Posts Tagged ‘2011’

Headlining the Texans’ Sainted Loss

September 26, 2011

Heartache’s sad  headlines – all tell the tale,

Sunday was lost – ‘fore our ship could win-sail.

That’s a neaux geaux – read the Chronicle lines,

Houston’s fond hope – must again ride the pines.



Schaub was good, Brees was great,

Stumbling and rumbling, they sounded debate,

With no time to chew – and hard masticate,

Matt lost his cud – in the 4th quarter gate.



Casey earns the spotlight – no question of that,

Big James is a winner – a hard-rumbling cat,

He blocked, caught, and ran – made a diving snatch too,

We’re going to hear more – ‘fore this young man is through.



And sleek man, Sir Andre – was Johnson enough,

To turn out the lights on the “who dat?” crowd stuff,

But he can’t do it all – with a fake – and a bluff,

Gotta get him the ball – when the going gets tough.



The big missing headline – is easy to see,

Even for base-balling people like me,

You can’t win in football – philosophically,

By Going for Seven – and Settling for Three.

Rookie Row Rips Reds, 4-3!

August 2, 2011

Field View from the Season Seats of SABR's Mike McCroskey.

Thank you, Lance Berkman! – And thank you Ed Wade for pulling the trigger on the deal that sent the Big Puma to the New York Yankees last year in exchange for the two men who proved themselves difference-makers in a much-needed homecoming victory over the Cincinnati Reds at Minute Maid Park Monday night. Mark Melancon pitched the 8th and 9th, giving up nada, for the win; Jimmy Paredes also made his MLB debut as a switch-hitting third baseman by cracking a 2-RBI triple in the 2nd inning as a lefty to provide the eventual difference=maker on the scoreboard.

Luis Durango takes his first at bat as an Astro.

It was a fun night with an Astros lineup filled with rookies and lots of future hope. Just look at the ages at game time on the Houston starting lineup: (1) Luis Durango, cf, 25; (2) Jose Altuve, 2b, 21; (3) Jason Bourgeois, rf, 29; (4) Carlos Lee, 1b, 35; (5) J.D. Martinez, lf, 23; (6) Clint Barmes, ss, 32; (7) Jimmy Paredes, 3b, 22; (8) Humberto Quintero, (31); and (9) Bud Norris, p, 26.

The average age for last night’s starters was 27 – and that’s including the fact that Lee (35), Barmes (32), and Quintero (Q turns 32 today, August 2nd) take the age level way up as symbols of the older era plan. That plan includes all those other precedent variations from Plans 1 through 8. We are now as a franchise well into the early stages rebuilding – working on something like Plan 9 from Outer Space.

It will take some time, but last night was exciting. Now, if we had been ready to return Jason Castro (24) to catcher last night; and to have found Jiovanni Meir (20) ready for his big league debut at shortstop (which he isn’t); to have placed the infantile Jonathan Singleton (19) at 1st base (which he in no way is); and to have placed Brian Bogusevic (27) in right field, just to knock off two more years of age, we could have theoretically started a lineup last night with these other rookies and Jordan Lyles (20) pitching that averaged only 22 years of age.

Jimmy Paredes hit a 2-rbi triple in his 1st Astros at bat.

Let’s not go insane with age, but it is a big factor now. Preparation for a new winning core has to be something works in three to five years, but you can’t do that with players who are peaking, but ready to go downhill from there. And that may have been a primary concern that helped the movement of Pence and Bourn elsewhere this past weekend. In five years, Hunter Pence will be 33 and Michael Bourn will be 34. They could be slowing down fast from there. We’ll see. I’m just betting that Hunter Pence has another good brain-bashing years left in him as a hitter and a hustling team leader.

I like the fact that Brett Wallace now has some age contemporary competition from the younger Jonathan Singleton as our future first baseman. The younger man’s power potential seems greater than Wallace’s at this point and could be the differential on future decisions, but, of course, it all hinges on what these guys actually do on the field and what other options arise in the near term of player acquisitions and development. As much as I like to parody my grief over the loss of certain players from the Astros roster, I really respect and do not envy the job that Astros General Manager Ed Wade has on his hands.

Jose Altuve, the Astros' new Pepper Pot 2nd Sacker.

No matter how intelligent your scouting reports may be, we are still talking about raw talent in most instances – and you never know for sure how well these kids are going to adjust to playing and improving once they leave their high school comfort zones. That’s also why my personal draft preference is for players who have shown they can do it at the collegiate level. With the college kids, you at least can see the pool of players who have adjusted to learning and improving away from home. That’s important, I think, as a primary indicator that they will be able to learn quicker and move up faster at the professional level too than the younger kids straight out of high school.

Most young men on their own for the first time have to find their balance with money management, drug and alcohol use, and their relationships with women. When you need to get those primaries down as manageable issues at the same time you’re learning a new profession or trade, the outcome is sometimes a problem that upsets the long-term apple cart. To a certain extent, genuine student athletes at the collegiate level have been through that ringer and already faced up to their potentials for immaturity flame out of career goals for all the wrong reasons.

J.D. Martinez patrolled LF for Astros on Monday.

Maybe I’m wrong on this next observation because I have no data to back it up, just a gut feeling from long-term observation. I think that young players from Latin American countries have less trouble with drugs, alcohol, and relationships getting in the way of their goals for becoming big league ball players. If I’m right, I think it may be because Latin American countries raise kids with deeper loyalties to baseball over any other sport. Unlike most American young people, baseball is not simply “a way” of getting ahead in life. It is THE way of living your dream.

Hope I’m right. I see a lot of Latin America in the future of the Houston Astros. Unless I miscounted, six of the nine Astros starters last night were from Latin American countries by either birth or ethnicity.

Go. Astros. Rock the cradle.


Astros Season Ticket Holder Mike McCroskey Was On Hand Monday Night to Demonstrate His Unabridged Support for the Club's Recent Roster Moves.



Blog Extra Bonus: Friday Weather Shots

February 4, 2011

10:30 AM, Friday, 020411, Side of Our House, Houston

No snow. Plenty of ice. Redundant TV weather advisories to stay off the frozen streets of Houston.

10:40 AM: Friday, 020411: All of our outdoor cars have frozen windows.

Snow for a day would have been nice, but all we got was the deadly dark ice. Staying home is best. Who wants to end up as a quadriplegic  from an ill-fated Starbucks run?

10:45 AM; 020411, Friday. Icicles on the front yard roof corners too.

Enough. See what happens when I get trapped in the house with nothing to do but blog about nothing?

Forgive me too. I promise not to write another column for the rest of the day.