Breath easy Astro fans

You can all exhale now. The quest to be a champion is over...for this season. Does the exodus of two marquee players and the infusion of youth allow the players to finally exhale. I wonder if Hunter Pence will finally grow as a player without the pressure of becoming a championship over his head.

Will Carlos Lee realizing that this team is going no where and follow the likes of Oswalt and Berkman and waive his no trade clause? We can only hope. After taking in these last couple weeks I feel as if I can finally breath a sigh of relief, a new course has been set.

The 2005 Houston Astros team was the peak of the Houston Astros franchise and the closest the Astros have come to being a champion. Baseball experts say that team was an aberration, an anomaly, an oddity, however you want to put it that team was not supposed to be there. I don’t know how you felt about the team when the team hit the low point at 15-30 and the tombstone article was posted in the Houston Chronicle, but I felt horrible about the team.

How could the team with this much talent be so bad? Three aces at the top of the rotation. The heir apparent Berkman at first. Biggio was resuming his career at second. Everett one of the best defensive shortstops in the game in. Ensberg having a breakout year at third base. Ausmus one of the better defensive catchers behind the plate. Burk, Taveras, and Lane were an up and coming outfield. A Lights out bullpen with Lidge, Wheeler, and a young Qualls.

The team can’t be this bad, and they weren’t they made it all the way to the world series in memorable fashion.

They clinched the wild card in the final game of the regular season. The 18 inning game in the NLDS, that ended with a Burke walk off homer run, that was made possible by an Ausmus home run in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. the NLCS game 4 ending double play that should of never happened. The Pujols shot in game 5 that never landed, countered by NLCS MVP Oswalts masterful game 6. The magic ended there as the Astros were swept in the World Series by a team that had a little magic of their own.

Over the next several seasons, we saw; the exodus of Pettite, Clemens, and Everett; the disappointing development of Burke, Lane, and Ensberg; the trading of Taveras, Lidge, Wheeler, and Quallsl; Bagwell and Biggio retired; in came Williams and Jennings and right out they went; Lee and Pence loudly joined the outfield; Tejada, shortly after joining the Astros; aged literally over night; Matsui attempted to replace an icon; now we have an infusion of Phillies in Bourn, Myers and Happ.

The organization has finally had a shift in philosophy. Moving away from rebuilding while staying competitive at the same time, to a more reasonable full rebuild. There are some new kids on the block already with Johnson, Castro, and Wallace. There’s even a brand new coaching staff, that recently added a member, whose name is used in grocery stores all over the country...oh and he was on that 2005 team.

With the trading of Oswalt and Berkman, Wandy Rodriguez is the final remaining active player from the 2005 team. I find that interesting because If we’ve learned anything about watching the development of Wandy, it is we must be patient.

Are you ready to be a champion? No, and that’s a nice feeling.

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