Not sure when it became kewl for (some) male sportswriters to sound bitchier than any female in her worst throes of PMS, but what can I say? Besides thank gawd for Joe Posnaski, that is?
Check out Larry Dubrow’s latest column on cbs sportsline.com – “Astros In Despair, Beyond Repair!!!!!”
My goodness gracious – and some of yall thought I was a, shall we say, bit glooomy about this team’s immediate and distant future. Larry predicts that this team has turned into the Baltimore Orioles, thanks to Drayton McLane and his refusal to either rebuild (which, by the way, Angelos actually DID try to do about 5 years ago – unsuccessfully, but at least he actually TRIED) or to step back and hire a competent GM and let him do his or her job. Yeah, you’ve heard stuff like this from me for HOW long now?
“But the Astros are the proverbial tree rotting from the inside. They gave away the few half-OK kids in their system for closer Jose Valverde and shortstop-under-siege Miguel Tejada, and now face the prospect of careening toward the next decade with only two young players of note — Hunter Pence and J.R. Towles — in their entire organization.”
Well, that is the major league Organization – and it assumes that they will neither develop nor play any other young players – not the worst assumption, given the fact that both Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus think that the Astros have the very worst minor league system in Organized Baseball. And by the way, Astros fan Michael Nash, who watches the Hooks games, has a different thought about the minor league system and its possibilities – click here to read.
Now, back to Larry and his snark:
“The Astros do, however, have a bunch of names on their roster. Lance Berkman! Miguel Tejada! Carlos Lee! You recognize these guys and you love them. Unfortunately, all three are statue-esque in the field, and not in the legs-up-to-her-neck Selita Ebanks way. Along those lines, the defensive downgrade at short from Adam Everett to Tejada will cost the team plenty of runs and possibly send Oswalt into a murderous rage. As potent as the aforementioned bats may be, (they won’t score enough runs to compensate for lousy starting pitching). The two top spots in the lineup will be occupied by untested speed merchant Michael Bourn (no relation to Jason) and Matsui — who, it should be noted, probably earned himself an extra two years and $10 million with his high-profile dinger against the Sillies during the playoffs. Neither of these guys have shown much inclination in the past to accept a walk. Sure, they’ll scurry around the bags with abandon, but like dad always said: You can’t steal first base. “
Sound familiar? Well, except for the Ebanks part. And HOW many times have Cooper and Wade and a lot of Astros fans moaned with ecstasy about the speed at the top of the lineup and all the runs that will score with the potent lineup because of the unwarrented assumption that both Bourn and Matsui will have OBP of .350?
And Larry concludes:
“Everyone outside Drayton McLane’s living room sees the Astros as a house practically begging to be razed. McLane, however, won’t buy into this line of thinking and, this offseason, sat back as flunky GM Ed Wade attempted to cover a nine-inch gash with a Band-Aid.
Some overly simplistic math, then: the 2008 Houston Astros = the 1998 Baltimore Orioles. Those Orioles, despite frontline talent like Rafael Palmeiro, Roberto Alomar and the resurgent Eric Davis, dipped to 79 wins from 98 the season before. With a decrepit minor-league system and an owner who couldn’t or wouldn’t stop meddling in baseball decisions, the O’s haven’t won more than 78 games since.
Any of that sound familiar? A prediction: 79 wins for the ‘Stros in 2008, then no more than 75 until 2011 at the earliest. Yeah, it’s that bad. Brace yourself, Astros fans, because things are going to get much, much worse before they get better.”
Well, I hope HOPE I don’t sound that bitchy, but honestly, I think ol Lar is being a bit generous with the wins because I seriously doubt we’ll win THAT many. As for me, unlike a lot of other fans, I don’t necessarily want a DIFFERENT owner – we might could get stuck with Loria/Glass/Pohlad/McClatchy (terrified shudder) but I sure would like Unca Drayton to please hire someone competent and let the guy/girl DO HIS/HER JOB!!!! And yes, I DO know that there are a WHOLE lot of fans who are absolutely delighted with Wade and his moves this year. Me, I think the optimism is sort of like being on that Thai beach before the tsunami hit, saying – isn’t it WONderful how much more beach there is today?
UPDATE: According to the Las Vegas Sports Consultants (gamblers advisors) the Astros have 40:1 odds to win the Series this year. The good news is that 11 other teams have lower odds. So we aren’t the worst team. Isn’t that WONderful???