With the Houston Astros occupying the cellar of the American League West, eight games below five hundred, an article entitled positivity is probably the last thing you want to read right now. We have every right to be annoyed with how the Astros have performed thus far. It's been a disaster. But, in the grand scheme of it all, we need to remain positive.
The words success and failure are both, almost entirely, relative to expectations. We've, over the years, become painfully accustomed to the latter: failure. In terms of major league play, the Astros were essentially the worst team in baseball for quite some time. Of course, the true success was happening the draft, in the minor league, in player development.
Being used to failure doesn't make it easy this time round, though. The Astros had big expectations going into the season. This season, for quite some time, was deemed to be the season the Astros finally turned it around. This was meant to be the season the rebuild was finally completed. This was meant to be the season we turned the tide. But, it's been the complete opposite. We have been the very antithesis of what we all expected.
Our lofty pre-season expectations make the failure hurt so, so much more. One thing's for sure: I'm not here to tell you to embrace the failure. The failure is hard to take, and it should be. We should be challenging for the playoffs, for the division title, for the World Series Championship. Now, what are we challenging for? Getting to five hundred any time soon will be a challenge in itself.
But, there's positivity to be found. That's why we're here, after all. Baseball is an incredibly weird sport. I mean, right now, the Philadelphia Phillies are half of a win off the National League East league, and that isn't an easy division. They aren't there because they've been especially good, though. They've been stupidly lucky, especially in one-run games and in extra innings. Unlike the Astros. For example, looking at BaseRuns, the Astros have been the second best team in the division, and are within touching distance of the Mariners.
Last season, though, the A's carried that bad luck throughout the season. They never positively regressed. It doesn't always happen, and it probably won't with the Astros this season. Nothing is finished, yet, but with a realistic and pragmatic outlook, it's unlikely the Astros will be doing any serious damage this season. It's not the likeliest that the aforementioned positivity will be found in this season.
Let's look back to last season, instead. I remember writing an article, filled with ridiculous levels of optimism, claiming the Astros could very well be a five hundred team. We played in the playoffs. It was an incredible season in which the future success proclaimed upon us came one year early. It doesn't make this season's failure any easier, but let's not forget just how spoiled we were last season with incredible, October baseball.
This Astros team wasn't built in a win now mode. It was built in a win for a long time mode. We should still be winning now, but the likelihood is that we will forget this season when we become the first time since the New York Yankees to win back to back Championships at the turn of the century. Something like that, anyway. But, seriously, our team, right now, is great. Our farm system is stocked. Our payroll is tiny. It seems that almost every other day a quality, exciting, energetic young player is being called up to the big leagues.
My point being, let's be annoyed, and angry, and filled with vitriol towards the Astros this season, if you'd like. You've every reason to do so. They built up our hopes, so high, and then let us down. They are a shell of the team they were last season. But, they are a shell of the team they truly are, and a shell of the team they will be, for years, and years to come.
It all comes down to one simple thing: positivity.