The Answer, My Friends, Is Blowing in the Wind

Let the Hot Stove League Season Begin!

Let the Hot Stove League Season Begin!


Over the years, we hardcore baseball fans have come to reference this coldest part of the winter as our “Hot Stove League” time for talking up the game prior to the start of spring training in about thirty days. It doesn’t really matter so much what we talk about – since the MLB has little interest in us beyond getting us to believe that we all start each new season with a team that’s capable of reaching the World Series. And, of course, they want that interest to translate into us coming out to the games way beyond the point in time each year that most of our clubs haven’t got a snowball’s chance in hell of reaching anything but the last scheduled game of the regular season.

So, what’s so hot about the stove in this league, anyway, if most of us are going to be watching clubs without enough gas to get there, anyhow?

For one thing, most of us have been blessed with enough light in the lantern to see the metaphorical reference that’s intended by the ancient phrase – the Hot Stove League. – It’s too cold to play now. All we can do is huddle together at the end of the workday and share our hopes and dreams about our teams in the season to come – and we shall do so in the flickering light of a wood-burning stove, huddled together in a circle of concern for hot baseball ideas and the warmth of others listening, talking, and  sharing points of view – and giving each other a hefty feedback noise of “you got that right, brother” comments. “If the team doesn’t do pretty much what you just said about our pitching, this season could go to hell in a hand basket fast!”

“Damn, we’re smart! 

“If we’re so damn smart, how come the club isn’t paying all of us in this original hot stove huddle conference the big bucks to set ’em straight? Don’t they understand that riding around on a tractor in a blizzard for about 12 hours each day is exactly what it takes to jangle out all the right answers about the club’s needs for the coming baseball year?  In the cold darkness of each howling-wind January night, the truth always prevails in vivid lucidity. This hunka-hunka stove pipe love for the game of baseball is relentless, but will this be the year – finally – that ownership listens to our suggestions?

“Not only, no, but hell no! By May, we’ll all be asking ourselves in the sunshine of spring why the club didn’t so something about the pitching while it still mattered? A 2-23 record through the first month ought be speaking loudly to the too-late-now point we’ve been trying to make, or so it seems, since we last passed old Rogers Hornsby at home in the cold, still staring out his front window at something hypnotically as we trudged our way down the sidewalk in front of his place en route to another Hot Stove League meeting.

“Owners, listen up. – Your starters simply can’t give up ten runs over the first five innings in 13 of the first 23 games and still hold out any chance for the team  turning things around. But now you say you’re talking deals for pitching with several clubs? – C’mon, man! – Turning around a caterpillar in its race with that red Corvette that just sped past him – going in the right direction to the finish line – ain’t the biggest morale booster we fans had hoped to see as summer nears.

“Oh well. Maybe we fans should organize ourselves into some kind of advisory group. Call us what you will. ‘Scientific Analyses of Baseball Reasoning, Results, and Recommendations’ sounds pretty cool to that intent here.”

Baseball could call us SABRRR for short. SABRRR ought to chill out some of our Hot Stove League lamentation too. And it sure would  beat the hell out of using the winter months to simply gather together and celebrate our annual need to merely “philosophy into the wind.”


 Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle



3 Responses to “The Answer, My Friends, Is Blowing in the Wind”

  1. Tom Hunter Says:

    If the owner cared what we true fans thought, he wouldn’t have given us the cold shoulder over the winter and flattened Tal’s Hill and moved the center field fence in over 30 feet. I doubt the pitching staff was consulted on this radical reconfiguration of the dimensions.

    Casual fans like home runs and care less about pitching and defense, so it’s important to appeal to them and add more seats to the band box. However, this may make it more difficult to attract quality pitchers to sign with the Astros.

  2. Anthnony Cavender Says:

    Jim Crane, the owner, was a pitcher in college, so he may have some apprehension about this.

  3. Fred Soland Says:

    Greg Maddux made a living pitching out of band boxes in Chicago and Atlanta. Fergie Jenkins made a nice career pitching in Chicago. Tom Glavine and John Smoltz made fine livings pitching in Atlanta. The key to pitching well in a hitter’s park is to to be able to command the strike zone (and even beyond due to respect) and pitch intelligently. Houston is not going to be a band box with the removal of Tal’s Hill and the shortening of the fence in centerfield. However, our pitchers need to learn to pitch smart if they want to be successful. Tal’s Hill was obnoxious anyway. I never liked the possibility of injury to a player.

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