If the Astros were to somehow find a way to lose in the postseason, especially early on, would it be the biggest disappointment in team history?
That's the question Payne & Pendergast threw around Wednesday morning, ahead of the American League Wild Card Game between the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics, which will determine the Astros opponent in the ALDS.
For Sean Pendergast, these Astros provide the most confidence of any Houston sports team in recent memory going into a postseason. But would it be much different than, say, 1998?
"I can't think of a Rockets team I was more confident in - even the one that won 65 games two years ago, I still probably I think picked Golden State to win that series, even though the Rockets won 65 games ... I can't think of a Rockets team, and I certainly can't think of a Texans team. ... longer range Oiler fans may be able to better talk about history going back that far, as far as confidence in a team going into a postseason.
"In my Houston rooting lifetime, which goes back to the first Rockets championship (1994), this is the most confident I've being in a Houston team going into a postseason. That said ... I will have a hard time being more disappointed than I was in 1998. ... Who knows, I may come in the day after they get knocked out this year and say, 'nope I was wrong, I'm really disappointed.' But '98 was disappointing, the main reason being they'd never won a World Series before. But they'd made that Randy Johnson trade in the middle of the season and they were as stacked an Astros team pre- this team as there has ever been. They won 102 games. That was the standard for Astros baseball up until that point and up until this era of Astros baseball.
"That's one that as an Astros fan, I'm still recovering from 1998 because they went out like lambs in the first round to a Padres team - they got beat by Sterling Hitchcock of the Padres."
What's different between 1998 and now is how much smarter baseball fans are with more information available, Seth Payne said.
"Playoff baseball is so much about luck. It really is. When you even try to predict which teams will perform well in the playoffs - they try to find statistical models for who's going to perform well in the playoffs - it's really, really hard to do. Way harder than you would expect. Because sometimes the good teams, two games of bad luck do you in. You're a really good team playing another good team. And that team's having good luck, you're having bad luck and bam, that's it.
"One freaking Wade Miley long relief and bam, you're done."