Why I love the offseason (hint: it makes it easier to be an Astros fan)

A week ago, I was sipping on some coffee, scouring the web to find last minute insight into who I should start in my fantasy football league, and fully expecting a Manny Acta signing would need to be reported later that day.  Add another five or so hours, and you'd find me trying to control my overwhelming desire to smash my laptop across Drayton McLane's thick skull.  A quick glance at my two responses (one more thought out than the other) pretty much easily identifies me as miserably resigned to a dismal Astros future.

A week later: I couldn't be more convinced of good things to come.

And that is why I love the offseason.

 

 

The offseason is a time that allows the two separate parts of my brain, subjective and objective, a chance to really flex their creative muscle and ride the crest and trough of the news cycle.  That's not as possible—or really, even—during the regular season.

For the objective part of my brain, the offseason brings the following things into play: projections, legitimate sample sizes to make observations with, the free agent market to dissect, and more projections.  Is there anything better than pouring through a new set of projections, trying to peg whether it's going over or under, and then gathering your teams relative odds for success based on what you discover? The answer is a distinct no.

Subjectively, the offseason is a treasure trove of over-hyped stories that play on your emotions due to the enhanced air of relevance they're endowed with.  And that's how, in a week's time, I've gone from woefully depressed to cautiously exuberant (is that actually possible?).

Losing out on Manny Acta was harsh.  It showcased our owner's incompetence shortcomings, and, hopefully, left a lot of bitter tastes in people's mouths.  Then, Brad Mills' name was announced and we started learning all kinds of great things about the man.  Things like:

 

  • Brad Mills is obsessed with knowing the advanced scouting information about his opponents.
  • He values defensive alignments in an effort to maximize his team's defensive production.
  • Has stated he won't tolerate the base running blunders that have plagued this team the last two years.
  • Will run a tight ship and won't accept—for lack of a better term—lolly-gagging (something that makes me think of the Bagwell/Biggio years).
  • Just seems—through all the anecdotes, etc.—like the kind of detailed oriented, obsessively focused, driven kind of manager that will milk the best from his players.
Whether any of that will actually take place, I have no idea.  But it's the offseason, and we get to make mountains out of mole hills and call it editorializing.

All I really know is that in five days of his tenure, Brad Mills has made me yearn for Astros baseball again.  When this offseason started, I was ready for my break with it.  Good riddance to the zombie-like team that kept dropping game, and pulling themselves closer and closer to their Pythag-Record (68-94).  But now, because it's the offseason, Brad Mills gets to spend five days having stories from his past following him, causing the city of Toronto to smash their heads against their keyboards by stealing away an allegedly outstanding pitching coach, and viola: hope.

We have a manager who seems ready to tighten screws, force full production for our veteran players, and help the younger ones harness their talent.  We also seem to have a pitching coach who I actually think will help, and not hurt, or pitchers.  Romero reminds too much of Paulino, and I like what Arnsberg did for the former.  This is exciting stuff to think about, ponder on, and then debate.

The news of Arnsberg's signing has easily set a record for all time comments on a Fan Shot for us (I think...).  We don't really know a whole lot about him, but we've scoured the internet looking for the same kind of overhyped reaction that all offseason news carries and suddenly, we have something to smile about.  This is not denigrate the discussion in the fanshot (or even imply that all the articles quoted were overhyped reaction), but to point to the magic of the offseason.  It's truly the only place that can spawn a full belief in, "just wait 'til next season."
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