A Very American Coup By Michael – Louis Ingram, Editor-in-Chief...
The Houston Astros Became A Team Of Destiny
HOUSTON, TX—For years the Houston Astros came within games, innings and outs of making it to the World Series. It did not happen, as it was programmed at Minute Maid Park before 43, 470 screaming fans a week ago. The important thing for the Astros is, they finally made it happen.
When in doubt, give the ball to Roy Oswalt, who is one of the most intimidating pitchers in the game. Even though Roy has played under the shadow of seven time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens; he has proven to be the man when it comes to the post season. Roy is 4-0 in postseason play.
Last Wednesday night in the “Show Me State”, the Boys of Destiny made history by becoming the first team in club history to win the NL Pennant and make it to the World Series. It took them 44-years. They had tried eight times before, but the ninth time was a charm.
Yes, the Astros have become a team of Destiny. They knew that they would not get this close and fail again.
Team owner Drayton McLane knew all along that the team would go to the World Series. He kept telling us, “we are going to be champion,” but we didn’t take him serious. Drayton tells you the sky is falling, you better run for cover.
Early in the season a local newspaper declared the Astros dead and placed a tombstone over their grave. However, the Astros didn’t think it was funny and took it personal. They kicked off the alleged dirt and became the first team of any kind to rise from the dead and win a championship. It proves that even in death a team can come back and win. Just believe.
“Never under estimate the heart of a champion.”
In years past, the Astros have come close to getting to the World Series, but as I always said closeness counts in slow dancing. The 2005 Boys of Destiny did the two-step and danced all the way to the World Series.
Some of the biggest losses have been:
· 1980-The Astros were one game away from going to the World Series when they took a 2 to 1 lead in a best of three against the Phillies, but the Phillies came back and won two in a row to win the NL Pennant. Joe Morgan returned to the Astros to help get them to the play offs. Cesar Cedeno was in the final stages of his career as the center fielder. Enos Cabell and Jose Cruz were on that team. The Astros had a starting staff of Nolan Ryan, Ken Forsch and Joe Niekro, but the Phillies had strike out artist Steve Carlton and Tug McGraw as the closer.
· 1981- The Astros lead the Dodgers 2-0 in a best of five, but the Dodgers bounced back and won three in a row to capture the NL Pennant. Joe Morgan was gone and Phil Garner (now manager) was a member of the team and played second base. Enos Cabell was gone and Art Howe played third base. Cedeno was moved to first base. Alan Ashby was the catcher on that club. In the final game with Nolan Ryan on the mound the Astros felt good about their chances of going to their first World Series, but Ryan could not pull them through and suffered the lost and the Dodgers won the NL pennant.
· 2004- The Astros came within one game of their first trip to the World Series, but lost to the St. Louis Cardinals. The 2004 team was one of the most-talented in team history, but injuries to key players like pitcher Andy Pettite and shortstop Adam Everett hurt. Carlos Beltran had a career year in the postseason, but was slowed down in the most important game of the all.
This is not the most-talented of Astros teams, but these boys of destiny will go down as the best team in club history. Phil Garner is not one of the best managers in the game when it comes to good strategy, but his unorthodox methods got the job done
When a team has a pitcher like Roger Clemens on its side (who is the best pitcher in modern day baseball) and a competitor like Roy Oswalt, you can never count them out. Rogers’s three inning performances after only two days rest in the 18-inning marathon against the Atlanta Braves was one of the best in post season major league baseball history. The bigger the game, the better Roy is. As all great players, Roy rises to the occasion.
Roger has done what no other pitcher in team history has done and that is bringing pride, leadership, determination and the will to win to a club that needed it.
A lot of credit must go to general manager Tim Purpura, who did not panic when the team went 15-30 and were pronounced dead by one paper. Even the deal that he wasn’t able to make (a trade for Ken Griffey, jr.) turned out to be best for the team, because weeks later Griffey went on his annual DL list.
Hey NFL, we don’t need another Super Bowl in Houston, we have something better—the World Series.