Thursday, October 20, 2005

Cue Handel





OK, usually I'm not quite this exuberant over sports successes, but this is quite literally once in my lifetime, and a genuine family event. My dad was a damn good Little League pitcher in Louisiana in his youth (pitched a no-no in the regionals even, would've been perfect but for a fielder's error), and his dream was one day to see a professional baseball game. Paw-Paw (that would be Dad's dad) said that if Houston ever got a team, they would make the trip from Lake Charles. Thus, when the Colt .45s arrived in Houston, Dad and Paw-Paw made the pilgrimage, and while the .45s lost that day to a certain pitcher who made something of a name for himself (Bob Gibson), family loyalty was established forever.

My Astros fandom had some high points along the way, such as Nolan Ryan breaking the strikeout record on my 8th birthday, but for the most part, the sobriquet "Disastros" was all too appropriate. And until last year, that playoff breakdown was inevitable, as future Hall-of-Famers Bagwell and Biggio inevitably broke down at the plate. But the pitching genius that characterized the Astros for so many years, especially before moving into the home run factory that is the Juice Box (at least compared to the Astrodome!), has finally been paired with consistent execution and the ability to spring back from defeat. This is a team that was once 15 games under .500 and is now playing in the World Series for the first time in franchise history. This is the kind of story that makes rooting for your team despite adversity worth the whole ride.

I don't know if we're going to win, having seen the White Sox pitching staff throw back-to-back-to-back-to-back complete postseason games for the first time since the sixties, but we've got a chance, and that's all anybody can ask. Of course, the Southsiders have a great story of their own, but here's hoping we can drop a few more tears on old man Comiskey's team.

Go 'Stros!!!!