Published on March 2, 2020, at 8:54 p.m.
by Charlotte Arnold.
Major League Baseball spring training games kicked off last weekend. What should be a happy day reminded one fanbase only of past betrayal. The Houston Astros were not-so-warmly welcomed back to their first game with boos from the stands. In case you have not heard, the Astros were the center of a massive cheating scandal in November 2019. The team used technology to steal signs — a big no-no.
This cheating scandal is big news, because the Houston Astros won the MLB World Series in 2017. The World Series win united and inspired Houston in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. The win gave hope to the hurt city. After realizing that their home team cheated its way to a win, the scandal felt like a slap in the face to fans. They were devastated.
“As a Houstonian and daughter of a die-hard Astros fan (who never got to see the Astros in a World Series before he died), I’m heartbroken and ashamed for my city and its people. My team should be stripped of their title. It’s the only way to make things right,” said a fan on Twitter.
The Houston baseball team held a press conference on Feb. 13 to address the scandal. Astros owner Jim Crane apologized for cheating, but the fans did not buy it. The New York Post described the apology as “pathetic.” The attempt only offended fans even more.
In reference to the botched apology, Cincinnati Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer issued a Twitter poll to gauge fans’ reactions.
Unsurprisingly, of the 61,822 votes, 90% of people said that they would prefer authenticity over a fake apology.
Key instigators were fired and apologies were made — but the scars remain.
An organization’s fanbase is one of its greatest accountability partners. The more people care about an organization, the stronger their reactions will be. Based on the magnitude of the betrayal, Astros fans obviously care a lot about their beloved baseball team. Because they care so much for them, the scandal hurts that much more. Fans are angry. They feel hurt.
Let this scandal serve as a reminder to be sincere with apologies and to respect your fans. They’re rooting for you. They’re your … well, biggest fans. It will take time, but the only chance that the Astros have of winning a spot back into Houstonians’ hearts is to move forward with authenticity and integrity.