Today feels like one of those Loel Passe moments. Loel was the main broadcaster for the Houston Buffs and was brought across to the Houston Colt .45s and then the Astros when Judge Roy Hofheinz and partners persuaded the MLB to hand them a franchise (so they would not start-up a competing league). Loel was a good old country boy and phrases like “he breezed him one more time”, “hot ziggity dog and sassafras tea” and “now you chuckin’ in there” would pour out as smooth and thick as that tea.
But ol’ Loel, who broadcast with Gene Elston from 1962 to 1976 was selling more than back country phrases. He was selling optimism back in a time when the team was a loooooooong way away from their first playoff appearance in 1980. Every can of corn the Astros hit was a fence scraper, every hump back liner they whacked was a screaming line drive, and any fastballs hit off them was blind man’s luck.
And so today we are giving away optimism. But it is not the over-hyped optimism that Mr. Passe passed along to starving fans. No, this is optimism built on reality. Look at all there is to be happy about with your hometown team.
- After two terrific starts out of nowhere by rookies Jose Urquidy and Rogelio Armenteros, the Astros have been able to string together a 6 game winning streak against the Angels, Rangers and A’s.
- Their 11-1 beat down of the A’s Monday night allowed the Astros to stretch what had only a few days been a 4.5 game lead in the division up to a 7.5 game lead over the A’s. With two more games against the Athletics coming up – the on fire Astros could throw a wrench in an Oakland machine that has been hot itself the last few weeks.
- Super rookie Yordan Alvarez – He just jacked out his 11th HR and knocked in his 35th runs in his 30th game placing him in a neighborhood that a young Albert Pujols last populated.
- Yuli Gurriel is so insanely hot you can feel it through your TV set. In his last 18 games he has 12 HRs and 26 RBIs.
- Aledmys Diaz returned and hit a 3 run HR in his first game back. And as friend of the blog, Becky said, just wait until we get our SS Carlos Correa and his rib back!
- And Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander and Wade Miley have been as good a top 3 in the rotation as you can find in the majors.
- George Springer was on an MVP arc when he went down. Jose Altuve has been back on his MVP arc since he came back from his injury.
- Michael Brantley has been brilliant and over-looked. He is the best pure hitter in a lineup seeping with talent.
- Roberto Osuna has had a few blown saves but overall he and Ryan Pressly have been as good as you can find at the back of a bullpen. Add in a solid Will Harris, a mercurial Josh James and a heady Collin McHugh and the pen is overall tough.
- Robinson Chirinos has been good even with a little slump lately, but he came through when they needed help and power earlier in the year.
- And what everyone is counting on – the Astros’ front office will be working hard to bring in another arm or two to help this team get to the final goal.
So there is my optimistic, Loel Passe “How about them Astros” take.
What do you think?