It seems that the only thing that you hear about the Astros in 2013 is that they are bad, really really really bad. Most of what you hear about the Astros is how they are bad enough to out do the 1962 expansion New York Mets’ worst record in the modern baseball era. Most recently, Buster Olney (whom I revere and respect) on the Baseball Tonight podcast simply trashing the Astros, saying that they were “non-competitive” in their most recent sweep at the hands of the Detroit Tigers, the defending American League champion Detroit Tigers. Olney went on to talk about exactly how bad this team is, listing every possible statistic the Astros are on pace to set a new season worst record for, and summarized how they simply had their butts handed to them on a silver platter by the best team in the American League.
The Astros gave the Tigers a good run for their money in the first two games, pushing them to 14 innings the first game, and then suffering a mere one run loss in the second game, but those games were overlooked, and brushed under the rug as the walloping the Astros took in the final two games became the primary focus for just how terrible this team is. There is a difference between being embarrassed and being outmatched, the series with Detroit was the perfect example as the Tigers are fresh off a World Series appearance, and they are basically the same team now as they were in October of 2012. The Astros can easily be outmatched on any given day, but they can be embarrassed as well, just as Justin Verlander put on a pitching clinic against the Astros.
Let’s all be honest for a moment, did anybody REALLY expect the Astros to win a game against the Tigers?
I sure didn’t.
I doubt anybody did.
Why are people upset that they got beaten by the obviously better team?
What made me sick to my stomach was when Olney quoted an unnamed “long time big leaguer” as saying “It’s terrible for baseball to have this happen because it affects pennant races, this affects a lot of other teams and races to have a team playing like that.” Olney also had another quote from an evaluator who said he felt bad for the Astros players “They’re playing hard, they’re just not good enough,” the evaluator compared the Astros to average joes playing the San Antonio Spurs in a game of basketball ball, adding on, “They’re just not good enough.” Continuing to quote anonymous players, Olney added this quote from an anonymous player: “There is actually kind of a special tension when you play the Astros because you expect to beat them, and when you lose it just feels like a terrible lost opportunity.”
I’ve honestly become sick and tired of hearing about how terrible this team is and how it is “unfair” that teams get to beat up on them and inflate their win column by playing the Astros, these guys are Major League ball players, the fact that the team is not competitive is not their fault. These guys give a 100 per cent effort every time they take the field. I’m not the only one who has grown sick and tired of hearing about the Astros being a potential “historic disaster” and flat out the worst team in baseball. Astros closer Jose Veras has had enough, Veras called a closed-door team meeting to discuss their woes. Veras was quoted after speaking to the team in the meeting: “That’s my first time that I step up and talk. I don’t like that. Spring training, a lot of moments to talk. I don’t like that,” Veras said. “But I just love these guys so much and the young talent that we’ve got here, the young kids. … A lot of guys care here. You couldn’t even imagine. A lot of guys in the bullpen care. A lot of hitters, too. It’s tough when you come to the ballpark and lost and lost and lost and lost.”
Veras continued on saying, “It’s easy to come here, lose a game, take a shower, guys can go home and say, ‘OK, we’ll get it tomorrow.’ No. It’s not that way,” Veras said. “We get paid to win ballgames. We are here to win ballgames. You (played) on teams in the minors to be here. Now you’re here. You’ve got to find a way to be successful to stay here.”
“People say, ‘It’s 162 games; we’ll get it later.’ Later when? It’s (32) games. When you going to take it?” Veras said. “So that’s all, you know? We’ve got to turn it around. We’ve got to find a way.”
Lucas Harrell added his displeasure “It gets old, and it’s wearing on us,” Harrell said. “We’re better than what we’ve been playing. … We’re embarrassed as a whole. We’re a team. We’re a family.”
The longest tenured player on the Astros roster, Wesley Wright also was quoted with “We all felt the performance has just been god-awful the last couple days and we can’t continue to put that type of showing out there,” Wright said. “It’s a challenge. Just to see what type of men we are and what type of baseball players we are.”
I’ve repeated this to almost no end, we know the Astros are a bad team, and they know they are a bad team, but this is not their fault. This is rock bottom in the rebuilding process, this is the hardest part of it all, and we saw this coming at the end of last season. There was an interesting discussion on Twitter, debating that whether the media is too harsh on the Astros, and I completely agree that the national attention is on the Astros for being the absolute worst team in baseball. And this group of players are trying their absolute best to turn their woes around, but they’re constantly getting outmatched by obviously better teams in the superior American League. The Astros’ management is also doing their part in making moves, weeding out the guys squandering, and promoting top tier prospects from Triple A Oklahoma City, bringing new life to the Astros roster, and not just letting the team fall further into disrepair the way they are.
I love and revere that the Astros are not complacent with being in last place and that there is a sense of urgency amongst the players to perform, I know they can feel the disappointment, and I feel that it is important for the fans to embrace them and be a supportive back bone for this team.
– Richard Perez