Astros-Cardinals: Thanking Vincent Chase

I’ve got a confession to make. I didn’t watch the Astros this weekend. That was partly because I was in Austin for my nephew’s birthday and the game was not on TV in Austin. It was also partly because I’m getting to that “I just don’t give a damn” stage. I shouldn’t be at the “I don’t give a damn” stage because, after sweeping the Cardinals over the weekend, the Astros ended up going 21-9 for August. There’s just one problem: Only two teams did better than the Astros for August, and those two teams were the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers, and it does no good for the Astros to keep winning if the teams in front of them are also going to win (okay, the Astros did defeat the Cubs yesterday, but there’s still way too much ground to make up).

I did listen to part of Sunday’s game as I drove I-10 back to Houston, and I had a big laugh when I heard Milo Hamilton thanking Vincent Chase and friends for attending the game. It seems like Milo thanks Vinnie and his entourage several times a season, and it always cracks me up. It seems like at some point one of his partners in the booth would let Milo in on the joke – and my sources have told me that the Astros sales department does this on purpose to screw around with Milo – but I guess they don’t like him either.

But I guess the fake attendance of a fake movie star and his posse at an Astros game is a fitting description for how I feel about the Astros at this moment. They’re playing over their heads, and they’re making a late push that means absolutely nothing – ooh, they’re about to catch the Cardinals for third place. This is a mediocre team that isn’t going to the playoffs, and this push they’re putting on is just as fake and superficial as Vincent Chase and Johnny Drama.

Baseballs team that give significant playing time to the likes of Geoff Blum, Ty Wigginton – his month of August be damned – David Newhan, Miguel Tejada, and Humberto Quintero and which have the likes of Wandy Rodriguez, Brandon Backe, Randy Wolf, and Brian Moehler in their starting rotations are bad teams that don’t deserve to be in the playoffs, just like Billy Walsh doesn’t deserve to make anymore movies after that job he did on Medellin.

But I ramble, and none of you care about my ramblings. But hear me on this, the better the Astros finish this year, the worse they’ll finish next year. The Astros have already resigned Moehler, Blum, and Darin Erstad for next year. I’m a huge fan of Darin Erstad, but he’s not an everyday guy, not anymore. And Geoff Blum has never been an everyday guy, and while what Moehler has done this season has been admirable, the Astros should not be depending on him to repeat this season next season. That’s just irresponsible planning.

Then again, this is the Astros, and irresponsible planning seems to have become the team’s mantra. Why else would a team trade prospects, of which it has few, for an aging steroider like Miguel Tejada, or sign an injury-prone second baseman like Kaz Matsui to a big multi-year contract?

I know. I should be celebrating. The team is now 72-66. The pitching has been good. But I just can’t. The Astros lost me a long time ago, and I’m now just watching – or not watching like with this weekend – out of a strange sense of a duty. I just don’t give a damn anymore.

Unless Vincent Chase and friends are there, of course. But I would care more if Ari Gold were to attend one of the games.

-- John Royal

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