How Long is a Year?

As 2012 comes to an end Monday night and a new year dawns it becomes common for news outlets to review the year past.  As I read some of these stories all I can think is, “Where did the year go?”

In some ways it was a very long year for sports fans.  Certainly for Astro fans it couldn’t have been much worse.  For a second straight season the club was non competitive and destined to lose more than 100 games.  To put that in perspective no Houston major league team had ever lost 100 games until 2011 in the franchises’ 50th season.

A philosophy to gut the payroll and start building totally from within using modern statistical models to aid old fashioned scouting was put in place.  Despite repeated warnings that the plan would take time to bear fruit a large number of baseball followers decided to wait until it did and abandoned attending as many games or watching or listening to games on television and radio.  The Astros, with the added burden of having to acquaint their fans with new opponents and a sometimes different style will no doubt try to sell those changes as a new adventure and reason for fans not to lose hope or contact with the team.  That is not a bad idea since it will all be true.  It will be a new adventure.

The Texans had a mostly great 2012.  They won twelve of 16 games.  But they ended the calendar year on a low note which left a sour taste.  Only early success in 2013 can wipe it away.

The Rockets were playing better than some would have expected in opening the 2012 portion of their season.  Not as many fans as in the past were seeing their games with the switch from Fox Sports to Comcast and fewer television homes, but attendance at Toyota Center was pretty good with optimism justified.

The Houston Cougars fell off on the football field in Robertson Stadiums’s finale and the big question was what the future holds.  A new stadium is coming but in what league will Houston play?  Committed to what seems to be a dying Big East Conference they remain the best fit for an expanded Big 12, but could have to settle for the Mountain West if Big East plans go awry.  Rice was only one game over .500 but got their thanks to a post season win over Air Force in Fort Worth.

In my area–radio/tv sports a lot of change… Milo Hamilton ended his career as a long time primary voice on major league baseball… Jim Deshaies moved from the Astros to the Cubs… Bill Brown awaits a new partner on Astros TV which like Rockets basketball moves from Fox to Comcast.  Both Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond were not retained by Astros radio and joined a long list of former Astro employees considered expendable  Others associated with the Astros like myself, Kevin Eschenfelder, Bart Enis and Patti Smith either changed jobs or no longer had one.  Popular Alyson Footer left the Astros mid-season to rejoin  And the Houston Chronicle lost both its Astros beat reporters when Steve Campbell resigned to change careers and Zach Levine left after the season ultimately joining Baseball Prospectus.

A lot happened in 2012.  We can only hope things are better in 2013.


About gregclucas

Author, "Baseball-Its More Than a Game" available through, or by order. Veteran sportscaster with extensive play by play experience in MLB, NBA and college sports. "Houston to Cooperstown- The Houston Astros' Biggio & Bagwell Years" is available at many Barnes and Noble stores, Costco, Sam's Club and other selected locations. Also can be ordered through Amazon as hard copy of Kindle.
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