Silver lining

added 9/20/2002 by Susan and Darrell Pittman

Stick a fork in 'em, 'cause the Astros are done for this season as far as the playoffs are concerned.

I'm just as disappointed as almost everyone else who'll be reading this, but it occurs to me that as Astros fans, we've become just a little bit spoiled in recent years. Due to their success in the Hunsicker era, we almost expect the Astros to reach the post-season every year.

Even though we won't reach the playoffs this year (and therefore will miss the automatic adventure in ignominy the last four playoff series have brought us, thus avoiding all that angst), I believe that we Astros fans have a lot to be grateful for.

Let's enumerate some of the reasons to look on the bright side:

  • We're not the Cubs

  • We can begin the process of relearning our spouses' and childrens' names that much earlier

  • We have one of the best farm systems in baseball, bursting at the seams with talent. Some think it's the best.

  • In Roy Oswalt and Wade Miller, we have a one-two punch that rivals Schilling/Johnson

  • Lance Berkman is almost sure to become a perennial All-Star

  • We get to watch two future HOFers, Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, who will almost surely go to Cooperstown wearing Open Stars

  • Four playoff appearances in six years isn't too shabby, even if the results left much to be desired (I'm putting it kindly). Just imagine the pandemonium that would break out in Miami, Tampa/St. Pete, Kansas City, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, or Pittsburgh if their team could play in October just once in a decade.

  • We're not the Cubs

  • We're almost sure to finish the year with a winning record. Well, okay... keep your fingers crossed.

  • The grass at Astros Field will get some extra rest this year, not to mention the electricity that will be saved without that roof opening and closing all the time

  • We won't have to take off work at 10 a.m. in order to attend a noon (?!?) weekday playoff game, or spend $1500 per seat for playoff tickets to games that won't occur (up to and including the World Series), the money for which won't be refunded until November or December

  • There's still plenty to root for, like Roy-O getting his 20th win

  • We have one of the best GM's in the business in Gerry Hunsicker, able to squeeze a lot out of a little, and Tim Purpura in charge of player development

  • We're not the Cubs

  • At some point our "Hall of Fame Broadcaster", Milo Hamilton, will retire

  • By some miracle, a player strike was averted this year. Funny how good things happen when people sit down and bargain in good faith, isn't it? With any luck, this may be a harbinger of things to come. On the other hand, nah.

  • Rumor has it that Bud Selig is contemplating getting a new toupe

  • Brad Ausmus may talk Moises Alou out of some more bats next season

  • The man who traded Sammy Sosa away from the Rangers (doh!) is now our President, and has control of nuclear weapons

  • Success is way overrated

  • Being a farm club for the Yankees, Braves, etc., is a good thing. We can always say with pride, "<insert player name here> used to play for the Astros. We taught him everything he knows."

  • We can say "Wait 'til next year," and actually have some hope. A Cubs fan has to say "This is next year," year in year out, and has no hope. That sounds like a bad thing, but it's really not: at least Cubs' fans know what's going to happen to their ballclub in any given year.

  • Did I mention that we're not the Cubs?

So, next time you're tempted to take a Jonestown Kool-Aid™ Cocktail because the 'Stros won't make the playoffs, remember all the other good things in life.

Darrell Pittman

Kool-Aid™ is a trademark of whomever makes the stuff. The "Kool-Aid™ Pitcher" was not actually harmed in the writing of this column, but may report to the Astros' Spring Training camp at Kissimmee next February as a non-roster invitee.

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