The March Madness tournament here at the Crawfish Boxes comes down to just two beloved Astros: Jose Altuve and Lance Berkman. Orange and blue versus the brick red and black, if you will. One represents the new-age, albeit controversial version of the franchise while the other reminds us of past baseball heroics, Uncle Drayton, and Junction Jack. I could easily site various stats and rates on this one, but I decided I won’t for a nice change of pace. Sometimes it is alright to view baseball just through the lens of nostalgia, especially as it pertains to the postseason. For example, Berkman’s grand slam off of Braves’ reliever Kyle Farnsworth in the 2005 NLDS is still one of the best hits I’ve ever seen in a postseason game. I’m sure others will disagree with me, however, I simply don’t care.
Yup, I still get goosebumps watching that clip for roughly the 157th time during this past week alone. And if memory serves me well, I may have ruined three hours worth of pre-calculus homework that day in the midst of all that excitement, but it was so worth it. This is all besides the main point of the post, but, dang it, I am a sucker for some good ol’ fashion nostalgia.
That said, I am actually here to draw up a compelling case for Altuve as the number one Astro. And if nostalgic moments in the postseason are the qualifier for you, the reader, well, there are plenty of Altuve moments to revisit.
· 2017 ALDS vs. Red Sox, Game 1 (3 home runs in a single game)
· 2017 ALCS vs. Yankees, Game 2 (game-winning run from first base)
· 2017 World Series vs. Dodgers, Game 2 (crucial 10th inning home run)
· 2017 World Series vs. Dodgers, Game 5 (need I say more?)
· 2019 ALCS vs. Yankees, Game 6 (if I here one more buzzer or tattoo joke, so help me)
Even under the dark cloud of illegal sign stealing, those moments in baseball history still happened. Those plays can’t simply be erased from memory, even if the NCAA and IOC somehow begs to differ in their own respective cases. You can’t rewrite history, although your opinions about such events are allowed to change, if required. We’ve seen that this offseason with the obvious evidence that helped damn the Astros along with possibly exonerating Altuve to a degree. Still not a good situation for those of us who are Houston fans, but sometimes you simply take what you are given. Insert some wise saying about lemons and lemonade here.
In any case, Altuve helped propel the Astros to new heights on the sport’s grandest stage in recent years. When it comes to postseason heroics, there may not be another Astro who ever comes close to eclipsing what he has done. Berkman, to be honest, had his fair share of moments in the postseason. The Astros most likely don’t make deep postseason runs in 2004 and 2005 without his contributions, but recency bias does play a role in these situations. Most likely, Houston doesn’t have a World Series title (tarnished or not) without Altuve’s contributions. That is just the nature of these votes where championships do matter.
As a final say in the matter, mhatter106 pointed out to me during these turbulent times of COVID-19 and keeping six feet apart from each other, Altuve’s cap cannot adequately social distance itself from his cleats. I honestly didn’t think of that until he passed it along and it just somehow perfectly captures everything we’re seeing in the world right now. And if that tidbit obviously worthy of “How Many Altuves” happens to sway your vote in the end, so be it. After all, it solidified mine.
Go to final vote HERE.