First things freaking first: Don't roll your eyes at Truck Day. I know it's fashionable to act as though putting nine bajillion boxes of sunflower seeds, eighty-five cases of Gold Bond and twenty ribbed condoms on to an 18-wheeler doesn't impact your existence. But it matters up north. I spent three years in Upstate New York, and the psychological impact of Spring Training is undeniable. Yes, it's 10 degrees with two feet of snow on the ground, but it'll get better. So shut your mouth about hating Truck Day.
Now, to the Five Burning Questions for Astros Fans:
1. Why, God, Why?
Come, now. If God didn't see fit to bestow a Super Bowl ring on Dan Marino's finger, then surely you don't expect Him to throw us a bone in matters of sport. I believe that God is omnipresent, omniscient, and all-powerful. Clearly the answer, then, is that there is sin in the Astros' camp. Personally, I've got money on Tal Smith and Pam Gardner. Once they restore themselves, or someone converts them, a la the Lost Tribes of Israel, we can expect more of the same, meaning 2006-2010. Not 2001-2005.
2. How did this happen?
It's because you did not buy enough Morgan Ensberg gear at your local Academy. Had you been a better fan in the feast years, you would understand the famine. Maybe it's not that dire, but the decline and fall of the Astros Empire is fairly well-documented. See, when Clemens and Pettitte decided to forsake the Yankees and come to Houston, I feel like management assumed this would repeatedly happen forevermore. Yet the Astros were drunk on power when we had our own Brokeback Mountain playing out two out of every five days on the mound. Drayton took two Yankees and then thought the Astros were the Yankees. Think it's a coincidence that Carlos Lee, Woody Williams, and Miguel Tejada soon followed? With those three deals, the Astros lost draft picks and eight prospects. Have those prospects done anything? With the exception of Luke Scott, not really, but it was a culture of trading and ignoring the draft that began under Hunsicker and continued under Purpura. Sins of the past, and whatnot.
3. When will it get better?
It'll be a while. One hundred things need to go right, in order, for the Astros to contend this year. But we don't have to wonder when the Astros are going to realize that they need to try a new model. It will be more fun than last year - for a while. It may not be fun after the All-Star Break. Jason Castro just might not ever figure out how to hit left-handed pitching. We might understand why Brett Wallace has been traded so often (personally, though, this is a bullcrap argument). J.R. Towles will certainly enjoy this season more, if only for the fact that Roy won't be hawking his ass for two months. But with each passing 75-win season, Bobby Heck's draft picks get closer to contributing. And don't let FanGraphs eat your soul by saying that Eddie's Farm is bereft of talent.
4. What stage of grief am I in?
Well, you're in one of the five stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance. So you choose:
Personally, I waffle between Anger and Acceptance. There was a period of Bargaining which was unbecoming for a man of my age, so I bounce around a little bit.
5. Is there anyone I can talk to?
Yes. Your friends at Astros County are here to help you. And you can gripe on John Wessling's show, Sunday Morning Live, from 7am to 9am, on 97.5 FM.