2015 has been a learning experience in the laboratory of mad doctor Jeff Luhnow and his minions, but more than just the front office has learned things this season.
The Team. The fan’s first wish coming down the stretch was for the team to make the playoffs at all. The second wish was to get by the wildcard and play a meaningful series. The Astros luckily got to do that. They learned what happens in a pennant race when each game becomes more important and they learned to step on the gas in the last week when every game meant a lot more to them than to their opposition, the M’s and the D’Backs. They learned what a one and done was like in the hottest cauldron of all, New York City, as they played a flawless game in the wild card. And they showed they had learned how to go toe to toe with the defending American League Champions, the KC Royals. They also learned that the late great Yogi Berra was unfortunately correct when he said “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
The Manager and Coaches. They probably ultimately learned that it does not matter whether you bring in Will Harris and Josh Fields or bring in Mike Fiers and Dallas Keuchel out of the bullpen, you will get second guessed either way. Hopefully they learned something about putting together a playoff roster and the fact that it does not do you any good to have people populating it that you do not intend to use at any significant moment. They also learned, we hope that Game 4 can be an all in-game, just like Game 5.
The Front Office. The dire hope is that they learned their plan can work, but that they must have less flawed players, especially on the offensive side of the ball. They learned that a top-notch best in the AL ERA for the pitching staff can be built at a reasonable cost if you have 3 top-notch starting pitchers pitching for peanuts. They learned that if you ignore certain problems in the lineup that they don’t go away. They also may have learned that they are better at drafting talent than trading for it.
The Fans. They learned that any team can surprise you and that spring training expectations are meaningless until the rubber hits the road and the spikes hit the field. They learned that internal expectations rise with the team’s performance and that once a team is in the pennant race and the playoffs that it is impossible to not picture a crown on that team’s head. They also re-learned that even over-reaching expectations can end in gut wrenching hurt when the team falters with the next round in their hands.
Now it is your turn.
- What did you learn this season?
- What do you think a particular person or persons in the organization learned this season?
- What do you hope was learned this season by the team, the managers and coaches and the front office?