They cheated. I’m aware. We’re all aware. From now until the end of time, there will be discussions about the punishment, the investigation, and the overall legacy of the Houston Astros. I understand that there will be people who simply can’t get over the trash can stuff. But the reality is every one of those people roots for a team they secretly wish was as good as the Astros.
Last night, Houston completed one of the most dominant baseball seasons of the 21st century, taking care of the Phillies in Game 6 mainly due to Yordan Alvarez’s electrifying 6th-inning home run. They finished the year with 117 total wins, the 2nd most by a baseball team in the 21st century (the 2018 Red Sox won 119). They had 5 All-Stars, a future Cy Young winner in Justin Verlander, and a bullpen that put up a 0.83 ERA in 54.1 postseason innings. Yes, you read that right.
There were no trash cans or buzzers. There was no scandal. Even the most cynical, bitter fan in the world must come to terms with the truth. The Houston Astros are better than your team. They’re better than every team, and they’re not going anywhere. This isn’t some aging core that will disperse at the end of the season. They will likely be the favorites to win the American League, if not the World Series, next season. Their number one goal will be to re-sign Justin Verlander, but even if they don’t, they’ll probably find another flamethrower in their system capable of putting up a sub-3 ERA. It’s just what they do.
I always went back and forth towards my feelings with the sign stealing stuff. I acknowledge that it was a shameful thing to do. Still, the way that so many people acted like the sole reason the Astros were ever successful was because of the trash can banging was always a ridiculous notion. The saddest part of that scandal was how unnecessary it was. The Astros could’ve won it all in 2017 regardless, and their unprecedented success since that scandal came to light has proved that. But the further this goes, the more I feel like the legacy of the Astros won’t be defined by their mistakes but how they responded to them. They just completed one of the great revenge tours in sports history. They kept their heads down and put to sleep every team that so desperately wished was as good as they are.
With this championship, The Houston Astros have solidified themselves as the Golden State Warriors of baseball. They’re the well-oiled machine that every organization wishes they could be. Over the last three years, this team lost George Springer, Gerrit Cole, Carlos Correa, and Zack Grienke. They somehow got better. And they didn’t just win the World Series; they dominated this postseason, going 11-2 and sweeping the first two postseason rounds. That can’t be overlooked because all we ever talk about is how random the postseason is, and if you simply get in, you can win if you get hot. While that may be true, it makes what Houston has done that much more impressive.
If winning in the postseason is so damn difficult, how come the Astros do it with relative ease every single year while great organizations like the Dodgers and the Yankees consistently find themselves struggling to make it to the World Series? It’s because they’re built different, not just from a roster standpoint, but from an organizational perspective. A million fingers have been pointed at the Astros, and they’ve consistently pointed one back in the form of a giant middle finger. You can despise everything they stand for, but deep down, every baseball fan wishes they had what they have. You can try to run from it, but they’ll just keep winning and we'll keep selling their championship merch.