Last season: 56-106 (6th in NL Central, 40 GB)
2011 Playoffs: Did not qualify
Josh says: Our language, the American English one, is utterly debased. It happens to language, getting all messed up. Yet the way we speak now is more vulgar and less meaningful than at any time in our Republic’s history. Overcome by stimuli, we say that the cat is AWESOME (i.e. inspiring fear and trembling in the presence of greatness); we say the guacamole was EPIC (and thus deserves an versified celebration from our best poets); the most recent “Star Wars” re-re-release was the WORST THING EVER (which could be true).
So the words I use might be somewhat devoid in power, but I do not exaggerate from even Internet dictionary definitions when I say the Houston Astros are going to be abysmal, awful, no-good, roadkilled-skunk-in-the-July-Texan-sun-stinking bad this year.
Knowing that the Astros are going to be real bad without actually knowing a bit of offseason news pertaining to that team, I planned on talking about the one time I went to Houston and missed my exit and drove 15 miles before I realized I’d passed like six Best Buy signs and it was probably time to turn around. Then I would conflate that experience with the stereotypical outsider’s view of Houston’s sprawly driving culture which presumably leads to lots of human isolation and anonymity, and BAM, there’s your metaphor for the 2012 Astros roster, seeing as how you could drive into a Whataburger and get your fast food handed out to you in a paper sack by 25 pairs of hands and not realize they were actually a professional baseball club just volunteering there for the day to help out some Girl Scouts.
This is a team that, during Spring Training, just sent two Major League players named Jason Bourgeois and Humberto Quintero to the Royals in exchange for an A-ball prospect and the ever-present Player To Be Named Later. Guys who were blocking their prospects(?) are going to be bench filler for the ROYALS, they’re so deep in the pit from years of Win One for the Aging Grocery Distributing Billionaire mode, and exacerbated by the GM reign of Not Afraid to Trade (to the Phillies) Ed Wade.
Instead of perpetuating stereotypes, however, I did due diligence and asked my friend who lived in Houston for a while about the place and she told me that among all the sprawliness there are enclaves where the big, breezy, wrap-around Southern houses still exist, all clapboards and bright paint, and so not all is faceless consumer marketing.
In the spirit of finding a few analogous bright spots for this Astros season I opened up their roster and started clicking around.
Jordan Schafer? Heard of him, the starting center fielder, acquired from the Braves for Michael Bourn, right? He should be good….when he gets that 2011 .242/.309/.315 line up, just a bit. He’s only 25. Brett Wallace? He’s been the trade chip for a while now. And he….might break camp with the team. Fernando Martinez was really valued by the Mets, and the Astros had to give up a lot of…..time faxing in paperwork to get him off the waiver wire. Maybe Carlos Lee dieted over the offseason.
All right, so, in what is now, again, a pitching-oriented game, the ‘Stros have three decent-to-maybe-good starters in Wandy Rodriguez, Bud Norris and J.A. Happ. So it’s unlikely they’ll approach the depths of the 43-win ‘03 Tigers or the 40-win ‘62 Mets.
That’s all there is to say about the 2012 Houston Astros.
Worth watching: New owner Jim Crane realized that he was in Texas and he shouldn’t listen to Internet Advocates, because Houston’s going to wear their throwback Colt .45 uniforms a few times this year, complete with long-barrel six-shooter. Hopefully they break out the rainbows, too.
Featured Image Credit: Pat Sullivan, Associated Press