Depending on your feelings towards either team, the Texas Rangers verse the St. Louis Cardinals is a nightmare match-up for Astros fans. I can't say that I have a lot of disdain for the Rangers but I still don't want to see them be the first Texas team to win a World Series. On the other side of the field there's the Cardinals who are one of the Astros top rivals. Throw in the fact that you've got two beloved Astro figures on each team and this series really starts to play with your heart strings. The past rival verse the possible future rival.
Let's take a look at the Astro connection for each team.
It's not bad enough that Nolan Ryan left the Astros once as a player but then he did it again as an executive. I didn't have good feelings about him leaving for the Rangers a second time. It appears my worst fears have come to fruition. Mr. Ryan is going for yet another World Series title with the Rangers; falling short last year to the San Francisco Giants. The Astros on the other hand are stuck in the basement waiting for an ownership change that may come with a catch. A catch that many Astro fans are not happy about.
Wallowing in my own self pity aside the Rangers are doing what the Astros should of done in 2004 and 2005. I still remember the joyous look on Jeff Kent's face as he shouted while holding up a single digit "just one more."
The Rangers are an easy team to root for especially considering there's really not much of a rivalry between the Astros and Rangers. Well at least for the moment. They're still a Texas team and if I've learned anything about Texas it's that they take pride in being Texans. Heck the Houston football team is named after that pride.
With all that in mind the Rangers really don't have any players with strong ties to the Astros. Unless you're a Darren Oliver fan, who pitched in 9 games for Astros in 2004, or consider Mike Adams and Mike Gonzalez being born in Corpus Christi something worth rooting for. All three have pitched well out of the bullpen this postseason. There's also bench coach Jackie Moore who spent eight years as the manager for the Astros former Triple A affiliate Round Rock Express.
So, an owner with Astro ties both as a player and executive, a team from Texas and some bullpen pieces. Not the most ideal team to root for but let's see if the Cardinals can trump that.
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals have any Astros icon playing for them. There's Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio together at the top, then there's Lance Berkman. Throw in the fact that he's a hometown boy and you've got Astro fans going all gooey for him. Of course signing with the Cardinals took away some of those gooey feelings, but the front office takes some of the blame for that one.
Lance Berkman is having an okay postseason (.237/.341/.342). An argument could be made that he's providing protection for Albert Pujols who is going absolutely off (.419/.490/.721) this postseason. Besides Berkman there's not much else. Unless like the Adams and Gonzalez you consider David Freese's being born in Corpus Christi something worth rooting for. Freese by the way has been going off in his own right this postseason (.425/.465/.850).
Edit: Completely missed Octavio Dotel who yes is still pitching. He was acquired as part of the Colby Rasmus deal with Toronto July 27th. Like the other bullpen pitchers Dotel has had a pretty good postseason so far.
Unless I'm missing someone, the Cardinals don't have anyone on the coaching staff or in the front office with major ties back to the Astros. Which is just as well.
Choose Your Side
So there you have it.: Nolan Ryan verse Lance Berkman. Both Astro icons from Texas both pushed out the door by the Astros front office. Are you rooting for the man with the Texas team or the man who grew up an Astro.