Sunday, December 31, 2017

The View From Over The Pond (@AstrosFansUK)

The obligatory introduction
As a Houston Astros fan of 17 years - wait, no now make that 18 as of 1 hour ago - I feel the time is right to throw my hat into the blogging ring. Thank you to Astros County for the invitation, I will endeavour to provide a semi-regular (read: completely irregular) viewpoint from Britain on all things Astros and what it means to be a UK Astros fan.

I will also in future be frequently offering my thoughts on MLB’s respective development in the UK and what the baseball community here is doing to advance this. Exciting times are ahead...

Now, where else to begin but:

2017 - a brief retrospective
Out with the old and in with the new, eh? At least that’s what we consider at these final, glimmering twilight moments of a departing year. As 2017 draws to a close, every Houston Astros fan will be asking if we really have to let go and move on this time. The past 12 months saw (mostly in order but not all):

  • Jeff Bagwell rightly (although unacceptably belatedly) elected to the baseball Hall Of Fame.
  • Jose Altuve win the American League Most Valuable Player Award.
  • 6 (six) Astros selected for the All Star Game.
  • Trading for Justin Verlander seconds before the final trade deadline.
  • The second-most regular season wins (101) in Astros history.
  • Winning the club’s first divisional title (AL West) in 16 years.
  • Winning the club’s first postseason series in 12 years.
  • Beating the Boston Red Sox, the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers in order in the postseason to pick up a city on its knees after a once-in-500-year hurricane/flood disaster to win the club’s first ever World Series Title, culminating in winning one of the greatest Fall Classics in living memory and including 2 of the greatest ballgames in postseason history, one of them standing as potentially the greatest ballgame of all time.

This was the Houston Astros’ Greatest Year Ever - fact - and you, I, we as one were privileged and blessed to experience it. No matter what the future holds, the indelible jubilance and embers of our Championship will burn bright up to and beyond the day when our own flames flicker out.

It’s been a hell of a ride, 2017. 

Hurricane Harvey
I am not a Houstonian, I have never been to Houston (as of yet), yet my heart sank as the dreadful news seemingly unstoppably continued to roll in during late August. The city’s genuinely heroic and selfless response to the disaster, embodied to me in particular from afar in the shape of the actions of ‘Mattress Mack’ and Mayor Sylvester Turner, was extraordinarily inspiring. All of my thoughts remain with the numerous Houstonian Astros fans I know through social media who were affected.

This piece is dedicated to all Houstonians who tragically lost their lives and their homes in Hurricane Harvey. 

-George Martin

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