HOUSTON - Could a World Series championship not be in the cards for Houston? Some fans think the Astros may be the latest victim of a well-known curse.

Fans blame Sports Illustrated, which put the Astros on the cover of their World Series preview. It is a regional preview, so Los Angeles has one, too. But that’s not doing much to settle fans’ fears – especially since in 2014, a writer predicted the Astros would win the 2017 World Series.

But is the curse real or are we just looking for an excuse if they lose? Rumors have been going since the magazine began.

Texas native and former Houston Astros player Eddie Matthews was on the very first S-I cover in 1954 when he played for the Milwaukee Braves. The team was in first place when the magazine came out. Enter the curse - Matthews hurt his hand, missed seven games, and the Braves didn't win the pennant.

Sports Illustrated actually researched the curse. In 2002, writers looked through 2,400 covers. They found that more than 37 percent of the time someone was on the cover, something unhappy happened to them, or their team, after.

It happened to the Mets in 2015. Their star player was on the cover -- then he didn't hit any home runs in the World Series and they lost.

It happened to Serena Williams, too. She won four grand slams, got put on the cover, then lost the US open.

It even happened to Will Smith. He was on the cover for his movie Concussion, then got snubbed in the Oscars.

Astros, if you lose, we can't say for sure it's because of the curse. But know we'll be disappointed.

We’ll worry about the curse later … Until then, it’s time to play ball.