July 5, 2012 by danolaurel
Last night I was rewatching Craig Biggio’s 3000th hit game because I needed some good Astros memories to get me through my (and the team’s) current slump. It was like it was yesterday when Biggio smacked the ball into the outfield gap and rounded 1st base to claim his path to the Hall of Fame.
One thing about that game slipped my mind though; how close that game was until the end. The game had gone into extra innings after Biggio tied up the game. The last play of the game was Carlos Lee up to bat with the bases loaded. The excitement was palpable at the ballpark, even watching it from my couch. Then Lee smacked the ball into the Crawford Boxes to end the game with a game-winning grand slam. He stood there for a moment making sure it went out, and when it did he had the smile of a kid who just hit a ball in his backyard.
That was a different time for the Astros. It was two years after they had visited the world series for the first time and there was still a buzz among the team and the fanbase about where the team was headed. Hopeful, even. The downward spiral of events is quick to point out and I’ll save most of it for another post, but we had a horrible deal in place for Carlos Lee. The one-time slugger was no longer rocketing the baseball out of the park; instead now, getting on base quite a bit. Remember though how much money he was getting paid. Sucking out the payroll from the Astros to grow – being forced into trading away faces of the franchise to rebuild our farm system that had been gutted from other high dollar contracts. It was time for Lee to go.
Fast forward to July 4th , 2012- America’s Independence Day and the day Jeff Lunhow, Astros general manager, traded Lee to the Miami Marlins. Miami was not included on his no-trade list and we got two of the Marlins’ top prospects in return: Matt Dominguez and Rob Rasmussen ( #4 and 7 prospects on Marlins, respectively). Dominguez is being sent directly to the major-league club and Rasmussen will join the Double-A affiliate Corpus Christie Hooks.
Baseball requires much needed patience especially if you watch a lot of it. Lee being traded NEEDED to happen for the good of the club and that’s what the fans need to remember.
There are a lot of good memories I have of ‘El Caballo’ and we look forward to seeing him again during Inter-League play.