I’m wearing an Oakland A’s T-shirt that’s 10% cotton and 90% petty.
I’ve never bought anything affiliated with the franchise before, largely because I’m not a fan of the team or Kelly green. I don’t foresee purchasing any A’s merchandise in the future either. The only reason why this shirt is on my back now is because of the name and number printed down its center: 50 Fiers.
The Houston Astros cheated and Mike Fiers shined the brightest light on their scheme. So the petty in me spent about $45 on an A’s shirt to troll the Astros because I love the Dodgers. If that feels a bit excessive, tell that to Mike Bolsinger, who hasn’t pitched in the major leagues since the Astros drummed the hell out of him Aug. 4, 2017. He has since filed a civil lawsuit.
I’m not there … but I’m somewhere.
This is why I keep staring at the Ticketmaster website, trying to determine if I want to take this hideous A’s T-shirt down to Anaheim so I can troll the Astros when they face the Angels because I love the Dodgers. This sign-stealing scandal has turned me into the jilted lover who needs closure, only the ex is unwilling to provide it so I follow them on Instagram to see if they are dating someone new. If that feels like a lot, tell that to Clayton Kershaw, Yu Darvish and Dave Roberts.
Some fans were so angry after last year’s Game 5 defeat to the Washington Nationals in the National League Division Series, a game in which Kershaw couldn’t hold a 3-1 lead in the eighth, that they, one after the other, drove over a No. 22 jersey as they pulled out of Dodger Stadium. Regrettably, I include myself in that embarrassing display of anger. Had the Astros not cheated in 2017, things probably wouldn’t have deteriorated to the point that the greatest Dodgers pitcher since Sandy Koufax felt compelled to confess “everything people say is true right now about the postseason.”
The butterfly effect.
Nothing to do about it now. At this point the more pressing question is how far down the abyss will I — will we, as Dodgers fans — allow the Astros’ albatross to drag us? Do we hate-watch their games on TV? Go to the All-Star game at Dodger Stadium just to boo whomever represents Houston? I’ve already purchased this kelly green T-shirt. Why wait the extra week for the April 3-5 series against the Angels? Should I just hop on a plane and boo with the other A’s fans when Houston comes to Oakland at the end of March? Do I attend both? Maybe I should reach out to Iyanla Vanzant and ask her to come fix my life? To be honest, I already have — she didn’t call me back.
At a certain point you have to stop being the guy who can’t stop talking about the breakup. At least that’s what I’ve been told. Anyway the reason why I’ve used multiple relationship analogies in this column is because my heart is genuinely broken. I’m also acutely aware of the unhealthy partnership I have with the Astros. They don’t care about me. They don’t even know me.
And yet, they wield a great deal of power because it’s just so damn hard to move on. The Astros have tarnished legacies, ruined careers, and stolen money out of the pockets of those who least can afford it, like vendors and clubhouse staff. The franchise doesn’t even have the humanity to properly apologize in large part because the commissioner didn’t have enough guts to vacate the fraudulent title. So the Houston players, owner and fans get to enter this upcoming season wondering what can be while men like Kershaw and Bolsinger continue to be haunted by the ghost of what might’ve been. Anthony Rizzo of the Chicago Cubs can zing them on air during spring training; Alex Rodriguez, also on air, can signal his more contrite response to his own sins; opposing pitchers can flat-out hit them. Still, they get to call themselves champions.
So I will cheer for their failure.
I will face the I-5 traffic.
I will contemplate a trip up north, have my boos heard by a franchise with no ears.
Confucius warned that when embarking on a journey of revenge, one should dig two graves. For the 2020 season I’ve accepted this fate … just as long as one of the holes is for the Astros’ unearned World Series trophy and the other is for this ugly Kelly green t-shirt.