Every-Thing Sports

The Astros are a lovable dynasty

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Dynasty. It's a word that gets thrown around in the sports lexicon too loosely these days. According to Merriam-Webster, a sports dynasty is defined as "a prolonged run of successful seasons." After enduring several 90 and 100-plus loss seasons, the Astros stuck with "The Process" and made the playoffs starting in the 2015 season. Although they missed the playoffs in the 2016 season, they finished with a 84-78 record and five games out of the wildcard spot in the American League. History was made in 2017 as they fulfilled Sports Illustrated's Ben Reiter's 2014 prophecy of winning the World Series. They lost the ALCS to eventual champs the Boston Red Sox in 2018 and are on the verge of winning another title this year.

Most dynasties are despised, hated even. The Warriors of the NBA and the Patriots of the NFL are the ones that come to mind when thinking of sports dynasties of recent memory. Both teams have a history of prolonged success in their respective sports. Both are also pretty much universally disliked for one reason or another. This Astros team (outside of the Roberto Osuna signing and Brandon Taubman controversies) have been pretty well-liked. Here's why I think they've been a likable dynasty:

Club Astros

A few years ago, "Club Astros" was born. It was a simple, yet fun and effective thing that helped appeal to the masses. After a win, a player would be the clubhouse DJ and play music. There would be special lighting to go along with the music. In 2015, when they started winning, Club Astros was discovered by the media. Fans got wind of this and immediately took to it. Social media played a large part of this. George Springer was/is usually the DJ.

Underdogs

In 2014 when Ben Reiter picked them to win the 2017 World Series, everyone thought he was nuts. The team had lost 92 game sthat season and their best player that season and the few previously was a 5'6 2nd baseman that was a slappy hitter. No one thought this team would do anything significant. However, they'd go on to bigger and better things. Jose Altuve and George Springer are the two holdovers from the previous regime that were building blocks for the title contender that they are now. Altuve was AL MVP in 2017 and Springer was World Series MVP in 2017. Who would've thought that was possible back then?

Humble...and cocky

While guys like Altuve and Springer have proven to be very humble in interviews, others (like Alex Bregman) have proven opposite. Bregman has been the red-ass that this team needed. The exception is that he can back it up. He's been one of the guys that can be arrogant, but will ball out. While I'm all for the the nice guy act, every team needs a dose of asshole. Bregman is the perfect dose.

Analytics approach

Analytics have been used in baseball more effectively and for a longer period of time than any other sport. The Astros have taken analytics to a different level. From shifts on defense, to spin rates when pitching, and the way they approach at bats while hitting, this team has truly taken a liking to and usage of analytics. How much you ask? So much so that they've been accused of cheating. Opposing teams/players have accused them of underhanded tactics because they've hand the upper hand when pitching, playing defense, and while hitting. They've simply used statistical analysis to their advantage better than most other teams.

Us vs all yall mentality

When Bregman saw a pitcher tipping his pitches and shared it with his fellow Astros, they were accused of cheating. When pitching coach Brent Strom transformed some unknown/forgotten about/or non-factor pitchers into killers, they were again accused of cheating. This team looks for different ways to gain an advantage over their opponents. If (when) they find something, they share it with one another. In the past, some pitchers and/or hitters would hold things to themselves. This team makes it a point to share the wealth of knowledge.Pitchers and hitters alike also crittique one another for added eyes on any potential advantages. For example: if Bregman sees Gerrit Cole tipping his pitches, he lets him know. Or, If Justin Verlander notices Yordan Alvarez is taking a bad approach at the plate, he helps correct it. They're the epitome of "us vs yall" in every sense of the phrase because everything is a collective effort.

This may seem like a homer type of article, but I've actually talked to other fans of other teams and they truly like and/or appreciate the Astros. Another common theme amongst other fans when it comes to the Astros is respect. Outside of the obnoxious Yankees fans that treated Astros fans like crap, other fans have thought of the Astros as a solid group of folks simply trying to enjoy rooting for their team. Other recent dynasties (the NFL's Patriots and NBA's Warriors come to mind) have been universally despised. The Astros have their missteps (the Osuna signing and Taubman debacle), but they've also found themselves getting out of fire of those situations relatively unscathed. Hopefully by the time most of you read this, the Astros are on their way to a second World Series title in three years. They're set up to compete for more over the course of the next few years. Here's to them staying a likable bunch of guys that can keep on winning titles while bringing pride and joy to Astro fans everywhere.

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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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