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All-Star Game Marks Astros Return to Relevance on National Stage

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Astros fans, DO NOT underestimate the importance of tonight’s All-Star Game for your favorite MLB team. The 2015 MLB All-Star Game will mark a return to not only relevance, but prominence in the landscape of Major League Baseball for the Houston Astros, and Astros fans must not take this lightly.

Tonight, when Jose Altuve and Dallas Keuchel take the field together at the bottom of the first inning, it will be something that hasn’t happened a lot in Astros history. Also, Astros manager A.J. Hinch will join Ned Yost‘s staff in the dugout tonight, an honor that not many Astros managers have received over the years.

This Feels Like 2004, Kind Of

This run right now feels, to me at least, a lot of the 2004 Astros team. I was very young at the time (8 years old!), but it was then when I started to become a big fan of the Astros because of the run they were on. That team was coming off a couple of seasons that were below expectations, and the first half of the season was also disappointing. Then, the All-Star Game came to Houston.

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This All-Star Game won’t showcase the City of Houston or the Astros nearly as much, as the 2004 game was the first ever in Minute Maid Park and showcased three Astros starters for the National League team in Lance Berkman, Jeff Kent, and Roger Clemens. But, there will still be a lot of parallels.

First, the Astros will once again have a starting pitcher and starting second baseman out there, and the Astros manager will be on the staff. Hopefully, AJ Hinch has a brighter future ahead of him than Jimy Williams had with the Astros, and you could say the same for a comparison between Altuve and Kent.

Second, the Astros had made a blockbuster trade with the Kansas City Royals for All-Star slugger Carlos Beltran in late June. This Astros team hasn’t made a trade yet, but many reporters around the league think that a big move for another ace is on the horizon. If we make a trade that turns out as well as the Beltran trade did (short-term), you will quickly find me deleting my article on why the Astros shouldn’t make a trade.

Finally, the 2004 All-Star Game was a taste of what the next 15 months would be like for Astros baseball. It was a coming out party for Minute Maid Park, Beltran as an Astro, and the Astros organization. Tonight, Houston fans will be able to hang their heads up high as 2 out of 9 American League starters will wear Astros uniforms and the Astros tremendous first half of 2015 will not be forgotten. Hopefully, this run will be as good, if not better than the run that the Astros had in the second half of 2004 through the end of the 2005 season.

Tonight is Just the Beginning

Even though tonight’s game is in Cincinnati, it will have Houston written all over it. This shouldn’t be a surprise for Astros fans, as it will only be a taste of what is on the way. The future All-Star Games could potentially feature other young Astros like George Springer, Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers, and Mark Appel.

Tonight also won’t be the last time you see Keuchel and Altuve in an American League uniform, as they still have a lot left in the tank. If Astros fans can vote like Royals fans (minus the hacking part), the American League All-Star team could turn into a rendition of the Astros roster in a hurry.

As you can see, I have “drank the kool aid” just a bit. But, with the way this organization is set up right now, it’s really difficult to avoid dreaming big. Enjoy the national stage tonight, Houston Astros fans, because we will see a lot more of it in the future.

Next: Astros Dallas Keuchel Named A.L. Starting Pitcher for ASG

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