The day is here. In just a few hours, the countdown on the left sidebar will expire and Roy Oswalt will toe the mound to deliver a pitch to Ivan Rodriguez and the 2009 season will be underway for the Astros.
It was a crazy offseason. One that held so much potential, but was marred with cries of poverty from our front offices and seemingly damning moves to cut payroll expenses. For all the negativity, it was an offseason, in the end, that appears to have fielded a competitive enough team. We aren't going to be world-beaters, but we'll probably be our customary mediocre selves—with a faint glimmer of hope at playing a few games in October.
It has been a fun ride this off season. I have thoroughly enjoyed riding out its ebbs and flows with all of you. I admit that at its outset, or rather sometime in November/December, I got a little worried about our ability to provide relevant or meaningful content for everyone. There were times when the task of managing this blog along with HLP and working with clack, and now farmstros, made me wish that I didn't have that responsibility. All of you who stuck around and commiserated with us in the low points and celebrated with us when things got brighter continually restored my desire to keep to sitting down at my computer and crank out stories.
I want to thank all of you; especially HLP and clack, who have helped make up for my lack of involvement during my push towards graduating this semester.
When HLP and I were handed the reigns of this community after ‘Stros Bros departure last October, I was a little worried about what kind of reception we'd receive. It turns out there was no reason for concern—thank you.
And now for the final prognostication of how the 2009 season will play out-thank you baseball gods.
For those of you who enjoy a less stats intensive approach to baseball, I offer you my less objective take on what 2009 holds for us.
Our roster isn't all that different from last year. We still have our nucleus of talent, some veteran supporting cast members, and we're going to be hanging our hopes on the continued improvement of Hunter Pence and Michael Bourn, both of whom had solid showings this spring.
We have an interesting mix of additions, though, that can inspire either hope or dismay depending on what vantage point you want to view them from. Russ Ortiz flashed some of his former brilliance this spring, and if he can transfer his spring success to the summertime, than he should provide a solid boost in talent over his predecessor in the fifth spot, Brandon Backe. Mike Hampton has been up and down during the spring, but the main concern for both he and Ortiz will be IP.
After the release of Ty Wigginton in December, we all let out a collective, "FML," but the recent addition of Jeff Keppinger should allow for the hot corner to remain at least luke-warm during 2009. If that fails, Chris Johnson will be toiling in Round Rock to prove that he is the future 3B of this club.
Like I said before the jump, I don't think this team will be anything to write home about, but there's no reason that this season won't be exciting. If the current crop of players on the 25-roster can play well, then we'll have an exciting season of chasing October dreams. If not, then Chris Johnson, Drew Sutton, Brian Bogusevic, and Bud Norris—to name a few minor leaguers—will likely get opportunities to show what they can do in the show.
That's all folks. No more prognostications, no more projections to kick around. For the next six months we can focus on Wins and Losses. Frankly, I'm psyched.