When I was a little boy, I used to cry on my birthday or the day after. And when I say "little boy", I mean late High School and early College (kidding!...maybe.). The thing that made me well up like a fad-follower at the twenty-first showing of Titanic was fondness for the familiarity I was leaving behind. See, when I turned nine, I felt like eight was the best year of my life. When ten came around, I bemoaned the loss of nine. My parents will vouch for this, and will probably call to reminisce when they read this article (Hi, Mom and Dad!).
Like many people, I handled change very poorly as a child. I liked my comfort zone. Taking risks was averse to my future-engineer persona that liked to have everything fully defined three different ways. And new always equaled probably worse.
Unlike many people though, I mostly overcame that apprehension and have begun to view change as an opportunity for positive experience. Take, for example, changing jobs. After earning my degree I found myself in a situation where I was being asked to break the law for my employer. Presented with limited options, none of them easy, I changed employers. This turned out to be a great experience doing work I enjoyed. That empowered me to change to yet another company when I was approached by a former colleague. And that turned out positive as well. As my life changed, whether against my will or not, I encountered experience after experience that took my fear of change and destroyed it the way a replacement NFL ref destroys a rulebook (Ba-Zing! A little topical humor there...).
I write for the enjoyment of the creative process, and used to maintain a fairly pathetic MLBlog about baseball--a subject I became re-interested in back in college when I lived with a sports-nut roommate. But nobody read my stuff. So I began copying-and-pasting my articles into FanPosts at The Crawfish Boxes. After six months, I was asked to become a regular contributor, a request that I hope nobody has come to regret (this is the point where David and Tim should comment and validate my existence. Also kidding.). To me, this was another change that I was apprehensive about. I asked my wife, "I'm responsible for a department of people at work. I have you at home and a house to take care of. We want kids. Do I have time for this? Am I able to do this? If I try, will I justify David and Tim's faith in my writing and in my output? Or will the readers recognize me as a hack that knows far less about the Astros short-season A-ball team than they do?"
But I accepted, because I really, really wanted to. And dang, what a great experience being on this team is.
I could not have picked a better time to being seriously writing about my hometown Astros. (Ah yes, readers think, he's finally writing about baseball. It only took him 508 words.) At this point in my life, with a new baby, a challenging work environment, and a novel in the works, I relish change. It's fun! It's a challenge. And most of all, it's fascinating.
As terrible as the Astros are this season, and as almost-as-terrible as they were in 2011, I find them infinitely more fascinating than, say, the New York Yankees. I enjoyed watching Hunter Pence hustle to knock down a ball and throw out a runner at home plate from deep in the outfield. I loved watching Roy O pitch. I was an unashamed Carlos Lee apologist because of his talent at the plate and his big grin. But I'd been watching those guys for-ev-er.
During my involvement with TCB so far, the Astros have been sold, gutted, and moved to a different league. But they've also poured a new foundation of talent, are changing team colors, and will be facing new opponents. I love it. It's fascinating. It's going to be great to write about. Other baseball bloggers around SB Nation should be jealous of those of us that get to write for TCB. Because change is stinking cool.
- I can't wait to see the new uniforms.
- I can't wait to see Tal's Hill ripped out.
- I can't wait to see what the new sabermetric-oriented front office does with a $6 million total payroll going into 2013.
- I can't wait to see AL teams in Minute Maid Park.
- I can't wait to see what Jonathan Singleton, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Domingo Santana, and Delino DeShields Jr. turn out to do in the majors.
- I can't wait to see if Jose Altuve can continue improving to be a cornerstone of the 2020 Astros.
- I can't wait to not see Alfonso Soriano anymore.
- I can't wait to compete against Albert Pujols again.
- I can't wait to compare Jeff Lunhow against Billy Beane.
- I can't wait to find out who the 2013 #1 overall draft pick is for the Astros.
- I can't wait to beat my original hometown Cincinnati Reds in the World Series.
- I can't wait to find out who the Astros eventually get in trade for Bud Norris, Jed Lowrie, and next season's rent-a-veterans.
- I can't wait to write another article containing a bullet list at TCB.
- I can't wait to find out how the Comcast Houston channel will broadcast Astros content.
We all yearn for the comfortable past. In a perfect world, Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio would still be in their primes and hunkering down in the right side of the infield. But whether we will it or from whither it comes, change happens. Let's move forward into 2013 with an attitude of fascination over what we are witnessing in Houston. We are seeing the franchise at its lowest point, but we are also seeing it at its most interesting point. Can anybody debate this? We are the lucky ones that get to witness how the 2011 Houston Astros rise from one of the worst clubs in history to a World Series contender. Does anybody doubt they're on the right path? I know I don't. So I am going to enjoy the heck out of this ride, and enjoy writing about it.
How about that new site format? Change is fun.