HOUSTON – Spectators were dressed in orange under the glowing ceiling of Minute Maid Park. The train over Crawford’s boxes was whistling. Around the stadium, a small crowd of jubilant players turned into a heap of writhing festivities.
For the second time in franchise history, Houston Astros They are world champions. This time, they were able to win it in front of their own fake fans deep in the heart of Texas.
This part was new, but looked a lot familiar. For the third time in four seasons, Houston’s Major League Baseball season is over. The Astros titles came in a span of six seasons, with the first infamous championship of 2017. In every season between that title and this title, the Astros advanced to at least the ALCS, resulting in a string of appearances in that round for a staggering six.
Given these simple facts, one obvious question comes to mind: Are we watching baseball’s newest breed?
The answer depends on how you define the word, but you have to be in favor of the title or nothing to come up with any answer but yes. These Houston Astros, the champions of baseball, are a ruling dynasty, reasons beyond the simple number of serial wins and championship flags.
In truth, the dictionary definition of dynasty has less to do with the continuing possession of dominance than with the concept of succession—one group ruling over all others, even as specific identities within that group develop.
In the compact world of American sports in the 21st century, the Astros have achieved a version of this – a six-year period of dominance that featured a rotating main team of players and executives, but achieved five annual leagues and matches. runs.
Since 2017, Houston has averaged 98.4 wins for every 162 games played. This is the level few others have reached during the Partition era. The Galvin Madhu Smoltz Atlanta Braves She reached 100.8 wins per 162 during her best six-year streak. Jeter era New York Yankees It peaked at 99.9. Earl Weaver Baltimore Orioles I got a 98.8 and Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine in the ’70s got a 99.1.
The Astros’ current main contender for family supremacy is Los Angeles Dodgers, with 105.8 wins for every 162 wins over the past six seasons. This level has only been reached in the era of Deadball Chicago Cubs. But the Astros own two Dodgers champion titles during that time, they beat Los Angeles in their only post-season game in 2017, and have 52 playoff wins over the 40 Dodgers. Only in the early 2000s did the Yankees win more playoff games over six seasons.
All this sounds like a beautiful breed. However, what distinguishes the Houston Astros 2022 as a modern dynasty is that this title team bears little resemblance to its previous title-winning version. Only five members of the 2017 Champions are still on this year’s roster. The team’s strengths and style have evolved on the pitch. The main decision makers are different.
And, perhaps, the way history will come to judge this second Astros title team will prove very different, too.
to be sure, large segments of baseball fans will never allow some superstars to completely forget their past transgressions. This was evident during this qualifying round, even unknown rookies, like the designated hitter David Hensley, became the target of Philadelphia’s irrational boos during the World Championships. No one really knew who Hensley was, but he was there, wearing that orange from Houston. Boo!
But take a closer look at the festive pile after the last exit on Saturday. Side-by-side photos of that group and a post-it last photo at Dodger Stadium that ended the series in 2017 will be illustrative, as very few of the youngsters portrayed will be in both photos.
In 2017, Jeremy Rock He was 20 years old at the University of Maine. Little did anyone know that he would be a candidate for the third round the following June. No one expected that he would become the successor Carlos Correaone of the most talented two-way players in the history of the Astros, and That would prove more than worth. Among other accomplishments, Peña became the first-ever rookie to win a Golden Glove, beating, among other things, Korea.
In the post-season, Peña was a mainstay in the Astros title race, knocking down four Reptile owners and flashing his award-winning defense, all while presenting himself like a veteran during his media appearances.
Peña said after match five, “I never thought I had to fill shoes. I just had to be myself, play my game.”
What do you not like about Jeremy Peña?
Framber Valdez It wasn’t there in 2017 either. At the time, he was making his way up the organizational ladder in Houston, struggling in Double-A. Now, he is Cy Young’s candidate and world champion.
You may hate the Houston Astros, but how can you hate Framber Valdez?
You can do the same exercise with many of the younger base players of the Astros, such as Christian Xavier, who did the heavy lifting in Houston’s historic no-hitter in Game Four. In 2017, he excelled at High-A.
what about Jordan AlvarezWho hit a massive house to give the Astros the lead on Saturday night? He didn’t make his majors debut in Houston until 2019 and quickly established himself as one of the most feared hitters in baseball. How about a sweet swing Kyle TuckerWho debuted in 2018?
How about veterans like closing closer Ryan Presley Or, for that matter, any of the jugs? what about Justin VerlanderWho joined the Astros during one of the most influential stretches in franchise history?
For a while, it looked like this would be a legacy for the 2017 team – an inspiring one. Verlander was acquired seconds before the deadline for the wire trade waiver that season right after the team returned to Houston after being replaced by Hurricane Harvey.
Verlander joins a team in the midst of bonding with a community that has barely begun to sort out the fallout from the storm. He became a part of that community while continuing to perform at the Hall of Fame level.
Really, any stinging criticism left on the Houston Astros’ roster is likely to be directed at just the three non-Houston shooters who were in the tainted 2017 Champions lineup. That is: Burgman, Yuli Gouriel and tuff.
Bregman became a fixture in Houston on and off the field and maintained his place as one of the game’s best starting players before, during and after the scandal. He has remained consistent even like his former All Star teammates such as Correa and George Springer Go to Free Agent Riches.
But the story of the current generation of Astros cannot be told without thinking about Altuve’s long, twisted journey. It was there before the rebuilding process that created these stars began. He was there when he started winning. Heck, it’s been Astro for so long that the team was still in the National League when it started.
Altuve has been the target of fans belittling the rest of his teammates for the past few years, while this always-shy and soft-spoken player has remained. The subject of gossip and some loud boos from any of the stars, Altuve still manages to hammer out All-Star numbers that could one day reach Hall of Fame level.
Once again, Altuve became champion. Will things be different for him from here? Can fans outside of Houston, where he will always be loved, return to a place of appreciation for one of baseball’s most unique talents?
through each That being said, the Astros have not only evolved on the roster sheet, but in how they approach the win.
This franchise is an organizational baseball machine that kept rolling even after the scandal led to changes on the field and backstage. Gentle and savvy analytics CEO James Click has taken over one of the game’s most proficient front offices, and under his management, the Astros haven’t missed a thing. In some ways, they’ve iterated into a higher form, especially given the enviable depth of tone of the majors.
Dusty Baker arrived, then, too, and the presence of the beloved manager restored a measure of integrity to the Astros when they needed it most. Now, in turn, his talented club has given Baker his first and much-anticipated managerial championship that culminates in his career.
Not that he was worried.
“Anxiety keeps you from sleeping,” Becker said after Houston’s win in Game Five saw them win the title. “There is a saying don’t worry because worrying about itself. Worrying never helps.”
Through these additions and many more, the Astros have remained at the forefront of the baseball world due to excellence in exploration, development, and analytical innovation.
It’s a different team on the field – the 2017 club was more offensive, with a comprehensive lineup of athletes like Springer and Correa. In 2022, though, the team does less damage to balls in play, making them more reliant on the long ball to keep the scoreboard spinning.
The former Houston champions were a good team, not a great team, to block runs, but thanks in large part to Click’s focus on developing the pitcher, the 2022 club has been shut down completely, ranking among the elite in the ERA, running, punching and walking permits, and defensive efficiency.
It’s a different route to the same place. The Astros claimed this long-term success by converting one possibility after another and making targeted trades and free agent signatures. They fleshed out this style of slate rather than overinvesting in an effort to keep the old core together.
These stars are not those stars.
The constant iterative process of a great team staying great while reinventing itself one step at a time begs the question: How long can the reputation of the stars be tarnished? This has nothing to do with forgiveness or redemption. It’s all about being recognized as a unique, high-performance baseball machine.
Will this tournament allow the Astros to turn the page on the whole scandal? The truth is that they don’t have to, because that happened a long time ago. All-stars, those who have been there and those who haven’t, have been hearing this for the past few years. It doesn’t really matter anymore.
“We don’t really care what the fans think,” Presley said after Game Five in Philadelphia, where the vitriol was almost palpable. “Everywhere we go we get booed. It’s Houston versus all of you.”
Amid all the indignation, controversy, and often frenetic disdain, the Astros remained just a baseball organization—better than most, sure, and perhaps the best ever. In doing so, they became what the 2017 team seemed very capable of becoming: a dynasty.
Breeds can disappear rather quickly – history is replete with examples of those who dominated for a long time and then suddenly disappeared. It could happen to the Astros, too, but don’t bet it’s happening any time soon.
Simply put, there is a lot of talent and redundancy built into the organization and a lot of smart people still steer the ship in the right direction, even with the immediate fate of Baker and Click, whose contracts are expiring, and which is currently still unknown.
Sure, Baker may decide to retire so he can wait for the call next year to tell him he’s been elected to the Hall of Fame as director. But if it does, the Astros will pick worthy successors, perhaps bench coach Joe Espada, a respected voice on the team who has been surpassed multiple times in the baseball management circuit in recent years.
Talent, secondary depth, finances, and perhaps most importantly, systems (analytics, development, exploration) all stay in place. As long as that was the case, there was little reason to believe that this engine would explode. Love them or hate them, it’s your choice. But the Houston Astros built one of the most efficient baseball machines of the century.
The breed will eventually collapse, as all breeds do. For now, the Astros have shown everyone, defenders and detractors alike, that this organization revolves around more than one tainted title.
Superstars are not only the heroes of the season, but the heroes of the current era. They are, after all, a bona fide baseball breed.
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