Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
As baseball fans across the United States get ready to finally witness the 2020 Major League Baseball season, one of the questions on the minds of some people is that who will ultimately win the 2020 World Series. As a baseball fan since 1991, I attempt to analyze why it is important for the Houston Astros to win the 2020 World Series and it is not just because they lost last year’s fall classic in rather heartbreaking fashion, but there are other reasons that fans may overlook. Here are 8 reasons why winning the World Series in 2020 is so important for the Houston Astros:
The First Four Reasons
- The Houston Astros lost a series that they should have won in 2019. This team was so potent offensively and they had three of the best starting pitchers in the entire Major Leagues. The Astros lost to the Washington Nationals, a team that got on a hot streak at the right time and was peaking. Houston won a league best 107 games, even topping the Los Angeles Dodgers who won 106 games, the most ever in their history. The Astros had starting pitchers such as Justin Verlander, Zack Greinke, and of course, Gerrit Cole, who is now arguably the most dominant starting pitcher. Cole had one of the best seasons in 2019 that any starting pitcher could have. He struck out 326 batters, won 20 games and had a respectable 2.50 earned run average. Justin Verlander has also had much success, reaching the World Series twice as a member of the Detroit Tigers in 2006 and 2012 before finally winning a World Series crown in 2017. A team with three quality starting pitchers plus an offense that scored 920 runs should not have lost a series that they were favored to win. That figure is the third most amount of runs scored behind only the Minnesota Twins (939) and the New York Yankees (943). In addition, the Astros were very good at hitting home runs. The Astros had a total of 288 home runs as a team in 2019 trailing only the New York Yankees (306) and the Minnesota Twins (307).
- The Astros basically have to win another championship in order to ease the stain caused by the current cheating scandal. This reason speaks for itself because what a better way for the Astros to restore some sense of legitimacy than to win another title, this time under a new manager.
- Dusty Baker is the Astros new manager and I feel that he has a chance to be a role player in the Astros winning in 2020. Baker won the World Series as a player with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1981. He also took the San Francisco Giants to the 2002 World Series even though they lost to the Angels in a classic seven game series. He would also end up taking the Chicago Cubs to the 2003 National League Championship Series. He has the potential to win his first ever World Series title as a manager in his early 70s. Earl Weaver would be proud of this if he were alive to witness it.
- The Astros have that sort of burden on their shoulders because they have been transformed into an elite baseball franchise and they feel at least on a subconscious level that they have to win it without Gerrit Cole. Cole signed a 9-year $324 million contract with the New York Yankees in the off season and the Astros are well aware of this. The route to the World Series for the Astros more than likely has to go through New York where they will have to beat Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka possibly in a seven game series which is no easy task even for the Astros.
5. The city of Houston and Texas has been devastated by the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic. This next reason has nothing to do with baseball specifically but a World Series title for Houston would give residents of the city something else to cheer about for a while because the city is being hit very hard by the current pandemic. The Houston Chronicle reports that as of the morning of July 6, 2020, a record of 8,181 people were hospitalized because of the disease across the state on Sunday July 5, 2020 which is a 38 percent increase from the past week.
6. The state of Texas has a proud tradition of winning in sports. The Houston Rockets won back to back NBA titles in 1994 and 1995 and even the Dallas Stars has a championship to its credit. A win for the Houston Astros will add to that legacy. And who can forget all the success that the San Antonio Spurs had under the coaching of Gregg Popovich?
7. Texas is the home state of former Major League pitcher Nolan Ryan who would be absolutely ecstatic if Houston were to win it all again. Ryan is himself no stranger to success having set records for strikeouts in a season with 383, strikeouts over a career with 5,714 and he has gotten seven no-hitters, more than any other pitcher.
The Final Reason Why a 2020 World Series Win Is So Important for the Astros
8. Houston does not want to end up like the 1990s Atlanta Braves. Houston has reached the World Series two out of the last three seasons and they have pressure to continue that success. Ending up like the Atlanta Braves teams of the 1990s will classify Houston as a team that underachieved rather than being looked at as a dynasty. Do the Houston Astros want that to happen? I don’t think so. There is too much pressure on them to win but I am confident that with a healthy lineup of players and a solid third starting pitcher, the Astros have as good of a chance to win the 2020 World Series as the Dodgers or the Yankees.
Note: as we update this article, the Houston Astros have just been defeated by the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League Championship Series 4 games to 3 thus putting an end to any chance they might have had to win the 2020 World Series. However, this team put up a valiant effort in spite of losing one of their starting pitchers Justin Verlander to injuries.
© 2020 Ara Vahanian