not that they did a lot of winning back then anyway.
From 2006-2014, the Astros went 623-834, a winning percentage of .428. This includes three seasons, 2011-2013, in which they lost at least 100 games. By 2015, the Astros had turned their fortunes around, posting their first winning season since 2008.
The only problem? They couldn’t beat the Texas Rangers. The Astros posted a winning record against every other AL West team, but they went 6-13 against the Rangers in 2015. They finished two games behind Texas in the division once it was all said and done.
The Astros continued to struggle against the Rangers in 2016, losing 15 of 19 games to the eventual division champs. Again, Houston posted winning records against every other AL West squad. Still, the Astros finished eleven games behind Texas and missed the playoffs altogether.
Their inability to beat the Rangers fostered a frustration that manifested itself in the fan base and the Houston franchise. It’s easy to develop a little brother complex when you go 10-28 against one team, and that team goes on to win the division.
Suddenly, there was more than just a geographical rivalry between these two franchises. There seemed to be genuine spite. There were brawls. Even the managers seemed to have some bad blood. Fans went after each other on Twitter and Facebook, and, for some reason, Houston columnists felt the need to jump into the fray. It got ugly.
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The Astros became obsessed with beating the Texas Rangers. That’s unusual in baseball, simply because there are so many games. The Rangers and Astros play each other 19 times per year. There’s 143 other games to play, and to focus on one opponent like that was strange. It felt a little desperate.
Plus, I’ll admit I was annoyed. I never had a problem with Astros fans, but now they had a problem with me. Just because the team I liked kept beating the team they liked. I felt a little betrayed, honestly. The Astros were my NL team to root for back in the day, and now they acted like everything the Rangers did was a personal slight against them.
But, now it’s 2018. The Astros have won a World Series and been to the ALCS. Maybe now Astros fans have gotten over their little brother complex. Maybe they can just enjoy baseball again. I’m ready to bury the hatchet with Astros fans and enjoy a friendly rivalry.
Don’t get me wrong. I want the Rangers to beat Houston every time they play. I just don’t want to hate their fans, and I don’t want their fans to hate me.