CHIPALATTA

All Things Astros and a whole lot more

Why are you — yes, you! — still paying attention to the Astros?


Barring a late-season “collapse”, the Astros are on pace to lose an organization-worst 108 games and clinch an unprecedented third straight #1 pick in next June’s draft.

With 19 games remaining, neither Miami nor the White Sox have been able to keep pace with Houston’s continued slide over the past quarter of the season.

Houston’s lead over Miami (7 games) and Chicago (10 1/2) hasn’t budged in recent weeks and the Astros’ magic number to clinching is now 13. Any combination of Astros’ losses and Miami wins totaling 13 will give the Astros the #1 pick. Yahoo, right!?

With a third 100-loss season virtually in the bank, no promise of contention in 2014 and only glimpses of hope for the future with players like Jarred Cosart, Brett Oberholtzer, George Springer and a handful of others, many fans have abandoned the Astros.

Houston’s major newspaper has pulled its writers from covering Astros’ games. Meanwhile, the Texans are taking all the headlines.

Bungled public relations debacles like CSN, George Postolos’ missteps and owner Jim Crane’s “put up your $10 million” quote have disgusted many fans. Meanwhile, attendance appears to be headed for an eighth straight seasonal decrease.

Not only is Astros’ management working to rebuild the team on the field, they will now spend the next few years rebuilding relationships with Astros’ fans and the Houston community.

So, with such a bleak outlook and an organization that continues to scrape the bottom of the proverbial barrel, it begs the question: Do fans still care? Are fans paying attention at all?

It’s clear only the diehards remain. And those diehards are frustrated and ready to throw things. In fact, even some of those diehards are now watching football, working in their gardens or spending time elsewhere.

What about you? Why are you still paying attention? Why do you still care?

What gives you the staying power to watch, listen to or at least check the boxscores on a regular basis?

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About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in Colorado Springs, CO, and is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 40 years. A native of Natchitoches, La., Chip enjoys watching baseball at most any level, especially pro and college. Several years ago, he worked as an associate of Pastor John Bosman, who enjoyed giving nick names to his staff. He came up with Chipalatta, and it’s stuck.

31 comments on “Why are you — yes, you! — still paying attention to the Astros?

  1. Steven
    September 10, 2013

    If Cosart wants to win more games he needs to get better than 6 walks in 5 innings, throwing his pitch count so high that he is pulled, and handing the ball to a mediocre long reliever.

    This teams bullpen maybe the worst area of a bunch of bad areas.

    I am box score watching because Crane wanted to get rich. The Astros as an organization are pressing for higher revenues while giving a skimped product on the field. You can defend it all you want with platitudal explanations like a rebuild was necessary, the drafting has been poor, etc., all true, but the product is what it is. We are rolling on our 3rd straight 100 loss season. I do beliee that Springer and Cosart make this team marginally better next year, maybe enough to avoid 100 losses, but the cavalry can’t come fast enough.

    I guess my disappointment at the front office is while they cut salary to the point they did, they made very little effort to reach out to the fan. I don’t live in Houston, but I haven’t read or heard about any “reach outs,” lowered tickets, free parking, and this TV debacle doesn’t look good. Not trying to be a negative nancy about the TV thing, it’s not in the current admins control given – Crane and crew was handed this problem, but like Obama being handed a pitiful budget – and doing absolutely nothing to fix it – the problem is now YOURS.

    Like

    • chipalatta
      September 10, 2013

      Steven, agreed on Cosart’s walks. It’s been a problem in his minor league career as well. One point: He’s at 153 IP for the season (OKC/Houston), the most in his career. While the Astros have used him well, wouldn’t be surprised to see him either shut down or moved to the bullpen to minimize his pitch count between now and the end of the season.

      Like

      • daveb
        September 10, 2013

        I think I read somewhere that Cosart is indeed being shut down for the season. And no pen either. Same with Wojoski.

        Like

    • devin_
      September 10, 2013

      I agree 100% about the walks. Just for fun I decided to look up the league leaders. Harrell is first with 82 for the season. Bedard is seventh with 71. The rest of the guys in the top ten are all starters. I hope Houston comes to spring training next season with a plan to play outstanding defense and force the hitters to put the ball in play. Otherwise, we’ll be seeing a bullpen that may not be much better than in 2013 work long innings and continue to blow games.

      Like

  2. 1oldpro
    September 10, 2013

    Uh, yeah, I’m still a fan. Last night I had MILB scoreboard, Crawfish gamethread, chron.com gameview, Jason Schwartz on Tunein and the Texans on DVR, all at the same time. My wife was content watching an Errol Flynn movie.
    If I’ve learned one thing from being an avid Astros fan from the very beginning, it’s patience.
    I have kept my sanity by delving into the Astros affiliates, finding the gold in the system . It is a recipe for controlling disappointment of the current Astros.
    I will say this: all the stats in the world won’t mean anything until this team is composed of hitters who bat between .275 and .320. When that happens, the great arms we are accumulating in the starting rotation AND in the bullpen can relax and throw strikes. I cannot fault rookie pitchers who are trying to learn on the run with a club that may set the MLB record for being struck out. Fields last night was a great example: Gave up a HR but got the save because he could throw HIS pitches with a 3 run lead in the ninth. That is a luxury we have not seen much of.

    Like

  3. daveb
    September 10, 2013

    Why am I still paying attention? There’s a whole new set of dynamics. You’ve got new ownership that most people simply don’t like. Can the Crane Group turn this thing around? Will they spend money? Is this the correct path to take in rebuilding an organization from the ground up?

    But I think the most interesting thing to me is that I find myself digging way down deeper into the organization and following, at least to some extent, 100 plus players, rather than the 25 guys I used to stay familiar with on the ML roster.

    Like

  4. tedf1948
    September 10, 2013

    I still follow because this season has finally turned around my way of competitive thinking. I now check to see if either Miami or the White Sox won or lost, then I check to see what happened to the ‘Stros. Both my wife and I now figure that there is no way Houston can be caught at this point. We are going to win the first pick again! Life is good.

    Like

  5. Astro45
    September 10, 2013

    Still in the black out (except Rangers games). Check the box score and gameview each night. I know there is something wrong with me. I also watch long funeral processions, and the occasional train wreck.

    Like

  6. Becky
    September 10, 2013

    Because I love baseball…..simple as that. I’ve been following the minor league
    players, especially the Hooks because there is where the future is. Some mighty
    fine pitchers down there, and THESE are the guys we will be cheering for in 2014-2015!

    Like

  7. Sandy
    September 10, 2013

    It’s an addiction I can’t shake. My friends and family whisper about me behind my back.

    Seriously though. They are my team and I love them.

    Like

    • Becky
      September 10, 2013

      AMEN Sandy!!!

      Like

    • BrianT
      September 11, 2013

      Yes, I think we all need an intervention. Maybe a mandatory hospital stay. And all our Altuve and Bagwell jerseys confiscated.

      Like

  8. Dan P
    September 10, 2013

    Sometimes I wonder why….is it just habit??
    I am a different kind of fan now. I pay way more attention to the minors now than I ever did in the past. I’m a little choosier about my fandom – I am more likely to tune out a game or not even watch it at all than I would in the past.
    I do enjoy seeing younger guys – I wish we had more of the long term youngsters at the major league level, but they should be coming in strong in the next two seasons.
    I have always loved the game of baseball the best – though I still love football and basketball. Don’t ask me why – I know it is more old fashioned and archaic, but that could describe me, also. I don’t have to have everything in my life flashing by me like some ADHD collage. I don’t mind having a game that takes time to develop. It is like a movie – I don’t have to have 120 minutes of totally submerged computer generated noise and visions… I’m OK with a slower pace and a little character development.
    But while I’m at it … way to go Texans 31 – Chargers 28.

    Like

  9. Billy Castillo
    September 11, 2013

    Cody Clark is now 0-24 with 12 strikeouts… when is Stassi due back again?!

    Like

    • daveb
      September 11, 2013

      That’s pretty much what Wallace did to start the season, Billy.

      Like

  10. Tim
    September 11, 2013

    Similar to the comments above I have been following the minor league teams the past 2-3 years since the major league team has been abysmal. I love baseball and the Astros are my team so to help keep my sanity I look for the silver lining with the success of the minor league teams. I also like following the young guys on the Astros and see their progression. It is limited, but the current Astros rosters do have some decent players like Altuve, Cosart (although he is done for the year) and even guys like Hoes and Grossman (once he gets healthy again).

    Like

  11. daveb
    September 11, 2013

    Seems that Altuve is happy to be out of the three hole in the line up. And so much for being exhausted. Timely column Dan.

    Like

    • Dan P
      September 11, 2013

      Yeah, for whatever reason – last season in the 2 hole he had .318 BA / .776 OPS – this season in the 3 hole .241 BA and .578 OPS.
      One really bad Altuve stat – he has not walked since August 16th!
      That is approx. 106 ABs and 23 games. Yikes!

      Like

  12. BrianT
    September 11, 2013

    Well, I paid for MLB on the Interwebs, so I keep watching/listening. That and it’s an addiction. … I need help!

    Like

  13. Becky
    September 11, 2013

    Dan P—–My husband had the Texans game on TV, while I was listening to the Astros radio on Monday…….MY team deserved to win, your Texans just got LUCKY!

    Like

    • Dan P
      September 11, 2013

      The Texans won 75% of their regular season games in 2012 – the Astros the last three years the Astros have won about 33% of their games. The Texans make their luck. Someday the Astros will too.

      Like

    • Sandy
      September 11, 2013

      Well said.

      Like

  14. Becky
    September 11, 2013

    You do KNOW I was just ribbing you……didn’t you!!!

    Like

  15. Bo Weaver
    September 12, 2013

    I don’t know. Good question.

    Like

  16. Becky
    September 12, 2013

    *SWEEP*!!!! Nice to get a sweep coming back to Houston. Question for you guys
    If you had to pick three guys in the bullpen, right now to start 2014, who would you pick? Not including Harrell, or Humber…..I would pick Zied Chapman. and Fields.
    AND…….yet ANOTHER error by Villar tonight. That kid can’t go two games in a row without an error.

    Like

    • Dan P
      September 12, 2013

      Yes, Becky – he is an error machine – but he does do some positive things on the baseball field. His OBP at .352 is the highest on the team. He is on pace for scoring 93 runs and stealing 66 bases in 162 games. I don’t know if there is anything can do to improve his fielding (especially his throwing) but he is the closest thing to a leadoff man this team has seen in the last few years. He just turned 22 in July – have to give the kid a chance….

      Like

    • Astro45
      September 12, 2013

      Becky, when Villar came up, I made a post on Chron about his errors and got drubbed for being negative. His minor league fielding record is about the same. HOWEVER, if you look up the minor league record of several shortstops like Jeter, or Ripkin, they obviously worked hard and improved. So, he has room to improve, but if he doesn’t, I don’t see how you can keep him at short if he continues to make that many errors.

      Like

    • Dan P
      September 12, 2013

      I’m wondering if he eventually could be at 2nd base.

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        September 12, 2013

        I was wondering the same thing.

        Like

  17. devin_
    September 12, 2013

    Hey Becky, that’s only their second sweep of the season (Angels).

    We’re 50-96 with 16 games remaining.
    Angels x3 (nothing to play for)
    Reds x3 (wild card #2 right now)
    @Indians x4 (1.5 behind wild card #2)
    @Rangers x3 (wild card #1 right now)
    Yankees x3 (1 behind wild card #2)

    So why am I paying attention? Baseball is my obsession and the Astros have been my team since moving to the city in the mid-80’s. I’m holding out hope we can finish with a flurry and better last year’s record. The delusional side of me is hoping for a 13-3 finish. However, against one expensive dog and five teams hoping to not make golf reservations for next month that looks to be very unlikely. The optimistic side of me says that with a 5 game lead over the Marlins for last place we should have a difficult time losing out on the 2014 # draft pick. It would be crushing to endure this season (after the last two) and then not have the option of taking the best player in the draft.

    Like

  18. rj1953
    September 16, 2013

    i guess if you want to say something positive the best place to look is the farm system. its still strange to hear ‘the astros have one of the best systems in either league’, after all those years of neglect. i pay attention because i always have and i always will, but its nice to have a little glimpse of hope.

    Like

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This entry was posted on September 10, 2013 by in Astros.
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