Just Lose, Baby!
At 3-4, the Astros were staring down the barrel of a fully loaded Heath Bell on April 14th…
It was almost scripted like a movie. After several painful hours after exposition and sporadic action, the bad guy finally caught up with the good guy and tied him up. The bad guy whipped out a gun, pointed it at the bad guy and embarked on a lengthy monologue that detailed his diabolic plans to destroy the planet.
“…and that, JD Martinez, is how the Miami Marlins plan to hypnotize the world with strategically placed homoerotic dolphin sculptures! Bahahahaha!”
Of course, while he’s talking, the good guy managed to file through his restraints and muscle the firearm from the bad guy. With all his might, the good guy threw the bad guy through a glass window, shards of glass explode, the world is saved, the good guy makes out with Scarlett Johansson and the credits start to roll.
The Marlins could have shut the door and ended the movie – but they didn’t. The Astros hung around, bided their time and struck when the opportunity presented itself. They made sure their movie had a happy ending.
This is something the Astros simply failed to do in 2011.
In 2011, our Houston Astros would have lost that game 4-1. That team would have given up and probably would have allowed the Marlins to tack on another couple of runs.
The 2012 Houston Astros are not the 2011 Houston Astros.
Granted, it hasn’t even been a full month, but there is an evident culture shift and the Crawford Street Kids are trying their damndest to shake their losing habits.
Since beating up on Heath Bell, the Astros have gone 7-10, 3 of which includes a sweep of the hated Metropolitans.
…however, if you’re on twitter, you’re still hearing the following:
“The Astros finally have come back down to Earth.”
“#MillsLogic #MillsLogic #MillsLogic”
“The Astros need to lose to ensure they get a good draft pick.”
…really sweet, huh?
Where the hell is the fight with these people?
I’ll be the first to admit, I picked the Astros to end up with a losing record – but I didn’t predict them to finish last and I picked them to play way better than they did last year. I still stand by my prediction that they’ll win 77 games. Hell, with the way they’re playing – it’s conceivable that they can find a way to get to .500! That’ll ruffle expert feathers!
As I read those statements, my heart sank a little. I’m seriously worried that Houston is regressing into accepting a losing culture. It’s scary because, in my opinion, this is the root of all of our disrespect. That rest of the sports world can’t respect our city if we can’t even respect ourselves – right?
Clutch City? Jeff Bagwell? The Super Bowl?
So, if you’re making anyone of these statements, I’ve got a few things to say to you:
“The Astros have finally come back down to Earth.”
I’m not even 100% sure as to what does this even mean? The Astros are playing how you expected them to play and because they are losing all is right with the world?
How the hell are we supposed to decide how a team is supposed to play? Because Keith Law or ESPN says this is how the Astros are supposed to play? I know because I write an Astros blog? We can all make educated predictions based on past results – but, in reality, none of us really know what’s going to happen. A few losses in April doesn’t mean the Astros are on the road back to 100 losses - just like a few wins won’t mean their going to the World Series. Maybe we’re all wrong – maybe the Astros are supposed to be GREAT. We’re not experts. We can’t tell the future. We’re just as clueless as anyone else.
Each and every year a team or a player comes out of nowhere to have a breakout season – as a matter of fact, the same people who are saying “the Astros are finally coming back down to Earth” also thought that Jimmy Paredes would have taken Jose Altuve’s spot by now. Already in April, Pocket Jesus has established himself as one of the better offensive players in the league.
If any team can come out of nowhere and have a breakout year - it’s our Houston Astros.
And, “finally,” as if there is some sort of relief that they are “finally” playing poorly to prove you right?
As fans, we need to take a huge step back and quit letting our Twitter reputations get in the way of rooting for our favorite team. It’s okay to be a fan and it’s okay to be wrong!
“#MillsLogic #MillsLogic #MillsLogic”
If you’re not on Twitter, you might not understand what “#MillsLogic” means. #MillsLogic is how people react when Brad Mills makes, in their opinion, a questionable move. Basically, #MillsLogic is a way of saying “well, this is not how I would do things.” Also, #MillsLogic is a way of saying “I’m smarter than Brad Mills and I should be managing the Houston Astros.”
When Alyson Footer posts the line-up on Twitter, folks start to notice that Player A is batting where Player B should be batting – in their opinion, of course. And, since this is not how “Random Tweep” would fill out the batting order, Brad Mills must be incredibly stupid and incapable of managing the Astros.
So, let’s back track to a few months ago when Astros fans were prepared to throw a ticker-tape parade for Jeff Luhnow and his throng of sabermetic scientists. I suppose these #MillsLogic bozos never take into account that Brad Mills is likely employing some of the philosophies that his supervisors espouse – who wouldn’t? It isn’t as if Brad Mills is making boneheaded moves and the 500 or some employees of Luhnow’s SABR squad are banging their heads against walls. But, as I was saying…
After 20 some-odd #MillsLogic tweets, Mills move pays off, Player A goes 3x4 and everyone starts in with the “Of course Player A would go off on the day I go off on him.”
This. Happens. All. The. Time.
As a matter of fact, whenever I see a player’s name in a #MillsLogic tweet, I can pretty much guarantee that that player will most likely have a good game.
So, this begs the question: doesn’t Brad Mills deserve a little more credit than what he’s getting? Absolutely Brad Mills is not above warranted criticism. I’m not saying he doesn’t make bad moves, either – he does. But, isn’t there a realistic possibility that Brad Mills knows what he’s doing? Is there a possibility that Brad Mills is the manager because he’s the best man for the job? Is there a possibility that Brad Mills has a better understanding of how to win a baseball game than we do?
I’m not saying we’re not smart or we’re incapable of figuring out baseball yada yada yada – I’m just saying Brad Mills is likely smarter than you or me and more capable of managing the Astros than we are.
And the people spouting off on the #MillsLogic crap had already, before the season started, pegged the Astros to lose 100 games. In a way, it’s kind of effed up that these people are admitting that the Astros do not have a lot to work with but still think Mills does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. …and, mind you, the team is 11-14.
Brad Mills is a good baseball man. He’s baseball savvy. He’s spent most of his life playing or coaching in professional baseball – I’m willing to go along with #MillsLogic before I go along with #YourLogic.
“The Astros need to lose to ensure they get a good draft pick.”
I can’t stand this one.
There is absolutely no scenario where losing is acceptable. Period. Exclamation mark.
If you want your favorite team to lose - go buy a Cubs hat. They’ll never let you down.
As of now, the Astros are the second youngest team in professional baseball. They’re 3 games under .500 and they’re improving every day. And, with the possibility of significant player movement, it is highly like that they’ll be the youngest after the trade deadline. During Sunday’s game, the Astros fielded two of the three youngest players in baseball.
At 21 years old, Jose Altuve is currently 5th in the NL in batting average. Altuve is also in the top 10 in on-base percentage, OPS, hits, singles, doubles, triples, runs scored and total bases. Let me ask you: do you think Jose Altuve gives a shit about where the Astros draft in 2013? Jose Altuve is trying to win baseball games.
At 24, JD Martinez is top 10 in RBI, on-base percetage and walks – do you think he wants the Astros to draft in the top 10 next year?
Jordan Schafer is 25. He’s played phenomenal defense in centerfield. Schafer is currently in the NL’s top 10 in runs scored and stolen bases. Do you think he wants to be on a 100-loss team?
Again, this is the one of the youngest teams in baseball and some of these young guys are having outstanding years. These guys are getting good! Why in the world would fans suggest losing baseball games would somehow be positive?
Hard work pays off and our Houston Astros are working hard! Let’s root for their success and not their failure!
Folks, losing is a culture. People who expect to lose and people who are conditioned to lose will find new and creative ways to lose. That’s simply how the world works. Teams like the Yankees, Braves and Cardinals expect to win – every year. Their players put on their uniforms with the understanding that losing is unacceptable – and they win. This is their culture.
You condition yourself to be a winner. You train to be a winner. Winners hate losing. I want our team to hate losing as much as I hate losing. I want the players and men and women who work in the front office to get sick to their stomachs when the Astros are playing poorly – because I do.
I don’t EVER want losing to EVER be acceptable. EVER!
The Houston Astros desperately need to develop a winning culture. That is way more important than a “good pick in the draft.”
You’ll notice something: teams that want to win the draft – usually do. They do so each and every f**king year. It’s not shocking to see teams with losing cultures drafting in the top 10 and teams with winning cultures drafting near the end.
If the Astros end up playing well and manage to stay out of the top part of the draft, they can (and will) unfurl their secret weapon, the great equalizer – Jeff Luhnow. Astros fans who believe the only way the Astros are going to get better in the draft by picking at the beginning of the draft are sorely mistaken. First off, it is not a given that the best player in the draft is always picked in the top 10 – or even in the first round. Even the Tampa Bay Rays picked a few stinkers in the 9 years they picked in the top 5 – anyone remember Dewon Brazelton, Tim Beckham, Wade Townsend or Josh Hamilton?
Astros fans should give Jeff Luhnow more credit. Luhnow is competent enough to build a winner regardless of where he picks in the draft.
Fans should decide whether they have faith in Luhnow’s ability to run this team or if they want to continue to be losers – because those are our choices.