WASHINGTON, August 31, 2017 – Houston and southeast Texas have higher priorities than sports and recreation right now. But is it possible that their Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise is having a stellar season that may use the disaster and aftermath of Hurricane Harvey as a rallying cry in the month of October?
Only time will tell.
If in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Saints returned to the Superdome in September 2006 is an indicator, the Astros may have focus and purpose that may propel them deep into the MLB postseason. As you may well know, the Saints were coming off a disastrous 3-13 season during which they played NO GAMES in the city of New Orleans.
Thanks to a herculean effort by architects, engineers and many other artisans and professionals, the refurbishment of the Louisiana Superdome was completed in time for passionate fans to fill the arena to watch their heroes give a performance for the ages. And although the Saints failed to reach the Super Bowl that season, their efforts lifted the morale of countless local fans and made for an inspiring feel-good story for the rest of the country.
Since their franchise name change from Colt 45’s to Astros (in 1965), the team has had superstars that dazzled statisticians with pitching, offensive and defensive performances worthy of the highlight reel. The Astros also once made it to the World Series in 2005, but fell short vs. the Chicago White Sox. Noteworthy
Noteworthy is the team’s recent Baseball Hall of Fame inductees: Craig Biggio, and Jeff Bagwell.
What may be surprising is that in recent years, very few MLB franchises have turned around hapless, dismal play more than the Houston Astros. Perennial losers (100+ losses) for three consecutive season from 2011-2013, they were fighting to find their identity, as well as reassuring their fan base that better days were near.
Well, the team was not making empty promises.
Following a 111 game loss season in 2013, the team improved by nearly 20 wins the following season (2014). In 2015 the Astros earned the second Wild Card spot and played a one game sudden death match to determine which team would play the Division winner with the best record in the American League.
The Astros (affectionately known as the ‘Stros by their fans) won that road game at Yankee Stadium and went on to play in the League Division series. Even though the Astros did not win the playoff series, they fought to the end, taking it to the full five games. It was a tough way to end the season, but they gave it their all:
Short of an epic meltdown, the Astros will win the American League West. Their goal in the meantime is to finish the regular season with the best record in the American League, thus earning the right to have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The Houston Astros have a proud and rich baseball legacy. This 2017 season is one where they have a unique opportunity to lift the morale and spirits of their fans to a degree that would be seemingly immeasurable.
For the sake of the ravaged and besieged area of southeast Texas, many outside of their local area are openly or quietly saying: “Go ‘Stros!”
“Bill Randall is a contributing writer for COMMDIGINEWS. He is a native of New Orleans, LA (Lower Ninth Ward), and currently resides with his family in Dallas, TX.”