Houston Astros: Ten Long Years Drought from the Playoffs is Over

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The Start of Something Beautiful

Oct 3, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) waits in the hole during the fifth inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Astros player Jose Altuve was a sophomore in high school; Carlos Correa was 11 years old. Both probably dreamed of what could happen, but back then it was only the dreams of schoolboys. It was 2005, and the Houston Astros made it all the way to the World Series – at the time, the only Texas MLB team ever to make the Fall Classic.

Then the bottom dropped out, and the Astros embarked on a decade of futility that nearly killed the spirit of baseball in Houston. Astros fans sunk to the depths of despair that happens to perennially losing teams – teams that suffered three years of 100+ loss seasons. Years when it seemed doubtful that baseball in Houston would even survive, let alone ever be successful again.

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That all changed in 2015. Altuve and Correa had become grown men with fantastic abilities to hit baseballs, run bases, catch baseballs with leaping grabs, and make nearly impossible throws to nail base, runners. They were joined by a tall young man from Oklahoma, named Dallas, who found a home in Houston. This man with the long beard had pitched with the promise of becoming an ace, into the hearts and minds of baseball fans in this win-starved city. Another teammate was a huge, bearded man who developed the ability to defy the odds and do something usually reserved for the fleet of foot. Evan Gattis, decidedly not fast, with the nickname ‘El Oso Blanco’ (‘The White Bear’), began to hit triples, an unlikely thing for such a big man.

What was unfolding before astonished eyes was becoming one of the most exciting seasons baseball fans in Houston had ever seen. They watched a team that was expected to finish last in the AL West, win more often than they lost. It was a team with promise, but in reality, little chance of competing for anything except a slot at or near the bottom of the standings.

In June, 20-year-old Correa, who began the year in Double-A, and spent a brief stint in Triple-A, made the monumental leap to the Major Leagues. Fans already knew of the promise of this young man; they knew there was a chance that Houston had a bona fide star of the future, ready to make his mark. It seemed unlikely that this man who was not old enough to legally buy beer could actually help the team so soon, but it quickly became clear that Correa was no ordinary promising player. It soon became obvious that he possessed rare abilities for one so young; talents that allowed him to do spectacular things on a big league field.

Next: Mid-Season