With the Astros seemingly on the move following 2012, we will be taking a look back periodically on life in the National League. Today, we are looking at the most hated players currently active on each National League team. Some of them will be surprises, and some of them you already know.
Some of them may be hated for things they did in another uniform. Putting it simply, the Astros have well established rivalries with some teams and a lack of any animosity with others. Of course, that will end up being the norm when they move to the American League.
Blum was beloved as an Astros, but he broke our hearts in 2005.
What? We love Geoff Blum, don't we? Yes, when he was an Astro, he was one of the more popular Astros. Yet, in 2005, he had one home run on the season. It came against Houston in Game 3 of the World Series. It was one of the best World Series games ever played and ended when Ezekiel Astacio threw one low and inside. That was the only location Blum was capable of taking it deep.
This may seem like a weak pick for this team, but there really aren't any hated players on the roster. So, we have to dig pretty deep on this one, and we picked the scab off a very painful memory for most Astros fans.
Jones has been a thorn in our side for nearly 20 years.
More important than any numbers Jones may have, he is the tie between the great Braves teams of the 1990s and the ones of today. Also, it is easy to hate Jones because he is kind of a jerk. His ex-wife is a beautiful school teacher, and he cheated on her with a Hooters waitress. Oh, did I mention he split up with his second wife too?
I guess I should mention that he has a .958 OPS against the Astros in a season's worth of plate appearances. For those keeping score at home, his career OPS is .935. Maybe that speaks volumes for the Hooters restaurants in the Houston area.
Zambrano no-hit the Astros in 2008.
OK, this one is not his fault. He just happens to be the symbol of a very bad time in Houston. Hurricane Ike had most of us displaced, and we had to watch this guy no-hit our team in enemy territory. Did I mention that this series was supposed to be at home?
The biggest tool among sports commissioners thought it wise to have the Astros play their home series against the Cubs about 100 miles from Chicago. Thanks, Bud.
Rolen hurt as more as a Cardinal.
It's funny, but the career numbers don't look so good for Rolen, but then again, hate is rarely ever based on rational thought. Rolen was one of those hated Cardinals when the Astros and Cardinals were locked in battle in the NLCS two years in a row.
Helton was Peyton Manning's backup at Tennessee.
Lo, so many years ago, Todd Helton was Peyton Manning's backup quarterback in college. Why didn't he go pro in football? Helton has a career OPS against the Astros over 1.000. That's pretty devastating considering that was in more than 300 plate appearances.
Vazquez was a part of that 2005 White Sox sweep.
McCourt played a role in the Astros moving to the AL.
I know we are supposed to be looking at players, but this one is too obvious. Since Frank McCourt embarrassed MLB, they are determined to vet their prospective owners with more zeal. Thus, the ball got rolling for us to move into the American League. Thanks Frank.
Selig owned the Brewers when he first became the commissioner.
Yes, we are stretching it again, but Bud Selig is the most hated man in baseball when it comes to Astros fans. Yes, he does not own the team and his daughter sold the family's interests years ago. Still, it is quite clear that what he does he does to help the Brewers. They were a more obvious choice to move back to the American League, but that didn't stop him from putting the squeeze on Jim Crane.
Sigmund Freud described a defense mechanism he called displacement. In real terms, it was when you transferred your feelings from one object to another. So, you are angry at Astros management for letting go the best left-hander in baseball. Naturally, you transfer that anger to the player himself. Makes perfect sense.
He will not be missed next year.
Admittedly, those in the NL East will miss him a lot less next year, but he has done his damage against the Astros. Despite having less than 200 plate appearances, he has already racked up 11 home runs against us.
McCutchen is a budding star.
Admittedly, the sample size is small, but McCutchen is off to a good start against the Astros. We will see him only one more season, and he is one of the guys we will not miss.
Bell has been lights out against Houston.
It has been a very long while since Bell has blown a save against the Astros. His overall numbers may not look good, but he has been dominant in recent seasons. He is still a free agent, but all signs point to him returning to San Diego.
Beltran spurned the Astros.
I happen to think this one was unfair. Beltran spent all of four months in Houston. I don't know why people expected him or his agent to have any loyalty. He took the bright lights and big bucks of New York, and you can still hear the boos at Minute Maid Park when he comes up to hit.
Pujols may be every team's most hated Cardinal.
The ball he hit off of Brad Lidge is still orbiting the earth as we speak. Every fan outside of St. Louis tips their cap to his greatness, but they hate to see him come to the plate in any pressure situation. He is certainly the most feared hitter in baseball.
Strasburg is the most talented pitcher in baseball.
Again, think displacement. As Strasburg's career takes off, he will be a bigger reminder of how having the number one overall pick is not always a terrible thing. Two years in a row, the Nationals got a once in a generation talent. The Astros have the No. 1 pick this year, and no such player exists. Those are the breaks, unfortunately.