Houston Astros: A Deserved Respect

by KC Baker | Posted on Tuesday, July 11th, 2017
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It’s been a while; thanks to all 14 of my followers (including Dad and the B) who are reading this.

Anyone who knows diddly about Major League Baseball realizes that my mighty mighty Stros are officially worthy of the moniker I bestowed upon them when they weren’t so mighty. We’ve fielded great teams in the Bayou City; the 1981, 1986 and 2005 squads were something to behold to be sure. But as the Atlanta announcers commented as Houston monkey-stomped their Braves in this week’s two-game series remarked: “I’ve never seen a team like this.” Indeed and me either, man.

The numbers don’t lie; Houston’s racking some up that compare to historical teams such as the New York Yankees from the 1930’s. Whether it starts through first 50 games, runs scored on the road or whatever, by any measure, this is a special team that any true fan of the game should follow; a rarity and a gem. Don’t take my word for it; Google Houston Astros news and read it for yourself.

What’s more, it’s a young team; Carlos Correa is a mere 22 years old. Houston boasts enough fresh bats and youthful talent to continue winning for at least a few more seasons. Whether the moneyball-obsessed ownership will invest enough dough to retain the Altuve-Correa tandem, among other key players, is another issue; but it’s an ugly financial issue for another day because my focus on what’s on the field in 2017.

Marwin Gonzalez; what the hell is that? He led the team in home runs early on. He executes showy plays in the infield and outfield; he hits, often launching baseballs into orbit. And Marwin is a utility player; let that soak into your head like an overpriced chip absorbs fake nacho cheese at the JuiceBox. On any other team, he’s a starter and invitee to the All Star game. In Houston, he’s essentially a sub; it is an embarrassment of riches. “No sir, I’m leaving the blue Corvette at home today and driving the red Corvette.”

Yet good fortunes in the show means misfortune of sorts for Astros’ neglected AAA players. In most systems, they’d be major league starters or at least dugout residents in the show. Most of Houston’s minor league position players privately grind it out in half-filled stadiums with no realistic hope of moving out of Corpus Christi this season.

Yankee skipper Joe Girardi told the press that the Astros offense is “relentless.” Commentators from ESPN to New York, who were historically reluctant to label my team anything coming close to the “best team in baseball” are calling Houston well, “the best team in baseball.” (Author pauses to bask in the glow of a label that even he has never affixed to the Houston Astros. And to say he is “kinda biased” is like saying his Astros season tickets are “kinda pricey.”)

The photo of towering masher Aaron Judge standing in the baselines next to the shortest and perhaps best infielder in the majors Jose Altuve is symbolic; Houston is a mid-market team with a spotty performance history and no world series trophies. Of course, big market, ancient franchises such as New York garner more attention and thus have the cash to consistently field competitive teams. They are the big dogs; we are the little guys.

But standing next to heralded Yankee Judge is a diminutive, dedicated player who years ago stood atop of the ashes of a dismantled team and stuck it out through rough times; he battled past a 100 loss season to make the current march toward a 100 win season. In the face of the worst odds (and mockery), he hung tight as did Houston fans. Even as the media mostly ignored and dismissed us (often deservedly so), we stayed through decades of thick and mostly thin. And now, Altuve’s team is arguably on the threshold of durable greatness.

Are my guys a lock for the World Series? Of course not; and even if they make it, they could be swept. It’s baseball, man. But I’m satisfied just to get noticed over the Aaron Judges in the world of baseball and receive a well-earned, mostly universal respect. It is a deserved respect for a team that has for decades toiled away in relative obscurity.

Go ‘Stros!

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KC Baker
About the Author

K.C. Baker is an old school Astros fan, spending many a hot summer day in the cool confines of the Dome. He just finished his 28th year as a practicing attorney and likes to spend all of his spare time in New Braunfels, Texas with his wife of 29 years and their three children. Follow him on Twitter @KenCBake

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