The Year of the Stros

by KC Baker | Posted on Monday, March 28th, 2016
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MLB: Colorado Rockies at Houston Astros

Too much digital ink has been wasted by this blogger on the second-class citizen treatment of my beloved Houston Astros. Sports Illustrated issues them a cover as this year’s World Series Champions and the first thing that popped into my head was “aw geeze, thanks for the jinx.” As we all know, SI’s predictions are almost always wrong and the teams or players stained by their “champion” or “rookie of the year” cover often spiral into oblivion to one degree or another. This time it could be the Stros that go belly up like many SI favorite before. But this time, I’m going to take it for what it’s worth and let the Baseball Godz decide and finally knock that medium market chip off my shoulder. Because it’s baseball man and this is the Year of the Stros.

Where to begin? The home team boasts the most lethal first four batters in the majors. Show me one that is scarier. Altuve the diminutive hitting machine followed by George Springer. Then we give you Carlos Correa, a young superstar with a unique maturity I frankly have never seen. Number four is Carlos Gomez. Oh and wait; I forgot to mention, team home run leader Luis Valbuena and rejuvenated Colby Rasmus are only a few slots down from the first four beasts. And every one, to a man, is happy about being a Houston Astros and ready to kick that ass.

The path to the Astros mound is also a turnstile for winners. Go beard or go home at number one. Collin McHugh, Lance McCullers and new Stro Doug Fister offer zero comfort to opposing batters. And finally, thankfully we have a legit power closer in Ken Giles. Not to knock Gregerson but the finesse thing was not a huge success last year. Houston needed a power closer that intimidated, not a hanky and ping-pong ball magic show.

Fielding? Don’t even go there. Altuve and Correa are both human highlight reels, leaving it all on the field each time and every time. I expect another season of a diving, leaping, wall-crashing George Springer robbing hitters of sure hits and RBIs. The affable but ineffective Chris Carter is gone and it appears Tyler White will upgrade the team at first. Someone, please tell me where you see a weakness.

Amplifying all the talent is a joyful love of the game and enthusiasm for being a Houston Astros. Long gone is the day when superstars like Randy Johnson or Carlos “Buckstran” Beltran (no, I will never stop on that one) passed through not giving a damn for the club. Check out Altuve and Correa leaping into the air to celebrate a play; or George Springer’s infectious smile from the dugout. These are the Houston Astros 2016. It’s a different team. A better team. I’ve watched the Astros through thick and thin and this is the thickest they have ever been.

And we return to my initial thought. I complained about the lack of national respect for my mighty mighty Stros and then caterwaul when we get it in the form of an SI cover. No mas, amigos. Jinx be damned. I’m as happy as a pig in slop. As giddy as a school girl. I am in high cotton. My season tickets are bought and paid for. I will be purchasing my new gear to wear at the Juice Box. Buckle up my funky friends because this is the Year of the 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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