The Houston Astros are back in the World Series! Our heroes, right? They eliminated the eternally-hated New York Yankees from contention on both of their runs to the Fall Classic to the joy of an overwhelming majority of MLB fans out there.
But are the Astros really a team we want to root for?
They seem cool on the surface. Jose Altuve is great. George Springer is a blast. Alex Bregman is a rising star who's very much good for the game in more ways than one.
But as we focus on the Yankees for being the worst because they have a history of winning and spending their money to give their fans a high-quality product, we manage to forget how sleazy the Astros have been over the years.
Let's start with how this all happened.
The Astros Are Here Because They Tanked
Right in stride with the Philadelphia 76ers and GM Sam Hinkie, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow "trusted the process" as well and orchestrated one of the biggest tank jobs in sports history -- which was shamelessly signed off by owner Jim Crane. Luhnow arrived a year after the team went 56-106 (which got them Carlos Correa with the No. 1 pick) and then proceeded to lose 218 games over the next two years, netting Houston two more No. 1 picks. While those selections -- Brady Aiken (who didn't sign) and Mark Appel -- didn't pan out, Crane managed to save a ton of money over that span (they had the MLB's lowest payroll by far) and the Astros used other assets to acquire Justin Verlander and Alex Bregman and then subsequently spend properly to extend home-grown talent (Jose Altuve, Bregman), extend others (Verlander) and acquire free agents (Michael Brantley). Bregman, by the way, was acquired with the No. 2 pick the following year after the Astros failed to sign Aiken.
The Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole Trades Were a Result of MLB's Terrible Oversight
No explanation is needed here beyond the actual trade details.
Astros Get: Justin Verlander
Tigers Get: Prospects Franklin Perez, Daz Cameron, Jake Rogers
The MLB has since banned August Waiver trades likely as a result of this move.
Astros Get: Gerrit Cole
Pirates Get: Joe Musgrove, Michael Feliz, Colin Moran and Jason Martin
I'd love for anyone to tell me who THREE of those players the Astros traded are. How the MLB allowed this to happen is reprehensible.
AJ Hinch Allegedly Got Into a Bar Fight During the 2017 World Series
Again, another denial from Hinch and the organization, but it was reported the Astros manager "snapped" on trash-talking Dodgers fans after he had a few drinks and the cops were called to defuse the situation. We'll never truly know what happened, but how often do you hear of managers being involved in something like this?
Yuli Gurriel Was Caught on Camera Making Racist Gesture at Yu Darvish's Expense
Of course, his suspension came during the following regular season, but it was as clear as day. And Yuli's apology was even better.
Just some good guys playing the game of baseball.
Astros Bought Low on Roberto Osuna Amid His Domestic Violence Ban
The former Toronto Blue Jays closer was suspended for 75 games and did not appeal after he was arrested on domestic violence charges. Class act, I suppose. All in all, they got themselves an All-Star closer for a floundering Ken Giles, David Paulino and Hector Perez. Again, tell me more about the latter two and I'll eat my hand.
Astros Ban Reporter From Clubhouse Because Justin Verlander Didn't Like Him
That's literally it.
This, by the way, violates the CBA. But again, who cares, right?
Astros Assistant GM Taunts Female Reporters Over Trading for Osuna
We're sure you heard about this by now!
Sports Illustrated first reported (and it was later confirmed by the Houston Chronicle) that Astros assistant GM yelled "Thank God we got Osuna! I'm so f***ing glad we got Osuna" SIX TIMES at THREE female reporters. By the way, he was yelling this after Osuna blew Game 6 in the ninth inning and nearly cost the Astros before Altuve's walk-off home run.
What's happened since? You guessed it! The Astros came out and said SI fabricated the story AFTER the reporter reached out to the organization for a comment and it refused to respond.