We all expect great things from the Astros in 2017.
Ever since one particular Sports Illustrated cover from a few years ago saw the light of day, all eyes have been on the Astros for the 2017 season. Looking back, that was just wishful thinking. There isn’t a soul that possesses a crystal ball.
Flash forward a few years and that SI prediction seems spot on. The Astros are now one of the top teams in baseball today. Thanks to the dramatic rebuild, this organization is set up for multiple years of contention. A World Series championship in 2017 actually seems like a realistic goal.
But should we count anything less than a World Series title a failure?
There are a handful of fanbases that carry that opinion. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are two franchises that jump to mind. You can probably pencil in the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals. Heck, even the Chicago Cubs are built to last.
From the perspective of an Astros fan, I’m not sure that we should count anything less than a championship as a failure. Sure, I may be jaded as this franchise has disappointed me more times than I care to count. If the Astros had a long history of success then yes I would probably view anything less than a title every year a failure. I may be giving the franchise too long of a leash.
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However, we have to put each season into context. For example, the 2015 season. To be honest, I remember thinking that the Astros were a .500 ball club. A young roster full of promising, yet untested players. There is no telling how they would react to more success. But they proved me wrong as they advanced to their first postseason since 2005. They didn’t win a title, though. But I wouldn’t judge that Season as a failure by any extent.
The 2016 season, on the other hand, is a bit harder to categorize.
The apparent reason was the failure to make the postseason in consecutive years. Then you had the massive letdowns against the Texas Rangers. You also had well-documented injury issues, specifically with the pitching staff. Ironically, this team only finished two games worse than their 2015 brethren. Back-to-back winning seasons for a young roster is something to be remembered fondly. However, the promise of postseason glory was not fulfilled. And you are probably right to view the season as a whole a failure.
There is no telling at this point on how the 2017 season will transpire. Maybe we will see the Astros finally hoist that World Series trophy at Minute Maid Park. Or we could be saying goodbye to the team in early October. At this point for the Astros though the line between success or failure is razor thin. Only time and circumstances will dictate how we remember their story.