Well things are starting to die down as the despair casts its shadow on to the Houston Texans. If you are emotionally invested in the Texans, please accept my apologies and best wishes for your livers.
For Astros County, though, we shift a little bit into walks down memory lane, reactions to what the Astros do ("The Astros signed Player X. It doesn't make sense, but I'm not going to question it. Back to watching ALCS Game 2 and laughing my head off"), etc. Sometimes the Hot Links will be shorter, there may be days that we don't post anything at all. Winter is here in all its 86-degree glory.
One thing, before we start, though: today (November 6) is the 9th anniversary of the first post on Astros County. Later that day I recapped Brandon Backe's 2008 season and the financial outlook for the 2009 team. It must have been a slow day at work. In the Hot Links post on Thursday morning, you know, the one a few hours after the Astros WON THE WORLD SERIES, a lot of you left very nice comments about this blog. I didn't respond because the most Facebook thing you can do is to copy-and-paste "Thanks!" to every comment, which manages to cheapen the original comment. I read every single one and want you to know that I truly appreciate all of you. Writing about the Astros has been cathartic for me. I'm about four years into off-and-on research on a non-fiction (non-Astros) book, and hitting "publish" around 6:15am every morning gives me the pleasure of having finished...something. I have a lot more to research before I can even start writing the book, and I don't have a ton of free time as it is. The idea that you come to this website each morning, even if the only thing new is a list of what you should read, is humbling. Thank you.
*Richard Justice writes that the Astros' grit and determination (*checks FanGraphs for Grit+) started with A.J. Hinch. Hinch, on talking to Altuve after the 2014 season:
We talked a lot about getting better. We talked about the 100-loss seasons. We talked about the grind that had taken its toll. I asked him one question: 'Why don't we talk about winning?'
*Buster Olney: The Astros look ready to launch a dynasty, but so did the Cubs in 2016. (Also comes with a great story about how Charlie Morton misunderstood the Astros' offer, and was thrilled with the idea of making half of what he's actually making).
*Jim Duquette doesn't think the Astros land any of the Top 25 Free Agents (which starts later today).
*Meet 32-year old Kyle Hamsher, also known as Orbit.