Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Public Perception of the Astros

It was a simple request: If you are not a fan of the Astros, what do you think about the Astros as a franchise? Thanks to numerous re-tweets, we got some pretty great responses. Perhaps you'd be interested in reading?

I'm a believer in 2016. The kids might be good enough then.

@atqdave (Mariners fan)
I don't know what kind of plan you pulled, but the AL West basement belongs to us. GTFO.

I like what the Astros are doing, they will suck this year, be around .500 next year, and contend in 2016

love what Luhnow is doing to rebuild.

They have a promising future but they just aren't quite there yet.

@JoeSerrato1 (A's/Mets fan)
they suck now but the front office is damn smart, 2016-2020 is basically theirs for the taking

Love the rebuild plan. I'm a Pirates fan, and it was tough to see them fail to rebuild the right way for so long.

@C70 (Cardinals fan)
Plenty of respect for the past and an expectation of a quickly improving future. Of course, with #stlcards DNA in the system..

love what theyre doing with the franchise, keeping the young talent in HOU and allowing them to develop the right way is great

I like that they hired smart guys to build a young pipeline of talent. Don't know how long the fanbase will wait though.

@ElBrandano (Twins fan)
Can't understand why the Astros drafted Correa over Buxton. To be fair, though, both teams have long way to go

They're building the right way, & their minor league system is good, but how long can tolerate abject play @ the majors? 2016?

looks like a strong rebuild from my perspective. Very tough to compete against big spenders but success of OAK means possible

@TurboTrevor  (Rangers fan)
I love what the organization and Luhnow are doing. Seem to be building effectively and hiring good people

@Higher_Tier (A's fan) 
I think they're heading in the right direction to be really good in circa 2016 if not sooner.

And via email:

Brittany (Nationals fan):
I think the Astros have great plan with Luhnow and the rest of the front office, building a great foundation through the farm system. After all his success in St. Louis, I expect great things from the Astros in the future. Still am bummed that Up and In had to die though ;) 

Jesse (Mets fan):
Mets fan so I certainly understand the rebuild process. I feel Houston is very well positioned for the future with several high end position players and pitchers in the pipeline. And another top pick on the way. But I can't help be disappointed with the lack of competitiveness the past few seasons and not just that. The desire to not compete to stockpile picks/ talent. This type of thing is disrespectful to the game and the fans. I sympathize with astros fans because any watchable product has been sacrificed in the name of saving money and future success. The past few years has seen fewer than 10 total major league capable players on the roster total. But their approach to the draft and minor league talent development can't be questioned and they will see great success in the near future.

Sean (Blue Jays fan)
I think what he Astros are doing as an organization is very, very risky. They have apparently slashed payroll, sold off any player of value and are fully in "rebuild mode". Rebuilding a team into a competitor isn't like putting a shelf together from Ikea. There are not step by step instructions and is not guaranteed that if a team completely tanks and gains a lot of high draft picks that it will lead to success. Over the last 20 years of the Blue Jays not making the playoffs, I have see quite a few "rebuilds". Not one of them has led to the playoffs and the Blue Jays have not even come close to gutting the organization like the Astros have. I think it is very dangerous to take fans for granted and it feels like that is what the Astros are doing. "Let's cut  payroll to $30 million a year, the team will suck for 3-4 years but we will rebuild a contender and then the fans will come back". This to me is a very dangerous game of chicken with your fanbase. If the team doesn't end up being competitive within the next decade the entire fanbase will be alienated.  And while it feels like sometimes pro sports team owners treat their fan bases like ATM's just blindly doling out money because of team devotion, this is not the case.  In the year 2013, very few fans will financial and emotionally invest in a team that they feel has no competitive chance. The Blue Jays have attempted many different fan promotions and gimmicks to get fans back to the games but it wasn't until the 2012 offseason when big moves were made and fans were given hope of true competitiveness that attendance saw a real increase. Even then, the team ended up flopping and chances are pretty great that because of the disappointment of 2013, ticket sales for 2014 dip again.  I see nothing wrong with teams rebuilding however to completely gut the team like the Astros did and give no fans any hope for at least 1/2 a decade is a enormous gamble. If by 2020,the Astros are still not competitive and some of their high draft choices don't work out (like they often do) then the team is probably dead and will be hard pressed to get any money out of a disillusioned fanbase. 

Tristan (Diamondbacks fan):
I am actually beginning to like what Houston is doing with the team. While things are still many years away, a core is starting to take shape down south. Altuve is solid, Castro has figured things out if he stays healthy, Singleton has been hitting pretty well as a (drug free?) masher, and Springer is coming up within a year or so. Dominguez is a question mark at third, but he has a high pedigree so that could be good news moving forward. Add some money to that lineup and it could be serviceable in 2-3 years. The pitching staff scares me though. While Cosart looked great last year, he was pitching well past where he should have been and won't normally be that good. Beyond Cosart, there isn't really anyone else. But seriously, no one else. Help is on the way with Appel and/or whoever they take at #1 next year, but this might be where they spend in the coming off-seasons. Bullpens are bullpens and can be constructed using spare parts and/or FA dollars. Not to mention, they are extremely fickle and change year to year, so that would be addressed at a later date. Overall, young, potentially good core, but will need a year or two to see how those bats profile out. Pitching needs a lot of help and the bullpen is just eh. Will need a large influx of FA dollars to help round out the roster.

To start. I'm a Giants fan.I don't know if that shapes my views on the Astros or not. The problem is, I have no views on the Astros. I couldn't name 5 players on their team off the top of my head. The only thing I can draw on for an identity lately is the fact that no one watches the broadcasts. That's it. It wasn't always this way. Back in the mid 2000's there were recognizable faces. I'll never forget the Killer B's. Throw it back to the 80's with Nolan Ryan and Mike Scott. Those were teams people remember. But in today's game, as the fan of a different team, I can say I really never think of the Astros at all. They've just turned in to that team nobody watches with a stupid hill in the outfield. Hope this helps! Wasn't trying to be brutal. Just struck me as a great question you posed. It's a shame when a team is irrelevant for a while.