The Houston Astros have just won back-to-back division titles for the first time in almost 20 years. They’re wrapping up back-to-back 100+ win seasons for the first time in franchise history. They’re on pace to allow the fewest runs in a season since the existence of the DH. Their stingy pitching combined with a potent offense has them headed for one of the best run differentials of all-time. Oh yeah, and they’re the defending World Series Champions.
If you’re not excited about the Astros yet, please take a moment to check your pulse. This is the Golden Age of Astros baseball, and you should enjoy every moment of it. I’ve seen detractors on social media say “Act like you’ve been there”. Don’t listen to them, because we’ve never been “there”.
We’ve never had a team this consistently good. We’ve never won the World Series. We’ve never had players from our team hit back-to-back home runs in extra innings of the Mid-Summer Classic, with one of them winning the All-Star Game MVP award (don’t feel bad for the other guy, he was the World Series MVP).
We got to watch the Astros first league MVP award winner (Bagwell) be inducted into the Hall of Fame just a few months before the Astros had a second player win the league MVP award. I’ll say it again. WE HAVE NEVER BEEN HERE BEFORE.
For months after the Astros won the World Series, I posted celebratory reminders on social media. I was stoked. I had waited my whole life for this, stuck with the team through the worst seasons, gone to games where the visiting team’s fans easily outnumbered Astros fans, and watched as they lost gut-wrenching playoff games. Yet, some people began to think I had gone on long enough and should calm down. A friend of mine who is a Cardinals fan observed other Astros fans behaving in the same way. “I guess I forgot that the Astros had never won a World Series before,” he said to me one day. I shouted with joy, “Exactly! That’s why we’re acting so crazy!!”
While other teams have had long World Series droughts, 23 of the current 30 MLB teams have won a World Series title at some point in their history. Prior to 2017, Astros fans had some great moments that we could look back on, but nothing that compared to winning it all. I’ll never forget the moment that I heard Robert Ford exclaim, “For the first time EVER, the Astros are baseball’s best!”
Still though, the World Series title is only one reason (albeit the biggest one) why we’re in the Golden Age of Astros baseball. The franchise has never had a better stretch of success and excitement than we’ve seen from 2015 to the present.
|Only one 100+ win season (1998)||Two 100+ win seasons (2017, 2018)|
|One Rookie of the Year (Bagwell, 1991)||One Rookie of the Year (Correa, 2015)|
|One League MVP (Bagwell, 1994)||One League MVP (Altuve, 2017)|
|Most wins in any 4-year stretch was 365 (1996-1999)||370 wins and counting (2015-2018)|
|2 All-Star Game home runs (Cedeno- 1976, Biggio- 1995)||2 All-Star Game home runs (Bregman- 2018, Springer- 2018)|
|0 players inducted into Hall of Fame||2 players inducted into Hall of Fame (Biggio- 2015, Bagwell- 2017)|
|One World Series appearance (Lost 0-4 to White Sox, 2005)||One World Series appearance (Won 4-3 against Dodgers, 2017)|
To top it all off, the Astros didn’t win just any World Series in 2017. The team from Houston with no World Series titles and only a couple plaques in Cooperstown took down three of the most historic franchises in baseball on their way to the title. Remember also that the Dodgers, Yankees, and Red Sox had the highest payrolls in 2017. Finally, the series itself was one of the most thrilling, epic World Series ever. Don’t take my word for it though, FiveThirtyEight proves the point here and Fangraphs broke down the excitement of Game 2 and Game 5.
It doesn’t stop in 2017 either. The Astros are the first defending World Champs to win 100 games since Oakland won 103 in 1990, and they’ve done it all while dealing with injuries to key players like Altuve, Springer, and Correa. The AL record for fewest runs allowed in a season in the DH era is 551, and the Astros have only allowed 521 with just 5 games remaining.
The Houston Astros have taken their 2018 motto of Never Settle to heart. They’re hungry to break more records, make more history, and become the first team in 18 years to win back-to-back World Series titles.
So here is my advice to you, fellow fans: Enjoy the ride. Enjoy the regular season games, the playoff games, the dugout stares, the walk-offs, the champagne celebrations in the clubhouse where speedos and oversized goggles are encouraged. Enjoy them, celebrate them, and savor them. You’ve earned it.