This baseball fan and his 116,000 followers are ready to shame the Astros all season
Brendan Donley doesn’t have much time to talk — a Houston Astros’ spring training game against the Miami Marlins will be starting soon.
Donley isn’t an Astros fan. Not in the least. But the 27-year-old writer from Michigan doesn’t have time for a lot of things these days because of the team whose sign-stealing scandal rocked Major League Baseball this winter.
“I’m barely sleeping and eating because I’m trying to monitor everything, come up with content,” Donley said in a phone interview Friday morning.
Donley is the mastermind behind the “2020 Astros Shame Tour” Twitter account, which goes by the handle @AsteriskTour. The concept is simple — “One year to shame them all, one year to jeer them, one year to boo them all and from your seat deride them,” according to the account’s bio.
A lifelong baseball fan, particularly of the Chicago Cubs, Donley said he felt a “helpless anger” when he learned the Astros illegally used technology to steal signs during their 2017 World Series run and part of the 2018 season. He was unhappy with members of the team for their perceived lack of remorse and with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred for seeming to go easy on the participants in the scheme.
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“Just the same feeling I had when I was a kid during the steroid era,” Donley said. “You feel deceived. You just feel put off. Just make it up to us —properly apologize or take the proper punishment. Neither of those two things happened.”
So, he thought, “I gotta put my two cents in.”
Unable to find anywhere online to vent with like-minded fans, Donley decided to create such a hub himself. He created the “Shame Tour” account and started posting content on Feb. 15, thinking if it happened to catch on he might get 10,000 followers.
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His prediction was off by just a bit. As of Friday, the account had more than 116,000 followers, with the count still rising fast.
“The whole thing just kind of blows my mind,” Donley said. “What I love about this, I’m glad there’s somewhere we can go and come together and share laughs about it, share the anger. That wasn’t there before. It was scattered.”
The feed features content provided by Donley, including clips of every time an Astros batter gets hit by a pitch (seven times so far during spring training games) as well as other items he finds while scouring Twitter for anything Astros related.
Here’s a sampling:
It’s a time-consuming undertaking for Donley, who is preparing his 2018 book, “The 1968 World Series: The Tigers-Cardinals Classic as Told by the Men Who Played,” for paperback release and is attempting to relaunch his baseball website, The Big Inning, among numerous other projects.
But he has no intention of letting the Astros off the hook, at least not this season. He plans to keep the “Shame Tour” site active as long as it remains relevant and hopes to attend some of Houston’s road games to interact with other angry fans in person.
“I’m in too deep now,” he said. “I might have to drop some of my other projects. I can’t bail now.”
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