Thursday, November 2, 2017

World Series Champion Hot Links

The 2017 Astros had achieved Favorite Astros Team status before the playoffs even started. No, they didn't set the record for most wins in franchise history. No, they didn't have the best record in baseball, or even their own league. But my God they were FUN. From the Memorial Day Miracle against the Twins to the Justin Verlander trade, with all of the doubt in between - injuries to the entire starting rotation, the slump in August and, oh yeah, the worst natural disaster to hit the United States - the Astros were there to take your mind away from just how bad life actually is, for a few hours every night. A lot of you, especially those of you in Southeast Texas, lost something this year: A loved one, a friend, a marriage, your house, your property. You experienced loss, but the Astros didn't. The Astros - a franchise with whom all of us identify - are your 2017 World Series champions. They won't, can't, replace your loss. But they can, and did, make things just a little bit easier.

*I was at a concert. It was June 4, 2017. I remember it. The Astros had just completed a sweep of the Rangers, and I was wearing an Astros hat and shirt. Keep in mind I live in Rangers territory. This Rangers fan - I can still see him - came up and said, "Remember it doesn't mean s*** unless you win it all."

No team has been woven into the fabric of Houston sports longer than the Astros, who were founded in 1962 as the expansion Colt .45s and grew up with a city on the rise. Through heartbreak and triumph, unforgettable highs and crushing lows, the Astros persevered.

We were at the bottom. Nobody wanted to come here. It was an open tryout, and now it's a destination for players to come. We've got MVPs wanting to come here, we've got Cy Youngs wanting to come here. We're on top of the world...literally.

*George Springer is your World Series MVP. Springer, after his 0x4 4K Game 1: .440/.533/1.160, 4K:5BB. Jeff Sullivan: Springer had an all-time World Series.

*Listen to Robert Ford's game-ending call.

*Charlie Morton, who recorded the last 12 outs of the game:
I have faith that things work out, but if you would have told me that, I would have laughed. I've never even come close to something like that. I'm fortunate to be here. It's unreal.

*Hinch's quick hook on McCullers set up the Astros' win.

*How the Astros got to Yu Darvish. Again. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts:
I know he wanted the baseball. I know he was prepared. I just can't explain the results. I really can't.

If he gets you to chase, it's advantage Darvish. If he gets you to hit his off-speed pitches, it's advantage Darvish. So you have to be very disciplined. And we did that two games in a row where we got hittable pitches and did damage.

*Jonah Keri: How the Astros went from the lowliest depths of hell to World Series champs.

*Dave Cameron: Charlie Morton was baseball in 2017.

*Ben Reiter, who wrote the famous 2014 SI article, predicts the Astros will repeat in 2018.
It's harder than ever to win back-to-back titles, in a Wild Card era with an exhausting and randomizing playoff structure. The Yankees won three in a row, between 1998 and 2000. The Blue Jays won two, in '92 and '93. Those were the only times it's happened since the '70s. If any team is built to do it, it's these Astros. 

*Buy a Springer-signed SI cover.

*Bovada has the Astros as current favorites to win the 2018 World Series.

*Craig Hlavaty on the team that saved his life.

*Jake Kaplan: Six Novembers after Luhnow pitched Jim Crane his vision, the Astros are World Series champions.

*The Chronicle has the inside look at the champagne celebration.

*Richard Justice: Houston's strength in the wake of Hurricane Harvey carried this team. Dallas Keuchel:
It means everything. We knew that, so we wanted to really be behind them. We love each and every one associated with Houston. We've been through a lot, and for us not to be there when everything was going on really hurt us. This is our redemption. This is what we give back.

*Carlos Correa was playing Games 3-7 with an injured thumb sustained in the Game 2 walkoff celebration.

*The Ringer: The Astros are not here for your "pitching wins championships" narrative.

*Get you some gear today.

*Carlos Correa proposed to his girlfriend on the field after the game.

*The parade is tomorrow at 2pm.

*Mattress Mack lost $10 million.

*Beyond the Box Score: Dallas Keuchel is king of the edges.

*Jon Heyman: The Dodgers traded for Yu Darvish when they could have traded for Justin Verlander.

*FiveThirtyEight's Neil Paine: The Astros tanked their way to the top.

*With Alex Cora joining the Red Sox, the Astros are hiring Joe Espada as their bench coach.

*Thank you, all of you, for reading Astros County.


Craig Harmann said...

Thank YOU James and company for all of your hard work in going through the downs and now ups with this team. What an amazing ride and how much fun will the next 10+ years be, watching HOFers Altuve, Correa, Bregman, Springer and more ball out for Houston!

James Montessi said...

Thank you James for all of your hard work and effort. You almost singlehandedly made the lean years bearable. Looking forward to spending the next few amazing years reading/listening along.

Alex Blair said...

Thanks for giving us the front porch for the Astros/Bozo community.

kevin wright said...

What a team! What a year! So much has to break right to win the World Series. I've been a fan of this team since I can remember, sometime in the late 80s. From the Bagwell/Biggio years in the Astrodome, to the Berkman/Oswalt enhanced early 00s, to the Purpura debacle, to the Hurricane Ike year and the rebuild to follow, I've spent more time analyzing and agonizing over this team than major life decisions. What this championship means to the city, the people, our friends, our families is indescribable. Thank you Astros! Thank you for an amazing year. And thank you to Astros County who got me through the rough rebuild years with humor and hope and is the first site I check every morning. Let's do it again next year!

Kelsey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelsey said...

ntxlfty said...

Just wanted to let you what you've meant to all of us Astros fans. You made all the lean years fun and engaging. I, too, check out this site first thing in the morning. Sometimes, when I wake up before you post, I think about firing off an email to wake your ass up. Then my better angels take over. During the offseason, when the comment section seems to have dried up, just remember we're all still here, loving every word.

Anonymous said...

There are so many other people that have waited longer than I have for a Houston Championship and I can't express how happy I am. For me, I began religiously watching the Astros in 1994 while going to eat Mexican food with my parents. I was 10 years old. The restaurant we went to always had their games on, and I instantly fell in love with that team specifically, and the 'Stros in general. Emulating the stances of Cammy, Bags, Bigg, Luis Gonzalez while playing ball with my buddies in the neighborhood and mimicking the leg kick from Drabek and the sweeping leg motion of Shane Reynolds while playing catch with my dad (man he hated it when I did that; he would inevitably end up with a gigantic hematoma on his shin from an errant pitch).

Last night was the culmination of 23 years of high's, low's, stat watching and wishing. My dogs hated me for all of the yelling that I did, and my wife certainly didn't enjoy the very late night's but through it all it was totally worth the wait. Tears of joy. Thank you guys for this blog- I read it everyday and it's awesome!!!

Anonymous said...

Tears! I never thought it would happen!

One of the greatest days of my life!

Worn out, but worth every minute over the last 40 years!

ntxlfty said...

I still hate Bud Selig.

Anonymous said...

We've had the Killer B's in the past we now have the ABC'S of MLB. Altuve, Bregman, Correa, and "Springer!!! With some tweaking of the bullpen (how about a reliable closer and left handed relief) and a few other areas we have a strong chance to repeat.

Chas R said...

Awesome stuff!!! Thanks so much for maintain this blog. I read it everyday. I LITERALLY LOVE OUR ASTROS!!

Anonymous said...

Astros County is pretty good!

DF said...

best post ever

Love the site, its a daily visit for a good 6 or 7 years now. Thanks for all the time and effort put into the content

John Martin said...

Someone else said it on twitter last night, but Astros County and Crawfish Boxes made the three years of hell bearable. Thanks AC!

Amazing to see the Astros win, almost doesn't feel real.

JMay said...

I echo the above. Found you in the lean years, and the humor here made it bearable. Congrats to us all but mostly the boys.

ManiacAlum said...

I just wanted to echo the sentiments thanking you guys for all your hard work. This was also my daily lifeline while living in Oklahoma the last several years, where for awhile it was nearly impossible to catch games unless it was against the Rangers, Royals or Cardinals. Oddly enough, I moved back to town 3 weeks before Harvey.

Anyway, I was looking forward to just hopefully winning the division but this team is all like "YEAH WE'RE ROLLING THROUGH THE WEST BY LIKE 20 GAMES AND WINNING THE WHOLE DAMN THING IF THAT'S COOL".

Surreal. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

I want to express my own appreciation and gratitude for what you guys give to all of us. Astros County is my first stop for insight, understanding and encouragement, and I generally come looking around 5am everyday. Astros County feels like a gathering of kindred souls to me. It is where I found illumination for The Process during the dark years. It was the only perspective I wanted (and could bear to read) when we lost G1, 4, and 6. Now I can look forward to savoring our championship season all winter long at a place where the temps will always be toasty, right here in Astros County!

And as ntxlfty said above... "during the offseason, when the comment section seems to have dried up, just remember we're all still here, loving every word."

Thanks, gents!!