On the Astros: Anger a state of being for Astros fans

Laurence Griffiths

The only Astros/Avengers mash-up column you'll read this week.

One of the best scenes in Joss Whedon's The Avengers happens when Bruce Banner finally shows up to The Battle of New York. He scooters in as a giant dragon-thing flies at our heroes and finally reveals the secret to his transformation.

He's always angry.

Mind you, this makes precious little sense. All our evidence shows that Banner has little control over his emotions or over the giant green rage monster after he transforms. Yet, the moment gives shading to the character and sets up the only way he can function as part of the team. So, his two stand-alone movies and the first hour and a half of the movie get dismissed.

I bring this up because it fits this moment for Astros fans. Why aren't fans upset at the losing and the prospect of another 100 loss season? Why haven't I ripped the team publicly or demanded answers in a press conference or text from the owner? Why am I not angry?

I'm always angry.

I'm angry that Ground Control got hacked. I'm angry at the seven-game losing streak. I'm angry at Carlos Correa's injury, at Jon Singleton's struggles, at Domingo Santana's promotion and subsequent demotion. I'm angry that the third-straight No. 1 overall pick has injury issues.

I'm angry that Aaron West is hurt. I'm angry that Mark Appel can't get going. I'm angry that Kris Bryant is the third-best prospect in baseball. I'm angry that the most likable guy on the roster can't hit his weight and strikes out 30 percent of the time. I'm angry that a genuine good guy got DFAed because he's bad at baseball.

I'm angry that injuries have again devastated Houston's pitching depth, a year after injuries devastated Houston's pitching depth. I'm angry that Jason Castro has regressed. I'm angry that Dexter Fowler is hurt. I'm angry that Jose Altuve isn't starting in the All-Star Game. I'm angry that Dallas Keuchel isn't guaranteed to join him there.

Most of all, I'm angry that the Astros continue to be a laughingstock for the rest of the league. I'm angry that they're still the easy punchline to any joke about how bad a team can be. I'm angry that "Damn it, Astros" GIFs still happen and that this team can't catch a break.

For nearly five years, I've written about this team constantly. By constantly, I mean that I've averaged about an article a day for that entire time. They're not always winners, but I've devoted some serious time to covering this team, to thinking about this team, to worrying about this team's struggles.

How can you spend that much time writing about a bad team without getting upset?

There are ways you can cope. You can turn into a giant green rage monster on Twitter or in the comments section of this site. You can shout anyone down who defends the team's suckitude or you can go after those bashing the team. You can use vitriol and snark as your weapons, trying to find your way past the anger through a sense of smugness.

That doesn't work for me. On occasion, I can't resist. It seeps out. But, for the most part, I try to stay calm, keep my heart rate under control.

I fall back on the realities of the situation. No baseball team has ever been built quickly and won. The Devil Rays tried to do that when the franchise began and look where it got them. Spending money is no salve, especially when the only players who are available are past the age of 30 and are on the downside of their careers.

Building a team from scratch takes time. It takes re-sodding the farm system. It takes developing those players of the future. It takes time and luck, something the Astros haven't gotten a lot of lately.

Viewing the team in the short-term intensifies that anger. Another loss to the Angels? Another bullpen collapse? Bo Porter brought Jerome Williams in when?

That's when it helps to take the long view. Rome wasn't built in a day. Making any significant changes to this team's management structure will only impede how quickly Houston gets back to the top.

It doesn't make things easier. It doesn't make the anger go away. As I've said many times this season, I'll never fault a fan for being upset at how this team has played this year or for the last four years. I appreciate the feeling.

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