Houston fans know the drill. If you were born here you were weary last night. You were worried even when the Astros went up 2-0. You winced when KC went up 4-2 and even when our ace hit the mound you were sweating out every pitch like a “D” student at a spelling bee. Even after the three run HR Morales blasted to put the game away we still hoped. But secretly we brought up all the demons of Houston sports history. We thought about the 6-2 lead on Monday that was blown, the sweep of the Astros ten years ago in their only World Series appearance, The Buffalo Bills comeback on the Oilers, the fact that our only two championships, the 94-95 Rockets, are belittled by the national media because Air Jordan was retired (We would have beaten them anyway IMHO). All this bled into our minds, and out our eyes as tears fell and washed away our championship dreams. Take heed Houston fans, Astros fans…Our struggle may be real but this team is for real too…
By most standards and predictions this team was at best a 3rd place team in the division but certainly wouldn’t be playing anything meaningful in August much less October. They had been the laughing stock, the joke, the butt of all jokes for seasons full of futility. 100 losses were the norm. It was that short guy and the rest of them who shouldn’t even be on a major league roster. It was who is going to manage that hot mess? Will they even have an All-Star representative? Will their starting pitching even be able to get an out? Bullpen? They strike out too much, can’t get anyone out and will be lucky to get to 60 wins. Fast forward to today.
Our starting rotation produced a 20 game, Kuechel, and a 19 game, McHugh, winner. Fiers pitched a no hitter and Kazmir was AL pitcher of the month in July. Our 5th arm McCullers produced a respectable 3.22 ERA and would have been the winning pitcher had the bullpen not blown the lead Monday. Our team posted the 6th best fielding percentage in the Majors. And our offense was 2nd in OPS, Slugging, Homeruns and 6th in RBI’s and Runs. They set a team record 21 runs scored in a late season tilt versus the Diamondbacks. They also have the probable Rookie of the year and star in the making in Correa who looks to be a fixture at SS for a decade or more at least.
This team broke through in a big way. And despite obvious needs in the bullpen and a high average bat, this team is built to win. They are brash, young, and just got a taste of that postseason honey. They will return most of their core next season and will be among the favorites for another postseason run in 2016. In other words, the sun has set on this season, but hope will spring anew and the Astros for once in a long time will have their fair share of it next Spring. And even though as fans we struggle with being a fan we know this team is and will be for REAL too. Take your trophy and… Wait Til Next Year…
Congrats on a great season. See you next year.
Bad News Bears-The Bad News Bears (1976) Dir. Michael Ritchie
Congrats Astros- ABC Channel 13 Houston