Wednesday, November 27, 2013

An Astros Thanksgiving

I had it better than many Astros fans in 2013. Much of my attention was focused on the minor league system, thus insulating me (at least somewhat) from the depths of despair that engulfed many of my brethren and sistren whose main focus was the big league club. I know what is headed our way the next few years and I am giddy with anticipation. For that I am truly thankful.

I reached out to many of my friends, fellow bloggers and readers to ask them to complete this sentence: "As an Astros fan, I am thankful ..." The responses are varied, but I believe you'll notice a few common themes.

As an Astros fan, I am thankful ...

Cockroach @cockroachHOU
... for our fellow faithful Astros fans. We'll have plenty of company when Jeff Luhnow's plan is complete, but in the meantime, those of us still here help keep the rest of us from going slightly (more) mad.

Bill Morton @BillMo7
... for the excitement the entire Houston franchise has given me since its inception in 1962.

Steve Duer @AppyAstros
... that Brandon Barnes and Jose Altuve didn't quit when other people told them they would never be big league ball players. They are great examples of perseverance.

Brian Stevenson @Ashitaka1110
... for a consistent and defined plan. I hated Drayton McLane's refusal to commit to a rebuild.

Beer and baseball @astrosguy
... for high abv beers.

jason cardwell @cardsjason
... for Jeff Luhnow. Jeff and the staff he has assembled have been what has allowed me to keep my sanity as an Astros fan.

Dustin DeBerry @dkdeberry
... for the Astros blogger/fan twitter community to joke/cry/vent with to survive these dark times, and to look forward to celebrating with when good times return.

Kyle L @FreckedNotGinge
... for Baseball Prospectus. [And WTHB, no doubt!]

jason phelps @JasonPhelps33
... for minor league recaps each morning during the season. It's never been so easy to see the progress of the system's young guys on a daily basis. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and those recaps are focusing that light into an interesting picture of the Astros future.

... for the Texans.

David Coleman @MDavidColeman
... for having more interesting things to write about than a team sale, snow cones in the bathroom and Paul McCartney concerts. Talking about possible free agents and prospects hitting the big time is infinitely more fun.

Andrew Tyler @andrewltyler
... for the Astros Twitter Community. Without them I would not be as big of a fan as I am, or near as knowledgeable about the future of the team.

Stephen Naron @stephennaron
... for Jeff Luhnow who's preparing the feast for us starving fans.

Bryan Trostel @The_Batguy
... for Reid Ryan joining the front office and his work to enhance the business side of the organization. He has made improvements to the team's relationship with the fans, which is strained due to the rebuild on the baseball side.

Pat Richter @pat_richter 
... that 2013 is in the rearview mirror.

Nance @Bbfanlady 
... for Bloggers and Twitter because Misery Loves Company. And Liquor!

Tyler Stafford @JeffBlogwell
... for 2014. As awful as 2013 was (and it was really, really bad), in baseball there's always hope for the next season. The Astros are no different. I think this is the year that we finally see a wave of talent come through Houston. I have absolutely no idea if that will equal more wins, but I would certainly think so. Honestly, I don't think it matters. George Springer, Mark Appel, Mike Foltynewicz, and whoever else gets called up next season represent something much more than a shot at a chance to win every other game or so, they represent the coming end to The Great Experiment.

Astros Daily @AstrosDaily 
... that the Astros don't have to play in the AL. Oh wait...

Terri Schlather @AGirlintheSouth
... for our small, yet very loud community of bloggers. When you pay attention to a team as closely as this crew does, three 7,000+ loss seasons in a row start to wear on you. There have been times all of us felt burnt out, frustrated and downright angry. But even during the darkest of days, we had humor and good company. There are plenty of MLB teams with scores of bloggers, but the Astros have a relatively small group and we're a tight knit bunch. The humor that flows seamlessly between an Astros County blogger to a Crawfish Boxes blogger to Jayne and back again with Climbing Tal's Hill chiming in along the way? It's epic. You want to laugh while watching your team be decimated on the field? Tune into the Astros' bloggers on twitter. Where else do you get in depth analysis on high socks, facial hair, James' dog or the Vampires that run the front office?

Jose Luis Cubria @FireDrayton 
... for Luhnow and The Process. I'm thankful that Crane crushed his most important hire on the baseball side and stayed out of the way. I'm thankful that I implicitly trust our front office. And I'm thankful that rock bottom is in our rear-view mirror.

John Burgess @StrosDude9
... for the cornucopia of talent in the minors. Knowing that they'll soon be ready to harvest makes my stomach grumble in anticipation!

James Yasko @AstrosCounty
... for simply surviving 2013.

Wallee Wright
... for the one day this year when the national conversation on turkeys will not include a reference to my beloved Astros.

Timothy De Block @TimothyDeBlock
... for the Astros fan community on social media. We've laughed, we've pounded our keyboards in frustration, we've had #AstrosMovies night, we've Photoshopped beards on Astros personnel and many more good times. Without social media and the awesome Astros fans on there I question whether or not I would still be a fan.

Greg Thurston @Astrosince1975
... for the opportunity to provide my personal views about the team via the internet. That opportunity has also opened the doors to a number of wonderful relationships with individuals who share my passion for the team and the organization.

Chris Perry @CRPerry13
... for a front office that follows a defined plan of attack, which apparently does not include things like signing guys like Brandon Lyon, Woody Williams, and Pedro Feliz to above-market contracts.

Sean Feist @native_astro
... for Carlos Rodon! He's just terrific and will hopefully look great in an Astros uniform next year.

DeAnna Williamson @ItsAllAboutDe
... for other Astros fans. Without them, rooting for a team going through a "rebuilding phase" would simply make me suicidal. Without the funny hashtags like #AstrosMovies on twitter, the good-natured jokes, getting completely hammered before, during and/or after games with them, or the photoshop jobs of Jeff Luhnow in a meat dress, being a diehard fan would be brutal.

Sarah Nelson @HooksFanSarah
... for a fresh start each spring!

Buca Morris @BucaMorris
... for many things, but first and foremost, I am thankful simply for the game of baseball. Baseball has always been a deep-rooted part of my life, providing me with everything from my first broken nose to role models that I still try to emulate on a daily basis, like Yogi and Dierker. Also, without Astros baseball I would never have met the many new, amazing people I have these last two years (like Jayne). People that prove year round how special a town Houston really is and how lucky I am to call them friends.


Many mentioned their thankfulness for Jeff Luhnow and his plan for the team. I too am very grateful to him for both his plan and for his time and his responsiveness over the last two years. I spoke with Luhnow earlier this week and will be posting our conversation next week, but in the interim, I did mention this post to him and told him how many people expressed their thanks for him. So, naturally, I asked him what he was thankful for. This is his response.
I'm thankful for our fans and the fact that our fans appreciate what's happening right now and understand that, while it's been painful the last few years, there's been a reason why we've done the things that we've done, and it will ultimately lead to us being a competitive playoff-caliber, championship-caliber team sooner. We're all aligned on the same goal. We don't always have the same ideas about exactly the strategy and the tactics to get there, but we are aligned and I appreciate our fans for understanding it. We had a very high ticket renewal rate last year. We're going to have another high rate this year, and I appreciate our fans continuing to give us a chance to prove ourselves and being patient, but at the same time being demanding because we want to provide them with what we all want to see happen here.
Personally, I am thankful for so many things. Because of the Astros, I am richer in so many ways. Rich in friends, rich in experiences, rich in hope and anticipation for the future. I am so very, very thankful to have had Buca come into my life. And the recent addition of Dustin to our little family has helped to re-energize me (and to let me occasionally sleep past 5:00 a.m.). For that I am truly thankful. As many others have noted here, I am also beyond grateful for the twitter community whose good humor and friendship have made these hard times not only bearable, but downright fun at times. I am thankful for the tight-knit Astros blogging community and how we all seek to complement each other rather than compete with each other.

But most of all, I am grateful for the wonderful, generous, good-hearted people I've met in person at Minute Maid Park and through my many travels, via email and on twitter through this process. I have forged friendships with players, coaches, bloggers, Astros fans, minor league fans, readers, minor league ballpark staff, front office personnel and one Minute Maid bartender, in particular. I feel confident that many of those relationships will withstand the test of time because they stem from a common love ... an unabashed, unified, timeless, enduring love for baseball. Astros baseball.

I would like to thank everyone who provided a response and wish everyone a Very Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy your time with loved ones and be very, very thankful that there really is a fresh start each spring.

1 comment:

  1. Very cool idea, Jayne!

    2013 was, once again, a very tough year, but there really is a lot to be thankful for as Astros fans. I'm thankful for Minute Maid Park being such a great home venue, a return to Houston's original colors of navy and orange, and--spoiler alert--George Springer winning the Rookie of the Year award in 2014!

    -Steve E. @kevinbassstache