Astros fans, if we are spoiled, we’ve earned it


The Astros clinched their 3rd straight AL West Title on Sunday and 4th playoff spot in 5 seasons, but it did not seem to inspire a lot of jumping up and down from the legion of Astro fans on this blog.

As Caribbean friend of Chipalatta, daveb wrote, “Winning the division is a bit ho-hum at this point. Based on the number of comments post game {Editor’s note – It was sparse} we all have pretty high expectations…… Plenty of unfinished business to take care of in the coming week.”  

It is not clear if Astro fans are a bit spoiled after the team has wrapped up the 2019 AL West crown fairly early for the third straight season. Of course, it could have been a lot earlier if the Astros had not gone 2-6 against the A’s in their last 8 head to head match ups. Or do the fans know that this is just a first step in a long journey the team hopes to make in the next month?

If the Astros’ fans are feeling slightly jaded about the team’s success, let’s face it we have earned it. The true fans had lived through 42 seasons of falling short of the World Series until the team made it in 2005, a journey that ended in an excruciating 4 game sweep at the hands of the White Sox. They then had to live through a total re-tooling of the team that included the three worst seasons in the franchise’s history (56-106, 55-107 and 51-111) before the team in their 56th year not only saw the promised land, but made it all the way  there with their 2017 World Championship.

The long term Astro fans had seen their team start off a bit more successfully than their expansion brethren the New York Mets and then witnessed the Mets busting out to an “Amazin” WS win in 1969 and another appearance in the World Series in 1973, while the Astros slogged around not making the postseason until their 19th season in 1980. They then lost a heartbreaker of a playoff series to those same Mets in 1986 as NY went on to win their second WS title against 0 for the good guys.

For many fans, they never believed they would see the type of seasons they have enjoyed in the last few years. Now that they are here, they know that while the regular season is a tough marathon that must be run, that the upcoming short dashes will be where the season is really won or lost.

Questions of the day:

  • Has the Astros recent success left you feeling spoiled or jaded?
  • If so, do you feel you’ve earned it?
  • Has the bar for success been raised for the Astros in your mind? If they play well, but fall short of a WS win can this still be a successful season in your view?

 

 

 

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51 comments on “Astros fans, if we are spoiled, we’ve earned it

  1. Watched game to end yesterday. Can’t be sure with camera angles of seeing all players, but they were not going nuts either, except when they joined for the community hopalong. I suspect they were immediately looking ahead to future business and I think we as fans are doing the same. We’ve been there enough now to know anything can happen on a given day and nothing is guaranteed, so not much point in expending energy now. The anything can happen aspect is memorialized forever in the ’86 game you mentioned where as I recall Knepper had it 3-0 going into the ninth. Didn’t look it up so forgive me if I’m wrong. It’s just players and fans know there’s still a hard slog ahead. And who knows if we have to slogaflood in between?

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  2. I’m spoiled and jaded.
    -I love that the Astros are AL West champions.
    -I can’t wait to see the Astros play their best players every day. I would like to see that because it would be great for them to play together for a while and get used to having their real team out on the field, playing together as a unit.
    – I hate watching the Astros get beat with Michael Brantley sitting on the bench after he had two days off to rest during the week. When he sits they generally play bad. Springer and Brantley both sat Saturday after two off days during the week and it was a nightmare. I hate that! Other teams love it when they don’t have to face our best players. They didn’t have to face them when they were injured and now they don’t have to face them because they’re resting.
    The players will run through brick walls for their manager. Saturday, I would have run through a brick wall to tell him what I think about resting guys being paid $16 million a year and resting in the middle of a pennant race.
    Spoiled? Jaded? Yes! Disappointed? Very!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Normally my views are quite compatible with Sensible Sandy, but I’m going off the reservation and say no, no (kind of) and yes. I don’t feel spoiled and jaded: I feel grateful. Grateful that all those years of wandering in the desert have finally been redeemed! Grateful that we have a fun bunch of guys to cheer. Grateful that we have an owner seemingly committed to winning and a front office with the ability to make it happen.

    It’s hard to justify, much less to “earn”, being spoiled or jaded at the personal level. As to earning success at the team level, my answer really is more like yes and no. We’ve earned it through hard work and good decisions, but baseball is an unforgiving game (no crying, no ties, no kissing your sister!). Other teams have worked hard and made good decisions but have not matched our recent success: where would Tampa and Oakland be with ownership more willing to invest? And heck, the Dodgers could be going for their third straight WS title, with none to show for it since 1988. But in the metaphysical sense, in the sense of earning it through “deserving it” or being “entitled to it”, then no, never.

    I’ve warily accepted the raising of the bar of expectation. After all, it could be another 56 years before the next title. But now I do expect good performance from this bunch. Not perfect, not every day – that’s baseball. And if they fall short, like last year, it was still a good season and we still love our boys.

    The thing that has been most gratifying about The Rise of the Astros has been the nationwide interest and acceptance it has generated. Other than winning the WS I was proud of the fact that almost everyone in the country that wasn’t a Dodgers fan was suddenly an Astros fan for a couple of weeks! We had a taste of this with Luv Ya Blue (curse you, Steelers!) but the Astros are the real deal in that sense: since 2017, I’ve seen in person the Astros play on the road several times, and every time I get to watch them play on the road on TV, there is ALWAYS a BUNCH of Astros fans in the stands wherever they go. This is a good thing. All my life I’ve wished that Houston could be considered “a baseball town”, but maybe we’re now on the road to winning that distinction, though it will take many more years.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Things I saw that were good Sunday:
    – After swinging so hard he ended up on the ground, Altuve took an outside pitch to RF for a 2-rbi single. That was so great.
    -Alvarez took what the pitchers gave him with 2 singles and 2 doubles, going up the middle and to LF.
    – The Astros faced six different pitchers, yet only had 4 Ks.
    – Diaz looked as accomplished at the plate as he did before he got hurt.
    – I thought that the error by Toro really hurt Josh James’s chance to come in and clean up Valdez’s mess. James did his job.
    -Peacock didn’t look fabulous, but he did look confident in his pitches. Sometimes that is perfect.
    -Not only did Verlander throw a ton of off-speed stuff, so did Osuna. And the Angels definitely weren’t expecting it.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. It may be only one season, but I look at the 2015 KC Royals and marvel at the job their team and their manager did that year. What an accomplishment to win the WS with that team. Yost was marvelous.

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  6. Here is the Cubs last 5 games – all at home
    1) Wed against Reds – The Cubs are losing, but tie it up 2-2 in the 7th. In the top of the 10th they get 2 outs, but then let the Reds rally for a 3-2 win
    2) Thurs against Cards – The Cubs are losing 4-1 heading into the bottom of the 9th. They score 3 runs to tie it and then their very expensive closer (making $10 million this year and $16 mill each of the next two – with a 6.53 ERA) Craig Kimbrel gives up a homer in the 10th to lose 5-4
    3) Fri against the Cards – The Cubs are winning 1-0 heading into the 6th. They bring in David Phelps, who walks the bases loaded and gives up a 2 run single. They lose 2-1
    4) Sat against the Cards – In a see-saw game where the Cubs blow leads of 3-1 and 6-5 and the Cards blow leads of 5-3 and 7-6, the Cubs head to the 9th with an 8-7 lead. They bring in their very expensive closer (have you heard this before) Kimbrel and gives up two solo HRs to lead off the inning and they lose 9-8
    5) Sun against the Cards – Yu Darvish is pitching great and they enter the 9th leading 2-1. Rather than bring in very expensive closer, Kimbrel, they leave in Darvish who immediately gives up 2 runs and they lose 3-2

    Not sure what Joe Maddon could have done different but I am sure the front office will tell him right before they let him go.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan, you likely noted that I was wondering this morning, before this post, that I commented whether maybe Joe Madden had become a dinosaur. He never did kick that talented, expensive group into high gear. Theo is certainly not going to take the fall yet, although he has historically done less with more.

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  7. It is no secret that I regularly shake my head in disbelief over this team. As I look at it, thanks primarily to Jeff Luhnow and Jim Crane, we have in the 2019 Astros by far the most talented group of baseball players ever assembled. Certainly we sported [when Hinch played them] one of the best offensive line-ups ever to wear the same uniform. But, alas, while extremely talented, our heroes just don’t appear to be the brightest light bulbs in the chandelier. While the Orange and Blue wound up winning a boatload of games this year despite themselves – they should, quite frankly, have completely blown the league away. There were injuries, of course – and no doubt they hurt – but in the end it was more than that. They just kept doing stupid stuff. They did stupid stuff in approach; they did stupid stuff in the batter’s box; they did stupid stuff on the bases; the catchers all too often seemed to be stupidly telegraphing every pitch they called to the opponents.

    OP1 mentioned the Royals championship team above. They had half the talent we have, but they were ten times smarter, more patient, engaged, and relentless. They had both the comeback drive and the killer instinct our group of superstars seems to totally lack.

    Part of the chagrin on my part is the sense that we will almost certainly never see a team even half this good in Houston again for a long time. After years of being the whipping post of the league, I just hate to see us fall short in our one window of destiny because, though we can hit dingers for the cameras, we exhibit zero patience, minimal plate discipline, and we can’t seem to do the basic things necessary to bring runs home any way except the home run. Added to that is the fact that our relievers can’t seem to stop giving our opponents lead-off bases on balls – which all too often are followed by infield singles, doubles, triples, and multi-run home runs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Is anyone on this blog a Jim Croce fan? One of his ballads contained a great line that sums up our guys’ approach to baseball. The song is ‘Rapid Roy, That Stock Car Boy’. In describing super-talented Roy’s approach to racing, Jim wrote:

      ‘Yeah, Roy’s so cool that racin’ fool, he don’t know what fear’s about!
      He do 130 mile an hour smilin’ at the camera with a toothpick in his mouth.’

      Ladies and Gentlemen, put your hands together for YOUR . . . HOUSTON . . . ASTROS!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Classic Jim Croce lines that will live forever:

        ‘She was built like a ‘frigerator with a head’ – from ‘Roller Derby Queen’

        ‘Meaner than a junkyard dog’ – from Bad, Bad Leroy Brown

        ‘He like to wear his diamond rings in front of everybody’s nose’ – from ‘You Don’t Mess Around with Jim’

        ‘Baby I Ain’t Gonna Hang on No Lover’s Cross for You’ – from Lover’s Cross

        ‘Morning Walks and bedroom talks were how I loved you then’- from Photographs and Memories.

        ’95 was the route you were on – it was not the speed limit sign’ – from Speedball Tucker!

        ‘And sometimes at night I think I hear you callin’ my name’ – from These Dreams

        ‘Well I should be sittin’ in an air-conditioned office in swivel chair – talkin’ some trash to my secretary, sayin: ‘hey now, mama, come on over here!’ – From ‘Workin’ at the Car Wash Blues’

        ‘I thought I’d make the big time – but I learned a lot of lessons awful quick and now I’m tellin’ you – they were not the nice kind!’ -from ‘New York’s Not My Home;

        ‘if it’s silence you adore, well – there’ll be one less set of footsteps on your floor, in the mornin’ – from ‘One less Set of Footsteps’;

        ‘If I had a box just for wishes, and dreams that had never come true – the box would be empty except for the memory of how they were answered by you’ – from ‘Time in a Bottle’;

        ‘We were only kids but then – I never heard it said . . .that kids can’t fall in love and feel the same. I can still remember the first time I told you ‘I love you’ – from ‘Walkin’ in the Alabama Rain;

        “All I can give you is a kiss in the mornin’ and a sweet apology -from ‘Tomorrow’s Gonna Be a Brighter Day’

        ‘And the Christmas carols sound like blues – but the choir is not to blame’ – from ‘It Doesn’t Have to Be that Way’;

        and perhaps the greatest, most poignant of all:

        ‘You can keep the dime’ – from ‘Operator’

        Liked by 1 person

      • Appreciate all posts on this subject, but here Mr. Bill makes quite a claim: “[The 2019 Astros] are by far the most talented group of baseball players ever assembled.” Do I interpret that correctly as for all of baseball history? Wow. Then followed by the bulbs in the chandelier comment. Is this in fact the most talented group ever assembled? Are they in fact blowing it mentally? This is a thesis worth building out.

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      • I confess that I didn’t start following major league baseball until 1961 – the year it was announced that Houston was finally getting its own MLB franchise. Before that, I really can’t compare.

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  8. After terribly proclaiming the Cubs will meet our guys in the WS, I am officially out of the predicting business. After seeing Rizzo & company on MLB today, I’ve never seen a tm so defeated than what I saw today. I do not foresee a return of Maddon and I fully expect the Cubs to dismantle that group after the season is done.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I would feel neither spoil nor jaded as a 3rd yr baseball fan (2016 reserved for Cubs being a native Chicagoan). Having the distinction of being a champ in 2 different cities in consecutive yrs (Chicago/Houston) I’m good.
    I think anything short of another WS win (or two) with this current group of Astros could be bitter or sweet, depending on the outcome. This tm was constructed to WIN NOW! Now that I am fully converted to Stros I expect them to win several more WS with this tm. If they don’t I’m still a fan.
    I also expect Crane/JL to raise the bar resource wise if necessary to acquire talent to make that happen with this current tm.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I don’t think of myself being spoiled….I feel pure joy just tagging along with these great ball players! I’ve gotten so used to listening Robert Ford calling homeruns I feel like I’m standing right beside Springer, Bregman!! No I’m not “jaded” baseball is a funny game…..anything can happen. Remember game 5 of the 2017? Probably the one game I almost had a nervous breakdown! Of course every one of us want our guys to get back to the World Series, and win it again.
    I just look forward to the next step with these guys……the 2019 Astros are better (if that’s possible) than the 2017 club was. What’s pretty cool is for the exception of a couple of guys, they have gone to war together for the 3rd year in a row. Each one of them know what it takes to get there. Thank goodness they genuinely love one another, and there isn’t one of them who is selfish.
    Last year they won 103 games…..they have won 101 and still have 6 games to play! I can’t WAIT to see how many wins they end up with!!
    The only team that scares the crap outta me are the A’s. I’m not kidding!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Steve Sparks has improved, I agree. I do not like to listen to him in the locker room after flag clinchers though. He is a raving idiot then.

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  11. Darn, plenty I’d like to discuss. Took the boat over to SK at 1 to see the big toe doctor and then TS Karen snuck up and shut the ferry business down with some significant surf. Damn, crappy 120 dollar a night off season local rate, but a shockingly good local Mahi. So I think overall, life is pretty good. I’m here for the night. I guess kind of like Dan getting flooded in and missing his bus. Anyway, I’ve things to say, but my phone is about out of juice. Hopefully I get back to the home island in the morning.

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  12. First when one follows a team for 50 + years and you keep saying “If they can just get into the World Series and I will be happy.” Then they finally get into one and bomb. Then they get in again and win it all. That should make me HAPPY.

    I would love to say “They can just win over 81 games and I will be happy.” Well that is just not true. They need to win the World Series this year and maybe two more over next three years and I will be happy. Maybe.

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  13. My wife’s family is irrational when it comes to college sports. Their opinion is that our team should never lose. We should never give up a touchdown, should make every jump shot, and other nonsense. My wife is also a Braves fan, although she doesn’t really follow them anymore. Does everyone remember the Ausmus home run off Farnsworth to tie it in the ninth inning? She threw the remote across the room and against the wall. It broke. I’ve never belittled someone else’s favorite team. I’ve seen a ton of championships in other cities where the fanbases did not handle it with anything approaching grace. I’m going to continue to cheer on my favorite team. If I’m spoiled by the current success I don’t know what you’d call those other fanbases. I will say I approach this just like every other sporting event – it’s a competition. The game is still decided between the lines and no team is destined to win. If they don’t bring their A game in October you could easily see another team get hot and get to ride in the parade.

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  14. Don’t think these guys are going to play half a$$ed the next 6 games, because they have a LOT to play for! We need to beat the yankees for home field advantage….we are a half game ahead of them, but we know things could go south the last week of the season.
    DON’T LET UP ON THE GAS PEDAL BOYS!! GO ‘STROS⚾!!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. After 2 to 3 innings of the youngster Dunn [3.38 WHIP, 6.76 ERA in 2.2 innings, mostly due to giving up EIGHT walks and garnering only one strikeout], we are supposed to get another dose of Astro-dominating lefty Tommy Milone -who somehow manages to strike out virtually nobody against other teams but makes all our superstars swing out of our shoes – and miss – just about every piece of trash he throws.

    Uh . . . Guys . . . we know you dig the long ball. But a little patience and plate discipline would be a nice little change of pace. Just consider it a warm up to that ‘real baseball’ we keep hearing about.

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  16. I don’t know about feeling spoiled or jaded, but certainly my expectations are raised to a new level on a regular basis, to the point where my expectations are sometimes unrealistic. I expect to win every night.

    So sure, the bar has been raised. This season will not be a success unless we win it all. Everyone in the organization feels the same way I’m sure. At the same time, I know that winning the World Series is going to take a couple of calls in our favor, a bit of luck in a Game or two and a good bounce here and there, along with having the best offense and defense in the game and the best two pitchers in the American League.

    I also know we are far more critical of our guys than we are of any other players. We expect the most from those we care most about. Some of us watch most innings our team plays. We see all the screw ups, the double play grounders, the base running blunders, the inability to score tuns with guys on base. We see far more Astro imperfections than we do of any other club. The thing is, most stats show that we are less imperfect than most if not all other clubs in the game. We just don’t watch all their screw ups.

    I noted on Sunday that we’ve got a big week ahead. We’ve got a chance to help make our trip though the post season a bit easier. I hope our guys take advantage of this opportunity.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I swear I’m going to beat the snot outta Correa😠 He was a late scratch for tonight’s game because “he’s having a little trouble with his back”.
    ARE. YOU. KIDDING. ME.!! I will NOT she’d a tear when he leaves here.😠

    Liked by 1 person

  18. If they win this game it seals the deal for home field advantage….except it doesn’t appear they want to win, because Bregman has the only run so far.

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  19. Hey Becky, my former Cubbies should be open for business now that they are all but eliminated from postseason play. It’s been rumored if they fail this season changes will be made, players included. Can we swap CC for Baez? His 44.4% swings out the zone is atrocious but his #’s are not that far off from CC’s. I know that’s wishful thinking on my part but Baez’s back is not an issue nor am I aware he’s a prima donna. I honestly believe CC will not remain an Astro after they sign GS, perhaps Cole

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    • Well when you consider Javier Baez played in 136 games so far, he would not fit because he does no sit the day before and the day after an off day. Stays on the field too much. We need a SS that plays in only 75+/- games.

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  20. The Astros are 15-5 on the month at this point, in spite of the Miley implosion and the ongoing Correa drama. The Yankees are down two in the loss column with 5 to play. And they are playing a team that has every reason to beat them again tonight. Does that meet our expectations? Sort of?

    On Correa, he has got to be at least somewhat of a distraction in the clubhouse about now. Two weeks ago I was looking forward to having him back. At this point, I’d be okay going to battle in October without the most talented shortstop in the game. That sure would shock him. But it would also diminish his trade value. So I hope he plays, puts on a good show and Luhnow moves him for Christmas.

    Liked by 2 people

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