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Friday, September 24, 2004

Astros: Shame on Me 

With two lackluster efforts behind them and a series sweep seemingly imminent, I turned off the TV in disgust last night. San Fran led the Astros, 3-0, and Houston didn't look like they even wanted to play.

This morning my co-worker, Fred, a big Dodgers fan that told me a few days ago he was certain that SF would overtake LA by the end of the week, made a beeline for my cube as soon as I walked in. I expected him to boast about his presience.

Fred: So what happened in that Astros game last night?
Drew: They couldn't hit the ball is one thing.
Fred: No, what about the ninth inning?
Drew: What about it? I stopped watching after the sixth.
Fred: ESPN said they won, 7-3.
I checked Astros Daily and sure enough, they came back with a five-run ninth. Considering that Houston hadn't done squat with the lumber since the first inning of Tuesday night's game, I couldn't bear to watch them check-swing and strike their way right out of the playoff hunt after six innings of brutal baseball.

Yes, I turned the game off. I'm a horrible fan. Maybe they came back just to spite me and every other fan that gave up on them last night. If so, good for them. I'll admit I was wrong. I'm proud to say, however, that I've never really given up on them for good.

Before the game last night I watched my new Star Wars DVD set. I started off with Empire Strikes Back, because it's the ultimate Star Wars movie. At the point when Han Solo maneuvers the Millenium Falcon into an asteroid field with the Imperial armamda in pursuit, C3PO begins to relay the minute chances of surviving such a decision.

"Never tell me the odds," Solo shoots back. I feel that manager Phil Garner would say something similar, and with just as much fiery determination, if you were to tell him that the odds are still stacked against his club. The Cubs hold a two-and-a-half game lead in the Wild Card standings. The Giants remain a half-game back of them.

But Houston didn't quit when they were four games below the break-even point last month. They didn't quit when Pittsburgh took two of three from them two weeks ago. And they didn't quit last night when they trailed 3-0 after six innings last night.

We're down to the final ten days of the season. San Francico's a non-factor, really, because their six games with LA will likely result in the division winner (LA leads by one-and-a-half games) knocking the other team from Wild Card contention.

Houston has nine games, and the Cubs have ten. With NY and Cinci on the schedule, Chicago will probably take five of their next seven. That means that Houston must win five of their next six to have any chance. That would leave them two games back heading into the finale. Sweep the Rockies, hope that Atlanta takes two of three from Chicago, and then go beat the Cubs and punch that playoff ticket.

Don't tell me the odds.


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