The Astros return to action tonight, and with a record of 36-53, you're probably wondering why it is that you should give a damn about the rest of the season. Especially since Houston Texans training camp is not far off, college football is just around the corner, and the Astros just suck.
But I like baseball. I like baseball so much that not even the Astros' continued awful play is turning me off of the sport. So after some thought, I have come up with some reasons to keep watching the Astros play this season.
1. The Astros have a bad record, but they've gone through a spurt lately, and amazingly, there are actually five teams in baseball with worse records. So it should be fun to watch to see if the Astros continue to play halfway-competent baseball, or if they return to Pittsburgh Pirates level of awfulness.
2. Then there's the Anthony Rendon watch. The Rice third baseman is acknowledged as one of the best players in college baseball, and he becomes eligible for the draft next year. But if the Astros improve too much, they might not have the chance to draft him.
3. Ed Wade is still, somehow, the general manager. So it will be fun, for a couple of weeks at least, to see if he's actually able to trade Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman, Brett Myers, or anybody else in which a contending team will be interested.
4. Knowing that Wade's got a terrible history when it comes to trading-deadline deals, it's going to be interesting to see just how badly he screws up any trades he should make. We should probably be looking at the Philadelphia Phillies, or teams with former Phillies on them, for clues as to which team Wade will make a trade, and for which players he will receive in return.
5. Will the Astros hit triple digits in losses? Right now, they're on a pace for only 97 losses, but who knows what happens if Oswalt is dealt, or if Pedro Feliz starts to once again play everyday.
6. Will Pedro Feliz last the complete season on the roster? If so, why? Does he have pictures of Wade or Drayton McLane?
7. The continuing media excuses for Wade's incompetence are always fun to read.
If you don't like watching Michael Bourn, you don't like baseball
9. Michael Bourn. There's not much more to say. If you don't have fun watching Michael Bourn patrol centerfield, then there's absolutely no hope for you as a baseball fan.
10. Then there's the continuing drama of whether or not Carlos Lee will get his batting average to equal his weight.
11. And in which game does Lee actually hustle after a ball hit to left field?
12. In what game does Jim Deshaies finally snap and just start calling this assemblage of baseball players the worst to ever put on an Astros uniform?
13. Does Drayton McLane, realizing that he's done nothing to make this team a champion in at least half a decade, hand over the control of the team to somebody who actually likes and understands baseball? If that happens, will Ed Wade ever be able to find anybody who will give him another job in baseball?
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14. Since attendance is so bad, and since the team is celebrating its 45th anniversary being named the Astros, does Drayton reduce concession and ticket prices to 1965 levels in hopes of getting the fans to come back?
15. It's always fun watching the Astros play the scapegoat game. Among this season's scapegoats we have J.R. Towles, Sean Berry, Kazuo Matsui, Pedro Feliz, Kevin Cash, and Casey Daigle. Somehow Ed Wade has escaped this list.
16. And as long as Casey Daigle is on the team, it's fun to watch the game on TV because Fox Sports Houston no longer needs an excuse to show his wife, softball player and model Jennie Finch, sitting in the stands. Time and time and time and time again during the game. And the worse the Astros play, the sooner they go to the Finch shots.
17. And no matter what, just keep this in mind. You could be a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates or Baltimore Orioles.