I spent my weekend in Houston winding down from a rather exhaustive, family-intensive week. I got to catch up with a lot of people I'd let go by the way side over the last two or three years and met some new faces. Invariably the person I knew would mention that I write for this blog in my introduction, and the next 5-30 minutes would be spent discussing the Astros.
The conversations always included a discussion about this off season, and it usually began with bewilderment about how the Astros were not doing anything. There would be a rattling off of free agents, a naming of potential salaries for each one, and then me nixing each one because (as we all know), we're not going to spend any money. Without fail, the lingering question in the 10-15 people I talked to about this was, "Well what's stopping us?" or some derivative thereof.
My response would always be a recycling of Ed Wade and Drayton McLane's fears about the economy, payroll issues, and revenue streams that couldn't support anything else. While just about everyone I talked to knew that we weren't signing anyone, these excuses were news to their ears, and I gleefully watched as they simmered in indignaiton.
It was that same slack jawed look I'm sure we all shared as we read the words on our computer monitors and discovered that an off season that could have held so much potential was squandered by the cheapness of our owner and swept under the rug with misstatements about payroll figures—and most likely, out right lies about revenue streams. I got excited by it all. For the most part, my interaction with Astros fans has come through this community of rabid fans who take the time to read and participate in a blog. I always, in my mind, assume that our opinions are probably the minority voice of the Astros "nation," but my weekend confirmed that the non-über nerd fan contingency in Houston feels the exact same way about this off season as we do—and that, was a refreshing discovery.