Monday 24 September 2012

Totally Astrotious

It has been a rough four years for the Houston baseball fan. Four losing years, and then the announcement that the team would be changing leagues, which will remove all of the team's traditional rivals from its schedule. That can't help to sell tickets, can it?

I was hanging around at NotGraphs the other day and the Astros were the subject of a recent post.  If you are a baseball fan, and haven't hung out at NotGraphs, you are definitely missing out. If you are in the mood for a little baseball related bric-a-brac, it is a one stop shop. It's also a free shop, where you can take home the memory of a .gif or unedited tweet, or even enjoy a little Dick Allen in great works of literature, for no initiation or membership fees.

The Astro's post in question was this one. And someone in the comments thought it might be helpful, perhaps even enlightening, to find all the other instances of the Astro's that were .gif-able, and to put them in one spot. I don't thing this was suggested with the Houston Astros fanbase in mind, because I would have to believe that putting all of the Astro's moments together like this, is a form of torture any real fan. Especially one who is watching and hoping that they suddenly turn it around. If you are one of those fans, this is your chance to avoid the train wreck. The rest of you can join me after the jump.

Now, if you are not a fan of the Houston Astros, per se, I can see the absolute value of having all of these .gif-able events in one place. I would call them 'plays' but they really don't resemble anything you see a team of professional players usually do when playing baseball. Part of me thinks of them as a sort of performance art, a way of breaking baseball convention in order to open up the viewers mind and soul. Another part of me thinks that somebody on the team works for the "Punk'd" tv show, or is delusional, and thinks that they do. I have not seen anyone on the field take off a wig and point to the camera bay and laugh about how the other guy had such a 'crazy look on his face', but hey, the season isn't over yet. Anything could happen. Stuff just like what follows.

The first gif comes to us fron SB Nation and one of their 'This Week in GIFs' features.
Yeah, just a little sprint down to first base. This effort is notable, because as we proceed, we'll see it usually takes more than one Houston player to make stuff happen. It takes special skill to turn a routine groundout into something with this much interest. And, again, absolutely nobody interferes with this guy at all. He made it beautiful on his own.

The second play was enough to result in an appearance at SB Nation, and a post at NotGraphs. NotGraphs even has another angle of the play. This is unprecedented in .GIF land.

R.A. Dickey manages to do the very best thing he can when batting against the Astros. He puts the ball where two fielders have a good chance of making a play on it. The result is, predictably, that neither fielder gives up on that possibility, and no play is made. This might have something to do with the fact that both men are thinking the same thing. It's something like "That guy plays for the Astros, if I let him get it, he's not going to know how to make the play properly!" And then Irony steps in, and laughs her little laugh, and .GIFs are made. As an aside, I have to deduct points from the first baseman, as he catches what should be an errant throw, and denies us any further entertainment.

Of course, the Astros have more for us. This one comes to us from a post at and is nothing short of an epic written to the muse of failure.

The video and associated comments are also available via the good folks at NotGraphs. and, over at twinkie Town, I found a description of exactly who did what to whom here.

This whole thing is caused by the exact same factors as the last disaster. Two players can get to the ball and make a play. Neither one trusts the other to do so. Cue either the sound of bowling pins going down, or the Benny Hill yakkety sax music. This time, the first baseman does it just like in rehearsal, and doesn't make the catch. That really opens up the final opportunity for the right fielder, and the throw is exactly how far offline you would expect it to be, if you were reading a post about Houston's defensive miscues. Bravo, gentlemen. The highlight for me, personally, is when the the third baseman shows us how he would look if he were going to take a bullet intended for an important public official.

I used that as my twitter avatar for a couple of weeks. I'm sure it confused a few people looking at my profile.

The last one I have in the collection is from the post that inspired me to put this gallery together.
 Now, this .gif only adds layers to what is already a tasty cake of fielding blunders, but I'm trying to be as inclusive as I can here. Two things to note, firstly, the throw from the left fielder was perfect, which obviously confused the cut-off man. Second, by spiking the ball like this, you remove the possibility of another player making a miraculous catch to save the play. If you chase after you own throw, who knows what you can manage when you pick it up the second time, right?

If you are aware of more instances of the 2012 Houston Astros cementing their place in fielding error history, please let me know, and I'll try to add it in. We aim to please. And don't feel too bad about embarassing the Astros, it turns out, nobody's been watching them anyway.

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