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In Defense of Jose Altuve

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I know what his errors have cost. I’m sure he’s harder on himself than anyone is. But keep your composure and maintain your perspective. Jose Altuve is a great player and a great man.

Jose Altuve, after his go-ahead tenth inning homer against the Dodgers in Game two of the 2017 World Series

Yes, Jose Altuve has definitely screwed up. His simple throwing errors in the last two games probably cost the Astros those two games, and the 2020 ALCS. That’s a lot to bear.

But Jose Altuve has earned way more respect than THIS. (Taken from last night’s game thread)

Altuve is a choker
He just cost the Astros game 2 and 3

Just give the Rays the pennant already.
All because Altuve can’t throw to second
Or first

Altuve is absolute trash
Quit throwing the ball into the ground and be a f-ing 2nd basemen. He’s given up more runs that our entire pitching staff this series

that contract is going to bite us in the @#$

It seems some people have small hearts and short memories. ( And perhaps some other anatomical deficiencies)

I wonder who was saying Altuve was trash and a choker when this happened at just this time last year?

Or when he scored from first base to walk off the Yankees in Game 2 of the 2017 ALCS.

Do you think the Astros could have won the World Series without Jose Altuve? Check out Altuve’s seven home runs from the 2017 playoffs.

Choker? Trash? In thirteen playoff series he has 17 home runs, a .545 SLG PCT and a .906 OPS. Four of the home runs have come in the last two series! Yes, despite the horrible errors, he alone has accounted for half the Astros’ run production in the last two games.

For you haters, consider this. Jose Altuve is probably the best all around player the Astros have ever had...or ever will.

Only one other Astro has won an MVP. No other Astro has won a batting title. Altuve has won three. Only 14 players in history have won more and that’s as many as George Brett, Pete Rose or Carl Yastrzemski.

Jose Altuve is a great player, 5-tool all the way. He will always be remembered as a great player. A totally self-made superstar who is the inspiration of underdogs everywhere. Even if the rest of his career is as bad as this short-season was, Jose Altuve will still be on the cusp of the Hall of Fame.

But it’s ridiculous to assume that at age 30 his career is over, and that his contract is a mistake. A two-month season? A COVID season with no real prep before the games began? Lots of great players were off this year. In a normal season it would just be a slow start. But the short season put increased pressure on slumping players to snap out quickly, which of course can make the slump worse. Christian Yellich was a replacement level player this year.

Jose just never got his bat untracked...until the playoffs. If this were the regular season he would be set to go on a tear. In his last seven games his OPS is over 1.300.

Jose hasn’t had his mind right this year, I admit. I am going to play amateur psychologist here and speculate why.

Altuve is a devout Christian with a strong moral sensibility. All the evidence indicates he did not participate in the cheating scandal, and yet he was forced to apologize for it, and has become perhaps the most vilified face of that scandal.

It seems he is a very sensitive person, a gentle man, not one to easily ignore or stay unaffected by the hate directed towards him. I think the scandal has troubled him emotionally more than most and hurt his confidence. Poor performance begets more second guessing, which begets more bad performance etc. etc. That’s what I saw all year.

And just as his hitting confidence has returned, I see him second guessing himself in the middle of the easiest throwing plays.

This happens sometimes to even the greatest players. I once saw with my own eyes perhaps the greatest defensive third baseman in history, Brooks Robinson, make three errors in one game.

Look at the Youtube videos of any great athlete. You’ll see pictures of all the great plays they made, not the ones they missed. Brooks Robinson’s highlights are there. Not his bad day. Youtube is full of Jose Altuve being a champion. Most players do not have Youtube videos.

As Michael Jordan famously said:

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed.”

Yes, Jose has had some costly failures this series. He is still among the greatest all-time players in history, surely one of its greatest stories, and perhaps the greatest Astro. He has more than earned our continuing trust and our love, not the anger and abuse some of our fans are heaping on him.

He has done nothing but overcome adversity his entire life and he will overcome this. These recent failures will not define him.

Further greatness is still in the future for Jose Altuve.