WELCOME TO 'STRO STORIES, your completely objective daily guide to the greatest team in baseball history bar none. Seriously, this is not the year for measured steps. This is the year when pride turns to obsession, admiration becomes awe. This is the year to be transfixed, bewitched by a team that lives to amaze. This is the Astros’ year, and this is the place to celebrate them.
You do not come to ’Stro Stories asking who is more deserving of MVP honors, Jose Altuve or Aaron Judge, because you know that the only thing fading faster than the Yankee slugger is your Altuve jersey, and that even as you suck in the beer gut and straitjacket that jersey over a lumbering, six-foot-something frame, Altuve remains the bigger man. You’re willing to bet that even Aaron Judge knows that.
’Stro Stories is the place to marvel at the electrifying catches and steals, to wonder how one team can possibly contain so many seasons-of-their-lives players, to revel in the accomplishments of the MLB’s 17th-highest-paid roster, with salaries just a shade over half what the boys in La La Land get. It’s a community of people who wouldn’t dream of turning off the game when the ’Stros are down five runs in the ninth, because we did that once and missed a heart-stopping comeback. It’s a full-force field of dreamers, of Astronuts for whom orange is the new crack. It’s that woman who somehow ends up with nachos on her blouse every time Springer or Gonzalez come to bat, the cig-smoking retiree still scoring the game by hand, the Correa-crazed girls and the kids in the Yuli wigs.
Some of you are lifers, long-suffering wildcatters who, after endless seasons of dry-hole drilling, have finally hit pay dirt, the Spindletop summer of a lifetime. Maybe you can’t watch a strikeout by Keuchel or Fiers or McHugh without wishing Lowell Passe were still here to tell us they “breezed him… one more time,” his voice still crackling through the 950 AM airwaves of transistor radios. You’ve been beaned, beaten and bruised by indignities past—the National League cellar, Dome foam, rainbow-era uniforms, Enron Field and the White Sox wallop—but not broken. Never broken.
Old-timers, ‘Stro Stories is for you.
But ’Stro Stories is also for the latecomer and neophyte. Other towns might discriminate and shun, brand you “bandwagon” this and “fair-weather” that, but not ours. This is a city, remember, where natives welcome newcomers as a matter of course, so extending that same courtesy to fandom is just a force of habit. Ignorant of the infield fly rule? Don’t know a walk-off from a run-down? No matter. ’Stro Stories is for you.
But enough about you. What will ’Stro Stories be? A surgical look at every remaining day of this historic season, however long it lasts, by which we mean late October or early November. Game analyses smart, insightful, yet unabashedly biased. Coverage of the whole Orange show, both on and off the field—diehard dispatches from sports bars and pointed observations from Astros acolytes near and far. (Love the ’Stros? Tell us or tweet us @strostories. Know what a real fan wears? Show us. Planning a viewing party? Invite us. Uncertain if this team can go all the way? Take it somewhere else.)
And no, we’re not completely unhinged. We’ve lived the ignominy of Houston sports teams past. We know that before this historic season ends, there’ll be lots of hair-raising twists and turns, plenty of nail-biting moments and umpire rage and controversies to endure. But endure them we shall, if only because the greatest team in baseball deserves the greatest fans in baseball, who in turn deserve a great big tent they can all meet under. That’s what ’Stro Stories hopes to be, finally, a destination of pride and pilgrimage, a place for a city on the brink of greatness to revel in the special excitement that only a ball club on the brink of greatness can inspire.