The Astros are getting annihilated for this graphic


If you’ve been on Twitter at all in the past few years, at some point in your aimless scrolling through mountains of memes and reaction GIFs, you’ve inevitably encountered a graphic like this.

Oh yes, the ol’ “Build your own All-Star team for $15” exercise, a tried and true staple of slow Tuesdays across social media. Except, with MLB on pause amid baseball’s first work stoppage in 26 years, every day is now a slow Tuesday, which has teams like the Astros desperate for whatever Twitter engagement they can get.

One of the first things fans noticed when the league shut down last Thursday at 12:01 AM ET was the removal of player headshots from team websites, replacing them with generic silhouettes. That was for legal reasons—during the lockout, teams are prohibited from using current players’ names, images or likenesses in any promotional materials. That symbolism wasn’t lost on Trevor Williams and Jameson Taillon, who joined countless others in mocking the league for making players literally faceless.

Maybe it wasn’t the subtlest maneuver on ownership’s part, but with neither side budging in labor talks, things were bound to get ugly one way or another. With no clear resolution in sight, MLB has stood firm in its stance against promoting or even referencing current players, as evidenced by the laughable graphic churned out by Houston’s social media staff, omitting Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Justin Verlander, George Springer and Alex Bregman from the Astros’ all-time team.

Considering what those players did to help Houston win its first and, so far, only World Series in 2017, building a graphic without them in it would be akin to the Yankees not acknowledging Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle or the Celtics giving a cold shoulder to Bill Russell and Larry Bird. What makes the list even more cringeworthy is its inclusion of forgettable “where are they now?” types like Michael Bourn, Evan Gattis, Chris Burke and Wandy Rodriguez, with the latter three never even making an All-Star team.

What, no love for Hunter Pence or Brad Lidge? Did Carlos Lee and Richard Hidalgo never happen? Apparently Morgan Ensberg and Bud Norris were just figments of our imagination? As you’d expect from a public embarrassment of this magnitude, the Astros got plenty of well-deserved grief for their ill-advised graphic, with fans on social media reading them the riot act.

Teams are understandably starved for content right now, but with swords being drawn amid a contentious labor dispute that could drag on for months, maybe it’s better to keep a low profile, embracing a minimalist aesthetic until players and owners are on the same page.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Elsa, Getty Images