Admit it, Astros haters: You need these villains in your life

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The Houston sports scene in general remains a disappointment. The Rockets are playing golf and looking for a new coach. The Texans? Pretty much a national joke. But there is good news. The XFL will be back in 2020, and the team everyone outside of Houston hates is still alive in the playoffs.

After slogging along in the shortened season with a losing record, the Astros swept the Twins and will play either Oakland or the White Sox, teams they are certainly capable of beating to reach the ALCS for a fourth straight year.

The best part? The whiny national media, MLB and fans of other teams get to vent about 2017 all over again.

If MLB were smart (I know, that phrase is ridiculous) they would embrace the hatred. Make it a redemption tour. Don't we all love a redemption story? Become more like the WWE. The Astros went from the lovable good guys to heels. Now they try to turn back and win it "the right way."

No one will admit it, but the Astros being alive is the best thing that could happen to baseball. The sport is struggling, and now going up against football, it needs all the attention it can get.

Enter the Astros, who will enable the keyboard warriors and talking heads of the world to spew hyperbole and keep the cheating story alive. The faux outrage will get clicks and ratings. Imagine if the Astros were to make it all the way to the Series again - against the Dodgers, no less. It would dominate the sports headlines, even in an NFL world.

If they lose, the angry mob will have nothing to complain about. They will get a day of "ha ha, the cheaters lost," then will have to retreat back to their basements. Baseball will once again take a back seat to the NFL.

So if you are one of those "I hate the cheaters" people, you should join Astros fan and root for them to keep winning. It will give your meaningless life some purpose. You can extend your pointless outrage for a couple weeks.

From a baseball perspective, the Astros aren't last year's group. The pitching is piecemeal, they have no real ace, and the hitting has not been what it should be. They beat a team that has lost 18 straight playoff games. But they have enough to beat Chicago or Oakland in a five game series. Tampa or New York would be a stretch, but they do have playoff pedigree, and if they can get enough pitching, anything is possible.

Admit it, haters: You need the Astros, Would there be a Star Wars without the empire? Did you not celebrate when Darth Vader turned from the dark side? Rejoice. You have a villain.

The villain baseball needs.

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The Astros have been staying afloat in spite of injuries to several of their starting pitchers, in large part due to contributions from Brandon Bielak and JP France.

Does this mean they don't need to make a trade for an arm?

Make sure to watch the video above as Paul weighs in on the team's options at the trade deadline.

Listen to The Paul Gallant Show from 10am-12pm weekdays on ESPN 97.5 & 92.5 FM!

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