In search of the Astros fans’ happy place


Perhaps you should ignore anyone who uses the word “classic” in conjunction with the words “Adam Sandler” to lead off a baseball blog post. But here goes nothing.

In the classic Adam Sandler comedy “Happy Gilmore”, Mr. Sandler plays a hockey player turned pro golfer, who struggles with – ahem – anger and control issues. While he can certainly drive for show with adrenaline fueled 400+ yard drives, he struggles with the putt for dough part of the game. His one-handed pro instructor and mentor Apollo Creed (maybe I’m mixing movies up here) encourages Happy to find his Happy Place when facing challenges on the golf course. So, Happy visualizes a wonderful imaginary place where he wins the girl, his grandma is taken care of and a dwarf rides around on a horse like it’s a David Lynch movie.

And so today, the assignment is to visualize your own happy place as an Astros’ fan, the place that gives you comfort and hope heading towards the last month of the regular season and turning the corner into the playoffs.

Here’s what Dan P’s happy place looks like……

  • Dallas Keuchel, who has been the most dominant pitcher in the AL, except for his first three starts coming off the DL, continues to punch out the opposition, much like Bob Barker did to Adam Sandler about half way through the movie.
  • Lance McCullers Jr. returns from his minor league rehab with a healed body and a healed psyche and pairs a calmer head with nasty stuff, exactly like Happy Gilmore learned to do.
  • The best SS in the game, Carlos Correa works through his rehab and returns to the lineup allowing his pals to find their correct place in the offense. Similar to Happy Gilmore finding out that he was a much better golfer than hockey player, Jose Altuve will find he is a much better Jose Altuve than a Carlos Correa wannabe.
  • Will Harris returns to a bullpen that has already been deepened by the acquisitions of righty Tyler Clippard and lefty Francisco Liriano (Hey, Liriano has not given up an earned run in the last 6 appearances and actually stranded one runner in his last 4 appearances) and the sudden improvement of Joe Musgrove in high leverage situations. Mr. Harris makes this an even more formidable bullpen against the evil forces in the world – evil like Ben Stiller’s character, which turns Happy’s grandma’s retirement home into a sweat shop.
  • Charlie Morton and Brad Peacock morph into a 9 inning tandem team that can hold the opposition to a run or so every time out. This is like how Happy and his coach, Chubbs, work together to make a golfing champion out of a guy with some limitations.
  • Finally my happy place has the Texas Rangers watching the Astros winning the World Series they have been chasing since 1961. In “Happy Gilmore” the bad guy, Shooter McGavin, gets to watch his worst nightmare up close as Happy takes home the golden jacket and the girl and wins back his grandma’s home and I can only imagine this would be how the Rangers would feel if their cousins to the south take home the whole enchilada.

So what does your happy place look like?

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97 comments on “In search of the Astros fans’ happy place

      • With apologies to Willie Nelson

        If the Astros had not fallen
        Then we would not have seen old pro
        An Angel flying too close to the ground
        And they patched up Keuchel’s broken back
        And hung around a while
        Tried not to let the fan’s spirits go down
        And keep the pennant fever up
        I knew someday that bopert would fly back
        For winning’s the greatest healer to be found
        So cheer the Astros if you need to
        We will still remember
        Angels flying too close to the Astros
        Fly on, fly on past the Rangers, M’s and A’s
        I’d rather see the Astros up
        So you won’t feel down
        Close your eyes in the close games if you need to
        I will still remember old pro,
        An Angel flying too close to the ground

        Liked by 3 people

  1. The ninth inning last night made me happier than I’ve been, as a fan, in weeks. I know it’s a long season, but I want a championship team. I want a team that shows determination and doesn’t go through the motions. Mostly, assuming they hold on and make the postseason, I don’t want to see them look happy to be there in any game…I want to see them come out with some fire.

    What doesn’t make me happy? Keuchel has three gold gloves…he should be fielding his position better and making smarter throws. Now, I’ll excuse it some yesterday because Marwin’s not a real first baseman, but he still shouldn’t have made that mistake. As for Jake Marisnick, he had a rough series despite the HR. I’m most disappointed he let Zimmerman score from first on that single in the 11th. He had a long way to run, but should have known with two outs and the (slow) runner moving on contact that an attempt to score was possible. If he fields and makes a strong throw to the cut off man we probably prevent the run and keep Wieters (also slow) at first.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. – In my happy place Carlos Correa would have a great rehab and knock in a couple of runs in a game where Fresno actually drummed the Mariners’ AAA farm team.
    – In my happy place, Evan Gattis and Brian Mccann are our catchers once again and pitchers have a rough time getting through our lineup once.
    – In my happy place, the Astros would have a 12.5 game lead in the only division in baseball with four teams over .500.
    – In my happy place, Carlos Beltran announces his retirement while leading a victory parade through downtown Houston and I felt good enough to travel to Houston to be there.
    – In my happy place, Marwin is a super sub again.
    – In my happy place, Chris Devenski is pitching in the 11th inning and mowing them down.
    – In my happy place, JD Davis is tearing up the Texas league and John Singleton is playing in the Mexican League.
    – In my happy place, Red Sox fans are watching Chris Sale give up seven runs.
    – In my happy place, the Astros win 21 games in September and people are saying “watch out for the Astros” once again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m feeling happier just visiting OP’s Happy Place.
      And I should add the return of second half Collin McHugh, who looked pretty darned good to my happy place.

      Like

  3. More: –
    – In my happy place, now that Peacock and Morton have actually learned how to pitch well, their next step is to learn to pitch well into the sixth or seventh inning. How were they ever going to learn that, when they were never good enough to go five innings before?
    – In my happy place, someone in the Astros organization has the coaching talent to teach Michael Feliz a good third pitch and utilize his great talent, since he only recently turned 24.
    – In my happy place, BJ Bukauskas is next year’s Forrest Whitley, only two years more advanced.
    – In my happy place, Kyle Tucker is as good in 2018 as he has been in 2017.
    – In my happy place, David Paulino has grown up and is ready and able to contribute.
    – In my happy place, George Springer is the guy who makes Jake Marisnick the defensive sub in LF/RF.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Everything Sandy just said!! Luhnow….you either want to win it, or your team sits on the couch eating Cheers during the WS.
    NOT my happy place if Altuve goes on the DL.😠

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  5. The standard for my ‘happy place’ was set in the months of May and June.
    1. Having everybody healthy – and most of our guys looking like supermen;
    2. Leading the league as a team in almost all the offensive and pitching categories;
    3. Averaging 3 – 6 runs in the final three innings of our games;
    4. Having the best record in baseball [yes, better than the Dodgers];
    5. leading the Division by up to 17 games;
    6. Keuchel untouchable;
    7. McCullers unhittable.
    8. Morton spinning that curve like crazy and looking like a brilliant offseason add;
    9. Devenski and Harris both absolutely lights out;
    10. Gregerson and Feliz tough as nails;
    11. Musgrove, Sipp, Beltran, and Bregman the worst performers on the team.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My happy place would be transported to LA. Then have tickets in the first row of the bleachers. Then the two starters would be Nolasco and Fiers (31 HRs for Ricky and 30 for Mikey so far). But knowing my luck, the balls would land 20 rows behind me.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Not enough that we are in a cat hurricane……..Robert Ford is sick, so I gotta listen to Steve Sparks for the next 4hrs. Oh…..and Angel Hernandez just tossed the bench coach out of the game. Alex Coram must have said something that hurt his “snowflake” feelings. Good Lord!!

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  8. Dan P’s not a hitting coach, but did spend last night in a Holiday Inn Express.
    “George Springer….If you are falling down or going to one knee when swinging…YOU ARE SWINGING TOO DAMN HARD!!!!!!”

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My happy place is that Astros fans, and I’m including Chilalatters in this, will realize getting Justin Verlander does very little to improve our chances of winning in the playoffs. My happy place is when our fans realize, while Verlander is a nice pitcher, he is extremely over-paid and not worth the prospects it will take to get him and not much better than the top 4 that we have. Now, with that being said, my happy place is seeing Justin Verlander in an Astros uniform on September 1st and the Tigers agree to pay the rest of this year along with $10M for the next 2 years and except a package centered around Daz Cameron and Tony Kemp. Finally, my happy place is waking up on November 1st with the news that the Astros are World Champions because they finished off the series in 6 games.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What ever the price, excluding Whitley, I really believe the psychological effect would throw this team into high gear again.
      It’s pretty obvious the trade deadline left this team and the fans feeling like winning isn’t that important to Crane and company.

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      • I don’t buy this at all. The rash of injuries has more to do with it than any psychological effect. By the way, have you seen how Britton and Quintana have pitched since the deadline? Sometimes the best trades you make are the ones you don’t make.

        There is no way I give up Tucker or Whitley in a trade for Verlander. He simply isn’t the same Verlander he was 4 years ago and is over-priced, not only in salary, but the prospects it will take to get him. I would not expect a trade for Verlander to happen this month unless we hear negative news on McCullers back injury, and last night’s rehab outing doesn’t provide positive news.

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      • i dont agree with this at all. crane and company have been busy building a winning team and have done so. sometimes the fans overreact to the team not doing what they want. many times the fans are lucky the team didnt do what they want. mom i want to eat chocolate cake for every meal. no. then you dont really love me. thats about the same reasoning

        Liked by 2 people

      • Also, I want to point out that Sonny Gray is 1-3 since being traded to the Yankees. While his ERA is a respectable 3.13, he has an xFIP of 4.65 and only 6.65 K/9 with 4.30 BB/9. Fans seem to think making trades at the deadline are necessary when, in reality, most of the trades made at the deadline do very little, if any, to improve your team. The Astros are better off now as all the rumored players they were considering are not doing well and they still have all their top prospects in the system.

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      • Tim, I very slightly disagree. If Archer was available, then I think you trade the farm. But the options this year were mid-range at best. They just didn’t improve the team relative to price. There is a long distance between “the best” and “the best available.”

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      • Yes, AC, but Archer was never a realistic option as TB wasn’t going to trade him at this deadline. There are some pitchers I would consider trading our top prospects with Archer worth giving up Tucker or Whitley.

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  10. Weather report from Texas – over here in the Missouri City/Sugar Land area (SW of Houston) we got heavy rains and winds all night – just streaming through. Lost power a few times. Tornado tore 50 roofs off about 5 miles from here.
    This morning it is windy but dry – the streaming rains have moved east for the time being. Cannot believe we may be facing flooding rains and rising bayous through all of next week. Not easy living in a bathtub of a city.
    Praying for anyone who stayed back near the land fall at Rockport about 150+ miles SW or here. Lots of devastation.

    Liked by 3 people

    • WOW. So you’re close to that subdivision with all that damage. I saw that on TV this morning. Here in north east Bazoria county it’s been rather calm. So far.

      Also praying for all the folks near Rockport.

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  11. Since the July 31st trade deadline here are the respective FIPs for Zach Britton, Justin Wilson and Francisco Liriano: 7.25, 5.08 and 5.85. Britton and Wilson would’ve cost the Astros heavily in prospects (much more than just Teo Hernandez). I still trust our GM to make the right decisions when it comes to acquiring players and the players we must trade in order to acquire such players. If he feels the price is too high then it probably is. While I am sure he has interest in Justin Verlander he also has to weigh the acquisition cost and salary. There is no reason to overpay for Justin Verlander as he doesn’t appear to be enough of an upgrade to meet the Tigers asking price.

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    • With Verlander, you’re paying for his past success, just like anybody would have for Liriano a few years ago (and even now it was an overpay )Besides,we are losing 1 or 2 run games…adding a starter won’t change that. Getting Correa back will.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Blah…blah…blah. Even *if* Verlander wasn’t as good in Sep- Oct, he’s good enough to bring life back to this team. I realize Beltran was brought in for veteran “leadership” BUT he was expected to occasionally get a hit too. $16 million for a babysitter who can’t play in the outfield, and rarely gets a hit, was a good signing RIGHT? Not jumping on one guy, but if McCullers is toast for the rest of this season, and NO MOVE was made for a backup plan, then I’m pi$$ed. Sandy and I plus a few more folks on here are in the corner for doing anything you can to bring October baseball to Houston. If they miss the playoffs because of pitching, I don’t wanna read ONE TINY comment about woulda, coulda, shoulda.
    OP….so far so good out here in Kingwood. We still have power, but these 100 ft pine trees and wind are not a good mix! All the rest of you folks in town, we are praying for your safety🙏
    Tim….don’t jump all over us for voicing our opinion, you have YOUR opinions on the move this club should make….and so do we. Deal?!

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    • Blah, blah, blah. Did I jump on anyone? I just gave my opinion of my happy place. By the way, October baseball is a foregone conclusion for the Astros. They are going to the playoffs and they are going in as AL West champions. Other than this I can’t make any predictions on how they will do in October baseball, but I firmly believe adding Verlander will do very little to impact how October plays out for the Astros.

      How about we agree that I have my opinion that getting a healthy team back will do more for the psychological effect than adding Verlander and you have the opposite opinion? Deal?

      Liked by 1 person

  13. With the Astros doing nothing further this month here is what our opponents face in 2017, every day: Springer, Reddick, Fisher, Bregman, Correa, Altuve, Gurriel, McCann/ Gattis, Beltran. They face Keuchel, McHugh, LMJ, Peackock, Morton, Fiers, Harris, Gregerson, Devo, Giles, Martes, Musgrove. Fill in the rest of the roster yourself.
    In 2018 they would face: Springer, Reddick Fisher, Bregman, Correa, Altuve, Gurriel Mcann/Gattis, and somebody like Carlos Santana at DH( paid with Beltran-type money). They face exactly the same pitchers with Paulino, Feliz and maybe another lefty paid with Gregerson-type money.
    In 2019 the Astros’ opponents would face the same lineup with the exception of Tucker being added in and their pitchers would be the same except Keuchel and Morton, Sipp and Harris are gone in free agency, but their money is there to pay for a free agent, if need be, in the best free agent class in years. By then, Whitley, Martes, the Perezes, Felizes, Paulinos, Bukauskas, Guduan, Gustave, Ferrell, Valdez, Armenteros will be there to choose from to replace them.
    The way the Astros are set up, financially, their AL West opponents are in trouble and the Astros will be maintaining a similar payroll for years!

    Liked by 2 people

    • No there is a very informative post and a great look at the next couple years , Thanks OP. We all love the information, especiallt delivered with class and STYLE. You are the Zen Chippa master, along with Mr Bill, DaveB, and of course the fine ladies of Becky and Sandy. Keep em coming. Whoops, also our leaders Dan and the Chipster… and others

      Like

  14. Robert Ford had an emergency appendectomy yesterday, and will be out of the radio booth for *2* weeks…..UGH!! I can’t listen to Steve Sparks calling the games for two weeks, or I’ll jump of a cliff! PLEASE get someone like Brownie to fill in for Robert Ford….PLEASE?!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Adding to my last post about who we will have on our team for the next two years or so, there are a couple of things I would like to mention that I think are relevant.
    Take Musgrove as an example. He is 24 and will turn 25 in December. Musgrove’s move to the bullpen could make him a valuable piece for us down the stretch this season and maybe next season, too. But by 2019 Musgrove may have found one of his pitches that he has turned into a true Out Pitch, time after time, and, therefore, in 2019 the Astros find themselves with a big, powerful 27 year old pitcher who is seasoned and is ready to be a starter and he then has four years left before he becomes a free agent. He gives the team huge benefits in his young years and then might be a TOR/MOR starter for four more years after that and he fills a huge void created by Keuchel, McHugh or Morton after they move on to greener pastures.
    In two years Musgrove might be a stud, like we suddenly found ourselves with a 10-2 Brad Peacock, after he had only won 9 games in his previous 4 major league seasons.
    We could end up with exactly the same thing with Feliz, or Martes, or Paulino, using their great stuff for an inning or two until they are old enough to harness their stuff and turn into power, starting pitchers in their mid to late 20s, which are the prime pitching years.
    There are a lot of great arms coming along in this organization.
    If that happens, we won’t need to spend $20-25 million a year for all our starting pitchers.

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    • Excellent post!! Wouldn’t that be awesome if Musgrove turned out to be THAT guy!!
      I’m still angry at Paulino for being stupid, he was CLEARLY becoming a pretty dang good starting pitcher.
      The arlington little league got beat again today😃!!

      Like

  16. So Houston folks, family and friends, seems the rainfall and tornado possibility will start increasing over the next few hours and throughout the night Stay dry, stay secure. Don’t go anywhere if you’ve got a bit of elevation in your favor. Be safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. To my friends down in H-town. Y’all stay safe and dry down there. I can still remember Hurricane Carla in ’61. Hopefully our baseball team is getting back on the right track.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. So our guy Joe has now gone 12.1 innings in August, no runs,, 5 hits, 13 K’s, 3 walks. If this keeps up through September, we don’t have to worry as much about Gregerson. With Harris due back, assuming he is what he always has been when fresh and healthy, the pen is starting to shape up.

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  19. Springer never had a rehab game, and I think that might be his trouble. He still hasn’t gotten his timing down, and he’s popping out in the infield not getting the ball in the outfield. Hopefully he gets right when Correa gets back. Big homerun for the
    *Big Fudge*!!!

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  20. Just information ONLY. Not trying to start anything, nor get in the middle of anything. HOWEVER, Richard Justice posted that since the trade deadline, the Astros have the best bullpen in the league, including Liriano. Please don’t shoot the messenger. If so, kill Richard.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. This inning has been brought to you by the INSANE idea to put that IDIOT that Luhnow traded for. Your welcome. It’s now 7-6 Angels.
    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr😠

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  22. I’m so angry I could spit razor blades. If I never hear that guys name again it will be too soon. AND what do you do with him in the playoffs?? GREAT trade! SPIT, SPIT,SPIT…..I’m angry.😠

    Like

    • This loss is more on JD Davis and his horrible defense. If anybody else is playing 3B Liriano is out of that inning with no runs. JD Davis is a horrible, horrible defensive 3B. This is not on Liriano, who hadn’t given up any runs in his last 4 outings going into tonight and should e been 5 straight if we had an adequate 3B.

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  23. Agree with you Becky, but I don’t understand bringing in Clippard with Martes on the mound. His stuff is better. Also on the ground ball to Bregman, I felt like we could have got the runner at home rather than letting him score. Instead we give up another run and put one more in scoring position. Just my opinion but despite the failure of the bull pen tonight, I blame this more on Hinch. I’d never had brought Liriano in in the first place.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bringing in Liriano with 2 of the next 3 batters being LH and a 5-run lead was the right move. Also, with a 4-run lead you’re always going to trade the run for an out. It’s not worth the risk going home there. It was a tough loss, but it happens.

      Like

      • Not to belittle the point but what good is a left handed specialist if he can’t get left handed hitters out? “Harris? Harris? Harris?”

        Liked by 2 people

      • If Davis makes that play it’s a double play and he got Valbuena to groundout after the botched play. We do need a healthy Harris though.

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      • LOL! Its a tough loss so I understand your anger. I’ll let you vent in frustration, but knowing that none of us would be competent GMs. Lucky for us the Astros have one of the best in the business.

        Liked by 1 person

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