2022 World Series – Astros beat Phillies, become MLB dynasty

HOUSTON — Orange-clad fans screamed under the roof of Minute Maid Park. The train whistled over Crawford’s boxes. Around the field, a small crowd of happy players turned into a mass of celebration.

For the second time in franchise history, the Houston Astros won the World Series. This time, they were able to win it in front of their fawning fans deep in the heart of Texas.

That part was novel, but so much else seemed familiar. For the third time in four seasons, the Major League Baseball season ended in Houston. The Astros have won two titles in a span of six seasons, the first of which was the infamous 2017 championship. In every season between that title and this one, the Astros advanced to at least the ALCS, extending their streak to that round. to an amazing six

Given these simple facts, an obvious question comes to mind: Are we watching baseball’s newest dynasty?

The answer depends on how you define the word, but to arrive at any answer other than yes, you’d have to be an absolutist of the title or nothing. These Houston Astros, the champions of baseball, are a dynasty, and the reason goes beyond simply counting series wins and championship pennants.

In fact, the dictionary definition of a dynasty has less to do with a period of uninterrupted dominance than with the concept of succession—one group ruling over all others, even as specific identities within that group evolve.

In the tight-knit world of 21st-century American sports, the Astros have achieved a version of this — a six-year period of dominance that has included rotating players and key managers, but won five division championships and the annual playoffs. Run.

Since 2017, Houston has averaged 98.4 wins per 162 games. This is a level that few others have reached during the divisional period. Glavin-Maddox-Smoltz of the Atlanta Braves hit 100.8 wins per 162 in their best six-year streak. The Jeter-era New York Yankees peaked at 99.9. Earl Weaver’s Baltimore Orioles hit 98.8, and Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine topped out at 99.1 in the 1970s.

The Astros’ current main challenger for the streak lead is the Los Angeles Dodgers, with 105.8 wins per 162 over the past six seasons. That’s a level only the dead ball era of the Chicago Cubs has reached. But the Astros have two titles over the Dodgers in that span, they beat Los Angeles in their only postseason head-to-head game in 2017, and they have 52 playoff wins to the Dodgers’ 40. Won more playoff games over six seasons.

It all seems very dynastic. However, what really marks the 2022 Houston Astros as a modern dynasty is that this title team bears only a slight resemblance to its title-winning predecessor. Only five of the 2017 champions are still on this year’s roster. The strengths of the team and the style of play on the field have evolved. Key decision makers are different.

And, perhaps, the way history will judge this Astros’ second championship team will be very different.


To ensureA significant portion of baseball fans will never let some of the Astros’ past mistakes be completely forgotten. That was evident during this playoff stretch, as even unknown rookies like designated hitter David Hensley were targeted by irrational mobs during the World Series in Philadelphia. No one really even knew who Hensley was, but he was down there wearing that Houston orange. Bo!

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But take a closer look at the crowd celebrating after the final game on Saturday. The side-by-side photos of that pileup and the photo taken after the final game at Dodger Stadium that ended the 2017 Series will be telling, as few of the young men depicted are in both photos.

In 2017, Jeremy Peña was a 20-year standout for the University of Maine. Little did anyone know he would be a third-round pick the following June. No one expected him to succeed Carlos Correa, one of the most talented two-way players in Astros history, and he has more than proven himself. Among other feats, Pena became the first rookie shortstop to win a Gold Glove, surpassing Correa among others.

The following season, Peña was a pillar of the Astros’ championship run, hammering four homers and flaunting his award-winning defense, all while looking like a veteran during his media appearances.

“I never felt like I had to fill shoes,” Peña said after Game 5.

What’s not to love about Jeremy Peña?

Framber Valdez was not present in 2017 either. At the time, he was climbing the Houston organizational ladder and trying out in Double-A. Now, he’s a Cy Young candidate and a World Series champion.

You may hate the Houston Astros, but how can you hate Framber Valdez?

You can do the same thing with many of the younger starters on the Astros, such as Christian Xavier, who hit the weights in Game 4 of Houston’s combine. In 2017, he pitched in High-A.

How about Yordan Alvarez, who hit a huge home run to lead the Astros on Saturday night? He didn’t play in the majors for Houston until 2019 and quickly established himself as one of the most feared players in baseball. How about sweet-swinging Kyle Tucker, who debuted in 2018?

What about veterans like Ryan Pressley or any of the pitchers? What about Justin Verlander, who joined the Astros during one of the darkest periods in franchise history?

For a while, that seemed to be the legacy of the 2017 team — one of inspiration. Verlander was acquired seconds before the waiver wire trade deadline that season, just after the team returned to Houston after being displaced by Hurricane Harvey.

Verlander joined a team in the midst of bonding with a community that was barely beginning to sort out the aftermath of the hurricane. He has become a part of that community while still pitching at the Hall of Fame level.

In fact, whatever element remains on the Houston Astros roster will likely be directed toward the only three current Houston players who were on the tainted 2017 Champions lineup. Namely: Bergman, Yuli Gueril and Aaltove.

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Bergman has transformed on and off the field in Houston, maintaining his place as one of the game’s best third basemen before, during and after the scandal. He remained consistent, even as former All-Star teammates like Correa and George Springer went on to become rich in free agency.

But the story of the current generation of Astros cannot be told without considering Altuve’s long journey. He was there before the rebuild that created these Astros began. He was there when the win started. Heck, he’s been an Astro for so long that the team was still in the National League when he started.

Altuve has been the target of fan scorn along with the rest of his teammates for the past few years, being the soft-spoken, almost shy athlete he’s always been. Subject to profanity and some of the loudest boos of any Astros, Altuve has still managed to put up stellar numbers that will one day reach Hall of Fame-worthy levels.

Altuvo became the champion once again. Will things be different for him from here on out? Can fans outside of Houston, where he will always be admired, return to a place to appreciate one of baseball’s most unique talents?


through all As such, the Astros have evolved not only in the roster, but also in how they approach winning.

The franchise is an organizational baseball machine that has continued to operate even after the scandal, which led to changes on the field and behind the scenes. James Click, director of analytics software, took over one of the most skilled front offices in the game, and under his management, the Astros haven’t lost. In some ways, they’ve been replicated even higher, especially with a pitching depth that’s the envy of the greats.

Dusty Baker also arrived, and the popular manager’s presence brought some integrity back to the Astros when they desperately needed it. Now, in return, his talented club have given Baker the first managerial title he had long sought and clinched.

Not that he was worried.

“Worry just keeps you from sleeping,” Baker said after Houston’s Game 5 victory that put them away from the title. “And there’s an old adage that says don’t worry because worry is worrying itself. There’s no use worrying at all.”

Through those additions and many more, the Astros have remained at the forefront of baseball for excellence in scouting, development and analytical innovation.

It’s a different team on the field — the 2017 club was more explosive offensively, with a full mix of athletic players like Springer and Correa. However, in 2022, the team will do less damage on field balls, causing them to rely on long balls to turn the scoreboard.

Houston’s previous champions were a good, not great, run prevention team, but, thanks in large part to Click’s focus on pitcher development, the 2022 club is a complete shutdown, ranking among the elite in ERA, runs allowed, strikeouts And walking is allowed. and defensive efficiency

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This is a different route to the same place. The Astros have achieved this long-term success by flipping prospect after prospect and making targeted trades and free agent signings. Instead of investing too much in trying to keep the old core together, they’ve shaped this style of roster.

These Astros are not those Astros.

The ongoing iterative process of a great team remaining great while reinventing itself one movement at a time begs the question: How long can the Astros be blamed? This has nothing to do with forgiveness or redemption. It’s all about recognizing a unique, high-performance baseball machine.

Will this championship allow the Astros to completely turn the page on the scandal? The truth is, they don’t have to, because it happened a long time ago. All Astros, those who were there and those who weren’t, have heard it over the past few years. It doesn’t really matter anymore.

“We really don’t care what the fans think,” Pressley said after Game 5 in Philadelphia, where the vitriol was almost palpable. “Everywhere we go, we get booed. This is Houston in front of you.”

Amidst all the fury and controversy and often too much humiliation, the Astros remain just one baseball organization — the best, certainly, and perhaps the best of all. In doing so, they became what that team in 2017 seemed capable of becoming: a dynasty.

Dynasties can disappear quickly — history is littered with examples of those who dominated for a long time and then suddenly disappeared. It could happen to the Astros, too, but don’t bet on it anytime soon.

There is too much talent and redundancy in the organization, and plenty of smart people still steering the ship in the right direction, even with the immediate fates of Baker and Click, whose contracts are expiring, currently unknown.

Baker could certainly decide to retire so he can wait for next year’s call to tell him he’s been inducted into the Hall of Fame. But if that happens, the Astros will choose worthy replacements, perhaps bench coach Joe Spada, a respected voice on the team who has passed over baseball’s managerial carousel many times in recent years.

Talent, minor league depth, financial resources and perhaps most importantly, systems (analytics, development, scouting) all remain in place. As long as that’s the case, there’s little reason to think this engine is going to be thrown out. Love them or hate them, it’s your choice. But the Houston Astros have built one of the most efficient baseball machines of this century.

This dynasty will eventually collapse, as all dynasties do. Already, the Astros have shown everyone, proponents and detractors alike, that this organization is more than just a tainted title.

The Astros are the champions not only of the season, but of the current era. They are a bona fide baseball dynasty in every way.

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