So that’s it then. The trade deadline has gone, and for me, so has a piece of my baseball following life, as Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman have left Houston. Let me explain this a little…

I don’t sleep much, so anything on late night TV that wasn’t a quiz show, infomercial or *ahem* dodgy phone in show would grab my attention. One late 2005 night, I flicked over to Channel 5, and it was Major League Baseball, with Jonathon Gould and Josh Chetwynd. Can’t remember one of the teams playing, but one was the Houston Astros… Roger Clemens was pitching, Berkman, Biggio, Bagwell and Ensberg all batting.

3 hours later, by 4am – that was me. I was hooked. I was kinda lucky, in that my beginning to watch baseball coincided with the Astros run to the World Series, and a couple of marathon games that ran into breakfast time. That for me, was the “Golden Era” of being an Astros fan. I even bought myself a throwback jersey, and a CLEMENS 22 road grey jersey.

I lost touch with the game for a couple of years after it wasn’t renewed on Five. I had some issues to sort out in my life, and baseball had to take a back seat. I got back into it last year, and threw myself into it full pelt this year, even splashing out on a ESPN subscription.

Of course, five years is a long time, even in baseball. The Astros were a long way from the World Series. Hell, they were a long way from a pennant, or even being competitive. Me? I didn’t care. Some of my old faves were nowhere to be seen… Morgan Ensberg was gone, now into retirement and writing a really good blog; Bagwell and Biggio had retired; Clemens had left and returned and retired in somewhat of a controversial manner… but Berky and Os were there, so everything was OK. Until this weekend.

Roy left first, hopping across to the Philadelphia Phillies in a trade that got us a starting pitcher and two prospects, and one of those was traded for another prospect that looks like he could be the first baseman of the future for the Astros.

So where did that leave the current first baseman, Lance Berkman? On a plane to Tampa to join up with his new club, the New York Yankees. He was traded away, again for more prospects.

To build for the future, the Astros gave away their past. It’s a weird way to look at it, but at the end of the day, the past is just that – past. What Oswalt and Berkman and Ensberg and Biggio and Bagwell and Clemens did for the Astros – and my love for the game – in that glorious 2005 season will never be forgotten, but for the Astros to be a force again, rebuilding is necessary.

I titled this blog “the end of an era” and in many ways it is; it’s more than that though. It’s the beginning of the next era; one that I’m in on the ground floor of. And as an Astros fan, whether or not I agree with it, I have to get behind it.

Let’s go Astros!