With the dismal memories of the worst season in Houston Astros history firmly behind me, I turned my gaze to the future. The franchise changed ownership from Drayton McClane to Jim Crane, general managers from Ed Wade to new moneyball guru Jeff Luhnow and apparently quite a few players. Long gone are the days when I could read an article and recognize the Killer “B’s” were back in action.
No more talk of “Oswalt is going to have another great year and Brad Lidge looks sharp again.” Those statements have been replaced by “Brad and Chris Meyers homer in Astros win”and “Martinez gets second chance in Houston”. Names formerly synonymous with Houston Astros baseball like Biggio, Bagwell and Berkman are replaced by Zach Duke, Jed Lowrie, and J.D.Martinez. Thank goodness for long lasting Carlos Lee and pitchers Bud Norris(http://www.yardbarker.com/mlb/articles/norris_solid_in_first_spring_outing/10255969), Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez. If not for them, I would not recognize a soul in the Astros lineup.
Also missing will be the familiar voice of Milo Hamilton reciting many of my favorite phrases; “Astros win, Astros, win, Astros win again.”, “Flip it, fire it, double play” and “put a blue star on that one.” With all that in mind, I must say I am in the mood for a challenge. Getting to know these guys could be fun. Let’s not forget the start the Pittsburg Pirates had last year with a young, club near the bottom of the payroll charts. The fast start the Astros are making in spring training is certainly reason for optimism.
The offense producing 10 runs in 2 of their games and pitchers Norris and Livan Hernandez having good early starts is promising. I know, I know, it’s spring training. Baby steps and small victories are exactly what this team needs in its seemingly new found infancy. In the end, these are still my Houston Astros and I am excited to have the opportunity to spend another season with the home team. Through thick and thin as they say. And with all the changes taking place in my hometown of Houston and within the ballclub my grandfather and I stayed up past our bedtimes listening to on the radio, I would just make this one request…Please Mr. Crane, let them still be the Houston Astros!!!