How the Astros can save us from Houston sports woes
Some senses are easily triggered. Sound and smell can cause us to do and feel some strange things. I often wonder what sounds and/or smells trigger different types of emotions in people. The sense of touch also plays a part in this. When you hear a particular sound, smell a certain smell, you often feel something as well. When those sounds and smells join together in harmony with that sense of touch, it can be exhilarating!
I've often read and heard about the sights and sounds of Spring Training. The smell of freshly cut grass. The sound of the first crack of the bat or ball hitting a mitt. The sight of the sun peeking in over the fences and kissing the field at dawn as the sprinkler systems have just finished watering the fields in Florida and Arizona. Ahhhh...bliss!
I was driving around at work and heard that the Astros had their first Spring Training game the other day. It caught me off guard because I wasn't ready. I was so used to hearing about all the drama with Deshaun Watson and the Texans. Then the Rockets got in on the party with all of their shenanigans. As much of a gut punch as this city has taken (sports and otherwise), it sure could use an escape. Enter the 2021 Houston Astros to save the day.
While this team may not be considered as strong a contender as they were in the past few years, they still have a shot at contending. The AL West is not a murder's row division, so it can be had. The Angels are still throwing money at their problems hoping it works. The Rangers are terrible and shouldn't be feared at all. The Mariners don't present a challenge either. The A's may be able to push the 'Stros, but aren't as talented and should be put down.
Pitching will be a bit of an issue, so will a few spots in the lineup, but this team still has enough talent to get the job done. Will they have to change their style up a bit? Yes. Will things look different without George Springer at leadoff and Justin Verlander as the ace? Of course. But there are some young pitchers and position players who'll have to step up. There's also the fact that Jose Altuve will bounce-back from a bad season because he's in a better place now. Carlos Correa stepped up as a leader last season and expressed his will to be an Astro long-term. Yordan Alvarez is back and apparently healthy. Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier, and Jose Urquidy could take a step forward. Lance McCullers Jr. is another year removed from Tommy John surgery. Zack Greinke is a veteran who knows how to pitch. And what if Forrest Whitley can actually contribute something meaningful?
I know there's a lot of maybes and what ifs involved, but there are enough constants on this roster to make up for the lack of sure things. If those constants hit their averages or above, and the maybe/what ifs fill some of their potential, I can see another ALCS appearance and maybe more. When I look at the rest of the American League, the only team that I think will be a force for sure is the Yankees. Any other team doesn't scare me as much if at all. The National League has a few teams that present more of a challenge. All that being said, I'm so glad the Astros are here to save us from the foolishness the Rockets and Texans are putting out there.