Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Curse and Dem Bums in a Nutshell

October 24, 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Red Sox and Dodgers are each colorfully infamous for their associations with two of baseball’s most unforgettable litany lines (i.e., please note: we said “litany’ lines ~ not “Nittany Lions.”).

Because Red Sox owner Harry Frazee sold Babe Ruth to the soon-to-be-hated-even more Yankees prior to the 1920 season, the Boston American League club would not win another World Series until the 21st century after winning five of the first fourteen they played under the new World Series format that started in 1903.

It’s right there in the record, gaping back at the reader with all the green-with-envy and orange-with-anger Boston Irish eyes that fed annually upon the idea of “The Curse of the Bambino” for all of the seasons beyond 1918 that their team couldn’t even get back to a World Series until 1946 ~ but only to incur the next level of the curse ~ coming close in the Series 4 more times, once in only four of the six remaining 20th century decades, but only to lose painfully each time. ~ Remember Bill Buckner in 1986?

Then the Red Sox got their splits together in the 21st century and broke “the curse” in 2004, and twice more since, with a good chance of doing it again this year, 2018, based upon their relentless destruction of the Dodgers in Game One of last night’s opener.

The Dodgers, “‘Dem Bums” from their almost always getting beat up Brooklyn days are another story. They pretty much made hapless losing and painful last game crumbling an art form ~ and with considerable help from the Yankees ~ Except for 1955, Brooklyn fans ended every damned season screaming loud into the those bitter last game nights ~ “Wait’ll Next Year!”

Once they moved to Los Angeles, the Dodgers started getting to the World Series more often on a win-some/lose-some basis, but now they are battling a 30-year absence from winning their last one.

Astros Nation appreciates the thrilling challenge that the Dodgers gave our Houston club last year. Our Game Five Astros victory at home was one for the ages and a Game Seven Houston closer win in LA was one we shall cherish forever.

We also knew that the Dodgers have that kind of losing in their baseball DNA and that “Wait Until Next Year” came quickly to their minds, if not their lips, when the deed was done.

Now “Wait’ll Next Year” has become the Astros’ 2018 season swan song. We are hoping it’s available to us only on a short-term rental basis.

Here are the World Series bottom lines for both the Red Sox and the Dodgers. See for yourself. The agony and the ecstasy is all laid out here for your own experience with its indelible baseball lore presence in fact.

 

Boston Red Sox Franchise World Series Record

YEAR S#-F# RED SOX OPPPONENT W-L-W%
1903 01-01 W 5-3 > PGH PIRATES 1-0, 1.000
1904 No World Series
1912 08-02 W 4-3 > NY GIANTS 2-0, 1.000
1915 11-03 W 4-1 > PHI ATHLETICS 3-0, 1.000
1916 12-04 W 4-1 > BRK ROBINS 4-0, 1.000
1918 14-05 W 4-2 > CHI CUBS 5-0, 1.000
1946 42-06 L 3-4 < SL CARDINALS 5-1,   .833
1967 63-07 L 3-4 < SL CARDINALS 5-2,   .714
1975 71-08 L 3-4 < CIN REDS 5-3,   .625
1986 82-09 L 3-4 < NY METS 5-4,   .556
1994 No World Series
2004 99-10 W 4-0 > SL CARDINALS 6-4,   .600
2007 102-11 W 4-0 > COL ROCKIES 7-4,   .636
2013 108-12 W 4-2 > SL CARDINALS 8-4,   .667

Header Notes:

S#-F# = Word Series & Franchise Sequential Numbers as actual events. No World Series took place in either 1904 or 1994. The franchise always has been located in Boston and has played in the World Series as the Red Sox since 1912. They won, however, as the “Boston Americans” in the 1903 start of it all.

What about the 19th century championships?

Our accounting for World Series history begins with the 20th century modern era that began in 1903. We are mindful of the 19th century baseball championships and no denigration of those accomplishments is intended. Baseball simply lacked the stability to organize anything that had much chance of lasting longer than a given team’s immediate direct interest in playing in such a game. The losers simply walked away and the league had no shared partnership that could sustain all team support, even during the bad years that some clubs might be having.

1903 was the start of the time in which 16 stable franchises started for the first time what has continued through today as the same process that 16 founders and 14 expansion franchise brothers that survived over time continue to make happen. In 2018, MLB is still playing annually for the same clearly named World Series Championship on a prescribed annual basis. Nothing like that ever happened until the 20th century.

Even in the 20th century movement, baseball had to survive the Giants’ refusal to play Boston in the 1904 Series that didn’t happen. McGraw and company apparently were afraid of losing, but these actions prodded MLB into fighting for a total commitment that would not allow a single club, from 1905 forward, to refuse the honor of representing their league in The Series. It would be their honor and their responsibility to play the World Series.

And that’s the codicil rule that separated the 20th century World Series effort from anything that happened in the 19th century. McGraw and the Giants might have been allowed to bully baseball into killing the 1903 World Series effort as someone always did in some way during the 19th century period, but, this time, baseball stopped the bully. So, in the end, baseball did not really have a World Series plan in place until the 1905 games were played, as we said earlier, as a matter of honor and responsibility.

And that’s my shortest route to why I prefer to start anything I do on the World Series from the 1903 effort forward ~ and that’s no denigration of the earlier era. 19th century baseball people simply were either too powerless or unable to see what was holding them back from a World Series plan that could hope to survive.

 

Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers Franchise World Series Record 

YEAR S#-F# BROOKLYN OPPONENT W-L-W%
1916 12-01 L 1-4 < BOS RED SOX 0-1, .000
1920 16-02 L 2-5 < CLE INDIANS 0-2, .000
1941 37-03 L 1-4 < NY YANKEES 0-3, .000
1947 43-04 L 3-4 < NY YANKEES 0-4, .000
1949 45-05 L 1-4 < NY YANKEES 0-5, .000
1952 48-06 L 3-4 < NY YANKEES 0-6, .000
1953 49-07 L 2-4 < NY YANKEES 0-7, .000
1955 51-08 W 4-3 > NY YANKEES 1-7, .125
1956 52-09 L 3-4 < NY YANKEES 1-8, .111
LOS ANGELES
1959 55-10 W 4-2 > CHI WHITE SOX 2-8, .200
1963 59-11 W 4-0 > NY YANKEES 3-8, .273
1965 61-12 W 4-3 > MIN TWINS 4-8, .333
1966 62-13 L 0-4 < BAL ORIOLES 4-9, .308
1974 70-14 L 1-4 < OAK ATHLETICS 4-10, .286
1977 73-15 L 2-4 < NY YANKEES 4-11, .267
1978 74-16 L 2-4 < NY YANKEES 4-12, .250
1981 77-17 W 4-2 > NY YANKEES 5-12, .294
1988 84-18 W 4-1 > OAK ATHLETICS 6-12, .333
1994 No World Series
2017 112-19 L 3-4 < HOU ASTROS 6-13, .316

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Fan Interference Call Revisited

October 18, 2018

“No interference shall be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball. He does so at his own risk.”
__________
Note the man on the lower far right. His left hand is holding the yellow rail that marks the spot where the field of play ends and the stands begin. Then note the deeper stands site to where the ball is landing near his palm up right hand. The NY “out” call should’ve been ruled a HR for Altuve. Fielder Betts was in the fans area at his own risk. (Bottom of 1st, ALCS Game 4, 2018)

 

“Rule 3.16 Comment: There is a difference between a ball which has been thrown or batted into the stands, touching a spectator thereby being out of play even though it rebounds onto the field and a spectator going onto the field or reaching over, under or through a barrier and touching a ball in play or touching or otherwise interfering with a player. In the latter case it is clearly intentional and shall be dealt with as intentional interference as in Rule 3.15. Batter and runners shall be placed where in the umpire’s judgment they would have been had the interference not occurred.

“No interference shall be allowed when a fielder reaches over a fence, railing, rope or into a stand to catch a ball. He does so at his own risk. However, should a spectator reach out on the playing field side of such fence, railing or rope, and plainly prevent the fielder from catching the ball, then the batsman should be called out for the spectator’s interference.”

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

The Changing Appetite of Ballpark Fans

October 9, 2018

Babe McCurdy also served as the mascot of the UH Mad Dog Defense during the 1979-80 football seasons that the #1 jersey was first sold to Cougar fans. (Omaha World-Herald, Prior to the 1980 Cotton Bowl Game that Houston won over Nebraska.)

 

As a fan whose personal ballpark experience only goes back to being 9 years old in the east end and those times our dad took us to Buff Stadium to get hooked on the 1947 Texas League and Dixie Series Champion Houston Buffs at Buff Stadium, I will have to start with a broad shot statement: It was both a whole lot the same, but a whole lot different in the post-World War II minor league game days.

Of course, we cheered in Houston. The Buffs had a great ball club in 1947 and we were stirred to clap hands, cheer and release an occasional rally yell any time the Buffs needed to hear from us. Stirred on by Miss Lou Mahan and the magic of her musical organ themes, with every song selected to fit the mood or merit of the particular game situation, Mahan kept us on our toes in soaring good spirit. The old “Happy Days Are Here Again” melody became the virtual theme for Buff walk off hits in the bottom of the ninth.

What we didn’t have “back in the day” were electronic reminders to “make noise” when the game situation merited. We had that base covered without the assistance of automation. We also didn’t have the Buff uniform paraphernalia that could have outfitted us with Houston official game jerseys and the names and numbers for favorite players like Hal Epps and Solly Hemus. ~ Even the big league club fans were denied the use of those sacred adornments in that long ago time and place. If we got out of the ballpark with a souvenir pennant in 1947, we had to have been one of those kids with a daddy who had money to burn.  And that wasn’t my brother or me ~ or anyone else we knew.

In brief, the ballpark back then was a place for the game, hot dogs, soft drinks and beer ~ or plain old peanuts and Cracker Jack ~ and maybe a team pennant and a souvenir ash tray with the word “souvenir” printed onto the object . The ballpark wasn’t a place for souvenirs, buying things on something called a “credit card” ~ and baseball wasn’t an event that rested in the hands of owners with much awareness or skill in the area of “revenue stream creation.”

Then What Happened?

We all know what happened next!

After World War II, the success of credit lending to veterans for housing opened the door on the bigger question: What else can we sell to people on credit that they don’t have all the cash they need to buy now? And why can’t we simply issue credit cards to people which allow them the convenience of either not using cash ~ or the option of paying interest on a slower repayment over time?

Easy credit opened the door ~ and long before QVC, television became the far superior salesman of everything. Technology kept cranking out more things and opportunities we didn’t want to miss. Marketing psychology sharpened seller awareness to the power of fan identity through baseball cards as a clue to something even more addictive. ~ Allow the fans to be the baseball card by selling them the exact name and number jersey of their favorite baseball heroes in sizes in caps and jerseys in sizes that fit their heads and bodies.

Bada Boom!

The big sale of game jerseys led owners to a simple conclusion: “We need more than one home and one away jersey. We need a wardrobe of always changing apparel that fans shall shall want to purchase ~ just to stay up-to-date with the latest team fashion or club accomplishment.

Diversified fan products were off the ground and soaring into a multi-million dollar per year industry. And winning big and was now simply an extension of the proven fact.

The more a team wins, the more it has to sell the following season.

Win Big / Diversify the Items of Celebration

If “affection” is ever classified as an addiction, give MLB and their hard-core fans for putting it there. After a 2018 Houston season of 5 or 6 games made into sellouts by the bonus gift of a 2017 World Series Replica Ring with each game ticket purchased, we have now moved to the playoffs in which different caps and jerseys are for sale at the Minute Maid Park store for each Astros club advancement up the World Series food chain.

Does this mean that a second straight Astros World Series victory will spur the creation of new replica ring nights at the ballpark next year? ~ Is the Pope Catholic? ~ Does the sun always rise in the east?

Today’s Astros Affection Addicts (today’s AAAs) are really no different from who we were back in 1947. They’ve simply had stronger, more powerfully sophisticated forces working on them than we ever saw in those early times. Knowing me, I would have been among the first to have bought a Buffs jersey had that option been available to me back in 1947.

Wearing the Real Thing

Bill McCurdy 1979
(in a tee shirt, not the real thing #1 UH jersey)

As a matter of possibility, we well may have introduced the first sale of an authentic jersey from any sports team to the general public right here in Houston. We might just as easily have been one of the fairly simultaneous waves of change hitting the market place beaches of America with new revenue streams of thought that came to many of us at the same time. Fans want to wear the real thing.

Inadvertently, even as we may have been the first city in the United States to successfully introduced the first of any official jersey for sale to fans at any collegiate or professional sport team level back in 1979. Lord knows, there was was nothing new about our desire to own and wear the real thing. I personally had been wanting such a real thing jersey since my early summer baseball days at Buff Stadium. By 1979, I simply had awakened to the same Walter Mitty fan wish to also dress in the real thing stuff put in use by my undergraduate school alma mater, the University of Houston Cougars.

Only thing for sure is ~ by 1979 ~ the idea of official jersey sale to fans ~ for all reasons summarized earlier here ~ was a marketing hunger ~ a supply and demand idea, whose time had come. By 1981, replica jerseys from everywhere were ~ well ~ everywhere. And many of those new places previously were aware of what he had done at UH.

I thought it would have been cool for UH to build a little tradition by retiring UH football jersey #1 from use by players and making it available for sale to Cougar fans. I presented the suggestion in writing to then UH Director of Marketing Sonny Yates and it was swiftly approved by then UH Athletic Director Cedric Dempsey.

The suggestion sold a lot of jerseys in the two seasons I worked as a volunteer at the UH Athletic program (1979-80), but Dempsey then left to go elsewhere, as UH stepping-stone “leaders” so often do and, by 1981, the #1 was simply and unceremoniously assigned to the jersey of an incoming Cougar football player.

A Perfect Example of How Things Are

In a Houston Chronicle article by Maggie Gordon after the Astros ALDS 11-3 clincher over the Indians she wrote the following about an Astros fan and his immediate aspirations following the game: “I had faith in my team; I knew it,” Sal Rodriguez said shortly after the game ended, as he and a group of friends pushed along in a newly formed line to the Team Store, to purchase fresh merchandise now that the Astros are officially Divisional Champions.”

Now it’s 3 wins in the pan and only 8 more victories to go ~ one game ~ and one new celebratory cap at a time!

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Of Cabbages and Kings

October 7, 2018

ALDS Game 2; Cleveland @Houston; Bottom of 6th: Alex Bregman scores the 2nd run on a double to right field by Marwin Gonzales to give the Astros a 2-1 lead that grows to an eventual 3-1 win over the indians and a 2-0 lead in the series. Alex also provided the third Astros run with a homer in the bottom of the 8th. ~ Question: Is this series unfolding as the general result of Astro destiny, Indian fate, or simply the presence of good luck and bad as these each play out?

 

The time has come,’ the Writer said,

      To talk of many things:

Of baseball boots — and  timing facts —

      Of baseball throws — and swings —

And why one team plays boiling hot —

       As the other freezes on the spot —

And whether or not — fate and destiny —

Are simply mental pests to me — and you.’

 

…. a referential thought issue, parodied as an excerpt

From The Walrus and The Carpenter by Lewis Carroll

If Houston were not playing out the guiding script of destiny, why else was Marwin Gonzales so 4-for-4 buzzed in Game Two of the ALDS that he even zapped that extraordinary double to right field off Andrew Miller of the Indians in the bottom of the 6th that scored the two runs from 2nd and 1st that gave the Astros their 2-1 first lead of the game, one they would only build upon the following time at bat with a solo homer from the same man that surprisingly scored all the way from 1st on the Gonzalez cruncher, that other superstar in the making, Alex Bregman?

If Cleveland were not playing out the hoary hand of disappointing fate, why didn’t pitcher Miller avoid the whole thing that actually happened by retiring Gonzalez and getting the Indians safely out of the 6th, still leading by 1-0 on a path they would keep as the club that evened the series at one game each for the Tribe and Stros? And why didn’t Cleveland right fielder Melky Cabrera exercise a little more hustle on the retrieval and throw of Gonzalez’s game-changing double. The few seconds lost to that little ball rolling away from Cabrera after it reached his excessively contemplative fielding area are what provided 1st base runner Bregman with all the time he needed to reach home on a play that only should have advanced him to 3rd, had it been fielded and played with big league efficiency. Had that happened, who knows what might have unfolded to the benefit of Cleveland, had they not been doused near a fire back in 1948 or 1954 with the contents of a gasoline can marked “fate?”

As for baseball luck, we speak only as a Houston big league fan since 1962. ~ Our good luck has been a lot more plentiful since our Astros became the best team in baseball. In fact, we’ve got a current World Series title trophy and five or six replica championship ring giveaway nights at Minute Maid Park this past season that says we are.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

EAT ‘EM UP, TIGERS/ASTROS

October 2, 2018

EAT ‘EM UP, TIGERS/ASTROS

 

 

 

 

By Maxwell Kates

 

Yonge and Eglinton
Toronto, Canada, 1981

This is the corner of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue, a major intersection in Toronto, as it appeared in 1981. Back then, commuters couldn’t get anywhere. Today, the corner has been developed with new residential and commercial developments, a crosstown light rail, and commuters still can’t get anywhere.

It was a dark and stormy morning when on this corner, I stood, waiting for a green light. Justin Verlander’s team was about to enter the playoffs, only then, it was still the Detroit Tigers. For the occasion I was wearing a Tigers cap, discoloured by too many hot afternoons in the sun. I had not shaved in several days and my jacket had clearly also seen better days. In my hand, there was a beverage from Tim Horton’s, the ubiquitous Canadian coffee chain founded by the hockey player of the same name. As the light was still red, I started to chant:

EAT ‘EM UP, TIGERS, EAT ‘EM UP!

EAT ‘EM UP, TIGERS, EAT ‘EM UP!

EAT ‘EM UP, TIGERS, EAT ‘EM UP!

EAT ‘EM UP, TIGERS, EAT ‘EM UP!

That’s when a woman looked at me and put a quarter in my Tim Horton’s cup. Then the light turned green.

Prince Fielder and Austin Jackson
During Better Times for the Detroit Tigers

This is 2018 ~ These are newer times.

EAT ‘EM UP, ASTROS, EAT ‘EM UP!

 

Editor’s Note: Thanks for your support of the Houston Astros, Maxwell Kates! You won’t even have to keep your tiger tail tucked around most of our fans in Houston, but do try to watch out for standing on the corner of Texas and Crawford too long with a tin cup in your hand. Gotta remember. Life is like a box of chocolates. ~ You never know what you’re gonna get.

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Astros Clinch 2018 AL West Title

September 26, 2018

 

In baseball, sometimes you do get a little help from your friends, even if they are not acting with the intention of helping you by their accomplishments.

After last night’s 4-1 Astros win over the Blue Jays in Toronto, “one was the onliest number” for a short while, pending the later outcome of the Oakland A’s game with the Mariners in Seattle. That one looked pretty doubtful for quite a while as the A’s got the best of early scoring hammers ~ and even led 8-5 going into the 8th.

That’s when the Mariners put on their A’s-hope spoiler duds in all out earnestness. Two “M” runs in the 8th and 1 in the 9th sent the game into an 8-8 knot and extra innings.

“Pinch-hitter Chris Herrmann’s two-run homer in the 11th inning (then) capped Seattle’s late rally and gave the Mariners a 10-8 win over Oakland. Seattle had overcome the A’s, dropping them  2½ games behind the Yankees for home-field advantage in the Oct. 3 winner-take-all one-and-done matchup of the two wild cards.”

For the full story from this mostly quoted above paragraph from this AP source, click this link to the (Seattle) Columbian story:

https://www.columbian.com/news/2018/sep/26/mariners-beat-as-in-11-innings-giving-astros-al-west-title/

The Astros now take the field today at 3:00 PM for their final game in Toronto as division champs. We presume that they will postpone the champagne part of their celebration until after today’s nw less meaningful game with the Blue Jays.

The Astros now know their post-season match-up in the first round NLDS best 3 of 5 games series. It will be the Cleveland Indians versus the Houston Astros, starting on Friday, October 5th of next week at Minute Maid Park.

Go Astros! Enjoy your four-game season-ending series in Baltimore versus the Orioles, starting tomorrow as you also do all you can to stay healthy and rested for the big push that starts next week!

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AL WEST SCORES, 

Thru Tue., 9/25/18:

Houston 4 – Toronto 1.

Seattle 10 – Oakland 8. (11)

LA Angels 4 – Texas 1.

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AL WEST STANDINGS

Morning of Wed., 9/26/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

*Houston

100

57

.637

 —-

Oakland

95

63

.601

   5.5

Seattle

86

71

.548

 14.0

LA Angels

77

81

.487

 23.5

Texas

66

91

.420

 34.0

# Clinched AL West, 9/26/18.

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

 

Gurriel’s 7 RBI are 2nd Best in Astros History

September 22, 2018

J.R. Towles set the Astros franchise record by banging out 8 RBI in an 18-1 win over the Cardinals on 9/20/2007. ~ Last night, Yuli Gurriel bagged 7 RBI in an 11-3 win over the Angels for the 2nd best one-game mark in team history.

Baseball is a game of almost all possibility ~ that we go to see in the hope of witnessing one of those great moments of supreme improbability as it materializes and comes to be ~ in the face of our watching ~ as it incredibly unfolds before our astonished-since-early-childhood eyes ~ and in ways that prompt reactions within us which range all the way from quiet simple pleasure to full-blown hysterical euphoria.

We Astros fans had one of those moments at Minute Maid Park Friday night, September 21, 2018. Astros first baseman Yuli Gurriel had a 7-RBI night on a first inning grand slam, a third inning two-run homer, and a fifth inning single-run RBI of a runner from third base from a runners at first and third situation.

Those seven RBI were enough to plate all of the Astros’ first scores on their way to an 11-3 trouncing of the LA Angels on a night in which Gerrit Cole pitched great over a seven-inning course that also produced 12 strikeouts.

Had Gurriel managed the Ruthian-level improbable, and made that third trip to the plate a 3-run homer, he would have claimed 9 RBIs on the night – thus besting the current all time record of 8 one game RBIs, set by former short term Astros catcher J.R. Towles on September 20, 2007 – almost 11 years to this date earlier than the Gurriel new second place challenge record.

(See how it so often happens with these BIG improbables? – Even when they materialize, we continue to think of ways they might have been improved. Had Gurriel managed 4, 2, and 3 runner homers in his first three times up, we probably would have moved up the expectation dial just a tad and started hoping to see a bases-empty shot on his fourth AB – you know – just to be able to say that we had seen Gurriel hit for the cycle of all HR RBI possibilities in a single game.)

Back to planet earth. What follows is a brief AP clipping account of the J.R. Towles record game, plus a link to the box score of the Towles 8 RBI game, plus the usual up-to-date material we try to cover here about the current AL West title chase.

Have a great weekend, everybody, and don’t forget to watch today’s Angels @ Astros game because – “you never know.”

The J.R. Towles 8-RBI in One Game Record Moment:

September 21, 2007 (AP) Colorado Springs Gazette, Page 65:

Houston 18 St. Louis 1 (Thursday, September 20, 2007)

At St. Louis, Houston rookie Justin Towles went 4-for-4 with a franchise-record eight RBIs and the Astros reached season highs in runs and hits.

Behind a 23-hit attack, the Astros won for the fifth time in 15 games and surpassed their previous best for runs (15) and hits (22) established Sunday against the Pirates (September 16, 2007). The Cardinals, last year’s World Series champions, have lost 13 of 15 in a September swoon.

Link to Baseball Almanac.com Box Score of Houston 18 St. Louis 1 Game:

http://www.baseball-almanac.com/box-scores/boxscore.php?boxid=200709200SLN

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Top Ten AL Batting Averages 

Thru Games of Fri., 9/21/18: 

BATTING AVERAGE

1. Betts • BOS ~ .339

2. Martinez • BOS ~ .330

3. Trout • LAA ~ .316

4. Altuve • HOU ~ .314

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AL WEST SCORES, 

Thru Fri., 9/21/18:

Houston 11 – LA Angels 3.

Oakland 7 – Minnesota 6.

Texas 8 – Seattle 3.

 ********************

AL WEST STANDINGS

Morning of Sat., 9/22/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

96

57

.628

 —-

Oakland

93

61

.604

   3.5

Seattle

84

69

.549

 12.0

LA Angels

75

79

.487

 21.5

Texas

65

88

.424

 31.0

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SCHEDULE BALANCE FOR

HOU, OAK & SEA:

DATE

HOU

OAK

SEA

9/22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/27

@BAL

TEX

9/28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Astros Take Boston Opener

September 8, 2018

Alex Bregman, Age 4
Albuquerque, New Mexico
“The Stare” had a more benign beginning.

The boys got it done late on Friday night at Fenway. Juiced again by the punch of Bregman, Kemp, Gurriel and White, the Astros came roaring back from a sawed off bat evening over the first 6 innings. Three in the 7th overturned a 2-0 Red Sox lead; three more in the 8th converted a 3-3 tie into a 6-3 Astros margin and signature on an important victory against the team in baseball currently with the best record.

A two-bagger by Bregman was his 48th of the year. That one, another double by Yuli Gurriel, and a clutch 2-RBI two-bagger by Tony Kemp in the 8th, plus a shut-your-mouths serial tandem pitching job by Rondon and Osuna of the Astros in the 8th and 9th settled the matter, allowing Houston to maintain their 3.5 game lead over Oakland, who later that same eve defeated the Texas Derangers out on the west coast.

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AUG27-2018-SAM-STARE

The Bregman Stare ~ As demonstrated by good friend and SABR colleague, Dr. Sam Quintero at Minute Maid Park, 9/27/2018. ~ Just in case this exposure to the  “el ojo malo” at the top of yesterday’s column is what helped do the Red Sox in Game One of their series with our Astros. ~ Indeed, if that is the case, let’s stare ’em a few in today’s Game Two! ~ Play It Again, Sam!

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A Peek at the AL Batting Average Race 

Through Games of Fri., 9/07/18: 

BATTING AVERAGE

1.

Betts • BOS

.339

2.

Martinez • BOS

.335

3.

Altuve • HOU

.317

4.

Segura • SEA

.314

5.

Trout • LAA

.306

6.

Merrifield • KCR

.303

7.

Brantley • CLE

.303

8.

Smith • TBR

.301

9.

Bregman • HOU

.300

10.

Wendle • TBR

.29

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

AL WEST SCORES,

Thru Fri., 9/07/18:

Houston 6 – Boston 3.

Oakland 8 – Texas 4.

NY Yankees 4 – Seattle 0.

LA Angels 5 – Chicago WS 2.

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

AL WEST STANDINGS

Morning of Sat., 9/08/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

88

53

.624

 —-

Oakland

85

57

.599

   3.5

Seattle

78

63

.553

 10.0

LA Angels

69

72

.489

 19.0

Texas

61

80

.433

 27.0

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

SCHEDULE BALANCE FOR

HOU, OAK & SEA:

DATE

HOU

OAK

SEA

9/08

@BOS

TEX

NYY

9/09

@BOS

TEX

NYY

9/10

@DET

9/11

@DET

@BAL

SD

9/12

@DET

@BAL

SD

9/13

@BAL

@LAA

9/14

@AZ

@TB

@LAA

9/15

@AZ

@TB

@LAA

9/16

@AZ

@TB

@LAA

9/17

SEA

@HOU

9/18

SEA

LAA

@HOU

9/19

SEA

LAA

@HOU

9/20

LAA

9/21

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

9/24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

9/27

@BAL

TEX

9/28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

9/30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

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

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

“What Else Could Be Perfect For Us?”

September 1, 2018

“What Else Could the Three of Us Do Together That Would Be Perfect for Us?” ~ Asks Jose Altuve in the popular HEB Food TV Commercials.*

* Well, Jose, as we wrote about more generally this morning in our Thursday column, you three guys could get together and, just by being the actual talents you each already are, and solve the mystery of the missing hum in our batting order.

Forever Framber. The absence of early run support for rookie pitcher Framber Valdez, was sorely felt Friday and could not be overcome alone by his great talent and personal confidence in his own stuff. It got him through five scoreless innings and a yield of only two Angel hits, but a run charged to him in the sixth caught Valdez with his first MLB loss when veteran Colin McHugh couldn’t resist letting that runner score and adding a couple of extra runs from his own bag as his Astros reliever that same inning.

As our latest victimized starter to suffer from the lack of early run support, young Valdez deserved a better fate, but that’s not how it works in this era. In low early scoring games, the pitch count almost guarantees that at least one of the starters is going to receive a loss that’s more tied to his club’s lack of early hitting than it is his own quality mound work. It not only happens to the greats of Justin Verlander’s rarified ilk, but to rookies like Framber Valdez as well.

Unfortunately, Jose, you three HEB store stars did accomplish something in the bottom of the eighth that we hope to not see again too often. With the Astros trailing, 3-0, Josh Reddick led off the bottom of the eighth with a single to center and went to third on a sharp double down the right field line by Tony Kemp.

Wow! Hope springs again! With runners on 2nd and 3rd, and nobody out, here comes George Springer to the plate with a chance to either make this a one-run deficit game with a hit that stays in the park ~ or maybe he even ties it up with one of his still famous “dingers” into the Crawford Boxes that also jars the nuts loose from the screws holding the rafters in place at MMP.

Doesn’t happen. After a spirited struggle with some serious heat from the 6’6″ Angels’ Ty Buttrey, George Springer fans for the first out. Alex Bregman then walks against the giant speedballer Angel to load the bases with one out.

“MVP! MVP! MVP!” becomes the crowd’s game soundtrack as you walk to the plate this time, Jose Altuve. Wow! Any Astros fan could write the movie version for Hollywood, We all know when the pregnant moment has arrived, And this is it: It’s our “Popeye” taking on their “Blutto” to the bittersweet resolution of all conflict.

But somebody forgot the spinach.

Jose Altuve goes down swinging hard for the second out. Now it’s up to Carlos Correa to do something about those three potential scoring starers at each base/ He give it his all, running the count all the way out, but there’s apparently too much rust left upon him as a result of the DL time away. Carlos Correa pops a feebly low pop fly down the first base line near the bag. It’s on its way to becoming out number three and the eighth inning rally’s final third failure.

We all witness the frustration in Correa. It is a perplex that we all share, by the way, in this latest moment of joy denied. Again. Carlos Correa tries to strangle the bat on his hapless trot to first during the short air flight of out number three. The ball is easily caught for the third out and the last call for any serious chance of winning this game dies unanswered..

OK, so most of us around here understand that baseball pretty much imitates everything about life, except for the pay scale, but let’s hope this business of you three special guys almost single handedly killing our best chance of winning a particular game in a single inning together doesn’t happen again ~ or, at least, anytime soon.

Just be something near your 2017 selves, if possible, and everything should be OK again.

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

A Peek at the AL Batting Average Race 

Through Games of 8/31/18: 

BATTING AVERAGE

1. Mookie Betts

Boston Red Sox

.341

2. J.D. Martinez

Boston Red Sox

.333

3. Jose Altuve

Houston Astros

.326

4. Jean Segura

Seattle Mariners

.317

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

AL WEST Contender Scores

Through Games of 8/31/18:

LA Angels 3 – Houston 0.

Oakland 7 – Seattle 5.

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

AL WEST STANDINGS:

Morning of Sat., 9/01/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

82

53

.607

 —-

Oakland

81

55

.596

   2.5

Seattle

75

60

.556

   7.0

LA Angels

66

69

.489

 16.0

Texas

58

77

.430

 24.0

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

SEPTEMBER

1

LAA

SEA

@ OAK

2

LAA

SEA

@ OAK

3

MIN

NYY

BAL

4

MIN

NYY

BAL

5

MIN

NYY

BAL

6

7

@BOS

TEX

NYY

8

@BOS

TEX

NYY

9

@BOS

TEX

NYY

10

@DET

11

@DET

@BAL

SD

12

@DET

@BAL

SD

13

@BAL

@LAA

14

AZ

@TB

@LAA

15

AZ

@TB

@LAA

16

AZ

@TB

@LAA

17

SEA

@HOU

18

SEA

LAA

@HOU

19

SEA

LAA

@HOU

20

LAA

21

LAA

MIN

@TEX

22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

27

@BAL

TEX

28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

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

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

A 1″ Pitch Mistake = A 400′ Baseball Ride

August 29, 2018

“DAD GUMMIT! ~ WE CAN’T WIN ‘EM ALL, BUT…. WE LET GAME 2 IN THIS SERIES WITH THE A’S SLIP TOO EARLY AND AGAIN TOO LATE DOWN THE BAD TIMING PITCHES SIDE TO BE RECOVERED IN THE NAME OF VICTORY! ~ GO GET ‘EM IN GAME 3 THIS AFTERNOON, ASTROS!”

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

A Peek at the AL Batting Average Race 

Through Games of 8/28/18: 

1. J.D. Martinez, BOS

.338

2. Mookie Betts, BOS

.336

3. Jose Altuve, HOU

.329

4. Jean Segura, SEA

.315

4. Manny Machado, BAL

.315

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

AL WEST Contender Scores

Through Games of 8/28/18:

Oakland 4 – Houston 3.

San Diego 2 – Seattle 1.

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

AL WEST STANDINGS:

Morning of Wed., 8/29/18

TEAMS

WON

LOST

PCT.

GB

Houston

81

51

.614

—-

Oakland

80

53

.602

1.5

Seattle

74

58

.561

7.0

LA Angels

64

69

.481

17.5

Texas

58

75

.436

23.5

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

AUGUST

HOUSTON

0AKLAND

SEATTLE

29

OAK

@ HOU

@ SD

30

LAA

SEA

@ OAK

31

LAA

SEA

@ OAK

SEPTEMBER

1

LAA

SEA

@ OAK

2

LAA

SEA

@ OAK

3

MIN

NYY

BAL

4

MIN

NYY

BAL

5

MIN

NYY

BAL

6

7

@BOS

TEX

NYY

8

@BOS

TEX

NYY

9

@BOS

TEX

NYY

10

@DET

11

@DET

@BAL

SD

12

@DET

@BAL

SD

13

@BAL

@LAA

14

AZ

@TB

@LAA

15

AZ

@TB

@LAA

16

AZ

@TB

@LAA

17

SEA

@HOU

18

SEA

LAA

@HOU

19

SEA

LAA

@HOU

20

LAA

21

LAA

MIN

@TEX

22

LAA

MIN

@TEX

23

LAA

MIN

@TEX

24

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

25

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

26

@TOR

@SEA

OAK

27

@BAL

TEX

28

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

29

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

30

@BAL

@LAA

TEX

 

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

Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle