Indians Drum Extends to 19 Beats

September 12, 2017

Watch Out! ~ Here Comes The Spirit of the 1948 Indians!

 

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Hope still floats – in spite of the “Nightmare Weekend on Oakland Street!”

While the Astros took their much needed day off Monday prior to tonight’s series opener against the Angels in Anaheim, the Cleveland Indians stayed voraciously busy, knocking off the Detroit Tigers, 11-0, at home. It was the Tribe’s 19th straight win and it increased their lead over the Astros for AL home field advantage thru the playoffs to 1.5 games.

If there’s a u-turn lane on this going-south-fast parkway, the Houston Astros better find it soon. Otherwise, it’s back to our usual Houston MLB fate of making our routine peace with the fact that, if it’s a World Series victory we Houston fans want, it isn’t going to happen again this year.

Come on, Mr. Verlander, even if we do know that you can’t do it all, please pump our hopes in your start against the Angels tonight.

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST STANDINGS

THRU GAMES OF MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2017 

RANK AL WEST W L PCT. GB
1 ASTROS 86 57 .601  
2 ANGELS 73 70 .510 13.0
3 RANGERS 72 71 .503 14.0
4 MARINERS 71 73 .493 15.5
5 ATHLETICS 63 80 .441 23

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST GAME SCORES

THRU GAMES OF MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2017

RANGERS 5 – MARINERS 3                 

ASTROS (day off for general wound-licking of arms and egos)

ANGELS (day off for pre-Astros series pitcher-bash-planning)

ATHLETICS (day off for championship imagery workshop)

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AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

THRU GAMES OF MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 538 189 38 4 23 .351
2 ERIC HOSMER KC 534 175 27 1 24 .328
3 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 447 144 22 4 16 .322
4 JOSH REDDICK HOU 441 139 30 3 13 .315
NR* CARLOS CORREA HOU 358 110 19 1 20 .307
5 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 529 162 47 6 25 .306
6 JOSE ABREU CWS 555 170 38 6 31 .306
7 ELVIS ANDRUS TEX 572 175 41 4 20 .306
8 JOE MAUER MIN 458 139 32 1 6 .303
9 JONATHAN SCHOOP BAL 552 167 33 0 31 .303
10 LORENZO CAIN KC 527 158 25 5 14 .300
RANK OTHER TOP 40 ASTROS TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
12 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 404 119 28 0 21 .295
14 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 482 141 25 0 31 .293
19 YULI GURRIEL HOU 473 136 36 1 17 .288
21 T ALEX BREGMAN HOU 490 139 34 5 16 .284

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS TEMPORARILY REMOVED CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

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A “Times Have Changed” Pictorial

September 12, 2017

 

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Back in the Day. It seems like everybody either smoked or chewed – or smoked and chewed.  You could even catch a few players stealing a few puffs in the dugouts at times, at least, in a few of the minor league games I grew up watching at Buff Stadium in Houston. And, coming out of the 12 noon Sunday Mass at St. Christopher’s in Park Place, we kids had to stay out-of-the-way of the dad smokers stampede for the great outdoors and that first post-services smoking hit of the Lord’s Day afternoon.

People smoked everywhere, even lighting up on a closed full elevator. Insensitivity to the impact of smoking on others was the norm, as was throwing a used up cigarette butt on the floor of a retail store or restaurant and then, just maybe, stepping on it to be sure the flame was out.

Add drunkenness and drunk driving to the mixture of behaviors that were acceptable on weekends, holidays, and times of celebration or commiseration, and, well, you pretty much have a nut-shell picture of how the high tide of good-times floated in our culture through the 1950s and 1960s on our bungling way through the civil rights movement era, Viet Nam, and the so-called war on drugs period of the late 20th century.

Times have changed. We are all still far away from unattainable perfection, but so what? We are still a whole lot better – and worse – than we used to be. We’ve just altered the ways in which we look at better and worse.

At least, we’re not out there at Minute Maid Park in 2017, creating the same kind of smoky blue haze that we used to generate for every game played at the Astrodome during its early years.

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Oakland Romp is Tribute to Parity in 2017

September 11, 2017

Could the 1927 Browns have done to the 1927 Yankees what the 2017 A’s just did to the 2017 Astros? Nor likely. – Talent parity is far better today.

 

Astros*Notes

The A’s did it, finishing the 4-game, first-time ever, series sweep of the Astros by 10-2, producing some tabs worthy of a baseball house of horrors

For the A’s: 4 wins in 4 tries; 41 runs on 51 hits – and 11 homers!

A’s 11 HR in 4-Game Series vs. Astros, Sep. 8-10, 2017

HR#/G# INN BATTER B L/R RUNS 0UTS PITCHER T L/R
1/1 2nd Matt Chapman BR 2 1 Collin McHugh TR
2/1 3rd Matt Joyce BL 1 0 Collin McHugh TR
3/1 7TH Marcus Semien BR 4 0 Luke Gregerson TR
4/1 9th Boog Powell BL 1 0 Ben Giles TR
5/3 6TH Matt Olson BL 2 0 Brad Peacock TR
6/3 7TH Chad Pinder BR 1 2 Chris Devenski TR
7/3 8TH Chad Pinder BR 3 2 Michael Feliz TR
8/4 5TH Matt Chapman BR 1 0 Dallas Keuchel TL
9/4 7TH Ryan Healy BR 2 1 Francis Martes TR
10/4 8th Boog Powell BL 2 2 Luke Gregerson TR
11/4 8TH Matt Olson BL 2 2 Tony Sipp TL

Two Basic Observations from the Chart’s Data:

(There are many others there, simply awaiting your own excavations.)

1.) 7 of of the 11 HR were yielded by relievers;

2.) 21 of the 41 total runs scored by the A’s came on these charted long balls;

One Overlayed Subjective Observation:

This series screams at the overall parity of talent that spreads today from MLB’s alleged best to worst teams. The 1927 St. Louis Browns never could have done this kind of job in a series with the 1927 New York Yankees if you had spotted them four strikes and four outs per inning. The talent simply was not there within the Browns to get the job done. Assuming that to be true, it does make it easier for a new ownership of a failed performance franchise today to sell the idea to fans that a quick return to serious competition is both possible and probable – with good management and money thrown at the identified solutions. Back in the 1920s, clubs like the A’s did what the old Browns and Senators also actually did. They survived by selling their best players, simply to pay the rent and light bills.

The Damage Tab to the Juice that Squeezed from Houston Strong/Verlander:

Plans for purchasing the Buffalo Bayou Bridge at the foot of Main and painting it orange and deep blue in honor of the 2017 World Series Champions, the Houston Astros, have been put on serious hold.

Three Positive Getaway Thoughts:

  1. The Astros will not lose today. Monday is a day off;
  2. No matter what, as always, the sun will come up tomorrow, just as it did today, as long as our personal time is not up; and,
  3. The hope for something beautiful is the future’s gift to the present.

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST STANDINGS

THRU GAMES OF SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2017 

RANK AL WEST W L PCT. GB
1 ASTROS 86 57 .601  
2 ANGELS 73 70 .510 13.0
3 RANGERS 71 71 .500 14.5
4 MARINERS 71 72 .497 15.0
5 ATHLETICS 63 80 .441 23

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST GAME SCORES

THRU GAMES OF SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2017

 ATHLETICS 10 – ASTROS 2

 YANKEES 16 – RANGERS 7                 

 ANGELS 5 – MARINERS 3

AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

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BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

THRU GAMES OF SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 10, 2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 538 189 38 4 23 .351
2 ERIC HOSMER KC 534 175 27 1 24 .328
3 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 447 144 22 4 16 .322
4 JOSH REDDICK HOU 441 139 30 3 13 .315
NR* CARLOS CORREA HOU 532 164 48 6 25 .307
5 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 529 162 47 6 25 .306
6 ELVIS ANDRUS TEX 569 174 41 4 20 .306
7 JONATHAN SCHOOP BAL 548 167 33 0 31 .305
8 JJOE MAUER MIN 458 139 32 1 6 .303
9 JOSE ABREU CWS 550 166 37 5 31 .302
10 JEAN SEGURA SEA 470 141 28 2 9 .300
RANK OTHER TOP 40 ASTROS TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
13 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 404 119 28 0 21 .295
15 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 482 141 25 0 31 .293
20 YULI GURRIEL HOU 473 136 36 1 17 .288
22 ALEX BREGMAN HOU 490 139 34 5 16 .284

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS TEMPORARILY REMOVED CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

 

 

UNFUDGINGLIEVABLE!

September 10, 2017

Oakland Fans Are Eatin’ It Up!

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Astro*Notes

When the Astros began this 4-game series at Oakland on Friday against the A’s, they were taking on the already eliminated last place club in the AL West.

At 59-80 on the season, the A’s also began the series with the 2nd worst record in the AL.

The Astros, on the other hand, began the series with an 86-53 mark, best by 3 games over the surging Cleveland Indians for best record in the AL and the coveted home field advantage in the upcoming post-season AL playoffs.

Things were looking good for the Astros until they played these first 3 games in Oakland, a solo game Friday night, followed by yesterday’s Saturday double-header.

The A’s, so far, have defeated the Astros in those first 3, with the finale coming up this Sunday afternoon, by successive scores of 9-8, 11-1, and 11-4.

Totals stagger the mind for the first 3 games. The allegedly nobody A’s, with nothing left to play for but pride, loose fun, and the end of the season, have gone as banana gold as one of their primary uniform colors.

For the A’s in their first 3 games with the Astros this weekend, the club has scored a total of 31 runs on 39 hits and 7 homers!

Astro starters McHugh and Morton went successively for 5.0 innings, followed by Peacock’s 5.2 inning stint in Game 3.

Altogether, the Astro starters gave up only 8 runs total, with only 7 of them being earned. Their starter departures allowed their relief help to surrender the balance of those other 25 A’s runs scored.

This Sunday morning, the Astros and Indians are now tied in the AL for the eventual winner’s right to home field advantage through the AL Playoffs with identical records of 86-56. The Astros got here by getting creamed by one of the reputedly worst clubs in the league. The Indians roared into the tie by winning their 17th game in a row on Saturday.

UNFUDGINGLIEVABLE!

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST STANDINGS

THRU GAMES OF SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2017 

RANK AL WEST W L PCT. GB
1 ASTROS 86 56 .606  
2 ANGELS 72 70 .507 14.0
3 RANGERS 71 70 .504 14.5
4 MARINERS 71 71 .500 15.0
5 ATHLETICS 62 80 .437 24.0

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST GAME SCORES

THRU GAMES OF SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2017

 ATHLETICS 11, 11 – ASTROS 1, 4

 YANKEES 3 – RANGERS 1                 

 MARINERS 8 – ANGELS 1

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AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

THRU GAMES OF SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 9, 2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 534 187 37 4 23 .350
2 ERIC HOSMER KC 530 171 25 1 24 .323
3 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 443 142 22 4 16 .321
4 JOSH REDDICK HOU 438 139 30 3 13 .317
5 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 525 162 47 6 25 .309
NR* CARLOS CORREA HOU 350 107 18 1 20 .306
6 JOE MAUER MIN 455 139 32 1 6 .305
7 ELVIS ANDRUS TEX 567 173 40 4 20 .305
8 JONATHAN SCHOOP BAL 544 164 33 0 31 .301
9 JEAN SEGURA SEA 466 140 28 2 8 .300
10 JOE ABREU CWS 547 164 37 5 29 .300
RANK OTHER TOP 40 ASTROS TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
12 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 478 141 25 0 31 .295
13 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 402 118 27 0 21 .294
20 YULI GURRIEL HOU 473 136 36 1 17 .288
22 ALEX BREGMAN HOU 486 138 34 5 16 .284

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS TEMPORARILY REMOVED CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

The Four “T”s of Successful Pitching

September 9, 2017

The above picture is the answer to the following question: What do you get in a trade from a shaky start by Collin McHugh, uninspired relief work by Mike Fiers and Luke Gregerson, and a choke artist closing effort by Ben Giles?

Friday night in Oakland was like another bucket of water in the face of Houston. This one landed squarely in the face of our rejuvenated hope from the Verlander acquisition for a 2017 World Series victory. If Friday night in Oakland the best we can do against a club that is already 27 games behind and long out of the running, how can we possibly allow ourselves to go-gossamer over the club’s real chances against clubs like the Indians or Red Sox in the AL Playoffs – or the Dodgers, Cubs, or Nationals in the World Series?

I hate to admit it, but when Mike Fiers’ poor control and hittable pitches brought in Luke Gregerson to pitch in the bottom of the 7th, my first thought flew to the hope that old Cool Hand Luke wouldn’t do anything to set up a bases loaded situation. And of course, that’s exactly what happened when that poorly played ball at first resulted in a technically correct infield hit and brought punch and Judy hitter Marcus Semien to the plate.

With the bases now loaded and the Astros still leading by 7-3, it was time for Luke to dig in and do his thing against a guy he normally struck out in their few previous personal encounters.

Not this time.

Slim and trim Semien unloaded a grand slam bomb to left – and once again – and all to this point in time by homers – the beleaguered Oakland A’s had battled back into a 7-7 tie with the Astros.

And what was the look on Luke’s face after it happened? It was exactly as always. Luke looked cool as a cucumber. Like nothing had happened. Or, if it did? – So what?

Luke then did his closing the door after the horses leave the barn routine and retired the next three batters. Then he walked to the dugout to watch the rest of the game with equivalent disinterest.

The Astros regained the lead in the top of the 9th when Josh Reddick’s double down the right field line scored a sliding George Springer from first base. Sadly, the new 8-7 lead would not hold.

The stone-faced demeanor of closer Ben Giles wasn’t enough in the bottom of the 9th. Once the new Boog Powell took Giles deep to left for an 8-8 tie to start the last frame, it marked the end of the A’s’ skein of 8-runs all batted in by homers. Unfortunately, the other ways of scoring were still available to them – and they took advantage.

After Marcus Semien singled to left field and Matt Joyce walked, Jed Lowrie singled to center, scoring Semien from second base with the winning run as the exultantly victorious A’s mobbed each other on the field as though they had just won Game Seven of the World Series.

Friday night just brought home the reminder of our worst fears in graphic reality. Even with the addition of Verlander to the starting rotation, last night was an example of what may happen to any lead we may hold, any time our starter has to leave the game early for any reason, as McHugh did from the finger blister. Our long relievers come to the mound soaked in gasoline – and sometimes our hold ’em guys and closer is also vulnerable too often to the same affliction.

It is not a problem that is solved with post-bomb game faces or the throw away “that’s baseball” comment. Pitchers, especially, have to be comfortable in their own skins. Without the temperament to handle the pressure that comes from that particular talent and technique-heavy position, their success is too spotty to be of much help to any club hoping to be the last team standing tall at season’s end.

Temperament. Talent. Technique. Tenacity. The 4 T’s have to be operational for pitching success this time of year. Without any of the 4 at play in September, that pitcher, whomever he may be, is hurting his club’s chances of winning.

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Astro*Notes. With 17 wins in a row, and aided by the Astros’ ingloriously collapsing loss to the A’s on Friday night, the Cleveland Indians are now only 1.5 games behind Houston for best AL record and home field advantage through the AL Playoffs.

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST STANDINGS

THRU GAMES OF FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2017 

RANK AL WEST W L PCT. GB
1 ASTROS 86 54 .614  
2 ANGELS 72 69 .511 14.5
3 RANGERS 71 69 .507 15.0
4 MARINERS 70 71 .496 16.5
5 ATHLETICS 60 80 .429 26

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST GAME SCORES

(NO ALW GAMES PLAYED ON THURSDAY, 9/7/17)

THRU GAMES OF FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2017

ATHLETICS 9 – ASTROS 8

RANGERS 11 – YANKEES 5                 

MARINERS 4 – ANGELS 3

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AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

THRU GAMES OF FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 526 185 37 4 22 .352
2 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 439 141 22 4 15 .321
3 ERIC HOSMER KC 527 168 25 1 24 .319
4 JOSH REDDICK HOU 435 138 30 3 13 .317
NR * CARLOS CORREA HOU 342 106 18 1 20 .310
5 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 525 162 47 6 25 .309
6 ELVIS ANDRUS TEX 563 173 40 4 20 .307
7 JOE MAUER MIN 451 138 32 1 6 .306
8 JONATHAN SCHOOP BAL 540 164 33 0 31 .304
9 JEAN SEGURA SEA 461 139 28 2 8 .302
10 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 474 141 25 0 31 .297
RANK OTHER TOP 40 ASTROS TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
14 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 399 117 27 0 21 .293
17 YULI GURRIEL HOU 469 136 36 1 17 .290
22 ALEX BREGMAN HOU 479 136 33 5 16 .284

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS TEMPORARILY REMOVED CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

 

Baseball: A Global Pastime, Sept. 23rd

September 8, 2017

After his MLB career, Roger Repoz played ball in Japan from 1973-77 for the Taiheiyo Club Lions of the Pacific League and then for the Yakult Swallows of the Central League.

 

September 7, 2017: An Important Baseball Reliquary  Announcement

The Baseball Reliquary Presents
“Baseball: A Global Pastime” Panel Discussion
Date & Time: Saturday, September 23, 2017, 2:00 p.m.
Location: Cay Mortenson Auditorium, Arcadia Public Library
Address: 20 W. Duarte Road, Arcadia, California 91006
Information: (626) 791-7647 or terymar@earthlink.net

In conjunction with the exhibition “Baseball: A Global Pastime” (on view through October 26 at the Arcadia Public Library), the Baseball Reliquary presents a panel discussion on the global impact of baseball on Saturday, September 23, at 2:00 p.m., at the Cay Mortenson Auditorium, Arcadia Public Library, 20 W. Duarte Road, Arcadia, California. Panelists will include former major leaguer Roger Repoz, author and historian Byron Motley, and former international baseball scout Mark Garcia. The program is open to the public and free of charge.

Roger Repoz

 Roger Repoz played nine years in the major leagues from 1964-1972 as a left-handed hitting outfielder and first baseman for the New York Yankees, Kansas City Athletics, and California Angels. He then played five seasons of professional ball in Japan from 1973-1977 for the Taiheiyo Club Lions of the Pacific League and Yakult Swallows of the Central League. Repoz became one of the most feared gaijin (foreign) power hitters in Japan, connecting on 122 home runs in the Land of the Rising Sun. Repoz currently resides in Orange County.

Byron Motley is a Los Angeles-based author, photographer, and filmmaker, and has written and lectured extensively on baseball in the Negro Leagues and in Cuba. He co-authored Ruling Over Monarchs, Giants & Stars: Umpiring in the Negro Leagues & Beyond, a memoir of his father, Bob Motley, the last surviving umpire in the Negro Leagues. His most recent book, Embracing Cuba, is a collection of photographs that Motley has taken throughout the island nation over the last ten years. The book documents the Cubans’ adoration of baseball, a love so intense as to be nearly religious.

Mark Garcia was a professional baseball scout for several major league organizations between 1982 and 2006, including working as a territorial scout in Southern California for the Milwaukee Brewers, and as an administrative assistant to the director of international operations for the California Angels. As an international scout for the Boston Red Sox, he covered Australia and Russia, as well as the Latin American and South Pacific markets, evaluating talent in Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Garcia resides in the San Gabriel Valley.

 

Is Baseball Still King in Havana?

Following the panel discussion and Q&A, Byron Motley will sign his book, Embracing Cuba, copies of which will be available for purchase. The program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

For further information, contact the Baseball Reliquary by phone at (626) 791-7647; by e-mail at terymar@earthlink.net; or visit http://www.baseballreliquary.org. For directions to the Arcadia Public Library,
phone (626) 821-5567.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

Certain Things Are Bigger Than The Game

September 8, 2017

Jake Olson is congratulated by teammate Wyatt Schmidt, #46, for his vital participation in the game deciding play.

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Certain things are bigger than the game, any game. Although it’s hard to conceive of any other sports, beyond bowling, perhaps, where a legitimate player could have achieved what Jake Olson did last week as a long-snap center for the USC Trojans on a late-in-the-game victory-important NCAA Division 1 football extra point conversion against the Western Michigan Broncos.

In case you haven’t heard, Jake Olson is a totally blind football player for the USC Trojans. Thanks to this young man of great heart and ability – and with special thanks to USC Head Coach Clay Helton and Western Michigan Head Coach Tim Lester, Jake got to participate in one of the deciding plays in the game – with no violation of the rules of football – and in respect for a value in life that certain things in life, truly are, bigger than the game itself.

In a world dominated by news of killer storms, insane dictators with bad haircuts, and the never-ending rancor from all the lovely people we’ve elected to lifetime perks in Washington, this link to the September 2, 2017 article by Bill Plaschke for the Los Angeles Times is worth your investment of attention and energy – to all of those rarer folks who sometimes rise to higher callings than the dangerous appetites of nature and the call of the human ego to personal glorification:

http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-usc-plaschke-20170902-story.html

Thank you, Rob Sangster, for alerting The Pecan Park Eagle to this beautiful story.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

Is Cameron Maybin the new Captain Midnight?

September 7, 2017

Cameron Maybin’s 2nd straight night to provide the winning scores with a late home run is a rarified feat of joy for all of Astros Nation.

Cameron Maybin May Be – The New Captain Midnight

Who was Captain Midnight?

Cameron Maybin may be the new Captain Midnight.

Back in my time of being a little kid in the radio hero days of the early to mid-1940s, Saturday mornings were my time to listen to the adventures of the Captain Midnight, one of the lesser known early caped crusaders. His specialty was taking down evil forces that encroached upon our American way of life because of World War II. He always prevailed, but he had a bad habit of always saving the day at the very last minute. Hence, I always presumed, that was the reason he apparently earned the heroic name of Captain Midnight. It fell easily upon his strong, but “sorry I’m late shoulders” by the way he always did away with the bad guys late, but in the nick of time.

The rationale I held for the hero’s identity was reinforced by my mother’s favorite shouts of frustration with me, whenever I proved late on the performance of a chore or expectation. “Billy,” she would sometimes bellow. “It’s almost ten o’clock! Why aren’t you already dressed for bed and asleep? Who do you think you are? Captain Midnight?”

The Captain Midnight Secret Message Decoder

No, I was never Captain Midnight, but I did send off several cereal box coupons to get one of those special “Captain Midnight Secret Message Decoders” that allowed only those of us who had them to understand the message we would get at the close of every show from Captain Midnight himself. The message usually had something to do with us decoders remaining loyal to Captain Midnight by getting our moms to keep on buying his special cereal.

Does wearing #3 figure into this midnight hour performance by Cameron Maybin?

How is Cameron Maybin the new Captain Midnight?

It should be obvious by now. In the 6 games he’s played for the Astros since his pick up from the Angels, Cameron Maybin has bashed 3 homers in the later innings of his last 4 starts. The first contributed mightily to victory; the last two in Seattle were the flat out difference-makers, claiming victory over defeat each time.

Keep it up, Captain Maybin! We’re sure that the parents of Cameron Midnight are even happier than the rest of us with their son’s beautiful performance for his new team!

 

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST STANDINGS

THRU GAMES OF WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2017 

RANK AL WEST W L PCT. GB
1 ASTROS 86 53 .616  
2 ANGELS 72 68 .514 14.5
3 RANGERS 70 69 .504 16.0
4 MARINERS 69 71 .493 17.5
5 ATHLETICS 59 80 .424 27

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST GAME SCORES

THRU GAMES OF WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2017

 ASTROS 5 – MARINERS 3

 ATHLETICS 3 – ANGELS 1                 

 RANGERS 12, 4 – BRAVES 8, 5

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AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

 THRU GAMES OF WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 521 183 36 4 21 .351
2 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 432 140 22 4 14 .324
3 ERIC HOSMER KC 520 164 25 1 23 .315
4 JOSH REDDICK HOU 432 135 28 3 12 .313
NR * CARLOS CORREA HOU 342 106 18 1 20 .310
5 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 525 162 47 6 25 .309
6 JONATHAN SCHOOP BAL 532 163 33 0 31 .306
7 ELVIS ANDRUS TEX 559 170 38 4 20 .304
8 JEAN SEGURA SEA 456 138 27 2 8 .303
9 JOE MAUER MIN 444 134 30 1 6 .302
10 LORENZO CAIN KC 508 151 25 4 14 .297
0THER TOP 40 ASTROS
12 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 395 117 27 0 21 .296
14 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 471 139 25 0 31 .295
16 YULI GURRIEL HOU 464 135 36 1 16 .291
22 ALEX BREGMAN HOU 479 136 33 5 16 .284           

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS TEMPORARILY REMOVED CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Verlander Off to Great Start with Astros

September 6, 2017

Model/Actress Kate Upton was in Seattle Tuesday, wearing an Astros cap. Kate is the beautiful girl friend/fiancee of our new Astro ace, Justin Verlander. Of course, she’s going to like wearing the orange and blue. It’s been a long time since this club added a little glamour to the talent pool. – Right, Bo Belinsky?

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 Astro*Notes. The Baseball Reference.com career stat line for Justin Verlander says it best as a whole idea. Over 13 seasons as an MLB pitcher, the man has racked up an an incredible W-L record pitcher, and now, as of September 5, 2017, his current record stands at 184 wins and 144 losses, but only one win has been recorded as a starting pitcher for the Houston Astros – and that one happened last night in his first try for the team and city – that both now answer all calls to the same identity – Houston Strong – and getting stronger by the day.

Late in the game, when that powerful line drive off the quick bat of Robinson Cano slammed head on into Verlander’s right fore arm, there was an understandably fast gathering of Astros people that assembled at the mound to assess the damage. Verlander paced back and forth, took a couple of practice pitches in their hovering presence, and rapidly said “let’s go” – just as assuredly as Wyatt Earp gave the same sign to Doc Holliday, immediately prior to their little walk over to the O.K. Corral, down in Tombstone, Arizona.

The guy’s got ice water in his veins. On a night it took forever for the Astros to buy a first hit, Justin Verlander was just as tough on the Mariners, in spite of the fact that they managed to sneak a solo shot homer in on him off the bat of Kyle Seager that tied the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the 4th. The Astros had no hits in the game until much later. They got their first run on 3 walks and a sac fly by Alex Bregman in the top of the 3rd, all coming off Seattle starter Ariel Miranda.

Verlander went 6 innings in his Astros debut, giving up the solo homer-run, a total of 6 hits and 1 walk, while also racking up 7 K’s over the course of his 102 pitch-count night. After the Cano cruncher hit to his arm in the 6th, Verlander would pitch his way out of a jam. The Mariners would score no more runs on this destined night.

Before Verlander left, however, another new Astro, Cameron Maybin, unloaded a mighty 2-run blast to left to give Mr. Verlander and his joyous Astros teammates a 3-1 lead that would hold up as the final victory score for Houston. Some nice 2-inning hold work by Joe Musgrove and a lights out save by Ben Giles finished the job, protecting Verlander’s first win as an Astros. Giles blew away all three men he faced in the 9th, recording his 29th save of the year.

Only the Astros bats stayed mainly silent last night. Beyond the Maybin kill shot, a harmless single by Carlos Correa that followed proved to be the club’s 2nd and only other hit on the night.

If you want a better look at Justin Verlander’s stat career, try this link to his Baseball Reference.com player page:

https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/v/verlaju01.shtml

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST STANDINGS

THRU GAMES OF TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2017

RANK AL WEST W L PCT. GB
1 ASTROS 85 53 .616  
2 ANGELS 72 67 .518 13.5
3 RANGERS 69 68 .504 15.5
4 MARINERS 69 70 .496 16.5
5 ATHLETICS 58 80 .420 27

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST GAME SCORES

THRU GAMES OF TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2017

 ASTROS 3 – MARINERS 1

 ANGELS 8 – ATHLETICS 7                 

 RANGERS @ BRAVES (postponed)

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AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

 THRU GAMES OF TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 5, 2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 521 183 36 4 21 .351
2 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 429 139 22 4 14 .324
3 ERIC HOSMER KC 515 163 24 1 23 .317
NR * CARLOS CORREA HOU 337 106 18 1 20 .315
4 JOSE RAMIREZ CLE 521 162 47 6 25 .311
5 JOSH REDDICK HOU 429 133 28 3 12 .310
6 JONATHAN SCHOOP BAL 532 163 33 0 31 .306
7 JEAN SEGURA SEA 452 137 27 1 8 .303
8 JOE MAUER MIN 443 134 30 1 6 .302
9 ELVIS ANDRUS TEX 550 165 37 4 19 .300
10 JOSE ABREU CWS 531 158 36 4 27 .298
0THER TOP 40 ASTROS
13 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 391 115 25 0 21 .294
14 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 466 137 25 0 31 .294
15 YULI GURRIEL HOU 461 135 36 1 16 .293
21 ALEX BREGMAN HOU 474 135 32 5 16 .285

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS TEMPORARILY REMOVED CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle

 

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Keuchel Did Well; Verlander Goes Tonight

September 5, 2017

Dallas Keuchel

 

Astro*Notes. Dallas Keuchel set a good tone for the Astros starting debut of Justin Verlander tonight in Seattle. Keuchel went 7.2 innings, giving up 7 scattered hits and 2 runs – and throwing 108 pitches before his work was done. He had command, walking only 2; of his 23 “outs” – 5 were punch-outs; 16 came on ground balls; and only 2 came to be by the fly ball route. The net effect upon Keuchel’s record was also sweet. He is now 12-3 with a 2.88 ERA.

Nice work, Dallas! The estimable Mr. Verlander probably doesn’t need the challenge to find his own heights, but sometimes, we all benefit from the synergy of a competitive challenging force in our lives. It’s just more like the philosophy expressed in this one-line parody of that famous ancient Wrigley chewing gum jingle:

“Double your pleasure

Double Your fun

When two “CYs” sign up

They’re better than one!”

Apparently, Astros GM Jeff Luhnow and Astros owner Jim Crane understood the gist of this message without the help of any singing commercials.

And Dallas Keuchel’s first impressive rattle out of the box, since what we hope will prove to be the greatest deadline deal in baseball history, is simply an introduction to how the talents and teammate presence of Keuchel and Verlander to each other will drive both to reach heights that neither could ever have hoped to achieve this year alone, all circumstances considered.

Keuchel’s comments in the Chronicle over the weekend, in fact, may have been more than filler words – and more like the harbinger of things to come, notably in the sweep of the Mets and in his own great job last night in Seattle. Although he wasn’t quite completing the thought in the mind of the writer who did the weekend story, Keuchel implied that the team’s return to our devastated, but never down and out, hustling to help each other Houston – and the affirmative message to the team from ownership that came about too. via the Verlander deal – were almost joined together as a deep and powerful energy-booster.  Keuchel may as well have said something like the following because it ran all the way through his implicit weekend commentary: “Just as the City of Houston will rise from the waters of Harvey as a display of Houston Strong, it’s time for the Astros to re-light the fires of July and again work to becoming the best team in baseball!”

The only time to be the best team in baseball, and have it really count forever, is after your club wins the last playable game of the World Series.

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST STANDINGS

THRU GAMES OF MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2017 

RANK AL WEST W L PCT. GB
1 ASTROS 84 53 .613  
2 ANGELS 71 67 .514 13.5
3 RANGERS 69 68 .504 15.0
4 MARINERS 69 69 .500 15.5
5 ATHLETICS 58 79 .423 26.0

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AMERICAN LEAGUE WEST GAME SCORES

THRU GAMES OF MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2017

 ASTROS 6 – MARINERS 2

 ANGELS 11 – ATHLETICS 9                 

 RANGERS 8 – BRAVES 2

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AMERICAN LEAGUE BATTING AVERAGE LEADERS

 THRU GAMES OF MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 2017

RANK PLAYER TEAM AB H 2B 3B HR BA
1 JOSE ALTUVE HOU 517 183 36 4 21 .354
2 AVISAIL GARCIA CWS 425 137 22 4 14 .322
3 ERIC HOSMER KC 512 163 24 1 23 .318
NR * CARLOS CORREA HOU 333 105 18 1 20 .315
4 JOSE RAMERIZ CLE 516 160 47 6 23 .310
5 JOSH REDDICK HOU 429 133 28 3 12 .310
6 JONATHAN SCHOOP BAL 529 162 33 0 30 .306
7 JEAN SEGURA SEA 448 137 27 1 8 .306
8 JOE MAUER MIN 440 133 30 1 6 .302
9 JOSE ABREU CWS 526 158 36 4 27 .300
10 ELVIS ANDRUS TEX 550 165 37 4 19 .300
OTHER TOP 40 ASTROS
12 MARWIN GONZALEZ HOU 388 115 25 0 21 .296
14 GEORGE SPRINGER HOU 464 137 25 0 31 .295
15 YULI GURRIEL HOU 458 135 36 1 16 .295
21 ALEX BREGMAN HOU 471 135 32 5 16 .287

NR * LOST TIME ON THE DL HAS TEMPORARILY REMOVED CORREA FROM AN OFFICIAL QUALIFYING PLACE IN THE RANKING OF TOP 40 HITTERS.

 

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Bill McCurdy

Principal Writer, Editor, Publisher

The Pecan Park Eagle