We are pinpointing the exact date the Astros have traveled Dante's trip through Hell in The Inferno. Read the archive here.
We leave Dante's second circle of hell (Lust) and the signings of Carlos Lee and Woody Williams on the same day, and descend further...
The Great Work Cerberus stands guard over the gluttons, who are punished by lying in a "vile slush" brought about by a permanent icy rain. One prominent Dante scholar wrote that "the surrender to sin which began with mutual indulgence leads by an imperceptible degradation to solitary self-indulgence." Because the gluttons consumed to excess, they meet their fate under the cold, dirty rain, lying unhappily in putrid mud. Dante speaks to Ciacco, who prophesies disaster for Florence.
Gluttony. Perhaps the best word to describe the Astros from 2004-2007. Regard:
*In 2004, Richard Hidalgo was paid $12.5m. He was traded to the Mets after 58 games of hitting .256/.309/.412.
*In 2006, Preston Wilson made $4m. He was traded to St. Louis after hitting .263/.307/.423.
*In 2006, Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens made a combined $28.6m (after, admittedly, some major hometown discounts).
*In the 2006 off-season, the Astros signed Carlos Lee and Woody Williams, thus ensuring that their first pick of the 2007 draft was the 111th overall pick. They selected Derek Dietrich and Brett Eibner (neither of whom have appeared in the Majors), but didn't offer enough money for them to sign. The first Astros pick in the 2007 draft to sign was 5th Rounder Collin DeLome. The Astros have had one player from that draft reach the Majors (38th Round pick Robbie Weinhardt - who pitched in 30 games for the Tigers in 2010/11). The Cardinals, just as a comparison, had 12 players from the 2007 draft reach the Majors.
*The Astros paid $180,310,503 in payroll in 2006-2007, and went 155-169.
Were you to speak to Ciacco, he would have prophesied disaster for the Astros in 2006. Mutual indulgence lead by an imperceptible degradation to solitary self-indulgence.