It’s been another really disappointing baseball season in Texas. The Houston Astros did ever so slightly better this year, managing to not finish in dead last place for the fourth straight year. Instead, the Texas Rangers ended up as the league’s cellar dweller.
But the Astros are still pretty pathetic, finishing tied for the fourth worst record.
Being dead last for the last three years has meant that the Astros have gotten the top draft pick for three years in a row, but so far that hasn’t made much difference. They used their three consecutive picks for Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa, and pitchers Mark Appel and Brady Aiken. Correa and Appel have both been plagued by injuries while in the minor leagues and have yet to make a significant impact in the majores. Appel didn’t even sign with the team.
The big problem, I think, is the Astros’ horrific ownership which has tried to get by with the smallest payroll in Major League Baseball. And as the old adage goes... you get what you pay for. The Astros’ team payroll this year was $44.5 million, which ranked them dead last in MLB. To understand how ridiculous this is, consider that the third lowest paid team - the Tampa Bay Devil Rays - has a payroll nearly twice that of the Astros. Two-thirds of the team makes abouth the league minimum.
As long as the team is being run by Ebeneezer Scrooge, I don’t hold out much hope that we will see them get much better.
Houston, you have a problem.
So now we are down to four teams in the MLB Playoffs. On the National League side it is the same old, same old - Giants vs. Cardinals. Those two teams have dominated the NL this entire decade. The Giants won in 2010, the Cardinals in 2011, the Giants in 2012 and the Cardinals in 2013. So I guess it is the Giants’ turn again. Yawn.
But the American League Playoffs are a bit more interesting with two teams that haven’t made it this far in the postseason since the mid-1980s. The Kansas City Royals’ last World Series appearance came in 1985 and the Baltimore Orioles last went in 1983.
So I will probably be pulling for the AL team this year on principal. But it will be hard to keep up with the series since Texas has pretty much lost interest in baseball and turned its full focus to football. The local paper devotes just one page to baseball amongst all the high school, college and professional pigskin coverage.