The Houston Astros 2012 season is over. Now what? Well, while players have all caught planes to wherever they call home, the fans sit wondering what will be left of the Astros they love when Spring Training 2013 rolls around.
There have been a LOT of changes in the last year, some easier to swallow than others (Hello, American League!). I’ll miss reading Zachary Levine’s stories for the Houston Chronicle, and watching pitchers hit. I’ll miss knowing who is who on the field and in the dugout, I’ll miss the view out the windows in left field that is now blocked by the most hideous sign ever. I won’t miss Tal’s hill or Junction Jack. I won’t miss the train. So not all the changes are hard.
I have, to some degree, made my peace with the difficult changes, reminding the 12 year old girl inside of me that she doesn’t need to throw a tantrum, Houston still has a baseball team.
It’s not the baseball team of my childhood. Of course it hasn’t been THAT ball club for a while. I had a hard time with the move out of the Astrodome too. I remember thinking, “But the Astros should always play in the Astrodome. Isn’t that the whole point of the name?” Tears were shed when that era ended.
I remember touring what was then called “Enron Field at Union Station” while it was under construction. Somewhere in the piles of memorabilia there’s a photo of me in a hardhat standing next to a stake in the ground that says “HOMEPLATE” spelled out in all capital letters in black sharpie. That was the day that the new ballpark won me over.
You see, I get sad to let the past go and move forward, but sometimes all it takes to help push in a new direction is a taste of the fun to come. This is the point at which I should tell you all the fun things to come, right?
I don’t expect that 2013 will be a whole lot of fun as an Astros fan. My hope is that when the club reveals the logo on November 2nd there’s a renewed interest in this team, but I fear the beating they’re bound to take in the AL West with a roster of kids who still need time is going to be brutal once again for fans.
So where’s that taste of the fun to come? It’s all currently in the minor leagues, developing, practicing, perfecting and dreaming of the day it can can come to the show. There’s a crop of young talent that the Astros organization hasn’t seen in over a decade working their butts off to come play on the field we call Minute Maid Park. Patience, Houston, that’s what we need.
So while we’re waiting for those kids to grow up a bit and be the ball players we need, I’m going to enjoy learning a new side of the game that I never gave much attention…you know, those folks over in the American League. We’ll see teams play in Houston that fans haven’t seen here before. I think that might even help the attendance numbers a bit. Nothing like a park full of Yankees fans to get the Astros fans riled up and cheering!
I’ll enjoy the changes that will be made to the ballpark in color and logo and improvements. I’ll get to know the quirks of a new crop of coaches and possibly players. I’ll learn a little more about the changes in strategy when your pitchers don’t pitch to pitchers. But most importantly, as Springtime comes around, I’ll go watch these guys in Kissimmee, I’ll buy new scorebooks, dust off my favorite vintage ball cap and cheer on the Houston Nine. After all, there’s still baseball in Houston.
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.