In the aftermath of the Astros' 9-6 loss to Kansas City on Monday, rookie phenom Carlos Correa responded to media queries about the collapse they had just witnessed. "You guys are acting like we're out of it," he said. "We're not out of it."
He's right, of course, but the dramatic nature of game four and the long, sad history of Houston sports made it easy to forget that.
I, personally, dropped my own ridiculous tweet when I said this game was worse than when Albert Pujols hit a bomb off the Astros in the ninth inning of the 2005 NLCS to force a final series game. But, as Carlos Gomez said following the game Monday, "It's baseball," he said. "Baseball is crazy." But how crazy, exactly?
Rookie pitcher Lance McCullers was fantastic pitching 6 1/3 innings, allowing only a two-run homer and striking out 7 in the process. The Astros' other rookie, Correa, had a monster game with two home runs, including a two-run shot in a wild seventh inning right before Colby Rasmus went for his fourth homer of the postseason. At that point, the Astros were up 6-2 and the tweets of a trip to the American League Championship Series were recklessly flying around the Internet. Even Governor Greg Abbott got involved with this ill-advised post:
Then, the wheels came off. Relievers Will Harris and Tony Sipp gave up five runs in the eighth. By the two-run homer off Josh Fields in the ninth, the Royals had sealed the win and prepared for a trip home for a decisive game five. And then things got really weird when this happened.
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That's right. Governor Greg Abbott just called HIMSELF out on Twitter in what is the kind of train wreck we have come to expect from Houston sports and, apparently, from our elected officials.
Abbott no doubt remembers the Oilers in Buffalo, Phi Slama Jama and NC State and the years of heartbreaking losses by Houston teams. He probably remembers the Pujols shot to force a decisive game in the 2005 NLDS.
But what so many fans, myself included, also forgot is that the Astros calmly went to St. Louis and beat the Cardinals, advancing to the World Series (no need to mention how they were swept by the White Sox). Ironically, they'll be back on a plane to Missouri in the winner-take-all game five of the ALDS on Wednesday.
It's probably a good thing Correa and his teammates are unaware of the Houston sports misery. He wasn't alive for the Oilers or Phi Slama Jama. He was 11 when Pujols was jacking that shot a decade ago. In all sports, you need a short memory if you're going to come back from tough losses like the one on Monday. In the case of sports fans like me and the Governor, it probably wouldn't hurt to wipe out our long-term memory as well.