Astros in 2013: What’s the diagnosis?


Recently I’ve been asking myself… Why do I continue following the Astros so closely? What is it that keeps me so enamored with a franchise that continues to pile up losses at a record pace? What is the allure of a team with an owner who erects billboards in the outfield and insists on operating with the lowest player payroll in the league?

Is there something wrong with me? These are all serious questions and have led me to seek professional help.

Upon arriving at my physician’s office, I signed in and took a seat in his cozy waiting room. I couldn’t help but wonder what sort of germs and contagions might be hovering about.

I quickly became even more distraught when, after leafing through several slightly tattered periodicals, I couldn’t find a single article dedicated to the Astros. Luckily the wait was brief and I was quickly summoned by a woman wearing Bugs Bunny patterned scrubs.

After weighing-in and being led down a hallway to a smaller and more sterile room, I sat and waited some more. No magazines this time, just a sink surrounded by medical supplies, a chair, a bio-hazard container, and a


table with a fake pillow and a roll of butcher’s paper pulled across the top. What fun!

With the limited number of distractions at my disposal I began dissecting the Astros’ roster in my mind. Visions of a near .500 season started bouncing around in my head. What if Matt Dominguez continues to improve? Maybe Philip Humber can pitch another perfect game. J.D. Martinez might be a great DH. Carlos Pena could have a big year… right?

My dream was interrupted by the sound of a creaky door as the doctor walked in. After a quick exchange of pleasantries I began describing my symptoms. After a few nods of his head the doctor interjected, “I’m going to test you for Astros fever.”

Although this particular malady had run rampant in the late 1990s and into the early 21st century, few cases had been seen since scientists mixed precisely measured portions of Drayton McLane and Brad Mills to create a vaccine. Still, he thought it would be a good place to start.

After looking down my throat, checking my blood pressure, listening to my heart and lungs, he asked me a few Astros specific questions. The questions were surprisingly detailed. This guy had a good working knowledge of the team.

photo by Greg Thurston

My response of “I’d take a bullet for Jeff Luhnow” brought a look of affirmation to his face.

“Just as I thought” he said. “A clear-cut case of Luhnow-cy.”

“Luhnow-cy?” I asked. What’s that?”

“You sir, are a Luhnowtic” he explained. “An individual who is hopelessly devoted to supporting every single move made by Astros General Manager Jeff Luhnow.”

“What do we do about it?” I asked.

“There’s nothing we can do” he said. “There’s no known treatment. In fact, the best thing you can do is embrace it. You’re not dying, but you are part of a dying breed. Those fair-weather fans that abandoned the team once the going got tough – they’re the ones that are sick.”

I felt relieved.

“It’s not a bad thing and there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Just try to stay positive.” He continued. “We’re probably in for another rough year, but there’s light at the end of the tunnel. And you’re not alone. That’s right. I’m a Luhnowtic too.”