Happy Thanksgiving Day 2017

November 23, 2017

Thanks to All from History Who Have Brought Houston’s Baseball Joy to Life As Winners of the 2017 World Series  as Players, Owners, Managers, General Managers, Coaches, Scouts, Administrators, Staff, Broadcasters, Writers, and Fans. No role was too small or large for mention here. Also, it wasn’t possible for The Pecan Park Eagle, on the night before Thanksgiving 2017, to add every name that needs to be included here, going back to the 1861 start  for Houston as an organized baseball city. If you see anyone you think we should have included, just add the name as a comment here and the comment section itself will become our conjunctive list for ….

Houston Baseball World Series Thanksgiving History List:

Thank you …. Frederick Allyn Rice, Joseph H. Evans, Ollie Pickering, John J. McCloskey, Joseph Lohbeck, Tricky Nichols, Harry Steinfeldt, John Henry Kirby, Johnny Kling, Jimmy Slagle, Bill Abstein, Claud Reilly, Tris Speaker, Jim Bottomley, Chick Hafey, Watty Watkins, Harry McCurdy, Pepper Martin, Andy Anderson, Lloyd Gregory, Bruce Layer, Homer Peel, Heinie Schuble, Gus Mancuso, Pancho Snyder, Tex Carleton, Cary Selph, Bill Hallahan, Ducky Medwick, Dizzy Dean, Raymond Lee Cunningham, Pat Ankenman, Don Gutteridge, Johnny Keane, Red Munger, Johnny Hopp, Howie Pollet, Eddie Dyer, Hal Epps, Danny Murtaugh, Allen Russell, Morris Frank, Miss Lou Mahan, Solly Hemus, Eddie Knoblauch,  Al Papai, Clarence Beers, Jim Basso, Larry Miggins, Loel Passe, Jerry Witte, Clark Nealon, Russell Rac, Dick Peebles, Dick Gottlieb, Earl Weaver, Wilmer Mizell, Frank Mancuso, Bob Boyd, Marty Marion, Billy Williams, Ron Santo, George Kirksey, Mickey Herskowitz, Craig Cullinan, Jr, R.E. “Bob” Smith, Judge Roy Hofheinz, Paul Richards, Tal Smith, Harry Craft, Wayne Chandler, J.C. Hartman, Gene Elston, John Wilson, Dene Hofheinz, Bob Aspromonte, Turk Farrell, Roman Mejias, Dick Peebles, Carl Warwick, Jimmy Wynn, Larry Dierker, Walter Bond, Larry Dluhy, Jim Umbricht, Rusty Staub, Nellie Fox, Pete Runnels, Lum Harris, Grady Hatton, Spec Richardson, Harry Walker, Leo Durocher, Lynwood Stallings, Preston Gomez, Pat Gillick, Buddy Hancken, John Mullen, Bob Green, Joe Morgan, Don Wilson, Doug Rader, Mike Cuellar, Norm Miller, Jose Cruz, Marsha Franty, Roger Metzger, J.R. Richard, Dennis Liborio, Joe Niekro, Bill Virdon, Bill Wood, Fred Nelson, Dan O’Brien, Jr., Al Rosen, Bob Lillis, Dick Wagner, Tom Murrah, Hal Lanier, Art Howe, Drayton McLane, Bob Watson, Terry Collins, Pam Gardiner, Tom White, Gerry Hunsicker, David Lakey, Matt Galante, Jo Russell, Mike McCroskey, Bill Gilbert, Mike Vance, Bob Stevens, Mike Acosta, The Pecan Park Eagle, Sam Quintero, Bob Dorrill, Peggy Dorrill, Casey Candaele, Craig Reynolds, Nolan Ryan, Dickie Thon, Cesar Cedeno, John McMullen, Mike Scott, Billy Doran, Ken Caminiti, Craig Biggio, Glenn Davis, Billy Hatcher, Terry Puhl, Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, Phil Holland, Betty Holland, Billy Spiers, Jose Lima, Moises Alou, Rick Bush, Bob Green, Billy Wagner, David Gottfried, Herb Whalley, Tony Eusebio, John McCurdy, Alan Ashby, Bill Brown, Greg Lucas, Julia Morales, Todd Kalas, Geoff Blum, Matt Rejmaniak, Milo Hamilton, Dave Raymond, Brett Dolan, Robert Ford, Steve Sparks, Francisco Romero, Alex Trevino, Richard Hidalgo, Jimy Williams, Shaun Bejani, Roy Oswalt, Jeff Kent, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Brad Lidge, Brad Ausmus, Carlos Lee, Tim Bogar, Adam Everett, Chris Burke, Tim Purpura, Ed Wade, Phil Garner, Neil Miggins, Jimmy Disch, Cecil Cooper, Hunter Pence, Jason Castro, Bobby Heck, Dave Clark, Ricky Bennett, Bill Hale, Jo Hale, Brad Mills, Tony DeFrancesco, Bo Porter, Quinton McCracken, Mike Elias, Tom Lawless, Allen Rowin, Jim Crane, Reid Ryan, Jeff Luhnow, A.J. Hinch, Brian McCann, Yuli Gurriel, Tom Kennedy, Gary Trujillo, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, Norichika Aoki, George Springer, Josh Reddick, Carlos Beltran, Marwin Gonzalez, Evan Gattis, Jake Marisnick, Derek Fisher, J.D. Davis, Tyler White, Cameron Maybin, Juan Centeno, Tony Kemp, Max Stassi, Colin Moran, A.J. Read, Teoscar Hernandez, Brad Peacock, Joe Musgrove, Dallas Keuchel, Lance McCullers, Charlie Morton, Bob Copus, Collin McHugh, Mike Fiers, Chris Devenski, Tony Sipp, James Hoyt, Michael Feliz, Justin Verlander, Maxwell Kates, Reymin Guduan, Ken Giles, Allyson Footer, Tyler Clippard, Jordan Jankowski, Arthur Tolliver, Will Harris, Jandel Gustav, Francisco Liriano, Luke Gregerson, Frances Martes, David Paulino, Dayan Diaz, Alex Cora, Dave Hudgens, Tony Cavender, Brent Strom, Gary Pettis, Jeff Albert, Javier Bracamonte, Alex Cintron, David Skelton, Jose Espada, Doug White, Casey McCurdy, and Carlos Munoz.

Thank you all for everything that made up your mainly separate, but overlapping contributions of ideas, progress, wisdom and action it would took for Mr. Jim Crane and the 2017 Houston Astros to not only reach, but win – the most exciting seven-game episode in World Series history. It was a heavyweight fight between two teams that never gave up. And it never ended until one club, the Dodgers, couldn’t get up from one more scoring blow from the Astros. This time the damage was early and stunning. As a result, the very hungry tiger in the house, the Houston Astros, finished the job they came to do, never yielding to the fear of another mentally-scripted failure for Houston in the most important sports challenge any club from our city shall ever face.

All the Astros had to do was knock off the three richest, most media idolized clubs in America – and in succession. And in succession they each fell, but always on the field of most resistant blood and sweat combat we’ve ever seen our Astros face on a baseball diamond – to that .

The Boston Red Sox fell in four, but there was never any cruise control aspect to the Astros’ 3-1 victory in games over the course of that ALDS opening win over the legendary team and its Green Monster. Our guys had to shock and awe the bejabbers out of the Sox before they finally got it that our “No Sale” sign literally meant – “and he’s not stopping us either!”

The ALCS turned out to be the best “World Series Imagination” we shall ever get to own about facing the dynastic New York Yankees for all the baseball marbles now that the Astros and Bombers are both members of the American League, making the World Series itself an impossible season’s final ending – and it turned out to be another storybook 7-game thriller in which the home team won every time. Good thing we got to see a clear demonstration how the “home field advantage” works when you really need it plugged in. The Astros hosted first and left Houston with a 2-0 games lead over the Yankees. We came back down 2-3, but were again able to take two more home win thrillers to clinch the AL pennant and move on to the World Series – where a confident NL champion, the Los Angeles Dodgers, awaited us.

Surprise! Dramatic Houston rallies in Game 2 in LA and Game 5 in Houston had to be the greatest parlay of exciting baseball melodrama that ever has been written into the records until 2017. We would need two more in LA to finish the job, so that Game 5 Astros rally win quickly proved essential.

And now, with three weeks and a day past the Game 7 knockout win, we Astros Nation folks breathe easy – and simply enjoy – exactly how this script worked itself out.

We know we have a champion in Houston that can hit and win. Better still. We know our Astros can also take a few hits and still get up. And then hit harder til the other team can no longer rise.

We knew we couldn’t thank everyone with a list of names. The most glaring omissions are the names of all the training staff people who have done such a great job of keeping the Astros healthy over the years. We also want to anonymously thank all the travel arrangements people who arrange for the club’s flights, hotels, and equipment availability around the big league travel circuit. We know that Dennis Liborio recently retired from years on the job as the equipment manager.

We’ve often wondered. – Are MLB club travel arrangements jobs also filled with people who think flying anywhere for Thanksgiving is really going to be a lot of fun?

Last, but not least, thank you again, Mssrs. Jim Crane, Jeff Luhnow, A.J. Hinch and all the 2017 Houston Astros for bringing us to a place in the company of World Series Champions that we shall cherish forever.

It’s an eternity thing. And things don’t get any sweeter than that!

********************

Don’t forget to add your own specific names you want thanked for this beautiful Astros championship year as a comment below on this column.

Our best Pecan Park Eagle wishes to you too for a peaceful and loving day with your own family and friends too!

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

 

 

 

Will Altuve Catch Rose Someday?

November 22, 2017

“See the ball. ~ Hit the ball.”

 

Jose Altuve’s All Time Hit Total Chart By Season

YEAR AGE PA AB H BA
2011 21 234 221 61 .276
2012 22 630 576 167 .290
2013 23 672 626 177 .283
2014 24 707 660 225 .341
2015 25 689 638 200 .313
2016 26 717 640 216 .338
2017 27 662 590 204 .346
7 YEARS   4311 3951 1250 .316
162 G AVE   711 652 206 .316
           

TABLE DATA KEYS

PA = PLATE APPEARANCES

AB = AT BATS

H = HITS

BA = BATTING AVERAGE

BOLD TYPE = LED LEAGUE & TOTALS

BOLD TYPE ALSO = AVERAGE, EACH CATEGORY PER YEAR

********************

So be it. Now, if Jose Altuve continues playing at his same rate, does not retire or find himself forced by injury or some other fate of life into either a less productive hitting pace or an early forced exit or long time away from baseball, his chances for reaching 3,000 hits, 4,000 hits, or even surpassing the 4,256 all time hits total of Pete Rose in the following way by time, season, and age prediction.

We stress again. This is only a simple mathematical projection. It is much easier to predict than life itself ever is to confirm and guarantee delivery in advance. Or perhaps we’ve all noticed that reality in our own less famous life planning tracks.

The three numbers we are working with here are: (1) The fact that Altuve already has compiled 1,250 total hits through his first 7 seasons (2011-2017); (2) When we adjust all of Altuve’s stats to how they average over the number of 162-game seasons found within his total hit bag, we find that he is averaging 206 hits per season, through 2017; and (3) at age 27, Altuve’s projected age at the time of these other possible milestones is doable at the rate of 206 hits per full seasons yet played.

To reach 3,000 hits….

3,000 hits goal – 1,250 hits in bag = 1,750 more hits needed

1,750 hits needed divided by the 206 hit full season average = 8.495 more seasons needed.

Jose Altuve will reach 3,000 hits at mid-season in 2026 at age 36.

********************

To reach 4,000 hits….

4,000 hits goal – 1,250 hits in bag = 2,750 more hits needed

2,750 hits needed divided by the 206 hit full season average = 13.350 more seasons needed.

Jose Altuve will reach 4,000 hits in the first third of the 2031 season at age 41.

********************

To reach 4,257 hits, surpassing Pete Rose ….

4,257 hits goal – 1,250 hits in bag = 3,007 more hits needed

3,007 hits needed divided by the 206 hit full season average = 14.60 more seasons needed.

Jose Altuve will reach 4,257 hits after the All Star break in the 2032 season at age 42.

********************

The Voice of Reasonable Bias

Even the great little one’s legs may not be up to playing as often and productively at age 42 as he would need to play to pass Rose, but, what the heck, Rose did it. Who knows? It’s just fun to play with big ideas, especially when it involves a great human being and championship level baseball player like our wonderful Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros. Jose is on his way to the Hall of Fame regardless of whether or not he reaches any of these statistical goals. Although, barring anything unforeseen, it’s hard to see him missing the 3,000 hit total, plus however many other batting titles, World Series rings, and other awards there are out there to be collected annually.

Of course, if Altuve does eventually catch Pete Rose on the hit total board, it will certainly take some pressure off the Hall of Fame. No longer will they have to continually have to answer the question: “How come the all time hit leader is not a member of the Hall of Fame?”

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Over the river and through the woods

November 20, 2017

 

Dedicated the the Houston Astros at Thanksgiving 2017

Over the river and through the woods,

To Minute Maid Park we go;
And Uber’s the way, hold parking at bay,
We’ll smile and hold onto that dough!

Over the river and through the woods,
Oh, how the joy inside flows!
It stings our big toes and bites at the nose,
To Crawford at Texas we go!

Over the river and through the woods,
We can’t wait to see Jose play;
Oh, hear the bells ring, “Ting-a-ling-ling!”
Hurrah for our Big Turkey Day!

Over the river and through the woods,
Drive fast; do not dabble delay!
Spring over the ground, like a Springer-wired hound,
For this is our World Series Way!

Over the river and through the woods,
And straight through the Old Station Gate
Our feet seem to go, extremely, so slow,
While our hearts race too hard to just wait!

Over the river and through the woods,
Now Jim Crane’s new cap we do spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the champs’ pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin-orange pie!

 

Over the river and through the woods,
This year’s like no other we know!

Champs for this time ~ then forever sublime,

Houston Astros ~ The Champs all aglow!

 

Over the river and through the woods,

This Year ~ and Every Year Hence!

We’ll never forget ~ Nor Bear With Regret,

Our Astros as Champs ~ Has Come True!

 

Happy Thanksgiving 2017, Houston Astros,

And Thanks for A Joy That Has Wings!

 

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving Week

November 19, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Just got this little story yesterday from Darrell Pittman ….

So I was at Walmart earlier

A lady was looking at frozen turkeys, but she couldn’t find one big enough.

She asked the stock boy, “do these turkeys get any bigger?”

He replied with a straight face, “No ma’am, they’re dead.”

Made my week. ~ Darrell Pittman

***********************************

Actor Bert Lahr

Along that same flat line of intelligent thought,

Here’s one from my own meanderings of long ago ….

First a little background info …

1) Bert Lahr, the Cowardly Lion actor in “The Wizard of Oz”, died on 12/04/1967.

2) Lahr’s last movie, “The Night They Raided Minsky’s,” was released about a month later, in late January 1968.

3) I went to see his last movie … and Lahr appeared in the opening credits scene.

As Lahr walked down the street toward the camera, this is the conversation I over-heard between a couple sitting behind me:

She: Isn’t that Bert Lahr?
He: Yes, that’s him.

She: I thought he died.
He: He did.

She: Oh! I guess they made this movie before he died.

Hmmm! Nearly a half century later, it still sounds as dumb today as it did in the first place.

 

 

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Justin and Kate Do The Tonight Show

November 18, 2017

Justin Verlander and Kate Upton on the Tonight Show
With Host Jimmy Fallon
November 17, 2017

 

The Verlanders are back in The States from their European Wedding trip. On Friday night, they also made an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to discuss their already fairy book story of the move that allowed Justin to join the Houston Astros in time to become a member of the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros. No word was expressed by either Justin Verlander or Kate Upton of the vital role that that he played in the delivery of that joyous outcome, nor did host Jimmy Fallon delve into the particulars of that aspect either.

Fallon did draw from Verlander the admission that it was the 1st World Series winner’s ring in his experience and that it had come about so unexpectedly in the 13th season of his MLB career in the waning seconds it took on the night of August 31, 2017 for him to finally OK the sudden trade from Detroit to Houston. Kate brought out how the mixture of business issues mixed with much emotion about change on this level did not make it easy for either of them.

Then there was the matter of the big wedding plan in Europe. Even that one wasn’t going to get in the way of a real chance to reach the World Series in Houston, but they already had made some heavy commitments with a number of guests and wedding preparation people for certain dates of availability in Europe after the season long before the trade came up.

Justin pointed out that they had planned the wedding for after the World Series, even though it wasn’t likely that Detroit would be directly involved anyway. We suppose they did this in the wisdom that some kind of late trade might get Justin traded to a club that made it to the World Series a real possibility.

“We had taken the World Series into account,” Justin explained. “We simply had not counted on one that might go seven games.”

As a result, the 7th game factor had backed the Upton-Verlander Wedding up against the wall with Father Time.

“On the day the Series finally ended,” Kate parenthetically added, “people were calling from Europe to say that they were having fun at some of our planned pre-marriage parties and only wished that we could have been there too.” The couple had to hop a plane immediately after Game 7 and go straight to Europe, regretfully missing the big parade and celebration of the World Series victory in Houston on the Friday of two weeks ago.

No foul. No penalty.

We understand, Kate. We also understand that whoever tried to make you feel bad about not already being there in Europe because of Game 7 was definitely neither an Astros Baseball fan or a Houstonian.

That’s about it. The time the “Astros couple” spent with Fallon was short, sweet, and simple. – Everybody literally loves Jason Verlander and Kate Upton – and we all wish them well with much health and happiness.

Fallon did use Carlos Correa’s outrageously public proposal at the end of Game 7 as a basis for asking Kate and Justin how their proposal experience worked out by comparison.

The Verlander Proposal to Kate Upton was private, occurring much earlier than his trade to Houston.

The Proposal. “When I realized what was happening,” Kate expressed – with much joy and energy, I might add – “I did not want Justin to think that I was more interested in the ring than I was in his words.

As a result, Kate avoided looking at the ring as he spoke. She made the effort to look him in the eye and let him know by her body language that she was hanging on his every word. Once the famous “will you marry me?” line came out from Justin, it was greeted by the safe landing of a smiling nod of “yes” from Kate, plus a monster kiss and a hug as her emphatic affirmation of support for the idea. The couple then collapsed into the gleeful contentment of a true love embrace.

That’s when curiosity took over.

“What’s the matter, Kate?” Justin asked. “You’ve hardly looked at your engagement ring. …. Didn’t you like it?”

 

Hallelujah, America! – With couples like Justin and Kate still rolling through the marriage gate, there may be hope for the future after all.

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

MVP! ALTUVE! MVP!

November 17, 2017

Jose Altuve was a 405 to 279 p0ints winner over Aaron Judge (Above, Right) for AL MVP in the voting results announced on 11/16/17. In spite of the healthy spread, we still couldn’t describe the 5’05” Altuve as the “slam-dunk” winner.

 

Congratulations, Jose Altuve! We couldn’t be more proud of you or thankful to you. In fact, we cannot imagine even having the elixer of this championship afterlife mode of joy at all – had it not been for you and your talented fiery presence at the heart of our 2017 Houston Astros. There was no other real alternative to you as Most Valuable Player of the American League in 2017. Your runaway .346 third batting average title in four years says that it’s so – as does your record for clutch hitting, brilliant defense, and shining presence as the starter button on eight other great bats in our Astros lineup. Keep it up. Thank you again. God bless you. And please – when the day comes you have the option to play anywhere you choose – think long and hard before you go elsewhere.

Look. You can make insane money here too – money that’s immeasurably less important in the long run than where you are living while you make it – even if it turns out, as expected – that you someday will be able to make more money playing ball for the far less loving New York, Los Angeles, or Boston clubs. Try to keep in mind this fact too while you decide, as Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell once did, if it even matters to you where you play: The Houston Astros are your first love – and it’s fans literally love you too. And life’s never quite the same – once we lose or leave a first love – of any kind.

– The Pecan Park Eagle

The rest of today’s column is simply dedicated to a small, independent of each other pictorial cartoon presentation:

 

We represent – our MVP guy!
Our MVP Guy! – Our MVP Guy!
We represent – Our MVP Guyyyyyyyyyy!
We wish to welcome you to – Astro Land!

 

“Do you think your ‘Little Engine That Could” would ever get bored going back and forth on a straight  indoor track that is only about 100 feet long anyway?”

 

“Hey, Aaron! Heads up! I told you to put your glove on when you play catch with me! You can’t stop one of my dead-eye whip throws with a large spear or a defiant bare hand alone!”
– Jose Altuve

 

“Let us send a call for MVP!
Let us send a call for MVP!”
******
“MVP! ~ ALTUVE!
CALL EITHER NAME
AND THEY BOTH REACH ME!”

 

Have a great holiday season, Jose Altuve!

And what a great Houston Thanksgiving holiday season this 2017 special November Thursday is shaping up to be, in spite of our still too recent visit from Hurricane Harvey. It’s now mid-to-late November and we share much room for gratitude, indeed!

Let’s count our blessings, everybody, as our spirits keep on flying and deeply engaging this soulful carpet of World Series joy!

 

*******************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Astros Planning World Series Trophy Tour

November 16, 2017

The 2017 Houston Astros
In the early moments of their now permanent status as
World Series Champions Forever

 

The Houston Astros have announced plans to take the World Series trophy to the people. In spite of my earlier expressed concerns about its mishandling at the recent MFAH function, we think this is a great idea and respectful tribute to the millions of Astros fans who never get near enough to Houston for a live game at Minute Maid Park. Just allow club curator Mike Acosta to handle the plan for transporting and actual physical contact that may take place with the trophy on this trip.

Immediate rudimentary plans are briefly discussed in this brand new Chron.com linked article:

*************************************************

Astros planning World Series trophy tour

Published 5:02 pm, Wednesday, November 15, 2017

http://www.chron.com/sports/astros/article/Astros-planning-World-Series-trophy-tour-12360730.php?utm_source=email&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=Chron_sports#photo-14471307

*************************************************

Check it out – and don’t miss all the photos. It seems that most were joy shots taken at the conclusion of Game 7 – now two weeks ago. The jubilation of that moment shall live within our hearts forever.

My wife and I went to an afternoon movie yesterday and I just “happened” to be wearing the same Astros World Series cap that you will see in all of these post-Game 7 photos. It was early, awaiting a 1:20 PM start of “Murder on the Orient Express” and there were only a handful of us in the house. I was seated in the end seat of the left aisle seating area.

All of a sudden, I heard this voice from above me, coming from a stranger about my age standing in the aisle. He obviously had spotted my cap and the movie had yet to start.

“Wasn’t that simply beautiful?” asked the man.

“Absolutely,” I answered, without missing a beat, while instantly adding, “and we get to keep it forever,” I added.

“Absolutely,” the man repeated, as he and his wife, or girl friend, continued up the aisle.

And then I heard in a more distant sounding voice, as my “brother” and his companion made their way further up the aisle to their seats: “Absolutely” rang out again, followed by …. “How sweet it is!”

Moral of the Story: These are the best of times for Astro fans. Don’t waste them. Reach out. Share the joy and gratitude with each other.

*************************************************

A Pictorial on an Alternative Fan Contact with Greatness Plan for the Trophy Tour

The Astros could parade the trophy around these other towns as they did in Houston. People get to see it, but they don’t get to hold or possibly drop it.

The Astros could bring Jim Crane to every tour stop to demonstrate how the trophy should be held, but he may not be available for all of them – and he is still the only one who can get away with a “whoops” poor grip on the active symbol of the Astros’ 2017 championship.

As an alternative to public lifting of the trophy, The Pecan Park Eagle suggests that fans, instead, should be allowed to “Lift Jose Altuve” in competition with each other.

Whoever makes him laugh the loudest will be named as winner of the “Lift Jose Altuve” (trophy savior) contest.

 

GO ASTROS! ~ WE LITERALLY LOVE YOU! ~ YOUR FANS!

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Entitlement Inevitable, Even With Astros

November 15, 2017

“Let’s see. – This new crown entitles us to what’s next – whatever that is!”
**********
Art by Giselle Silvestri
**********
https://www.flickr.com/photos/gisellesilvestri/5474340330/

 

Merriam-Webster defines entitlement as a belief that one is deserving of or entitled to certain privileges.

Add to our clearer understanding about this condition these simple facts about the presence of entitlement in all human relationships to a minor or major degree:

1) Over time, entitlement will be present in some minor to major form, in all human relationships.

i.e., Men who marry women who like to cook may come to feel entitled to a prepared dinner on a nightly basis; employees on the clock may come to feel that the quality of their work entitles them to show up daily at a time that is more compatible with their personal convenience.

2) Expectations that once were attached to the hunger of our desires and our willingness to earn certain goals by personal effort are now being fed by the hunger-sated idea that we have become entitled to the fulfillment of those same expectations because of who we now are and what we have done previously – and if these expectations are foiled or unduly misdirected, it is now someone else’s fault.

i.e., Between 1920 and 2009, starting in 1923, the New York Yankees have won 27 of the 40 World Series they have participated in 0ver the course of the entire 89 year period they have reached the great final event of each baseball season. At what point did the Yankees start feeling entitled to each World Series win. Even though entitlement alone never guarantees victory, some may argue that any endeavor using the “New York City” brand name starts out feeling entitled to success above all others in the field, but it would be a harder-sell to NY clubs using the “Giants” or Mets” brands. Still, even they would get there.

3) The short conclusion: The 2017 Houston Astros have a healthy team self-esteem, one that balanced well with the club’s superior talent ability to win a World Series on an “earned” basis. The problem is that the next evolving developmental step over is the potential for team-esteem evolving over time into entitlement – and that’s a process that can be as slow and surprising as the birth and growth of mold in humid Houston. (i.e, One day you don’t see it; the next time you look, it’s all over the place.) Once it arrives, the presence of entitlement becomes a big part of every decision the club makes. We’ve never really had it in Houston before 2017, but neither had we won a World Series until now. Whether it now happens glacially slow or super-fast remains to be seen, but it will happen, to one degree or another. It’s just the nature of the beast. How we deal with it is up to us. All of us. Fans included.

4) An ancient lesson: Although he didn’t call the grinding dynamic in this example by its clearer name, entitlement, I once had the good fortune of taking some courses in political science at the University of Houston under a bright and smiling little professor from “Persia” (Iran). I was only 18 or 19 when this happened back in 1956-57, but I’ve never forgotten what he told us. Dr. Razi will always be one of those rare people who give us something to recall from a nutshell of information that never goes away. And what he said that last day of lecture in my final formal course in political science has remained with me for a lifetime. It also has everything to do with the tough point I’m trying to make here today.

Perhaps, Dr. Razi’s words about political science in general are still a better way to explain the presence of entitlement in baseball and everywhere else which starts with hunger.

“If you students remember nothing else about political science from what I’ve tried to teach you this semester,” Dr. Razi said, “remember this much:

“Political Science is the story of the eternal struggle between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’.

“The ‘haves’ get to control everything that is important to life until they grow too fat, unconcerned, or unable to defend what they are keeping to themselves.

“At the same time, the ‘have nots’ are growing lean, ambitious, and hungry from their own deprivation of contact with everything of value that the ‘haves’ still control.

“Then. One day. By war or revolution. The ‘haves’ grow too fat to hold on any longer. And the ‘have nots’ hunger turns into a bite that takes out the old rulers.

“The lean and hungry former ‘have nots’ are now the new ‘haves’. The former fat and full ‘haves’ are now the new ‘have nots’.

And the cycle begins again.

5) Please feel entitled to draw your own conclusions as to how the Houston Astros could someday get hung up on their own evolving sense of entitlement.

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Yulie Gurriel: One of Our Favorite Astros

November 14, 2017

Yuli Gurriel
**************
With the last out of Game 7 in his glove
*******************************************
November 1, 2017

 

Gurriel Deserves Baseball’s Accountability Award

If there were such a thing. And maybe there should be.

When Yuli Gurriel of the Houston Astros homered off Yu Darvish of the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the World Series, he completed his gait of elation around the bases as he energetically landed back in the dugout at the end of the trip through invisible roses in a smiling heap.

Then he did the thing that made his celebration not OK. Using the fingers of each hand at the corners of each eye, Yuli pulled back on his own facial corner flesh to create an ever-so-briefly slanted eyes look as an apparent taunt of the Japanese pitcher he had just taken yard in the World Series.

As a home viewer, I missed it in real-time. I may have been on a quick (for me) run to either the bathroom or kitchen, where all my game-watching supplies are kept. It wasn’t until after the game that one of the commentators brought it up and the network showed us a brief (because that’s all it was) clip of Gurriel’s quickly finished reaction.

It was only the next day that we learned of Gurriel’s sincere apology, heard his convincing story that it had not come from any kind of intensive hate, but from a common practice in Cuba for giving playful and benign-spirited recognition to the Asians in their midst for all sorts of social interactions, and of Commissioner Manfred’s decision, nonetheless, to attach consequences to this act by suspending Yuli Gurriel from 7-8 games at the start of the 2018 season. And rightly so. Even without serious intent, there is no space for tolerance here for behavior that is universally perceived as hate for others of another ethnicity, race, sex, religion, or “any other different condition of being.” Yuli Gurriel got that point right away because his own actions were not the products of hate, but the result of an important misstep in how his own Cuban culture had prepared him for how the hand gesture exercise would be perceived on the world’s largest stage.

We doubt we ever will see this behavior from Gurriel again. He expressed his contrition very well, as did Darvish get across his ability to forgive Yuli in a genuine way. I’ll never forget that smiling tip of the cap that Yuli Gurriel gave to Yu Darvish when the two last faced each other as batter and pitcher in Game Seven.

It’s too bad all these kinds of things aren’t simply matters of benign misunderstanding, but they cannot be when the perpetration is the result of 100% ignorant human hate.

Thank you Yuli Gurriel and Yu Darvish for being a very bright candle in the dark woods of human relations in 2017.

Aaron Judge was named Monday as the AL ROY for this past season. 33-year old Yuli Gurriel tied for 4th in the 2017 American League Rookie of the Year vote announced last night. Too bad they don’t award extra points for humanitarian acts of understanding that teaches all who need them – that accountability in the larger world holds us all responsible for lessons that are larger than the sub-cultures of anyone’s individual childhoods.

In addition to being a “Cool Hand Luke” killer of a hitter, one that comes through in key game ROB situations, Yuli Gurriel is a class guy – and one of our Pecan Park Eagle favorite Astros!

Just another cog in the reasons behind why the 2017 Astros were so great. The club had “Little Adonis” and “Big Adonis” up the middle and killer-cold hitters at the corners. What an infield. Overall, we’ve never had a better one at one simultaneous all season moment at the four infield glove and hit men spots.

On his own in 2017, Yuli Gurriel batted .299 with 158 hits, 18 homers and 75 RBI in 2017. Had he been able to start a decade ago, at age 23, and had he been able to average that much production for ten years, he could have compiled something like 1,580 MLB hits, 180 HRs, and 750 RBIs by now.

 

********************

 

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

Bill Gilbert: Late Review~Astros’ Series Win

November 13, 2017

With apologies for the fact that Bill Gilbert’s final report on the World Series was somehow lost in the Internet Digital Post Office for 6 days until this Sunday Evening, 11/12/17.

 

Astros Defeat Dodgers to Win First World Series

By Bill Gilbert

It took only 56 years, 3 ballparks, eighteen managers, hundreds of players and several ownership and uniform changes to get there but the Houston Astros defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 4 games to 3 in the 2017 World Series. It wasn’t easy as they had the difficult task of defeating the three largest payroll clubs, the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and the Dodgers to reach the prize.

There were numerous twists and turns along the way, especially in the World Series. Game 2 with eight home runs including five in extra innings was acclaimed as a game for the ages but the drama of that game was eclipsed four days later in another extra inning game in which the Astros hit five home runs and overcame 4-0 and 7-4 deficits against Clayton Kershaw to win 13-12 in a game that was expected to be a pitcher’s duel between Kershaw and Dallas Keuchel. Both teams had 14 hits in the game including eight extra base hits by each team. The game took 5 hours and 17 minutes and was the second longest game in World Series history.

The Series returned to Los Angeles after Game 5 with the Astros leading 3 games to 2. Expectations were high for the Astros with Justin Verlander, undefeated in his nine appearances with the Astros after his acquisition on August 31, scheduled to pitch. Verlander pitched well, allowing only 2 runs in 6 innings but Dodger pitching was better and they prevailed 3-1. This set up Game 7 at Dodger Stadium with Lance McCullers, Jr. facing Yu Darvish of the Dodgers.

The Astros struck early as George Springer led off the first inning with a double leading to 2 runs. They struck again in the second inning when Springer hit a two-run home run for a 5-0 lead, locking up the Series MVP vote with his fifth long drive in the Series after striking out four times in Game 1. McCullers struggled with the control of his fast ball, hitting four batters, but holding the Dodgers scoreless before being removed in the third inning. The Astros used four pitchers in relief with Charlie Morton working the last 4 innings and picking up the win to begin the celebration.

After acquiring Verlander, the Astros were considered a viable contender to go all the way. However, there were concerns. Could the Astros, the best offensive team in the regular season, do the same against stronger pitching that they would face in the playoffs? Also, would the inconsistent relief pitching be able to compete with the stronger bullpens of the other contenders? The answer was no in both cases but the Astros consistently came up with clutch performances at bat, on the mound and in the field to overcome any shortcomings and they prevailed in the two extra-inning games.

The Astros batted .282 in the regular season but only .240 in the post season. However, the other playoff teams also hit below their regular season averages. Jose Altuve (.310) and Yuli Gurriel (.304) were the only two Astros that batted over .300 in the playoffs and Brian McCann, Marwin Gonzalez and Josh Reddick hit below .200. The Astros hit 27 home runs in the post-season including 14 in the World Series, both records. All eight regulars hit at least one except Reddick.

The pitchers ERA of 4.13 in the post-season was essentially the same as the regular season ERA of 4.12. The regular relief pitchers faltered in the post-season requiring the use of starters Brad Peacock, Charlie Morton, Collin McHugh, McCullers and even Verlander in relief roles. They performed better than the regular relievers and Morton picked up wins in both Game 7 vs. the Yankees and Game 7 against the Dodgers. In the 18 post-season games played by the Astros (11-7), there were only four saves, two by Ken Giles (who blew 3 save opportunities) and one each by starters McCullers and Peacock.

What’s ahead for the Astros? All nine of the position players who played regularly in the playoffs are signed for next year and should be back. The top six starting pitchers are also signed for 2018. There are 5 free agents that may or may not be back (Carlos Beltran, Cameron Maybin, Luke Gregerson, Francisco Liriano and Tyler Clippard). None played major roles in the post-season.

The Astros have several prospects on the verge of being major league ready that could be with the team next year or possibly traded for some pitching help in the bullpen.

The total rebuild of the franchise begun by Tal Smith and Ed Wade in 2011 by drafting Springer, developing Altuve and trading away high salaried players who were nearing the end of their careers has paid off in a big way under the direction of Jeff Luhnow. The team has been built for more than a one-year run and should be a strong contender for several years along with perennial contenders like the Dodgers, Yankees, Red Sox, Indians, Nationals and Cubs.

Bill Gilbert

11/6/17.

 

********************

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle