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Thursday, October 21, 2004

Love ya 'Stros!

First things first:  Congratulations to the St. Louis Cardinals โ€” a classy, gutsy team with first-rate fans and management that certainly deserves to represent the NL in the Series, based both on its season-long and playoff series performances.  They've proved themselves a better team, if by a razor-thin margin, than the very fine team the Astros had turned into by season's end.  And as a devoted National League guy, I'll be rootin' for St. Louis over the BoSox.

But now my main point:  Damn, I'm proud of my hometown team!  Proud fit ta bust, yessir. 

You've provided entertainment.  You've provided thrills.  You've been great role models as sportsmen for hundreds of thousands of kids โ€” four of whom are mine.  No fan has the right to expect a world championship, ever, but everything which any fan could legitimately expect short of that, you've given the City of Houston, and your fans elsewhere in Texas and beyond, this year.

Rocket:  I've been watching you since you were at UT.  You're a genuine sports hero for the ages, and such a Texan.  Whether you hang it up or come back, we Houstonians, we Longhorns, we fellow Texans are and will always be grateful that you came out of retirement for this season.  Hook 'em!

To Phil Garner and every other man jack on the team and in the organization, from the batboys up to Drayton:  There's no shame in this loss.  Nobody doubts that you guys were entitled to be there in Game 7.  And nobody doubts that the Astros will in due course play in the Series, but we'll be with you through thick and thin until then.

Posted by Beldar at 10:30 PM in Sports | Permalink


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(1) BarCodeKing made the following comment | Oct 21, 2004 11:10:14 PM | Permalink

We've been treated to two outstanding LCSs this year. I was hoping the Astros would win, but they didn't. I think that Cedeno getting on base and distracting Clemens and breaking his rhythm was the key to the game. Up until then, Clemens had been cruising comfortably along. All those throws to first split his concentration, and Pujols and Rolen made him pay for it. Still, it was a great run for the Astros.

(2) Uncle Mikey made the following comment | Oct 22, 2004 12:04:49 AM | Permalink

I don't know about shame, but how about regret? Who throws a strike to Pujols on a 1-2 count with a man on base? Especially in the same place he just missed. Ugh. He couldn't stop himself from challenging Rolen after that, and that was the end of the 'Stros. I suppose it was too much to hope for that the Red Sox AND Astros would make it, but damn I wanted that pitch back.

Yes, I'm an ungracious and bad loser. The Cards are very good, and I kind of like Tavarez even though he's doing his best to make sure I don't.

(3) Jonathan Sadow made the following comment | Oct 22, 2004 3:45:53 AM | Permalink

The Astros did well despite the horrible luck they had this season with injuries. If Pettite and Miller were in the rotation like they should have been, I don't think any reasonable person could doubt that not only would the Astros have won Game 7, but that there wouldn't have been a Game 7 because the Astros would have wrapped up the title before then - a 1980 J. R. Richard redux....

(4) Eaglespeak made the following comment | Oct 22, 2004 5:06:31 AM | Permalink

Three of the greatest playoffs ever have involved the Astros- v. Philly in 1980, v. the Mets in 1986 (lost a job when I chose to attend the games in the Dome over being in the office) and the latest with the Cards (the Braves series wasn't bad either).

I continue to wear my Astro gear with pride even though I have relocated far away. My youngest son's baseball hero is still Craig Biggio.

Good job, 'Stros! You fought the good fight.

(5) Calliope made the following comment | Oct 22, 2004 6:41:23 AM | Permalink

Agree 100% with your post Beldar. As a long suffering Astros fan I'm still walking on air over their beating Atlanta. After that everything else was gravy.

From Clemens to Backe to Beltran this has been the feel good sports story of the year IMO.

Now we have to reset, see if we can't pull off signing Beltran, get Oswalt and Berkman under contract, see if Roger will go another round for us next year. The organization is much stronger after this experience. I see no reason why they can't come back next year if we can sign our free agents and get some good middle relief arms for the bullpen.

(6) slarrow made the following comment | Oct 22, 2004 8:51:40 AM | Permalink

As a lifelong Cardinals fan, I was twisted in knots for the first 5 1/2 innings before euphoria hit and I began to hope. This morning I am thrilled to death as the Cardinals do something they haven't done since I was 12. The home-field advantage wins also help ease the memory of the '87 World Series; so often for baseball fans, current triumphs help wipe out past disasters (and vice versa, as some Yankee fans can probably tell you.)

That said, those Astros were gutsy, and there warn't no give in 'em. I was nervous about them all year, even when they were only .500 at the All-Star break, and that run in the last two months was staggeringly impressive (and scary.) I thought the Cards had them after two games after getting into their bullpen, and they came back with some big-time pitching and amazing offense. I never want my guys to face Brad Lidge again (which, of course, will make next year very uncomfortable). Carlos Beltran is a monster; I desperately hope he finds some other place to play because I fear him in an Astros uniform for the next five years.

Biggio and Bagwell have always been classy, and now that it's over I'm glad they had some postseason success to wash out some of their performances in past years when they were it and were probably pressing. Other B's have come and gone, but those two have always been the heart of the Killer B's (and "killer" is right.) The Cards have had a pretty fierce rivalry with the Astros, but it's the kind of rivalry that comes from good teams fighting hard for the prize (instead of the nastier ones like the Cards-Mets of the '80s and what the Cards-Cubs is developing into with the current Cubs squad and team.)

In the first round, it was clear that the Cards were better than the Dodgers this year. I really can't say that about the NLCS. It really wasn't one of those things where the best team won; it was where someone had to win and someone had to lose. I'm a partisan, so of course I'm glad my team won. But my hat's off to Beldar's 'Stros. He's right; they've got a lot to be proud of.

It sure ain't Comedy Central no more.

(7) Calliope made the following comment | Oct 22, 2004 10:54:08 AM | Permalink

The thing is, if you have to lose a championship game, it doesn't hurt that much to lose to a high class club like the Cards. I will certainly be pulling for them against the BoSox.

St Louis is another mid market team like the Astros, a team that has to find a way to win without a $1 billion payroll. The manager is class - no I mean REAL class - all the way, the players the same. I'd be proud to have any of them on my team. Well I do wish Tavares wouldn't have made an ass out of himself. But boys will be boys.

Its one thing to be beaten by a bunch of punk whiners like the Braves. Its an entirely different thing to be beaten by a class act like the Cards.


(8) Tongueboy made the following comment | Oct 22, 2004 1:50:03 PM | Permalink

The Astros should be congratulated on their incredible regular season comeback from the dead, especially minus Miller and Pettit. They sure as heck gave my beloved Cardinals all they could handle; my fervent post-season wish is that Carlos Beltran's agent earns his money, which might mean Beltran goes to a team far outside the NL Central.

Busch Stadium was a-rockin' last night. My feeling, as seconded by many other veteran fans with whom I spoke, was that we were the loudest crowd ever to witness a baseball game in St. Louis. I've never seen fans get a curtain call from a player after a defensive play but we came damn close last night after Jim Edmond's miraculous catch.

That Cardinal victory was, without a doubt, the best ball game I've ever personally witnessed and Scott Rolen's home run probably will end up ranking in Cardinal lore with Enos Slaughter's mad dash from 1st to home in the 8th inning of Game 7 of the 1946 World Series, Bob Gibson besting Jim Lomborg on three days rest and hitting a home run to boot in Game 7 of the 1967 World Series, and Ozzie Smith's first career left-handed home run off of Tom Niedenfuer to end Game 5 of the 1985 NLCS.

The hunt for a red October continues. Next stop: Beantown.

(9) rhodeymark made the following comment | Oct 25, 2004 12:54:16 PM | Permalink

Red October indeed, as symbolized by Schilling's sock.

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