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Things are pretty friggin’ bleak in Houston

Jul 27, 2012, 1:01 PM EDT

200px-Houston_Astros_Logo

The Astros’ biggest fault in the past few years was delaying a necessary rebuild. They put hopes on the Biggio/Bagwell core for too long past its sell date, and then stumbled for a few more years thinking that the likes of Carlos Lee was someone around whom you built a team. In light of that, you knew eventually that things were going to crash hard and a total to-the-foundation tear-down was gonna happen and it was gonna be ugly.

Well, it’s happening. The Astros have lost 23 of 25 games and they’ve been outscored by 75 runs in that time. It’s Astrospocalypse.  And, not surprisingly, that total disaster has carried over to the box office and TV ratings too:

Home attendance, as measured by tickets sold, is averaging less than 20,000 for the last 11 home games since mid-June. At this rate, season attendance will be the worst ever at Minute Maid and the team’s lowest total since the post-strike season of 1995 … Through Tuesday, Astros games on Fox Sports Net Houston had an average Nielsen rating of 1.2 percent (about 26,000 of the market’s 2.1 million TV households), down 25 percent from 2011 and down 71 percent from the 4.1 rating during the World Series run in 2005.

It’ll get better. It has to. But in the meantime, ugly city.

  1. cur68 - Jul 27, 2012 at 1:04 PM

    Um…someone check on Stex, ‘kay? I fear he may be taking all of this badly.

    • stex52 - Jul 27, 2012 at 8:24 PM

      Thanks for checking, Cur. What makes this all really terrible is that management knew in 2008 that rebuilding was necessary. In comes Ed Wade. Fast forward to 2012, nada. Four years essentially wasted. I also agree with a note below. I see a lot of prospects, but no sure things. Right now I see them getting to average. Really good is a long way off.

      And 20,000 in the seats? I don’t think so!

      • delchef9 - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:25 PM

        It said 20,000 tickets sold not ppl. actually showing up!! Your Season ticket faithful must be bailling on ya!

  2. darthicarus - Jul 27, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Having had season tickets for the 2003 Detroit Tigers season I feel no sympathy to the Astros right now.

    • kkolchak - Jul 27, 2012 at 2:24 PM

      Gotcha beat. I was a season ticket holder for the 2008 & 2009 Nats.

      • natstowngreg - Jul 27, 2012 at 3:47 PM

        So was I. As such, I have much sympathy for Astros’ fans. It’s gonna be dark for quite a while before the light returns.

        26K TV viewers? Back in 2008 or 2009, I saw an estimate that the Nats had 9K viewers. Even if you factor in Washington’s smaller market, that was pretty pathetic.

      • natslady - Jul 27, 2012 at 4:54 PM

        Wasn’t a season ticket holder but I went to a many, many games both those seasons (and brought guests), on the theory it was marginally better entertainment than buying lottery tickets.

        Even the new stadium didn’t bring much of a bump in attendance, which shows you (and the Fish) that the product on the field is what brings most fans to the games–as it should be.

        I’m not saying it’s easy to put together a team. You have to have, at the very least–

        (1) Good wealthy owners. Ours were wealthy but at the beginning they were interfering and managing like the team was a shopping mall; turned a lot of people off. The “Natinals” were the laughing-stock of the city–and the country.
        (2) A smart GM (we finally got one);
        (3) Luck and good management of the luck. Yes, it was a no-brainer to pick Stras and Harper. It wasn’t a no-brainer to make sure they fulfill their potential.
        (4) Patience, patience, patience.

      • delchef9 - Jul 27, 2012 at 10:34 PM

        Hey now!!!! Me and my friends, family and co-workers not to mention what ever neighbors we could get together here in Philly did our best to fill that National stadium for you guys everytime the Phillies came to town!

      • chill1184 - Jul 28, 2012 at 12:01 PM

        I have both of you beat, I was a Mets season ticket holder for 2007-2010. In addition the Tigers and Nationals aren’t beaten up by the media like the Mets are.

  3. Stiller43 - Jul 27, 2012 at 1:22 PM

    I think it should be “astrocalypse,” but yeah go buccos

  4. redguy12588 - Jul 27, 2012 at 1:24 PM

    You wanna see ugly, please see 2010 Pirates.

    • southofheaven81 - Jul 27, 2012 at 3:16 PM

      Exactly, and look where they are now. It’ll improve.

  5. Ben - Jul 27, 2012 at 1:32 PM

    Well luckily they probably can’t keep losing 92% of their games, so they’ll still end the year better than the 2003 Tigers…right guys?

  6. icanspeel - Jul 27, 2012 at 1:40 PM

    So with Lee and most of the other bigger contracts pretty much gone, does that mean they may spend some in the off season or are they solely relying on rebuilding within? This year is lost, but maybe they can do something to give the fans hope sooner than later.

  7. brianratm - Jul 27, 2012 at 1:42 PM

    Thanks to Ed Wade working for the Phillies while the Astros GM

  8. turdfurgerson68 - Jul 27, 2012 at 1:59 PM

    Since the Astros season is already a disaster, why not start the rebuild early?

    How about a trade: Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett for Brad Mills? Both players are from Texas (hell, Carl’s from Houston!) and Mills can return to the bench in Boston. Seems reasonable, yes?

    • rollinghighwayblues - Jul 27, 2012 at 2:36 PM

      After see Mills’ in-game managing, I will pass on him coming to a Red Sox team that looks absolutely terrible in every aspect.

      But, I would be willing to give you Crawford as, I don’t know, a gift? I cannot stand to watch his at-bats. He looks absolutely lost up there at the plate as if he’s just now dipping his toes into Major League pitching. I know, he missed the first half of the season, but this is exactly as he looked most of last year.

  9. danielcp0303 - Jul 27, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    I live about an hour and a half away from Houston, and I use to go to 5-10 games a year. These last 4 years or so, it’s gone from 2 or 3 to none. I haven’t been in two seasons. I use to watch at least a little bit of almost every game, now I try to catch them once a week or so. The franchise has been run into the ground, it’s gonna take a while to get it back up. Who knows how long it’ll take before we see them reach .500 again, maybe 5 or 6 years? It’s brutal

  10. sincitybonobo - Jul 27, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    At least they’re not saddled with bad contracts- Jed Lowrie is now their highest paid player. That said, this team is about to get thrown into the AL West next year and it could be even uglier. They do have $ to spend this offseason, but they have so many holes that one or two players alone won’t get them back to respectability. Plus, unless they overpay, free agents won’t be lining up to sign with a team that is coming off such a horrible season. Even if their prospects develop- Singleton is probably their best hope- it is likely to be a long few seasons in Houston.

    • natslady - Jul 27, 2012 at 4:58 PM

      You put your finger on why we had to over pay for Jayson Werth. But he changed the whole clubhouse, got rid of that cancer, Nyjer Morgan, and turned it around to a winning attitude. If the talent on a team is full of egos and backbiting, find a guy who will kick some butt–either the manager or a veteran whose been there.

  11. okwhitefalcon - Jul 27, 2012 at 4:08 PM

    I think they do have a plan which is all well and good although I’m not sure if the plan they’re executing is going to have much positive impact at all moving forward.

    Dumping the vets was a move in the right direction but the high $ kick ins and mid to low to extremely low level suspects they basically paid for isn’t much to get excited about.

    On the bright side they did sign recent Cardinal DFA victim Chuckie Fick, that’s right – Chuckie Fick.

    • stex52 - Jul 27, 2012 at 8:30 PM

      Luhnow gives the impression of being better than Wade at this. Only one way to find out, though. The roots of this really started about 2000, back when Hunsicker was trading prospects to be a deadline renter year after year. Then the scouting quality went south as they tried to save money to pay for free agents. That really got the boulder rolling downhill.

      • okwhitefalcon - Jul 27, 2012 at 9:15 PM

        Luhnow’s an interesting guy, he missed horribly in the high rounds of a majority of the drafts he was in charge of before his demotion in STL but did wonders for them with their international scouting.

        One thing for sure, they are committed to this model and have direction – what do they have to lose at this point?

  12. sloiggles - Jul 27, 2012 at 8:28 PM

    Did Rachel Phelps recently acquire the team?

  13. jontwinkies - Jul 28, 2012 at 2:18 AM

    I live in Houston and have gone to a few games. 5 bucks gets u a cheap seat with no one around you. Looking forward to the move to the AL so they play the twins… Although the savings on tickets will go directly to beer… Will be some terrible games…

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