Alright, the second 30 Teams post! On to Houston we go. I just finished ordering the teams by distance from my house, and while the first two weren't big surprises, it was interesting to see how far away some of these cities are. I was a Geography Bee champ during my elementary/middle school days, so I know locations, but the distances surprised me.
Anyways, Astros, you're up.
DO I LIKE 'EM?
SHARE MY FEELINGS?
My wife and I moved to Austin TX in 2009 for a few months so she could do her college internship, and so we could check out what life in the Lone Star state might be like (I'd never been there before). Long story boring, we loved it and ended up moving there upon graduation. But during that first summer, I was surprised that we didn't get very many Rangers games on TV, it was mostly Astros. Austin is basically smack dab in-between Houston and Arlington. At the time, the Round Rock Express was affiliated with the Astros, so I figured that maybe that was why, but now the Express is the Rangers AAA team.
Anyways, at the time, the Astros had a few players who were at the end of their career that I had followed (Darin Erstad, Geoff Blum, Carlos Lee, Ivan Rodriguez), so it was fun to watch them, even though they weren't great. My only prior feelings about the Astros were negative, as I was rooting hard for the White Sox in 2005, and they were the opposing team (the White Sox swept, so it wasn't like I was bitter towards them, just didn't care for them).
The largest connection would obviously be the 12 player trade that brought Steve Finley and Ken Caminiti (among others) to San Diego. It was the largest trade in MLB since 1957. The Padres also got Brian Williams (pitcher), Roberto Petagine (infielder), and shortstop Andujaaaaaaaar Cedenoooooo. The Padres gave up Derek Bell, Phil Plantier, Craig Shipley, Ricky Gutierrez, and Doug Brocail. This is one of the very few big trades that have actually favored the Padres. The Astros just swiped Padres first baseman Nate Freiman in the Rule V draft, which kinda bummed me out.
Former: Steve Finley
Current: Brian Bogusevic
Editors Note: I just found out that Bogusevic was granted free agency in November 2012, and was signed a few weeks later by the Cubs, though he's not on their 40 man roster. I guess my new favorite Astro is probably Jose Altuve, so I'll try to see if I have a card of his.
LEAST FAVORITE PLAYERS?
Former: Derek Bell
Current: Lucas Harrell, only because he dominates the Padres.
The majority of the Astros cards that I have are of Steve Finley, one of my all-time favorite players. Love these cards.
Nolan Ryan was a great Astro, but the only memories I have of him are as a Ranger. Bill Doran is getting Mr. Padre out on a double play. Blum, Erstad, and Biggio are players I always like seeing. I like the Bogusevic card above, and he hit a home run on my birthday when he was still with the Round Rock Express, so it's been cool seeing him make it to the bigs.
If the Astros thought last year was rough (55-107, good for the worst record in the majors), this year can't be looking better, now that they've moved from the NL Central to the AL West. Well, I mean, they'll look better because they have some sweet new uniforms, but the play on the field looks to be ugly. Still, they have some decent young pitchers (Harrell, Bud Norris, and Jordan Lyles) and some exciting young infielders (Jose Altve and Matt Dominguez), and this year's Opening Day roster is better than 2012's. I don't think they'll lose 107 games again, but they'll take their lumps in the AL West cellar. Sorry 'Stros.