Confessions and concessions of a long-time Astros’ fan

By Chip Bailey

As the Astros get set to sail on what may seem like that well-known three-hour tour, some fans are ready to start bailing water from what some consider a sinking ship.

This long-time fan and many others still believe in The Luhnow Plan and still wave the In Luhnow We Trust banner, but based on the comments on this blog and others, patience is wearing thin, confidence is waning and the edges of sanity are beginning to fray.

The 2014 season is pivotal, if nothing else but for the confidence in Astros’ management. If the Astros lose 100 games, a single finger in the dam won’t hold the flood of criticism and calls for firings, moving/selling the team and I told you so’s.

This entry should not be construed as an indictment on the current state of affairs.  There are many positives about the organization, not the least of which has them ranked as one of the top minor leagues of all. I still believe the Astros will return, just not on fans’ timeline. But, as my friend Dan Peschong recently opined: “…fans want a bone thrown our way”.

With that in mind, here are a few concessions and confessions from a long-time Astros’ fan.

First, the concessions.

The Astros won’t be good this year.

The Astros just aren’t good at PR.

  • Of course, PR isn’t their job. Winning is, and the Astros’ brass knows that when the day comes Houston wins 90 games, fans will come back. Still, everyone knows Jim Crane doesn’t get fans. Doesn’t connect. Doesn’t understand the guy sitting in section 151, row 23.  Now — as much as I like him — I wonder how much Jeff Luhnow relates. The Astros are 30th in payroll to start the season and he takes issue with the accounting methods? He says accountants didn’t add this, should’ve considered that? Heck, throw another $10 million just for a cushion and you’re still 29th! Should just say “hey, hang on, season’s not over, rebuilding’s not done, we’re moving forward”. And, just move forward.

The Astros aren’t concerned about 2014.

  • This season was never the goal for Crane and Luhnow. However, this long-time fan and followers thought that Year 3 of the new regime would show a marked improvement. Just how long does it take to get some traction? It’s all about expectations though. Fans expected the Astros to take a huge step forward in 2014. However, management sees 2014 as just another stepping stone in the plan, confident that no matter how many of the remaining fans leave that those same fans — and many others — will return when the plans begins to bear fruit.

And, now for the confessions.

Yes, I was hoping for more…and better.

  • Six weeks ago, I was expecting to be talking about Jonathan Singleton, Michael Foltynewicz and that other guy. Not L.J. Hoes, Alex Presley and Anthony Bass. I was hoping for another late spring training trade. I was hoping one of the youngsters would blast their way onto the roster a la Jeff Bagwell. I was hoping for a lot more.

Yes, it’s possible the Astros could lose 100.

  • While I don’t believe it’s probable, I must admit that it’s quite possible the Astros will lose 100 games for a (gulp) fourth straight season. Just seems to me the Astros would do everything to avoid that plight, but it just seems they aren’t.

Yes, I’m losing that positive edge.

  •  With apologies to Scott Feldman and Dexter Fowler, most of the bones Dan referred to will be thrown to us from another state — or at least another city — when the season starts.

Yes, I was hoping 2014 would be different.

  • No one was/is asking for the playoffs or even a .500 team. No one expected a Cy Young Award winner or even a Silver Slugger. Any of those would be nice, of course, but most non-fair-weather fans knew what they were in for with the Astros. Still — still! — a reasonable goal should have been 70 wins with an outside shot at 75. It can still be different, yes. But if the cavalry isn’t rushing Minute Maid by June, the Astros won’t be able to give tickets away.

And, yes, I was hoping against hope a miracle would happen and I could watch the Astros on TV.

  • Yes, I’d watch a bad team. Would just like to watch my Astros.

To be sure, the 2014 season could turn out alright with marked improvement and a positive step in the reconstruction. I still have my fingers crossed, but I’m no longer holding my breath.

28 comments on “Confessions and concessions of a long-time Astros’ fan

  1. I’m with you here Chip. I always wanted them to rebuild the minor league system, but like back in 1992 – I wanted them to start using it. I know it is a different economic world – I don’t care. If they are going to struggle I was wanting to see some of this young talent bubble up not be suppressed down. Maybe by July I will be feeling different, but for now I cannot get jacked up about practically anything relative to the team performing in Houston. Maybe Cosart and Oberhotzer will lead me to be excited – but I am very cynical right now.


  2. I could not agree more.

    I just think about my own posts and comments where I argue both for and against bringing up that other guy for opening day. It’s a conflicting time for even the most die-hard Astros fan.

    I console myself with the fact that the team by mid-June will look different. And the team in late July different from that one. But as we await the arrival of the Yankees (spit!), I’m not feeling the joy I’d hoped.


  3. It is intriguing to me how my feelings have changed about the Astros condition. I think it is partly because of the same do-nothing attitude the team took this offseason along with its inability to fix its huge empty spaces on the diamond, and the sense of despair left from the Texans season where they did the exact same thing to fix their problems: nothing.
    How does a team fix the starting pitching problem with signing an ace who had a .500 record for teams who hit much better than the Astros do? and how does Lucas Harrell help fix the problem?
    How in the world does Jerome Williams help fix the worst bullpen ever?
    Why aren’t some of the young arms moving up?
    How does Alex Pressley and Hoes beat out a five-tool stud that everyone knows should be out there.
    Why couldn’t we find a first baseman? Seriously.
    How can the owner of a baseball team talk about possibly being .500 with this team?
    How can a team be so stupid as to not have a TV deal and then try to get one by fielding a minor league team?
    How do you instill a winning attitude in a group of players who know that the upper management of the team is absolutely not interested in winning right now?


  4. The only consolation is that the Cubs are also holding back their elite prospects in 2014, but the flip side is that they, and not our Astros, may wind up with a multi-year run of success.

    I agree with Brian T and probably appear all over the map. Here are my opinions going into the season:
    1. 2013 was a regression from 2012 thanks to a 15 game skid in Sept. How can a professional team look that inept?
    2. The 2012 draft looks OK at this point.
    3. The 2013 draft looks good, but many of us will grumble about the bats we didn’t get.
    4. We need to see Springer before the summer. It’s up to him to force their hand I think.
    5. Luhnow needs to be careful not to get Daryl Morey disease. Both need to understand they are not as clever s they think and making petulent statements in the press will evaporate good will with the fans.


  5. Luhnow’s statement was plain silly – his point being that the numbers should not be trusted because they do not take into account what they will be paying the Pirates for Wandy – $5 million.
    Any way you slice it they are at the bottom in payroll this season and he should not be offended by someone pointing it out.


  6. I am so inept with the internet. Can somebody with the ability answer one question for me. How many current Yankees have more career home runs individually than the than the entire Astros team collectively? I still include Rodriguez as a Yankee, though he is currently suspended.


    • I came up with the Astros active roster at 220 career HR and five current Yankees with more: A-rod 654, Jeter 256, Soriano 406, Tex 341, and Beltran 368. McCann only has 176.


      • oldpro – I’m a few moments late – I came up with the same list. Ichiro came up to 1/2 of the Astros total also. And I do not count A-Rod. Sorry excuse for a person I think much less a ball player.


  7. How in the world does Jerome Williams help fix the worst bullpen ever? HE DOESN’T!
    How does Alex Pressley and Hoes beat out a five-tool stud that everyone knows should be out there. STINKY FISH HEAD
    Why couldn’t we find a first baseman? Seriously. I THOUGHT KRAUSS WAS THE SAVE-ALL?
    How can the owner of a baseball team talk about possibly being .500 with this team? THE SAME REASON HE CAN TALK ABOUT SIGNING $120MIL+ FA’S — IT’S ALL BS
    How can a team be so stupid as to not have a TV deal and then try to get one by fielding a minor league team? STINKY FISH HEAD DIDNT PAY ATTENTION TO ‘MARKET DEMAND’ TOPIC IN ECON101 IN COLLEGE.


  8. And Vegas still believes in the Astros. They are only 250-1 odds to win the WS. I would like to find that 1 person out of 250 and sell them a bridge I don’t own, but still….. better odds than I would have thought.


  9. I confess that I now know that CSN are thieves, Rockets only care for their team, DMc is a liar, Springer is greedy, Cosart is a troublemaker, & Buchanan married a ‘Ho. And I confess that had I only chipped in $10 Million, we could have a great team this year. And the understatement in Chip’s blog was “The Astros just aren’t good at PR.”


  10. Ahhh in ’98, the Astros fans actually had something legit to root for.

    Not sure which blogger originally compared Crane to the stinky fish head — but the comparison was brilliant. It stinks up there!


  11. What ever happened to Stinky Fish Head getting an answer by yesterday on MLB Extra Innings lifting the local blackout for Astros games? I am still waiting on an answer for that.


    • Could it be that Crane got his answer, and it’s not favorable (to him) to announce?

      Seriously, the blackout is NOT going to be lifted, and purchasing Lastros games a la carte won’t be an option for the few remaining (screwed) fans out there.

      If there WAS an option to purchase games a la carte, don’;t you think that Crane would be pushing it like crack to inner city children?

      Besides, common sense dictates that Comcast would object to that vehemently. And lastly, why should Crane get special favors over other franchises regarding blackout rules??


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