The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

By Tommy Wells
Seward Phoenix LOG 

We'll be tuned in ... just like old times


October 26, 2017 | View PDF

Like most people, I have treasured memories of my parents when I was growing up. My mother was, and still is, notorious for wanting to iron my clothes. As a child, I can’t tell you how many times my younger brother and I went to school with shirts and pants so stiff that we had to walk like zombies. To this day, every time I smell spray starch, I catch myself smiling.

She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Made-Mad must not love me as much as my mother does because she never starches my clothes … which may be the reason I learned how to walk normally.

The memories I treasure most of my father are the countless nights we would spend huddled around a radio in far West Texas when I was a child, listening to the Houston Astros on the radio. There was no MLB network in the 1970s, or an Internet feed. It was just him and me (and sometimes my mother when she wasn’t trying to turn denim into cardboard) listening to the exploits of Roger Metzger, Bob Watson, Jose Cruz or Bob “The Flea” Lillis.

For sure my father was a Houston Astros fan. Having spent years living in Houston working as a milkman, he and my mother (who hadn’t yet become a traitor and switched allegiance to the Texas Rangers) spent many evenings sitting in the bleachers at Colt Stadium and the Houston Astrodome. A very pregnant woman actually went into labor with me while taking in a game at the Astrodome, forcing my father to leave the game to take his soon-to-be son to a hospital in Pasadena.

Shortly after I was born, my parents purchased a house about seven hours west of Houston, in the oilfields in the Permian Basin. Here, on 4th Street in Odessa, Texas, he would hurry home after work and settle in front of the radio. And here, between pitches and strikeouts, we suffered through bad trades, lousy teams and heart-breaking losses (most notably in the 1980s in playoff losses to the New York Mets and the damn Phillies).

Yet, through every loss, my father remained a dyed-in-the-orange Astros fan.

“They’ll eventually make it to the World Series,” he would often tell me. “It may not be in my lifetime, but they will eventually make it. You’ll see.”

In a way, being an Astros fan was as tough as rooting for the Cleveland Browns. You just knew something bad was going to happen – because it usually did.

Joe Morgan was traded and then went on to become an all-time great with the Reds.

Rusty Staub.

Bob Watson.

J.R. Richard.

The closure of the ‘Dome.

And even Nolan Ryan’s departure to the Rangers.

But that didn’t stop us from believing the sun would come up the next day.

True to his word, my father never saw our team make it to the World Series. He passed away in May of 1997, from asbestos-related lung cancer, having never seen the Astros reach the pinnacle. Of course, it might also have been a blessing that he passed away at that point. He didn’t see the aging and injured team that was swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005 or, even worse, live through the injustice of having to switch leagues or endure the Lastros, the team that lost more than 100 games in three straight years and had a grand total of eight fans left.

So as the city of Houston cheered on Saturday evening when Lance McCullers Jr. tossed the final pitch to eliminate the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series, I was thrilled. You might have seen me pump a fist or two in the air and smile like the Cheshire cat.

Not just for me … but for my father, too.

When the World Series begins, you’ll find me sitting next to a radio listening. Somewhere up there, I’m sure my father will be tuned in, too.

And perhaps this will be enough good medicine to bring my mother back from the dark side..

(Tommy Wells is the editor of the Seward Phoenix LOG. Everything in this column is true, except for the parts that have been fabricated, exaggerated or are just plain lies.)


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