The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
My conscience is clear to pull for the Astros in the postseason

I’ve been a life-long New York Yankees fan. It’s been easy to be a Yankees fan. They were winning world championships with regularity. I even survived a couple of droughts when they fell into the back of the pack of pennant contenders.

I got hooked on the team in the early ‘60s when their lineup featured Mantle, Maris, Berra, Ford, Skowron, Howard, Richardson, Kubek, and Boyer. I thought they were invincible, but then their ages caught up with them.

My loyalty to the Yankees was tested from 1965 to 1975 and again from 1982 to 1995 when they were just average teams, even though George Steinbrenner tried to buy championships with expensive players during the second drought.

Then along came the “Core Four’ (Jeter, Posada, Rivera, and Pettit), supplemented with Clemens, Williams, O’Neill, Martinez, Giambi, Brosius, Hernandez, Cone, and Mussina, and the championships started to roll in again during 1996 to 2012. While many other baseball fans despised the Evil Empire, as the Yankees had become known, I was a happy camper.

In the mid-80s I started to develop a liking for the Houston Astros. A group of my friends and I made annual pilgrimages to the Astrodome for a weekend series. The Astros were in the National League at that time, so I didn’t feel any particular conflict with my Yankees.

The hometown New Orleans Pelicans minor-league team became an affiliate of the Astros in the late ‘90s, and it was fun to track players like Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt eventually reaching the big league Astros.

I became an enthusiastic fan of the Astros’ “Killer B’s (Bagwell, Biggio, and Berkman). I went to a 2005 World Series game in Houston to pull for the Astros against the White Sox, yet I had never been to even one game at Yankee Stadium in my life.

But then the Astros were switched to the American League in 2013 by Major League Baseball. I rationalized that I could pull for both teams since they were in different divisions. But I realized I would have a dilemma if they wound up competing for the AL pennant.

My next test of Yankee loyalty came in 2015 when the Astros squared off with the Yankees in a wild card game. The Astros won that year, as they would do in three American League Championship Series against the Yankees in 2017, 2019, and 2022. My sentimental side forced me to pull for the Yankees. Upon defeating the Yankees for the AL pennant in those three seasons, I sheepishly pulled for the Astros in their World Series quests.

But now the Yankees are on a path to elimination from postseason play. They are in last place in the AL East, nine games behind Toronto, who would be the sixth AL team in the playoffs. It would take a miracle for the Yankees to recover at this point. In fact, I believe they have already packed it in for the season by bringing up several prospects to get a good look at them for next year. It will be the first time since 2016 and only the fifth time since 1995 that they didn’t make the playoffs.

With the Yankees out of the playoff picture, at least I will be able to root for the Astros with a clear conscience this Fall.

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