CHIPALATTA

All Things Astros and a whole lot more

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.

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About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in beautiful Colorado Springs, CO, and wakes up each morning to the tallest spot in the region, Pikes Peak. He is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 50 years. A native of another picturesque city, 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. Pastor Bosman came up with Chipalatta, and it has stuck.

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

  1. Dan P
    March 28, 2014

    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.

    Like

  2. BrianT
    March 28, 2014

    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.

    Like

  3. Bo Weaver
    March 28, 2014

    What? No Marc Krauss fever??

    Like

    • BrianT
      March 28, 2014

      Oh, I’ve got the fever. But the rest of the team has given me an upset stomach, and that’s what really ails me.

      Like

  4. 1oldpro
    March 28, 2014

    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?

    Like

    • daveb
      March 28, 2014

      My turn for the amen.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      March 28, 2014

      As a side note, I noticed that last year Feldman was pitching for the team with the highest fielding percentage in the entire major leagues. He is now pitching for the team that had the lowest fielding percentage of any team in the entire major leagues.

      Like

      • daveb
        March 28, 2014

        That’s an interesting, relevant side note.

        Like

  5. Devin
    March 28, 2014

    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.

    Like

  6. Dan P
    March 28, 2014

    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.

    Like

  7. Bo Weaver
    March 28, 2014

    I bet Presley has a catcher’s mitt too. Just sayin’.

    Like

  8. 1oldpro
    March 28, 2014

    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.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      March 28, 2014

      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.

      Like

      • Dan P
        March 28, 2014

        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.

        Like

  9. Bo Weaver
    March 28, 2014

    How in the world does Jerome Williams help fix the worst bullpen ever? HE DOESN’T!
    Why aren’t some of the young arms moving up? BLAME IT ON THE STINKY FISH HEAD, AND HIS CONCERN FOR HIS WALLET OVER THE FANS/PLAYERS/CITY.
    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.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      March 28, 2014

      ‘Stinky fish head’? All caps? Did I accidently travel back to 1998 and end up in an AOL chatroom?

      Like

      • BrianT
        March 28, 2014

        Now Billy, let’s not make fun of other people. Oh, wait, that’s what Bo is doing. Never mind.

        Like

      • Dan P
        March 28, 2014

        BILLY – BRILLIANT!!!!!!

        Like

      • Becky
        March 28, 2014

        Laughed my butt off with this Billy!!

        Like

      • Devin
        March 28, 2014

        That would be pretty sweet to go back to 1998 era Astros, but I don’t want to see Walt Weiss or Jim leyritz again.

        Like

    • 1oldpro
      March 28, 2014

      You made me laugh. Thanks

      Like

  10. Dan P
    March 28, 2014

    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.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      March 28, 2014

      That one person is probably a Cubs season ticket holder.

      Like

  11. Astro45
    March 28, 2014

    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.”

    Like

  12. Bo Weaver
    March 28, 2014

    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!

    Like

  13. daveb
    March 29, 2014

    I said, “The fish stinks from the head down”.

    Like

  14. Tim
    March 29, 2014

    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.

    Like

    • Bo Weaver
      March 29, 2014

      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??

      Like

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This entry was posted on March 28, 2014 by in Astros.
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