News & Politics

What’s It Like to Be an Astros Fan in DC Right Now? We Asked One.

"Our mommas and daddies raised us to have manners and Southern hospitality, and to say 'yes ma’am' and 'no ma’am'”

Houston Astros starting pitcher Justin Verlander tries to make a play on a ball hit by Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman during the fourth inning of Game 2 of the baseball World Series Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Kristen Wise has lived in Washington for almost five years, but her heart still belongs to Texas. We chatted with the grants program coordinator about what it’s been like to root against the Nats at a moment when the city has World Series fever.

So how are you holding up? The Nationals are up two games to none. 

Last night was hard! The seventh inning especially—that was just soul crushing. I was like, “How is this a baseball score? This is a football score!” Who gets 12 runs in a game?

Did you go into the game with high hopes?

Yeah, I mean, especially in the first [part of the game] when it was 2-2. Both teams deserve to be there, 100 percent, so I’m not hating on the Nats. And honestly, if it was any other team playing, I would totally have #Nattitude. I love living in DC. I’ve been here since 2015 and it’s become a home to me. But with Texas roots, you gotta root for the home team. I was watching the game with some good-natured friends at a bar, so there was some teasing going on. I was definitely in the minority, but there were a couple of other Astros fans there as well, so we were kindred spirits.

Did you get any crap at work after last night’s game?

Oh, yes, absolutely. That was one of the first things when I walked in this morning. Everyone was like, “Did you see that game?” I said, “Yes. Yes I did. And it hurts. I don’t want to talk about it.”

Well, here’s hoping you have something to rub in their faces Friday and Saturday night. Are you going to be at the stadium?

If I could get a ticket that would be amazing. Even standing room only was a little out of my price range. But if the baseball gods see fit that one fell in my lap, I’d be ecstatic. I’ll be at watch parties at some of the local bars, and hopefully I’ll be able to good-naturedly give all these Nats fans what they were giving me the last two nights.

Have you found much of an Astro community here? It doesn’t seem like they have a massive local fanbase.

There’s a bar in DC, and during football season they always show Houston Texans games, so the same people that love the Texans games have been getting together. 

It’s true that people tend to think of Houston as a big football town. How big is baseball? 

I think the typical Houston Astros fan is somebody who is diehard, just like they are for football. It’s a family affair in Houston, where everyone is going to the games as a family, and I love how it brings a lot of people in the community together. Football is definitely a big deal in Texas, but I’d say baseball isn’t too far behind that, especially coming off the excitement of being World Series champs a few years ago. 

I’m from Chicago, and I’m a pretentious, diehard Cubs fan. We’ve had some spats here at Washingtonian about whether or not DC is a baseball city. What’s your take?

You know, I think it’s becoming that. Going to an Astros game, everybody is very into it, and at my first Nats game it was a little disheartening because it seemed like everyone was worried about just hanging out and talking and getting a drink, and it seemed like the game was almost an afterthought. But I feel like the tide is turning on that. They are a hardworking team, they definitely deserve to be where they’re at and to get this love that they’re getting from the city right now.

I think we’re all very thankful that we don’t have to deal with hordes of Yankees fans coming down for the games this weekend to destroy our city.

I will say this about Astros fans: Maybe part of it is the way our mommas and daddies raised us to have manners and Southern hospitality, and to say “yes ma’am” and “no ma’am,” but I think that any Astros fans that do descend upon the city are going to do it with graciousness. Win or lose, we love the game, so I think we [would] handle our losing with a little more dignity and grace. 

So there will be no climbing of light poles or spilling of beer on children?

No, nothing like that!

 

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Jane Recker
Assistant Editor

Jane is a Chicago transplant who now calls Cleveland Park her home. Before joining Washingtonian, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and opera.