The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gene Collier has a nice little farewell column to the Astros, as they played their last game in Pittsburgh last night not with a bang, but with a whimper: "Woeful Astros in a league of their own."
Not to be presumptuous, but I think I can speak for all of Pittsburgh when I express the city's sincere thanks to the Houston Astros for bringing us 51 seasons of generally dreadful National League baseball.
"Generally dreadful" you say? Hold the phone. You can't expect a fan of a team - this team - to not take some slight offense to this Looking Down the Glasses column. "Generally dreadful" is not an appropriate term for a team that has won at least 80 games in 30 of 51 seasons, and went to the playoffs six times in nine seasons.
Houston is 3986-4122 overall in their 50.8 seasons of baseball. Pittsburgh, in the same time frame, is 3982-4111-8. In other words, the Astros have a winning percentage of .4916 in franchise history, through last night. The Pirates have a winning percentage of .4915.
Have the last two seasons' worth of home games been played in Dante's 4th Level of Hell? Absolutely.
An aside, if you will, because that wasn't a random level. Read the description of Level 4 of Dante's Inferno:
Just before the river Styx is the Fourth Level of Hell. Here, the prodigal and the avaricious suffer their punishment, as they roll weights back and forth against one another. You will share eternal damnation with others who either wasted and lived greedily and insatiably, or who stockpiled their fortunes, hoarding everything and sharing nothing. Plutus, the wolf-like demon of wealth, dwells here.
If Carlos Lee isn't Plutus, I don't know who is...
Anyhow, in order to say "We'll miss you suckers!" you have to be engaging in some highly selective history. Collier throws out a stat: the Pirates are 215-134 against Houston at home.
Verdict? True, but in the last 20 seasons (1993-present), the Astros are 170-120 overall, and 70-71 at Pittsburgh - an away record that is pretty damn far from getting dominated. From 1993-2010, the Astros were 65-57 at Pittsburgh, and 160-98 overall.
So, yes, the Pirates are 215-134 at home against the Astros. From 1962-1992 (a span which saw some flat-out incredible Pirates teams), the Pirates were 150-87. That's domination, holmes.
I'm sure Pittsburgh will miss the 2011-2012 Astros. Who wouldn't? (Aside from the Mets, who are 5-7 against the two worst Astros teams in franchise history, I mean).
To the credit of Pirates fans, read the comments for Collier's article. Lots of appropriate calling out of Collier. But look, Gene, I'm happy for your Pirates. I hope they knock the Cardinals out and beautiful PNC Park gets to host playoff baseball. Just take it easy on the suspender-snapping.