Wednesday, September 25, 2013

In Defense of the Astros? Craig Calcaterra Defends the 2013 Choices

Perhaps we're all a bit jaded and used to the national sportswriters blasting the Astros so much that it's hard to realize they don't all share the same brain.

Looks like Craig Calcaterra of NBC Sports' Hardball Talk has gone and decided to think for himself and *gasp* use logical thought. This morning he posted an article entitled, "Hating on the Astros is trendy. But it's also rather silly."

It's one of those articles that rationalizes what the Astros have done this season, or rather not done this season. In the post, Calcaterra reflects on what else the Astros could have or should have done in 2013 and whether or not any other actions would have made any difference in the win column.
The Astros’ previous owners totally strip-mined that team. They left the minor league cupboard more than bare, in large part because they tried to squeeze way too much out of the Biggio-Bagwell years and put off rebuilding far too long. With the team in the gutter and Houston being about as low on the free agent-desirability list as it comes what, exactly, should the Astros have done differently than they have? Signed Michael Bourn or Josh Hamilton? That woulda been swell. They may have challenged for 60 wins in such an event and raised their TV ratings from 0.0 to 0.2 maybe.
While Buster Olney and Peter Gammons rail about how the Astros are ruining baseball without offering any way in which changes could alter their ability to destroy America's past time, Calcaterra offers this,
Is it so galling to see a team lose 100 games multiple years in a row and to see them ending the season so poorly? Is it all the more galling to see a team losing because it simply lacks talent rather than because it lacks money and talent? Maybe that’s what the Astros’ critics are on about. I have no idea. All I do know is that nothing that the Astros are doing suggests that they particularly enjoy losing or want to continue losing. They simply stink and are doing what they can to get better while the system’s chips fall where they are designed to fall.
Or am I missing something?
I can promise you this, Craig. The fans have not enjoyed losing and we get to turn off the games when we're over it. Those poor players have to stay on the field.


Anonymous said...

This article mirrors the same discussion I've read here and on other sites all year. Basically, it is strawman argument: mischaracterize criticism of the rebuild, and then swat it down.

Oddly enough, many of the apologists for the total teardown strategy are now advocating the same arguments put forth by many of the critics: to add a few bullpen arms and/or a bat. Apparently, the apologists are either too blind or dishonest to see their hypocrisy.

The Batguy said...

We would NEVER build a strawman! I have allergies, and it would make me itchy.

Anonymous said...

As always, I'm just praying the money will be there when we need it to lock up talented players/ acquire prime FA's. If I get the idea we're going the Royals route I'm so done with this team. I've endured enough...

Mike Fast said...

I was a Royals fan for 26 years. I assume you are talking about the years during the 90s and early 2000s when Damon, Beltran, Dye, Cone, etc. were traded away because the team didn't have money to sign them to long-term contracts.

I can assure you we are not going that route. There is money here to sign good players, and we will do that.

But we're also not going to throw a lot of money after expensive, overrated, over-the-hill players like Mark Davis, Storm Davis, Roberto Hernandez, etc., in a futile attempt to patch up holes.

We'll try to be smart in adding free agents, and I'm sure we'll have some clunkers just like every team does, but you have to build the foundation before you can build a strong championship team on top of it.

Anonymous said...

Thats great to hear Mike! I'm a die hard fan who will never quit cheering on the Astros. Sad to say, even I am getting tired of us not showing much of an effort sometimes. I got to watch last nights 7-3 loss to the Rangers. In that game, we used 3 pinch hitters and they averaged a batting avg of .215!!! Thats when it hit me....Not only are we bad, but we're not even really trying. I agree that we shouldn't throw any big money at just any old aging FA just because of his name, but we need some sort of outside help! I tell myself and my kids next year will be the year we start to turn it around and see the fruits of this rebuild, even if it might make me a liar, LOL

Bobby B