As the major league season is starting to wind down and the pennant races heat up there is still an intriguing story going on in the big leagues this summer. The Houston Astros are continuing their drive to lose at least 100 games this year. Houston currently holds a record of 47 and 90 and now they are only ten games shy of hitting the century mark.
After being mathematically eliminated from the playoff race shortly after the All-Star break the Astros set their sights on bigger things. The team philosophy is that it is all downhill from here as manager Brad Mills had this to say. “Some teams stick around until the middle of September hoping to have a chance to still get into the playoffs, but we held a team meeting in early April and decided let’s not waste our time and set realistic goals.” And those goals look to be reached sometime this month. They are on pace to lose 106 games but it’s not about the record to these guys it’s more about pride at this point.
“When I come to bat in the 4th inning of a game we’re losing 8 to nothing already and I look around the stadium and see those 3,692 fans that came to watch me, then I'm going to try to line out or hit into a double play, because I know these fans expect it.” says outfielder Wesley Wright. And the sentiment isn’t only with the team. A lifelong fan of the Astros, Gerry Laughlin says, “My team isn’t a bunch of losers; as I see it we are not 34 games out of first place, we are running away with last place in the NL Central with a 12 game lead over the Cubs.” He added, “Fans won’t remember a Houston team that finishes in 3rd place with an 82-80 record, but they will remember where they were when the Astros finished dead last with 104 losses. It makes me feel like I’m really part of something special going on here.”
Losing fever is spreading all over the Houston area. TV and radio stations are giving away hundreds of tickets a day, lucky fans are finding tickets in their mailboxes and the Astros have been running a special on tickets; buy one get one…hundred free. Even season ticket holders are giving away their tickets to any fan who wants to watch Houston lose games from great seats. Another Houston fan had this to say about promotional nights lately. “I have been attending Astros games long before JR Richard was living under an overpass and I’ve never seen anything like this. Last week I caught 7 foul balls, grabbed 4 bobble heads, and 3 mini bats, and that was just on my way to get a hotdog.”
Even if Houston wins 15 out of their remaining 25 games which would ironically give them a winning record for the month of September, Astro players remain optimistic that they will reach the 100 loss milestone. “I just wish I could be a part of this thrilling ride we are on right now,” said injured relief pitcher Brandon Lyon who can only watch from the dugout as his team flirts with destiny. “If I could, I would be out their every night blowing saves or firing wild pitches, but just to be doing something to contribute to the fun would be great.”