I don't know what it is about the 2009 Astros, but, unlike their 2008 version, they have me deeper in the dumps than I was at any point in 2008 or 2007. It's hard for me to believe that in the four seasons since the Astros made their brief and heartbreaking appearance in the World Series that they've only mustered a paltry .488 winning percentage (315-330). Maybe it would be my own naivete at the time, but I don't think I would have believed it if someone told me that the Astros would miss the post-season four years in a row, while posting a losing record overall. Perhaps it should have been readily apparent to me, but at this point, it's hard to discern whats my own revisionist history and what's my own awareness that I know now a lot more than I knew then.
What does any of that have to do with "5 semi-absurd thoughts of an Astros fan down in the dumps"? I'm not exactly sure, but it felt good getting if off my chest. So perhaps I'll just claim that it was setting the stage. With that, I'll get to it. As a preface, these aren't to be taken as serious recommendations, just the bitter musings I had as I watched us get slaughtered by the Mets last night.
- I truly wish someone could go back in time and write into the CBA that players who underperformed their contracts based on WAR estimates, would have to pay the team back their money. Think of what an insane incentive that would be for Carlos Lee to lose some [expletive deleted] weight. Further, think about what that would do for the free agent market in general? It would remove the moral hazard that's present, which allows someone like Carlos Lee to take the cash and then not push themselves. It would force the player to truly consider their own worth before locking into some stupid contract that hamstrings a franchise for years and years. There would be qualifiers for injuries, etc., so that players weren't unfairly dinged for a few million here and there. To be extra fair, we could say that over a certain amount it had to be paid back...say four million? Or maybe a percentage...say 20%. I think it would be a lot of fun. Just think how much extra the Astros would have to spend this offseason, and how much cheaper the players would be?
- How cool would it be if once the games became meaningless in a season for a team, the fans were able to go online and vote for who would be in the lineup; there would, of course, be the options to text your vote as well. I understand that there is value in keeping games competitive for teams in contention or vying for home field advantage, but screw it. There is no reason that we don't have a better idea of what Chris Johnson and Tommy Manzella bring to the table other than the pursuit of Miguel Tejada's 200 hits and adhering to the time honored tradition of not using a valuable opportunity for the sake competitive advantage (BTW it's not like fielding our regular core of veterans has made us competitive). Thus, I think the fan voting idea would be a lot more fun. It'd probably drive website hits for astros.com and people would at least tune to the first inning or so of the game just to see their lineup in action. Plus the Astros could partner with a carrier like AT&T or Verizon to have the text-to-vote feature only be available for those subscribers; just more money in the bank.
- I wish Drayton were really considering selling the Astros. It's totally unlikely seeing as how they're at the nadir of their value and it's not a sellers market—unless a bankruptcy court orders it—but how awesome would be? Think about it. Drayton wouldn't want to sell the team this offseason; the process takes too long and he'd have to do some emergency upping of the Astros value. Suddenly that idea of paring back payroll to offset the loss in ticket sales is a thing of the past. Your $140 million 2010 Astros would be taking the field in style as Drayton tried to bring the value back to his franchise as potential buyers salivated at the sight of a packed MMP and a healthy number of wins above losses.
- In order to finance greater offseason spending, Drayton went ahead and sold ad space on the players' uniforms. I just think it'd be awesome because he could probably charge a premium for Carlos Lee's extra surface area.
- I desperately want there to be a way that you could just fast forward from the point your team dropped from relevancy, decency, and (some other english word ending in "ncy" and describing something that's worth watching), so you could just know what their final record was, and what draft pick that would have next year. The last few weeks have been depressing because by the time I leave work and get to check my phone to see what the score is, the Astros have, at least 90% of the time, been losing—by a lot. The only fascination left is just to see how low they can go for the sake of the 2010 draft. I'd much rather hit fast foward than open up the Astros app day in and day out to discover that there's no reason to go home and turn on the game—that's an awfully sharp kick in the gut to sustain four or five days a week.