FROM DEFEAT TO TRIUMPH: THE HOUSTON ASTROS
For those Astros fans who wanted to forget the nine years following the 2005 World Series, I’m here to remind you. Those same fans who want to forget the empty seats throughout the stadium, I’m here to remind you. Those fans who want to forget 2006-2014, I’m here to remind you.
Why am I doing this?
I want to remind you of how far the Astros have come and what an unbelievable success story this truly is.
From 2006-2014 (total of 9 seasons), the Astros did not make the playoffs. They were over .500 twice and compiled a record of 623-834. Not only that, the Astros went through 7 different managers (Phil Garner, Cecil Cooper, Dave Clark, Brad Mills, Tony DeFrancesco, Bo Porter, and Tom Lawless) during that time period.
Through all of the loss came some pretty amazing things. The Astros, in 2007, signed international free agent Jose Altuve, in 2011, they drafted George Springer, and the following year, 2012, they drafted George Springer. Three household names brought about during those nine years of turmoil.
In that same nine-year period, the Houston Astros announced were sold to Jim Crane. In the agreement to buy the team, the Astros would move from the National League Central to the American League West. Crane brought the team into the American League with a new identity. They created a new logo, mascot, and jerseys. It appeared the organization knew something that the fan did not. The Astros were about to separate themselves from the nine years of losing.
All of sudden, 2015 rolled around and there they were. The Houston Astros were making a name for themselves. General Manager Jeff Luhnow hired AJ Hinch to be the manager. That same year, they drafted a shortstop out of LSU named Alex Bregman. An Arkansas product Dallas Keuchel won the Cy Young, a new face Carlos Correa wins AL Rookie of the Year, and the Astros make the playoffs for the first time in 9 years.
But, in 2016, things did not go the way Astros fans had hoped. The Astros did not make the playoffs in. No one saw this coming.
Why is it necessary to bring up 2016?
Well, most do not know about one transaction that shaped the long ball in Houston. In August of that year, the Astros made a trade with the Dodgers to acquire Yordan Álvarez. In my mind, 2016 was a success because of this.
I really don’t need to say much about 2017 because every Astros fan knows. I’ll just say it anyway. In August, the Astros acquired Justin Verlander at the 2nd Waiver Deadline, and then they went on to win the 2017 World Series for the first time in franchise history. Since 2017, the Astros have been a team predicted to run the table.
After winning the World Series, the Astros were looking to upgrade the pitching staff to make another run in 2018. Shout out to the Pittsburgh Pirates for trading Gerrit Cole to the Astros.
2018 was looking to be a repeat season.
However, that did not go as planned and the Astros fell short in the ALCS to the Boston Red Sox, the eventual World Series Champions.
Let’s now talk about 2019. Prior to the season, they signed bulked up their roster signing outfielder Michael Brantley, who has turned into a star in Houston.
I’m just going to skip most of the season because we all know what happened, but I just want to present a few things here. Half of the guys on the roster could be starters in the All-Star game. Not only that, in July, the Astros traded for Zach Greinke. The Astros top 3 pitchers are Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Zach Greinke.
So, here we are. It’s September 26, 2019. The Astros have clinched the AL West title for the 3rd year in a row, they have a Cy Young on the roster in Verlander or Cole, an MVP finalist in Alex Bregman, and the favorite to win Rookie of the Year Yordan Álvarez.
Now go back and remember 2006-2014. Those nine years of empty seats, last-place finishes, and losing records. Think about how in 2005, fans were walking out of Minute Maid Park after being swept in four games thinking they would be back in the same situation next year, but this time winning the World Series. So, what is really the point of all of this? Why am I asking you to reflect on the history of this team?
This team has come such a long way, we must not forget the years of devastation. The years of devastation and loss have led to an era of triumph in Houston. This team’s success story is why we love baseball.
All I will say in closing is one thing: