Houston Astros

Founded as the Houston Colt .45s, the Houston Astros were, along with the New York Mets, one of the first expansion teams. Named the .45s – ‘the Gun that Won the West’ – following a ‘Name the Team’ competition. Thus far, that has remained the most significant competition won in association with the Houston franchise. In fact, the .45s, despite muzzle-flashes of hope, have achieved remarkably little over the last 50+ years. The 1965 name change to the Houston Astros cast insufficient natural magic to conjure any stellar success.

100 Losses and Fun to Watch?

The Astros, achingly, have never won a World Series game. There was lots of pain over the 4-0 finish against the Chicago White Sox, and things never seemed to be quite right after that. They were wounded and just kept bleeding 100-loss seasons. What was the worst? We are pretending; who can wipe that 111-loss season from their mind? The team stats for the decade following the White Sox-World Series agony read like reports of battlefield carnage. The Astros became something of a byword for also-rans, no-hopers. The lack of success did not dim the ardor of Astros die-hards, but even they have had little real hope that the team would challenge again, let alone triumph.

Despite all this, why are the Astros now being called one of the most entertaining teams to watch this season? What has happened to the Houston Astros for 2017?

Enter Altuve

First and foremost, Jose Altuve. What a story the guy has, and what an incredible development he has shown. Watching Altuve has restored our spirits, even our belief in the ability of players and teams to rise above their perceived operational ceiling and push on- to what distant glory? Well, in Altuve’s case, four hits per game. And try that feat eight times, because that was Jose Altuve in 2016. Signed for just $15k at age 16, he has gone on, winning over fans of all loyalties: he has become one of those players everyone recognizes as having ‘heart’ and a story to tell. He has a sense of narrative in his performance that engages you, even if you are rooting for the other team. You feel that you are observing the stitching of a fabric that one day you, too, will embroider over drinks. ‘Did you ever hear of Jose Altuve?’ etc.

Second, third and fourth? Carlos Correa, George Springer, and Alex Bregman. Together with Altuve, they form the Four Musketeers for the Astros (or maybe the Four Horsemen for the Rangers- some can dream) and will be pivotal in not only the statistical performance but in the entertainment, the drama the best baseball can bring.

All the world’s a stage, and Houston too.