Hello friends, welcome to the first of a five part series called WRNL Adopt a Team. What is WRNL Adopt a Team? Well it's our chance to act like we care about baseball because our supreme athletic department overlords do not.
Around these parts sports are officially dead until August. Football goes in to the dark after the April 11th spring game, and basketball will be in the furthest recesses of our minds until Hilton Madness happens sometime in October. That's it, that's all Iowa State has. Oh sure, there's golf and softball but we're talking about real sports here. Iowa State is still the only Big XII school without baseball, but we can't deprive you readers the enjoyment of America's Pastime any longer!
Over the next week we will feature five teams from Major League Baseball that deserve the full WRNL treatment this summer. We're talking random previews, random recaps, tongue in cheek analysis, more links in the Dump, this week/month in GIFs, the whole Natty Light filled shebang and then some. Why are we giving these gifts to our readers? Because
we need page views to keep the lights on we care about you more than you know!
Each day we will feature a new team to cheer for, and on Friday we'll conduct a poll that will allow you to vote which team WRNL gives their special brand of treatment to this summer. Some teams on our list will be the lovable losers and others will be the equivalent of a tyrannical empire. Of the five teams we've selected hopefully one will prove likable enough to generate some interest for everyone during the long, hot, Hoiball-less summer we're about to endure.
And now to the first team in our series.
The Team: Houston Astros
The first team we submit is the team whose #1 overall pick failed to sign with the club and just underwent Tommy John Surgery. Sounds perfect as a proxy to represent the Iowa State fan base. Their other storied pick, Jacob Nix, also didn't sign with the club because they were too busy mishandling the situation with Brady Aiken. It's like Greg McDermott moonlights as the general manager of the Astros.
For as deplorable as the Astros are on the surface they were not the worst team in the league last season. They finished six games ahead of the dead last Arizona Diambondbacks and within four games of the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox, and Philadelphia Phillies.
Of course this ignores the 51-111 record they posted in 2013, but we're in a "what have you done for me lately" culture and the Astros have not sucked nearly as bad as other teams for at least the past nine months. Don't worry, we'll probably use this logic for football this fall as well.
Like I said above, we're just adopting a proxy to fill our baseball-less world and we probably won't know nearly enough right away about how an actual team is going to do, so we're going to lean on the expert prognosticators from wherever our Google search takes us to fill in the real analysis.
CBS Sports Preview: Apparently these guys are good at hitting home runs. Having set in the left field seats at Minute Maid Park, that's probably a good thing.
Fox Sports: Three Reasons to Watch the Astros in 2015: Apparently Jose Altuve might be the closest thing to Tony Gwynn Sr that exists.
ESPN: The Astros Will Be the Surprise Team of 2015: Good to know ESPN employs writers to just throw stuff at the wall in their other sports too. As teams who rely on home runs typically do, the Astros strike out too much.
Athlon: Preview and Prediction: Improvement, but too young to do real damage in a strong AL West.
Why the Astros
The Astros are in a situation a lot of Iowa State fans can relate to: young, inexperienced, but put together enough bright moments to give you hope for the future. In the history of Iowa State athletics that's the type of talk that's been bandied around for years.
I lived in Houston during the Worlds Series run in 2005 and it was hard to not get caught up in the fever. Houston is notorious for fickle fans, but when there's success to be found the fans show up in droves. That's the classic case of bandwagoning, but who cares, the city was fun during October 2005.
Why Not the Astros
According to Men's Health, Houston is the fattest city in America. It has a deplorable crime rate, the first fifteen minutes of the nightly news always seem to be about murder, and the only reason Houston can call NASA's Johnson Space Center home is because they jury rigged the city limits to get it in there.
Plus if the roof is closed at Minute Maid (and it usually is, Houston summers are a sticky mess) the place sounds like a tin can.
And in case you misremembered, Roger Clemens used to be their Ace.
A Hint For Tomorrow
This concludes the first of our five "previews" for WRNL Adopt a Team. On Friday we'll create a poll so all of you can vote to see who gets the coverage from your favorite band of hack bloggers.