Can somebody help me out here? Really, I'm curious, and I'm hoping someone can give me the answer. What I want to know is the reason for some of the hate I've been reading about Roy Oswalt from the fans since the Friday trade request announcement. It's like some of you feel betrayed, and I just don't get it.
Oswalt is the second greatest pitcher ever produced by the Astros -- J.R. Richard is number one. But Oswalt has grown tired of the lies from Drayton McLane. He has grown tired of being the best pitcher on one of the worst teams in baseball. He's aging. There aren't many years left in his career. Like all of the greats, he wants to return to the playoffs. He wants to get back to the World Series. He wants to be a champion. Only a fool like McLane would think there is any chance of the Astros accomplishing this during what is left of Oswalt's career. So he has requested that Astros management work out a trade, if possible.
It's hard to understand how any reasonable person would disagree with Oswalt. Yet since Friday's announcement, Oswalt has been called a traitor, a cancer, a diva. People have said that for the money he's making, he should just shut up and pitch. There are fans who are offended that Oswalt that has dared to speak his mind, to criticize his teammates and management. It seems that there are so-called Astros fans out there who would rather the team be a bunch of lovable losers than for the team be full of guys like Oswalt who actually want to win baseball games.
When Billy Wagner was traded to the Phillies following the 2003 season, he spoke a truth that many fans have chosen to forgot. Wagner said that Drayton McLane didn't care about actually winning, he just wanted to be competitive because being competitive was all that it took for the Astros to draw crowds.
But the team has had trouble competing the past several years. McLane bilked Craig Biggio for everything possible to keep the crowds. He overpaid for an out-of-shape to designated hitter to play left field. He overpaid for a chain-smoking, injury-prone second baseman to take the place of Biggio. What has not happened is that the Astros have not really done anything to become a better team, a team committed to playing winning baseball.
Who cares that Geoff Blum is happy to be a Houston Astro? Of course he's happy. It's doubtful there's another team in the majors that would give him close to the money he's making to be a mediocre utility infielder. Who cares that Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee want to retire as Astros? What does that really matter?
But where are all of the other guys in the clubhouse like Roy Oswalt who actually want to win baseball games? Who actually want to do things like win championships and play in important baseball games.
The fans should want more guys like Oswalt around. If Roy Oswalt is a diva, then bring on more divas. Bring on more guys who want good coaches. Bring on more guys who get upset at hitters who can't hit with runners in scoring position, or draw a walk, or do any damn thing towards generating a run on a consistent basis. He might act like a diva, but at least he acts like a diva who gives a damn.
So explain to me why Roy Oswalt is the bad guy. Why should a guy who has never done anything but give his best continue to be punished by playing on this awful team? What's so bad about his wanting to win, about his wanting one last shot at a championship? Isn't that why these guys play? To win. To be the best while winning
The Astros start play in Milwaukee tonight as the worst team in the National League. There's no doubt about that. If not for the Baltimore Orioles, the Astros would have the worst record in major league baseball. Roy Oswalt is tired of this. He wants to play for a team that cares more about being a champion than in talking about being a champion. The fans should want the same thing.
Roy Oswalt isn't the bad guy. The bad guy is the person, persons, who let this happen. Like the fans who think Roy Oswalt is as fault. Or the fans who support Drayton McLane. But the ultimate bad guy is Drayton McLane. He's the one who let this happen.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.