This would be huge for Houston sports fans. Composite image by Jack Brame.
To say it's been a rough few months for Houston sports fans would be an understatement. The Rockets came up short in the NBA playoffs yet again. They followed that up by trading their superstars James Harden and Russell Westbrook within weeks of each other. The Texans are in complete disarray following a 4-12 season. They've fired Bill O'Brien, hired Nick Caserio, and managed to alienate, allegedly, franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson. Westbrook was supposedly tired of the culture Harden was allowed to perpetuate and wanted out. Harden grew weary of not winning and decided he wanted out. Watson is apparently, allegedly, tired of the way things are being run on Kirby and is using his leverage to force a trade. But there's one star in the area who's ready to fully commit to staying.
Recently, Astros star shortstop Carlos Correa said he wants to stay in Houston long term. When one hears this from Correa, there's a few things that come to mind. First: was this merely a reactionary statement based off the recent exodus of stars? One can't help but to be skeptical given the fact that Correa is seen as a potential star in MLB that could be looking for a mega deal in a huge TV market. However, one's profile as a pro athlete is based off their play and social media presence rather than the city they play in, this can be seen as wanting to take advantage of some good will in the city he's under contract in and has built a reputation in. Smart move.
Secondly, Correa's statement can also be seen as a preemptive strike to James Click, the Astros general manager. While George Springer opted for greener pastures in Toronto, Click was able to bring back Michael Brantley. Justin Verlander is out for his final season under contract, but this team may still have enough left to compete. If Click is able to bring back Correa on a long term deal, that will go a long way to proving to the fans that he's truly committed to keeping the title hopes alive past this season.
Ultimately, I see Correa as trying to fulfill his role he's assumed since the cheating scandal was exposed over a year ago. Jim Crane castrated the franchise by firing AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow, then forcing his players to apologize for something every team was doing. Ever since then, Correa has assumed the mantle as team leader/spokesman. He's been the one to speak out on behalf of the team and defend their honor throughout this whole process. He's been the one to step up to the plate and answer the tough questions. By Correa saying he wants to stay in Houston long term, it reiterates his willingness to put his reputation on the line and forgo possible financial gain in the future for cementing himself as a Houston legend. There's something to be said about a player who forgoes potentially higher financial gain in order to stay where he's beloved. Correa will make generational wealth either way. But what will make him a legend here is choosing to stay in Houston over greener pastures because he believes in what this city and franchise has going. Long live Carlos Correa!