Thursday's Three Astros Things

Attendance has been sparse, which means your chance of getting a pre-game autograph might be pretty good. - Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

We're preaching the Orange Gospel, and so much more ...

If you can't enjoy the game unless you are pretty sure your team is going to win, baseball is not the game for you. Remember, the best team in baseball in any year is going to be beaten about 60 times.

DANIEL OKRENT & HARRIS LEWINE, The Ultimate Baseball Book

1) Take Me Out to the Ball Game ... Please!

Sadly, it comes as no surprise that despite the new colors, new uniforms and new opponents that included our new regional rival (thanks, Bud!), attendance for the Astros opening six-game home stand was down from a year ago.

The old Astros — those of the National League — drew 138,997 fans for the six games that opened 2012, with the non-regional Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves invading Minute Maid Park.

This year, with the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics providing the competition, just 133,607 showed up at the ballpark. For those of you keeping score, that's a drop of about 3.9 percent

Comparing just Opening Nights, 43,464 showed up to see the Rockies in 2012, while 41,307 were in attendance to see the Rangers. What's that say?

Whatever else it means, I think it's an indication that Houston just isn't a real baseball town. There, I said it. I know them's fightin' words to some of you, and I'll even acknowledge that Astros fans have been smacked around plenty over the years and maybe a little backlash is justified. But come on, Houston, you can do better!

And here's a big group hug to those of you who support the team and its minor league affiliates, and especially those of us who visit the Crawfish Boxes. I can't tell you how much I enjoy reading all of your comments — especially the snarky ones — on the open thread for every game.

Win or lose, they're still our Astros, and I'm sure they appreciate our support in any way they can get it. Not only do they appreciate it, I'll go so far as to say they need it! If you can get out to the ballpark during the next home stand, please do. Those empty seats on television are kind of embarrassing, maybe more embarrassing than the actual play on the field. As for me, I'm planning to see our boys on one or more of their East Coast trips.

To the fierce, ardent, leather-lunged professional fan, baseball is life itself, a motive for breathing, the yeast that helps his spirit, as well as his gorge, rise.

JIM BROSNAN, The Atlantic, Apr. 1964

2) Back-to-back wins, but SI still says we suck!

Let me say this: I love reading Sports Illustrated. It may be a little old school, but then so am I, and I think their baseball coverage retains a degree of elegance that some other sources (other than The Crawfish Boxes) lack. That being said, it hurts a little to see us getting no love despite the fact that Chris Carter left Safeco Field burning hotter than a 20-ounce Starbucks Caffé Americano on an empty stomach.

But okay, hurt feelings aside, maybe it's time for a reality check. It's a 162-game season, and even though all of us are now worshiping at the Altar of Trogdor after he helped burninate the Mariners, could the venerable SI be correct in its assessment that the Astros belong in the same conversation with the 1899 Cleveland Spiders (134 losses) and 1962 Mets (120 losses)?

I'll admit to some initial ass-chapping after reading the article, but as the burn subsides, I have to concede that yes, it's possible that we could be that bad. After all, the memories of Yu Darvish and Coco Crisp haven't been eclipsed by the more recent heroics of Carlos Pena and J.D. Martinez, and a lot still has to go right before I'm ready to say that the Astros will make us all proud as, well, proud as Brad Peacocks.

But now is the time for you to weigh in on the matter, so have at it!

Baseball is a game of moments: exhilarating and excruciating, heartwarming and heartbreaking, dazzling and, yes, sometimes even dull. Red Barber, the greatest baseball announcer of all time, said that "baseball is dull only to dull minds," but I respectfully disagree.... Baseball is a lot like life: there are moments of excitement and joy with long stretches of monotony.

LIZ HARTMAN MUSIKER, The Smart Girl's Guide to Sports

3) On the airwaves

Do yourself a favor and stop over at What the Heck, Bobby? for the fine interview with Lancaster JetHawks play-by-play announcer Jason Schwartz.

It's a great look back at the 2012 team, including Schwartz's first-hand account of how the monotony was broken for him by outfield prospect George Springer, who nearly committed assault with a deadly baseball before making good his escape to Corpus Christi.

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