As Bud Norris pitched seven shutout innings last night and the Houston Astros put on a little home run hit parade to beat the Cubs 8-4, there was one thing I couldn’t get out of my head. This Houston Astros team isn’t afraid to get dirty.
This idea started festering in my head a couple of weeks ago when my mother commented during a game that Jordan Schafer’s nickname should be “Pigpen” because his uniform is always a mess. You know, that orange-brown streak of dirt you find covering the front of a uniform of any player who regularly steals bases? Yep, that’s what I’m talking about.
It’s not just that this team is stealing some bases, although collectively they’ve stolen 33 bags so far this year putting them a respectable 7th in steals in the majors and 5th in the National League. This team is a never-say-die group of guys who always think about how to get it back when the lead is stolen. And when they’re winning? Well, widening that lead is front of mind.
So as I watched the game last night, I was drawn to how many of those uniforms were dirty and it was a lot. Let’s not crazy, Carlos Lee’s uniform was clean as a whistle, but even with players we love to harass like Lee, there’s something in the air in the Astros clubhouse this season. It’s not something we can add up on a stat sheet or really quantify, but it’s just as real and still there.
If you haven’t been to a game in person this season, I encourage you to do it – not just because ticket sales expand the budget that GM Jeff Luhnow has to work with, but also because you’ll feel it. It’s palpable in the air during a game. (I should mention I get no benefit from you going to a game and I’m a horrible fan for saying this, but I prefer the stadium a little empty as it gives me more room.)
I was chatting with a friend the other day – she’s a Red Sox fan- when she mentioned that the Astros weren’t the worst team in baseball this year. I nodded and said, “That’s a reputation that will go away….with just a little more dirt.”
Terri Schlather (AGirlintheSouth) is the tortured Senior Houston Astros Writer for Aerys Sports. You can email her at email@example.com, or follow her ridiculous ramblings on sports, vodka and the weeone on twitter @agirlinthesouth.