Today we welcome Citizen Mitch. Welcome, Citizen Mitch!
Astros County: The problem with Berkman is:
Citizen Mitch: Is there a problem with Berkman? I feel like these things happen. Slumps and semi-slumps occur. It's baseball. I'm not worried. Who's been more consistent than Fat Elvis? Maybe what's wrong with Berkman is that I don't buy him drinks enough for being an awesome guy.
AC: Who do you prefer? Alyson Footer, Richard Justice, Brian McTaggart, Zachary Levine, or Jose de Jesus Ortiz and why?
CM: I don't read much Chron anymore, but Jose de Jesus Ortiz is the bomb. He's diligent and incisive, a quality, consistent read, and rarely talks down to his audience or is self-serving or hackily unfunny.
AC: Who is the first Astro to get sent down on merit (not just to clear space)?
CM: I'm not sure I totally understand this question, but how about, on merit, a drinking foursome with you, Carl Everett, Shawn Chacon, and Julio Lugo? Greatest night ever? Even Artest is like "those guys are completely insane." Talk about crazy former Astros.
AC: What is your favorite Astro memory?
CM: Attending Game 4 of the '05 Division Series against Atlanta--the 18-inning game. I was there with my dad, who, incidentally, had actually been at the 16-inning game loss to the Mets in '86. I thought that was a cool form of sports redemption that doesn't often happen. And I also thought it was cool to be at an 18-inning Astros playoff game, for obvious reasons. It was just a tremendous game, and Burke's homer was an absolutely pure and genuine moment of elation, a microcosm of everything great about being a sports fan. What sucks is that the amount of disappointment that resulted from the World Series sweep still rivals Game 4 in how it's affected my life. On top of that, how surreal (and cripplingly depressing) was it to see Lidge pitching the final out of the World Series for the PHILLIES?! Sorry I even brought it up. Let's move on.
AC: Which former Astro do you wish they would have held on to?
CM: Man, there is a massive amount of candidates (wasn't Johan attached to them at one point?), but Beltran clearly springs to mind; I was a freshman in college at UNT during their '04 playoff run and subsequent offseason, and it was one of the first times I'd ever noticed, and arguably been overwhelmed by, widespread, real, ardent interest in the Astros from casual fans, and it was because this dude Beltran was absolutely SICK, just dominating playoff competition. He was raking like Redford in The Natural and playing centerfield like Torii Hunter and Andruw Jones screwed in their respective primes and birthed him. People my age, young Astros sports fans, were obsessed with Beltran; it's sort of blasphemous, but the dude definitely had a chance to be an iconic Astro, like Bagwell or Biggio. We wanted so badly for him to stay and carry our team.
Clearly, it didn't turn out that way, but the Beltran trade was awesome, Beltran was awesome, and I'll always remember the optimism he generated as completely contradictory to the typical Astros cynicism amongst me and my friends who are Astros fans. How often can you say "one of the top five guys in baseball plays for the Astros?" Rarely. He's not a top-five guy now, but, hey, you never know what could've been. They didn't re-sign him, obviously, and they told us they couldn't compete with the Mets' cash, but when you compare Caballo's contract and the fact that Beltran is an all-star player in the field and at the plate, I think it could've been worth it. Then again, it's not my money.