Have An Astronomical Thanksgiving

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If you're truly an Astros fan and you're sitting around feeling like you have nothing to be thankful for, man, I don't know what to tell you. I've followed this franchise for their entire 60 years and this is just the second time we've won the World Series! Hopefully, there will be no scandals this time.

As a point of reference, only five Astros played on both the 2017 and the 2022 champs (Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Yuli Gurriel, Lance McCullers and Justin Verlander). Only a fool would proclaim these Astros were "basically the same team" as the 2017 version.

Every championship is special but this is moreso because they were validating the 2017 team and also winning a title for Dusty Baker, the winningest African-American manager in baseball history.

The 2022 team also had its share of surprise heroes - Chas McCormick who homered twice against the Yankees and provided perhaps the signature moment of the World Series with his catch against the Citizens Bank Park scoreboard, Bryan Abreu who entered ten postseason games and did not give up an earned run while fanning 19 batters and, of course, rookie Jeremy Pena who won the ALCS MVP and the World Series MVP while batting .345 with four homers in postseason play. He had the type of playoffs young boys dream about.

For an organization that is always dissed over their farm system, 22 of the 40-man roster have never played for another pro organization.

There's every reason to think the trend will continue. If Verlander does not return, the six starting pitchers left from last year's roster are all in their arbitration years or below. With Pena, Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez, the Astros also have a lineup they can expect to improve with. While the bullpen has more veterans, there is solid depth as well as young arms waiting for broader responsibilities.

Whoever becomes the Astros' next general manager doesn't have to build a championship club. They just have to maintain and improve on the one that is already here.

We should not be afraid to transition away from Verlander, Gurriel and Martin Maldonado to younger players like Hunter Brown and Yainer Diaz. They, too, will have their moments of greatness.

As we watch the Rockets and Texans stumble as if they have no clue how to win a title, we should be even more thankful that the Astros have it worked out and can repeat this scene again in the next few years.

Go out and enjoy your championship, Houston, knowing more are likely on the way. That's plenty to be thankful for.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE!

- Bob Hulsey