Sunday, August 5, 2018

To non-Astros fans: Please boo us. Then do better.

This one is for the non-Astros fans. I realize that this is an Astros fan blog, but I'm going to be pushing this link around, so I'm hoping this will spread.

If you're the type of fan who reads baseball fan blogs, then you're probably also the type of fan who has some idea of the big headlines around the rest of MLB. Which means you've probably heard that the Astros last week traded for Roberto Osuna. Which means you probably also know why Toronto was looking to trade a young, cheap, controllable All-Star closer at all. If you don't know, type "roberto osuna" into Google News and you'll figure it out quickly enough.

I grew up in the Astrodome, but myself and many other Astros die-hards have been alternately angered and saddened by our favorite baseball team's decision that acquiring a young, cheap, controllable All-Star closer at a domestic violence discount was more important than upholding the organization's alleged "zero tolerance policy" for such incidents. GM Jeff Luhnow stumbled in reconciling that policy with this trade, notably including words like "remorseful" (to Osuna's lawyer's chagrin) and notably avoiding words like "innocent." Osuna officially joined the Astros roster today, as his 75-game suspension from MLB expired, and I'm ashamed of my team. I'm also ashamed of many fellow Astros fans who have been eager to ignore or brush aside a still-pending criminal case because our new closer is not in jail and he can throw a baseball good.

Please boo us.

I don't mean you should boo Astros fans (although if you spot someone wearing an Astros Osuna shirsey, by all means, ask questions). I'm certainly not advocating for violence or bad behavior of any kind. But the Astros deserve all of the bad publicity and dislike that they invited on themselves by making this trade.

I'll confess, Yankees fans, that it was convenient to me when the Yankees traded for, and then later re-signed, Aroldis Chapman. I already hated the Yankees - as most non-Yankees fans do - so it was easy for me to compartmentalize that "of course the hated team would welcome a hated player." I was #MadOnline for about 20 minutes over Chapman's $86 million free agent contract, then I forgot about it. I'm ashamed now that I too dismissed it so easily.

If you're feeling good about your team because you didn't trade for a player with active domestic violence allegations last week, then great! By all means, feel good. If you feel that the Astros deserve boos because they did make that trade, then please, go ahead and boo too. If you do boo the Astros for that, though, then you're saying that you don't like domestic violence. Also good - any human being with a pulse should feel the same.

My challenge is this: If you don't like domestic violence, go ahead and boo your disapproval. Then go and actually DO something about it.

House of Ruth Maryland

Jane Doe, Inc.

New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence

CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse)


CAWC (Connections for Abused Women and their Children)

DVCAC (Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center)

MCEDSV (Michigan Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence)

Hope House

360 Communities/Lewis House

Human Options

A Safe Place

WSCADV (Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

SafeHaven of Tarrant County

Partnership Against Domestic Violence

Safespace Foundation Miami

Women Against Abuse

DCCoalition Against Domestic Violence

YWCA Greater Cincinnati

Milwaukee Women's Center/Community Advocates, Inc.

Women's Center & Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh

Lydia's House

Peace Over Violence

Riley Center of St. Vincent De Paul


SafeHouse Denver

YWCA San Diego Becky's House

You don't even have to wait until you get the chance to boo the Astros in person before you can click on one of those links to donate or volunteer your time and actually make a difference in fighting domestic violence in your own community. I gathered those links via the National Domestic Violence Center Hotline, but there are a great many more organizations out there also doing great good. If you have a favorite, give them your support.

Roberto Osuna is an active, paid MLB player again now, and whether or not you agree with that, we should all agree that domestic violence is a serious problem, and that the victims need our help more than any pro athlete needs our praise. Many Astros fans - myself included - already have been and will be donating to the Houston Area Women's Center in response. If you feel strongly enough about domestic violence to boo an accused opposing player, then back that up by proving that you care enough to support real victims too.