As February advances and the Houston Astros look to defend their World Series championship, fans of the Bayou City have a lot to be excited about. After dominating the league last season, the Astros are returning most of their roster and have added some new weapons to their arsenal. However, as the team looks forward to being referred to as “defending World Series Champions”, there is still a cloud of trepidation in the air.
Houston sports fans have good reason to be wary of their championships. The city’s list of titles is short compared to their peers, and many of them have been diminished in some way or another. The Houston Comets 4-peat from 1997-2000 quickly faded away, and the Dynamo’s two titles in 2006-7 have been overshadowed by the growth of other leagues. The Rockets’ back-to-back titles in the mid-1990s are often seen as a fluke due to Michael Jordan’s absence during the season.
But the Astros’ 2017 and 2022 titles are perhaps the most controversial. The 2017 title was a great story of a young team emerging from the ashes of a rebuild to win a championship for a city devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Unfortunately, it’s now remembered more for the “cheating” and “sign-stealing” allegations than for the victory itself. And the 2022 title is already being overshadowed by the fear that some outside force will diminish its value.
It’s time for Houston fans to put aside their irrational fears and celebrate the Astros’ success. This stretch of greatness – seven of the last eight years in the playoffs, five of the last six AL West titles, six straight ALCS appearances, four AL pennants and two titles – is something to be proud of. If the Astros can snag another World Series in the next couple of seasons, that would just add to the narrative and strengthen the other wins of 2022 and even 2017. It’s time to look forward to the future with optimism and hope that the Astros can continue their success and silence the whispers of doubt.