Happy New Year, 2018!


Happy New Year, 2018!

And, even if you are not a 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros fan, may you find a way to apply some to all of their proven personal best traits in your own life in 2018!

1) Like reliever Ken Giles, may you enter 2018 in dogged determination to both recognize and overcome the flawed thinking and behavior that get in the way of you using your strongest abilities in the areas of life that are both attractive to you personally and important to you professionally.

The Lesson: Never Give Up on Yourself.

2) Like pitching aces Justin Verlander and Dallas Keuchel, may you look at your trophy room reminders, the cars you drive, the homes you can afford, and the lovely women and families that are in your lives today as a result – and you may enter 2018 on a never-taken-for-granted reflection of gratitude for every last oozing ounce of these rewards because of all you both are too as incredibly decent people and proven superior talent.

The Lesson: Never Take Greatness for Granted. Keep Getting Better.

3) Like injury/surgery recovering pitchers Lance McCullers, Jr. and Collin McHugh, may you have the patience to overcome over time whatever has stalled or derailed your life plans due to injury or illness.

The Lesson: Injuries Are Obstacles to be Overcome.

4) Like relievers Ken Devenski, Will Harris, Joe Musgrove, and Brad Peacock, may you learn to weather a few bad days on the job for the sake of the greater overall return of good days in your team’s imperfect pursuit of success.

The Lesson: In the L0ng Season of Baseball, Even Champions Win Only a Few More Games Than They Lose.

5) Like starter Charlie Morton, who drew this hand as a reliever in Game 7 of 2017 World Series, remember that life may sometimes may throw us into performance situations which are way beyond both our pay grade levels or our normal levels of successful performance. All we can do when these challenges arise is to give it our best shot. Charlie did. And he walked away as the winning pitcher by doing a pretty darn good impression of the great Christy Mathewson.

The Lesson: At Any Given Big Moment, Be All That You Can Be.

6) Like catcher/DH maestros Ben McCann and Evan Gaddis, sometimes life invites us to remember someone as a force that isn’t going away – no matter how infrequently they arrive to make people pay for forgetting. McCann brought a brainier polish to the table with his act, but he and Gaddis together both looked enough alike by beard, height, and physique to have passed for a 21st century ad version of “Smith Brothers Cough Drops.”

The Lesson: We Are Tough to Beat, and We Aren’t Going Away.

7) Like 1st baseman Yuli Gurriel, hang loose – and pay attention to what you’re doing, without thinking too much. Gurriel is a “see the ball; hit the ball” kind of guy. He gets the kind of positive results one might expect from that state of mind. Translate “see the ball; hit the ball” into your own line of endeavor and you shall also carry with you an advantage that is lacking until it is finally present and working as a benefit.

The Lesson: See The Ball. Hit The Ball.

8) Beyond anyone else in the game today, 2nd baseman Jose Altuve is the model for excellence. Altuve doesn’t just “see the ball; hit the ball.” He kills it. And his small physical size is no burden to his production. As he even admits, once he crosses that line into fair territory before each new game, his size differential from others doesn’t matter a flip. He just goes out and crushes every aspect of the game there is to play. To be like him, you don’t have to be better than him. You simply have to free yourself mentally to be the best player that you are, no matter what the undertaking is. If you want to thank Altuve for what he has taught you, simply remember how much you “literally love him” and that should do it.

The Lesson: Greatness Teaches All. How much Are You Willing to Learn?

9) Like 3rd baseman Alex Bregman, allow your genes to speak. Alex Bregman did so many times during the playoffs and World Series. The homers off Sales of Boston, the incredible instinctive throw on the out at the plate at a much later game, the 10th inning walk-off single in Game 5 of the World Series – all these loom large as reminders. – We weren’t watching Brooks Robinson. We were watching a rookie with only 204 games of MLB experience out there at 3rd for the Astros. – The lesson. – Don’t hold back what already wants to work automatically from within us as though our reflexes were capable of transmitting wisdom.

The Lesson: The Positive DNA Reflexes will Take Care of Themselves. Focus on Learning from Your Errors and Getting Better at Things that Kick In Only After You Learn Them. If It’s Not Broke, Don’t Fix It.

10) Like shortstop Carlos Correa, be grateful as early as possible for all the talent we differently are each born to possess and use.

The Lesson: Learn What You Can from Correa’s Play, But don’t Waste Your Time Trying to Do all the Things this Unique Talent is Naturally Capable of Doing.

11) Like utility genius Marwin Gonzalez, be happy that you learned early that your spread of interests and talents were large enough to make you valuable to whatever your chosen call may be on multiple levels. And Mr. Gonzalez is a beautiful example of the whole picture.

The Lesson: The more you can do, the more you have to offer.

12) Like outfielder George Springer is the powerful offensive and defensive player who also served as the “straw that stirred the Astros’ team drink” in 2017. Between his numerous lead-off homers, beginning with one that started the 2017 season, and his sensational leaping catches near the far outfield walls, Springer was the guy who kept answering their opponent’s question: “Do these guys ever let up?”

The Springer action answer, of course, is always the same: “Nope. We do not. We never let up until we beat you.”

To these, we might add, that outfielders Josh Reddick and Jake Marisnick served admirably on Springer’s 2017 staff of late inning tormentors of the opposition. Springer Squad basically takes what the McCann-Gaddis Duo does to another, more unrelenting level.

The Lesson: The more you frustrate the opposition as an unrelenting force, the more you invite them to give up their own beliefs that they too cannot be stopped.

In General. There’s nothing new here. And we could also write all day if we also chose to included the lessons from Field Manager A.J. Hinch, General Manager Jeff Luhnow, and Owner Jim Crane too, but we would prefer not to carry things that far today.

These aforementioned resolute lesson opportunities for the new year have been around forever. And there are others. We simply haven’t seen those mentioned here served up by a one-season example – as clearly – or profoundly – together – since Houston reached the big leagues back in 1962.

Hopefully, we shall all find a horse to ride as our dedicated lesson for the new year. If not, so be it.




Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle







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5 Responses to “Happy New Year, 2018!”

  1. Mike McCroskey Says:

    Happy New Year to you, too, Bill!


  2. materene Says:

    Bill, a Happy New Year to you and your Family, this year was special for sure in many ways.

  3. Tom Hunter Says:

    Happy Birthday today, Bill. And have a happy new year beginning tomorrow.

  4. David Munger Says:

    Mustang Sally, ride Sally ride. Happy Birthday Bill, Happy New Year to all, and thank you for an entertaining year.

  5. Dr. Baseball Says:

    Happy BD & Happy New Year! Let’s go back to back in 2018!

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