added 05/19/2017 by Bob Hulsey
If there was ever a year to be a baseball fan in Houston, this appears to be it. Jeff Luhnow has crafted a team with the best record in the majors and yet with a payroll below the top half of franchises. There's no player on the squad earning in baseball's Top 50 salaries and the high man on the payroll, catcher Brian McCann, has $5.5 million of his $17 million salary paid by his former club, the New York Yankees!
On the field, everyone's contributing. Remember when the Astros lineup was Jose Altuve and a bunch of sluggers hitting below .220? No more. Every non-pitcher on the roster is batting above .250.
Dallas Keuchel is back to his bearded self and Lance McCullers looks poised to have a breakout year. Another star for the starting rotation and another lefty to help in the bullpen and the pitching staff will be playoff-ready.
What was lacked was a rallying cry. The one throughout spring training was "Earn it", but I guess that was too cerebral. Free agent outfielder Josh Reddick brought a different rallying cry to town courtesy of pro wrestling icon Ric Flair:
Back before Houston was a cosmopolitan multinational multicultural transgendered mecca, it was a cowboy town that grew principally from the Awl Bidness. Woo was something lovers pitched back in the day, even though it was formless and invisible. It was pitched and presumably caught.
In the Awl Patch, Woo was often paired with Hoo whenever a gusher sprung forth. The expression spread to football fields and, from there, other Texas sport venues and chicken ranches. But, like an emoji, Woo Hoo was shortened to simply Woo and it has caught on among long-suffering Astro fans.
It is a singular expression of delight at the awesomeness of the moment - like standing on third after a triple. Woo!
The Astros have been hotter than an Saudi summer this month and have produced a lot of Woo moments: taking 3-of-4 from the Rangers - Woo!; sweeping the ex-rival Braves - Woo!; grabbing 3-of-4 from the Yankees - Woo!; treating the whirling sculpture in Miami as their own personal bullseye - Woo!
The expression was cemented because of outrage expressed by Rangers media that the phrase quickly was growing tiresome. If you can not only express your pleasure at events but also annoy your rivals at the same time, that's a battle cry worth keeping. I think Seattle fans kept "the wave" for a longer time because it ticked off other fan bases than found it juvenile and mindless.
Now, it's too woonderful to let go so any disapproving fans will need to bring ear plugs this summer. There'll be more woo pitched at Minute Maid this summer than an e-Harmony convention.
The Houston Woo Flu...catch it.