Oh, you didn't say that? Well, bear with me then. It will totally be worth it
This is the time of winter where baseball fans start to get a little stir crazy.
On the one hand, we haven't seen real, live baseball in approximately three months. It's been even longer since our 'Stros closed our their 2009 campaign against the Mets in early October. All the stat-oriented debate, number crunching, Wade-second-guessing and general stir crazyness that has a part of TCB is directly related to our fading memories of a Wandy painting the corner with a sweet curve, or
Jason Michaels Humberto Quintero Kaz Matsui Michael Bourn (yea, there we go) lacing a gapper and letting his legs do the work. Foul lines and infield dirt. The pitchers' rubber and a batting donut. We want nothing more than for these things to be back in our lives.
What's this? The month of January has flipped over, as we find ourselves diving head first in the second half of the year's first month. New Year's is a faded memory, if it was ever that clearly remembered in the first place. MLK Day is near, offering a chance for all to reflect, some to rest and others to revel in a day away from the office.
The morning after the holiday, when we begrudgingly return to our normal work/school weeks, a beacon of light will begin to shine through this winter haze. A light strewn with red stiching, and Allan Selig's signature. That's right- baseball is just around the corner. The Astros return to Kissimmee with more optimism than in either of the past couple seasons and maybe the most since 2005.
With a month to go before Spring Training begins, does anyone want to offer up some 2010 Astros' Resolutions? These are the sort of promises we can make to ourselves that, even if we break them, the fun will be had in at least trying. A few of my resolutions:
- Become a more critical fan. Not critical in the "overly pessimistic, fire 'da bums, this team will never be decent again" way, just being more disposed to offering constructive thoughts, even if they don't paint the rosiest picture. The least I can do is begin to look at Ed Wade, Drayton McLane and Brad Mills the same way I would a tough legal issue in the classroom. I'll need some help from the TCB public to hold me to this promise. If at any point in the season Brandon Lyon blows a hold (The 16 year old in me asks that all of you repeat that last phrase "blows a hold" slowly and think like a 16 year old would. Guarantee you'll laugh.), Pedro Feliz goes over 80 AB's without a homer or Brett Myers goes all Brett Myers on us, please, don't let me just write it off just a speed bump in the Astros' drive toward respectability. Even the finest car gets dinged up after going over too many little bumps, and the Astros aren't rolling into Florida in a Bentley.
Take a more active interest in the advanced sabermetric discussion that goes on bloggerdom. I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm a stat oriented fan, understand how to evaluate players (somewhat) well, and can write (again, somewhat) coherently about the Astros (on occasion). But for some reason, my love affair with Pitch F/X, charts, graphs, algorithms, equations and new stats has been reigned in by some internal mechanism of mine that seems to want me to conserve my energy for other pursuits. Not this season. I'm raring to go, and am willing, able and excited to learn even more about the game. BeyondtheBoxscore is a good place for those wanting to learn more about sabermetrics and objective baseball related thought. Not a lot of Astro fans on their staff, but that's ok. We'll win them over in due time.
Dislike the Cubs even more. That's right...I said, more. No real reason, no real impetus to make myself dislike the Northsiders more than I do right now. I just feel Ryan Dempster's glove thingie, Carlos Zambrano's pitching mound histrionics, and Alfonso Soriano's hop-skip before fielding a fly ball are three good starting points to my best season of Cubs dislike yet. Who knows, maybe a Reed Johnson, Marlon Byrd or Carlos Silva will develop into a new bane of my baseball existence. Part of being a fan is having players and teams you can't stand. 2010 is the season I re-commit myself to blatant Cubs bashing.
Attend one (or more) Astro home games with my closest Internet pals. A good idea deserves even more pub. Dave threw out the proposal a few days back, and I am wholeheartedly behind it. Why shouldn't we do this? I mean, The Crawfish Boxes (at the risk of sounding really, really cheesy) is like a second online home for a lot of us. How many times have you said to yourself, "Man, I really should call Mom tonight" only to find yourself arguing later than you would have wanted to over a point with fellow-Astros fans on this blog? Mom never got that call, did she? For your Mom's sake, you should at least come out, meet up with us and interact face to face with people you spend more time with than you're probably willing to admit. Take a look at another SBN baseball blog, AthleticsNation, and see the sort of bonds that can be created over intelligent baseball discussion. Now, I'm not implying there will be impending nuptials between two of our readers (if there is, I get to DJ the reception), but it is verrrrry possible that TCB can become a larger, better community as a result of a day or five at the Juice Box. We've grown here by leaps and bounds even in the short time DQ and I have been at the helm. Now with FarmStros and Dave on board, plus the ever enlightening, always thought provoking clack, our writing depth is the best it has ever been. Throw in a team that could range anywhere from "pretty damn good" to "jeez, Winter Ball can't here fast enough" and 2010 is shaping up as a good year to be involved with the blog. So consider it. Even if it's a drive, take a moment to weigh the pros and cons of a trip to see your team and meet up with your fellow fan.
These are my top four resolutions. What about you?