Archive for February, 2008

The 2008 Astros Team Profile On Roster E-mag

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

MVN has launched a new emag, “Roster” which is Seamless Baseball’s fantasy baseball draft kit. There are featured columns by Maury Brown, Derek Carty, Pizza Cutter, Daniel Rathman and Eric Seidman. There is also a mock draft. Check it out.

I really don’t know real too much about conventional fantasy baseball, because my idea of a fantasy draft involving baseball players, um, is not G-rated.

Well, truth be told these days I’m so tired my idea of the perfect fantasy kind of is, uh, a little twist on the old joke about this guy who approaches a woman in a bar and tells her – baby, you so hot – I’ll go home with you and do absolutely ANYTHING you want me to do if you can tell me specifically every single thing you want in only 3 words. And I looked at him and said – feed my puppies…


Anyhow, here is my column on the year’s preview for the Astros (there were a couple of mistakes in the editing, but I have corrected them here.)

Take a look – see what yall think:

Houston Astros
2007: The Astros’ season was financially successful, thanks to the season’s devotion to Craig Biggio’s endlessly promoted farewell tour, but the team’s playing was lifeless and discombobulated, thanks to the organization’s devotion to first ensuring that Craig Biggio would not merely achieve his goal of 3000 hits, but be treated like a prima donna as well.

The now-departed GM, Tim Purpura, most likely at the owner’s direction, signed free agents Carlos Lee and Woody Williams, made virtually no effort to re-sign Andy Pettitte (and consequently Roger Clemens) and traded away fan favorite CF Willy Taveras and young pitchers Jason Hirsh and Taylor Buchholz for Jason Jennings, which turned out to be disastrous moves as Williams and Jennings (who turned out to be hurt) were two of the 10 worst pitchers in the NL.

Morgan Ensberg and Chris Burke were unable to regain their pre-injury abilities and Jason Lane couldn’t recapture his 2005 stroke. Now-departed manager Phil Garner, as is his wont, continuously shuffled the lineup as well as platooned as many players as possible at every spot except for left field. Lance Berkman hit for the lowest BA, OPS and SLG of his career, Carlos Lee won the NL GIDP title and broke Adam Everett’s leg, resulting in his replacement at short by the hapless Mark Loretta and would-be rookie of the year Hunter Pence lost over a month because of a fractured wrist.

Brad Lidge re-discovered his pitches, but only in the set-up role, Dan Wheeler forgot how to pitch, period, and was traded for a 2B/3B even Tampa Bay didn’t want and the bullpen overall lost 27 games. In short, everything that could go wrong went wrong and the Astros had their first losing season in seven years.

Off-season Additions: 1B/OF Darin Erstad, 2B Kazuo Matsui, SS Miguel Tejada, IF Geoff Blum, CF Michael Bourn, OF Reggie Abercrombie, OF Jose Cruz, Jr., OF Victor Diaz, OF Yordany Ramirez, RHP Jose Valverde, RHP Oscar Villareal, RHP Chad Paronto, RHP Geoff Geary, RHP Doug Brocail, RHP Shawn Chacon, LHP Wesley Wright, RHP Jack Cassel

Off-season Losses: C Eric Munson, IF/OF Eric Bruntlett, 1B/3B Mike Lamb, SS Adam Everett, 2B Craig Biggio, 2B Chris Burke, OF Luke Scott, RHP Brad Lidge, RHP Chad Qualls, RHP Matt Albers, RHP Juan Gutierrez, LHP Troy Patton, LHP Trever Miller

2008 Projected Lineup:
1. Michael Bourn, CF
2. Kaz Matsui, 2B
3. Miguel Tejada, SS
4. Lance Berkman,1B
5. Carlos Lee, LF
6. Hunter Pence, RF
7. Ty Wigginton, 3B
8. J.R. Towles/Brad Ausmus, C

2008 Projected Staff:
1. Roy Oswalt
2. Wandy Rodriguez
3. Brandon Backe
4. Woody Williams
5. Chris Sampson or Shawn Chacon (Chacon will go to the bullpen if Sampson makes the rotation: Sampson will most likely go to AAA if Chacon makes the rotation)

Middle Relievers: Chad Paronto, Geoff Geary, Dave Borkowski
Lefty Relievers: Mark McLemore or Wesley Wright
Setup: Oscar Villareal, Doug Brocail
Closer: Jose Valverde

Fantasy Stud: Roy Oswalt should throw his usual 220 innings, winning 13-20 games, with his usual 3.20 (average) ERA and 150-200 K. Carlos Lee will have his usual line near .300-30-100 and Lance Berkman has a good chance for similar numbers. Michael Bourn should steal a good 40 bases if he gets on base.

Fantasy Dud: Kaz Matsui will most likely not approach his Coors Field numbers that he posted last year. Minute Maid Park is not a hitters park, contrary to popular belief.

Prospect Watch: The Astros’ farm system is the worst in the major leagues and the only prospect expected to make the 25-man roster is would-be starting catcher J.R. Towles, who rose (uncharacteristically for the Astros organization) quickly through the minors, shooting from High-A to the majors last year. He has posted a minor-league OPS of .863 over four years, and although he certainly is not expected to post such gaudy numbers, he should hit at least .250/.330/.380 (according to the ZiPS projection system). The possibility exists that Felipe Paulino might also make the leap to the majors from Double-A where he posted a 1.36 WHIP and a 3.61 ERA with 8.84 K/9 IP in the Texas League.

Psycho-Billy Cadillac – The Should-be Slogan For the 2008 Astros

Monday, February 25th, 2008

You know the old Johnny Cash song (apologies for the liberties, Johnny) about the guy who builds himself a Cadilly-yack (as my youngest once called it) using pieces , um, collected from different models over many years:

“Wade got em one guy at a time
And it cost us a pretty dime
You’ll know the Astros when we come through your town
Gonna have no particular style
Gonna drive us Astros fans wild”

Well, isn’t it the perfect slogan for this year’s team? With God-knows-who from God-knows where all thrown together like Wade was concocting Stone Soup?

Psycho-Billy Cadillac

It’s great. Because it might LOOK crazy, but youneverknow, it just might could give you a smooth ride and run great even if there aren’t any available spare parts IF it breaks down…

2/23/08: Shawn Chacon, Newest Astro Pitcher

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

As Ed Wade knows only too well, you can’t never have too many middle relievers. I mean, relievers. Shawn Chacon decided to sign with the Astros because (supposedly) we have “a chance to win.” Yeah. And I have a chance to have a date with Morris Chestnut, too. I would guess that the truth is that the Astros told him that he had a chance to win GAMES – in other words, that the possibility exists that he could start a few games or even close if Valverde falters.

Shawn Chacon was born in Alaska but grew up in Colorado. When he graduated from HS, he was selected by the Rockies in the 3rd round of the 96 draft and debuted as a ML starter in his rookie year of 2001. In those pre-humidor days, playing with the worst team in the NL, he managed a 5.06 ERA (105 ERA+) and a 1.53 WHIP in 27 games over 160 innings. (Remember that year? They brought in Denny Neagle and Mike “I LUUUVVV the Denver Public Skoolz” Hampton and were supposed to Win?!)

He didn’t pitch nearly as well in 02 – he had a 5.73 ERA (83 ERA+) and a 1.53 WHIP in 21 games over 119 IP. He did throw 24 innings at AAA, so he must have been sent down at some time because he wasn’t on the DL. Not sure what happened – his K rate did drop from 7.54 to 5.05 and his HR rate increased from 1.56 to 1.89/9 IP, but perhaps the fielders didn’t do as well for him: they replaced Neifi Perez with Juan Uribe, Jeff Cirillo with Todd Zeile and Todd Walker with Brent Butler.

However, he rebounded in 03 in spite of 2 stints on the DL with right elbow problems, he posting a career best 4.63 ERA (108 ERA+) and a 1.33 WHIP, significantly reducing both walks and homers in 23 games over 137 IP, and made the All-Star team.

The next year, for reasons I didn’t understand at the time and still don’t, they decided to make him the team closer, although he was very clear about not wanting to close AND he had been the team’s best SP the year before. And it wasn’t as if they were exactly overflowing with ace quality starters, neither.

Let me be kind and say that closing didn’t agree with him at ALL – he posted a 7.11 ERA and a 1.93 WHIP over 66 games, saved 35, lost 9 and blew 5 more.

The Rockies abandoned the Chacon as closer experiment – it WAS a stupid idea from the get go – and he resumed his starting in 2005. Although he had a 1-7 record, he had a 4.09 ERA (117 ERA+) and a 1.44 WHIP at the trading deadline and the Rockies traded him to the Yankees in what was an obvious salary dump for a couple of cruddy prospects. He looked like an ace the rest of the year, going 7-3 with a 2.85 ERA over 79 IP. He even pitched well in is one playoff appearance against the Angels, giving up 2 ER over 6.1 IP.

In 2006, he looked even worse than he would have had he stayed in Colorado – a 7.00 ERA, 1.80 WHIP, 5.14 BB/9, 5 K/9 in 63 IP over 17 games with 11 GS and this was NY, so anything less than perfection gets you traded and sure enough off went Shawn to the NL basement for Craig Wilson. It’s not that Shawn looked exactly ace-like in his new home, going 2-3 in 9 GS over 46 IP with a 5.48 ERA, but hey, anything to escape a lynching I guess. It’s most likely that Chacon wasn’t near as good as his first 3 months in NY and he wasn’t as bad as his last 3 as his FIP showed he should have had an ERA around 4.20, not bad, but not exactly 2.85.
Last year, Chacon had a very good year as a middle reliever, a 3.94 ERA (110 ERA+) and a 1.49 WHIP in 64 games over 96 IP.

Career, he has a 4.98 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP (too many walks) – a 92 ERA+ as a starter.

Well, as Eddie Wade always sez – you just cain’t never have got your selves too many mediocre middle relievers or #5 starters. What is sad is that Chacon would most likely have outperformed both his old teammate Jennings as well as Woody had he been an Astro last year. And Woody and Wade had, um, a discussion – ahem- at the start of ST: even though Woody is getting 6 mill this year, he won’t stay in the rotation if he sucks as much as he did last year. Unfortunately, this most likely means that Chris Sampson will most likely be getting the shaft. And on NO planet is Shawn Chacon a better starting pitcher than Sampson.

Ah well.

It is interesting that the Astros never wanted Sampson to start in spite of his excellence. I suppose it is because he is such a GB pitcher and has a low K rate, which isn’t glamorous, or something. But Sampson pitched himself onto the rotation last year, and hopefully he will do the same THIS year.

2/22/08: Of Dogs And Men

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

“Why should I
feel like that
Why should I
chase the cat?

Nothin but the DOG in me
– George Clinton

As most of all yall have determined from reading my columns over the past (almost) four years, I really do just LUUUUVVVVV dogs. Dogs are, in general (with few exceptions) pack animals, enjoying and assimilating new dogs into their group. There are, of course, those Dogs who regard the introduction of any new Dog, or even human being, into their life as an affront to their being and, shall we say, resist (ahem) the new individual. But usually, it is personal – the Dog simply dislikes, for whatever reason, the new addition, especially if there would seem to be any challenge to his/her supremacy.

When Husband brought home the puppies a few weeks back, Dog Pappas (yes, named after the late great Doug Pappas), the youngest of our three dogs, not quite a year old himself, first dismissed the pups as uninteresting and insignificant until he realized that not only were they not leaving, but they were taking up his usual space in the kitchen as well as taking away from the all-important Mami-playing-with DP Dog-time. Topping off the insult was the fact that Alpha Dog Barry Lamar didn’t merely tolerate the rookies, he didn’t merely welcome them, he enjoyed watching them.

Phat Stuff Dog, who, in general, is indifferent to the presence of addition of any other dog as long as they are not unspeakably stupid enough to go anywhere near his food, ignored the pups. Now it is true that Phat Stuff might could have agreed to lap puppy milk replacer from a bowl, as it is against his way of life to turn down anything whatsoever that might could be edible, provided that it isn’t moving; however, he wouldn’t humiliate himself by attempting to drink from a baby bottle.

Dog Pappas howled his jealousy and rage and yesterday managed to knock over the dog gate and foolishly went straight for the pups, somehow forgetting that Barry Lamar Dog was in his way and that Barry Lamar is older, MUCH bigger and MUCH stronger (sorta reminded me of the famous Robin Ventura/Nolan Ryan fight – you could almost see a look on DP Dog’s face just prior to impact wondering if, in fact, he might could have made a mistake.) He was a lucky Dog – Barry Lamar left him with most of his skin and fur, if not his dignity, intact. Some Dogs just don’t like young players – actually, husband is now calling DP Dog “Jeff Kent Dog.” He now simply waits until he thinks no one is looking, then growls at the pups.

Reminds me of an actual team – some guys welcome new rooks, enjoy teaching them, showing them the ropes (like Roger Clemens); some guys ignore all new guys and are entirely self-absorbed in their own life (like Frank Thomas); some guys really resent new guys and do their best to bite them (like Luis Gonzalez or Jeff Kent.) Sometimes, you bring in new guys who just do NOT fit in with any of the other dogs (like what happened several years back when Husband brought home Prima Donna Dog and the other three instantly HATED her – same with Kevin F. Dog.)

It has also been fun and instructive to watch my children deal with the pups. The twins, who, at first, were very helpful, lost interest because it suddenly occurred to them that even if you did a good job feeding them, for some reason, in spite of the good job, they’d wake up 2 hours later and want to be fed AGAIN. As #2 son explained – there’s just no END to it. (The very definition of motherhood, you see.) Or, as #1 son told me – that Bradley Dog, he BAD – he can’t just be askin for food, he gotta wake up everybody else and get them askin too. It’s a funny thing – Bradley is the loudest, Morgan is the largest but Adam is somehow, unquestionably the alpha of the bunch.

Interesting how whenever there is a group, there always seems to be SOME alpha – and it is not always a male, nor the largest, nor the strongest, nor the oldest.

This afternoon, after I had brought the twins home from school, I had left the kitchen and gone to get a new, fresh pile of puppy towels (think un-disposable diapers) when I heard my children YELLING from the kitchen – MAMI COME QUICK!!!!

Thinking that there might could have been a new DP Dog attack, I rushed back, to be greeted by three excited children pointing at the puppy pen – LOOK Mami, Adam Dog got his eyes open!!! Sure enough, there he was, standing in front of his siblings, whose eyes are still shut, looking up at us, wagging his little tail. Goodness gracious. Amazing how much more attention you get if you appear to be interested in whoever is paying attention to you. The kids, previously disinterested, are now fighting over who gets to hold/feed Adam Dog.

The “leader” indeed.

Da Bull is showing interest in the puppies, namely Adam, for the first time ever. He asks why we can’t keep them. I explain that puppies grow up faster than kids do and in a few weeks they will be grown up enough to leave (our) home, just as kids do when THEY grow up. Da Bull thinks about this, suddenly realizes that he’s a kid and will someday grow up and leave home. His face shows alarm, he throws his arms around me and cries – Ida WANNA leave. Well, I said, of course not.

Some prospects you keep….

2/20/08: Astros Defeat Loretta In Arbitration

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

I wasn’t surprised. The owners are usually defeating the players these days and Loretta would have been more successful, in my opinion, if he had asked for 3.5 mill, which is the amount he made last year after adding in bonuses.

No other real news. Players are trickling in to spring training camp. Tejada says he’s fine and not worried. Which doesn’t surprise me one bit – no one cares that he used roids or lied about it. People only care about the super-duper stars who use. Tal Smith was dead right about that, not that he’d have the stones to come out and say so. You notice that the local and national media aren’t bothering to waste air/ink on Tejada because he isn’t that good and has no chance of reaching the Hall and won’t even come close to breaking The Sacred Home Run Record.

Let’s see, what else? Hunter Pence wasn’t watching where he was going and ran through a plate glass window, cutting himself in a few places. Detectives say alcohol wasn’t involved. I guess this is his admission to the “hard-nosed” school of Aaron Rowand-ism. I guess it is a good thing if you are a ball player to not watch where the heck you are going.

What else?

Oh yeah – Jon Heyman, a good friend of Brian McNamee says that Clemens caused Pettitte all this trouble by just not shutting up and agreeing with everything that McNamee accused him of and now it is all Roger’s fault that The NY Daily News had to go and find out that Andy got his HGH from his father in 2004 and so Andy’s father got his own self in the paper.

I’m getting tired of hearing how using a chemical BEFORE it was banned is “cheating” and I’m getting especially tired of hearing how HGH is a performance enhancer. I would like to see even ONE piece of scientific evidence that in normal healthy young men that HGH strengthens ANYTHING except for the bony growth of the chin, hands and feet.

Me, I would like to see the remainder of the media give the exact same amount of hellfire to every single steroid user that they have given to McGwire, Bonds and Clemens. Of course, it will never happen. I know better.

2/15/08: Astros Defeat Valverde In Arbitration

Friday, February 15th, 2008

This was the first arb case for the Astros since Darryl Kile beat them in 1997. I really wasn’t surprised that the Astros won this one because Valverde had only one really outstanding year, let alone one year as a closer and that was last year.

Also, Valverde is a stranger to the Organization and will be traded sometime in the next 2 years, or let go as a FA. They don’t particularly care about his feelings toward the Organization, as they would, say, Hunter Pence, and they don’t worry that Valverde would dog it or sulk because it would seriously affect his future salaries, even if they aren’t with the Astros.

Loretta’s arb case is on Monday, and I would bet they will have a tougher time winning that one, as they only want to give him a small raise after his performance last year. However, he’s asking for almost twice his last year’s salary, so it is gonna be interesting. If I was a betting woman, I’d give the Astros a 60:40 advantage simply because Tal Smith made himself a very good living helping owners win arb cases.

Still no word on whether or not the Astros will sign Shawn Chacon who will, if he is signed (best I can tell) replace Chris Sampson on the 25 man. Poor Chris – it’s not like he’d be replaced by a better pitcher, just a more expensive one. If Chacon gets signed, I’ll go from there.

You want to know how the puppies are doing, don’t you? Glad you asked. Since we won’t be keeping any of em and it seemed, well, cold to just call them 1,2,3,4 and 5, I thought it would be good to name them after the Astros who left the team. So we have Adam Pup E Dog, Bradley Pup E Dog, Chris Pup E Dog, Morgan Pup E Dog and Luke Dog E Dog. And however did yall guess that Mr. NO MORE DOGS!!! is gonna be doing more than a few feedings tonight???

2008 Astros Pitchers And Catchers (And Baby Dogz) Report

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

It was a week ago that my best friend and I were sitting peacefully at the kitchen table enjoying the complete, although temporary absence of noise, talking about the stuff that us females like talking about when men/kidz aren’t around, when Barry Lamar Dog suddenly alerted to the sound of my husband’s truck. Husband doesn’t come home for lunch and I was astonished (and worried) to see him, and he came in the door with one of Those Looks that men give when they got somethin to say but REALLY don’t want to get into it all.

Um, Baby, he says, um, well, uh, I don’t got the time to, um, and maybe you might could, um…
Might could, like, WHAT?
Well, uh, in the truck, uh, well, cmon out and see, uh

So out I go and wrapped/lying on a rag was a pile of little bitty baby Dogs, looked fresh born to me. I stared at him – you brought me brand new babies??? Where you get these? Where’s their mama? WHERE you just happen to get baby Dogs???

Uh, well, um, I had just got out the truck and I hear, uh, kinda sounded like crying and I gone over to look and there they were in the grass and I didn’t see no Mama Dog and uh, I ain’t got time to take em to the Humane Society and um, uh, maybe you might could, um, uh, yeh, uh, I gotta go. Translation – I had sneaked out to KFC and yeh, I know I’m not supposed to be eating that stuff but I, um, forgot – yeah, forgot and I couldn’t just leave babies to die of cold/hunger so you deal with it.

So of course I told him – you spending the rest of your lunch getting me some puppy milk replacer whilst I clean and check them because they gotta eat every 2 hours just like a human baby. And you DO know the shelters can’t take puppies this young because they gotta be able to eat. These babies, they gotta be fed and cleaned. You know, just like, you know, BABIES???

So I got Charlene to heat some towels for them to lie on so they wouldn’t die of cold and I went to see if I could find all the old bottles I used to feed Barry Lamar Dog when he was a baby. By the time Husband got back from Petsmart with the formula, I had checked and cleaned them and I had 8 live pups and 3 dead ones.

I had the Dog gate up so big Dogsss couldn’t come into the kitchen while I was fixin up the babies, and pretty soon Phat Stuff and Dog Pappas lost interest, but Barry Lamar, who has always had a soft spot for babies, insisted in coming in and checking them out and after Charlene and I finished feeding them, we let them snuggle next to him for a bit – I knew the poor babies would be all confused when they woke to find themselves next to the Wrong Sort of Dog for feeding.

In spite of my best efforts, three of the pups didn’t make it, but we now have 5 lively babies who have to be fed and cleaned every 2 hours around the clock. Naturally, Husband got to sleep all Thursday night so he could go to work Friday, but you best believe I had him doing shifts with me on the weekend, him grumbling all the way, me ignoring it. The twins have been incredibly helpful – surprising for 5 year olds, but they have their Daddy’s gentle and patient way about them, and yes, I HAVE explained that we are just puppy-sitting for a few weeks until they can go to their homes so we won’t have as much tears as we might could if we hadn’t warned them from the beginning.

And of course, all yall had to hear about our new additions so you might could understand why I’ve been one poor correspondent this past week. The good thing about dogs, is that the number of weeks that you have to get up every two *(^*%^@! hours around the clock is significantly fewer than it is with a human baby. In fact, only 2 more weeks of this.

But I suppose it is now time to talk about baseball and today is not only the beginning of my 9th year of marriage to the same man (hard to believe) but the beginning of the 46th season of Astros baseball. I know that simply saying “pitchers and catchers report” is a bit more accurate, but I am SOOOO delighted that I actually have something to talk about besides steroids.

Catchers are: Brad Ausmus, who is supposed to be the backup, JR Towles, who has the inside track on being the starting catcher, Humberto Quintero, who is supposed to be this good defensive catcher (which I’ve seen little evidence of in any of the past 3 years) who, Ed Wade explained a few weeks back, is in “competition” with Towles for the starting job. Good grief. This is the guy that Woody Williams, a laidback guy who has thrown to dozens of catchers, refused to throw to after about 8 games. Ahem.

Where was I? Oh yeah. NRIs are JR House (who I thought had been moved to first base), Alberto Castillo, age 38, who has bounced from team to team between majors and minors since 2002 and whose hitting “prowess” over the past few years makes Brad Ausmus look like Piazza 1999, and Joshua Johnson, age 24, who is a 6 year minor league FA who spend last year in AAA Durham, got 102 PA with 4 BB, 38 K and had an OPS of .742. No Lou Santangelo.

Pitchers on the 40 man: (guys in bold print will, in my opinion, make the 25 man – yes, I know there are only 10. One more will be a lefty. The other will be either Sampson or Paulino. Of course, it may be neither Sampson nor Paulino but instead some crappy FA picked off the scrap heap because of his “Veteran Presence.”)

Backe, Borkowski, Brocail, Jack Cassel, Paul Estrada, Geoff Geary, Samuel Gervacio, Ryan Houston, Brad James, Mark McLemore (lefty), Nieve (who is still recovering from TJ and may not be pitching even if he throws), Oswalt, Chad Paronto, Felipe Paulino, Chad Reinecke, Wandy, Sampson, Valverde, Villareal, Woody and Wesley Wright, our lefty Rule V guy.

NRI pitchers (and yes I DO know that Moehler might could make it onto the 25 man again this year)
Mike DeJean, Runelvys Hernandez (shudder), Carlos Hines, Brian Moehler, Josh Muecke (age 25, just finished AA, one of our lefty minor leaguers) and Stephen Randolph (unfortunately, a lefty who can’t get ML hitters out worth spit.)

Of course, I don’t think that pitching 10 – 12 innings in spring training really tells you much at all, but it will have to do.

The Hardball Times 2008 Season Preview

Friday, February 8th, 2008

As yall know, I write for once or twice a month – the non-statist of the group. The Annual Season Preview has just been completed and is now available. As David Gassko, one of the editors explains, “This year’s effort includes 240 pages of team essays, player comments for almost 900 different players, projections, and other goodies. The team chapters are written by bloggers and THT writers who follow their team every day, and the result is the kind of commentary you canít get from just looking at the numbers or some news stories.”

And of course, “mind-bending, cutting-edge stats” for all your fantasy needs. Yes, I DO mean baseball fantasy.
Click here to read David’s 10 examples of things he learned from reading the book.
Click here to read a sample chapter.
Click here to buy. Thank yuh verra much.
Oh yeah – “full disclosure” – I do get $.02 for every book sold – you know, because I put my 2 cents in….

Heckling The 2008 Astros

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

I’ve been referring to other writers sneering/snark about my team. But they MUCH to full of themselves to even think of coming up with a few heckles, so without further ado, here is Rick Paulas gives a few helpful hints – click here to read (WARNING – several references to reproductive organs. Rick is a non-sexist and includes both kinds. SUCH a thoughtful guy…)
Rick is from L.A. and writes for the Chicago Sports Weekly, so you gotta forgive the boy for not coming up with more accurate or even colorful heckles. Perhaps I might could help a little. Let’s see…

Lance Berkman: My granma in a wheelchair coulda got to that ball fastern you
Ty Wigginton: My granma in a wheelchair coulda got to that ball fastern you
Miguel Tejada: My granma in a wheelchair coulda got to that ball fastern you
Carlos Lee: My DEAD DOG coulda got to that ball fastern you
and by the way my NIECE could run to first fastern all yall boys put together.
And hey Michael Bourn and Kaz, YEW CAIN’T STEAL FIRST BASE!!!!

But, fact is, it’s pretty tough to come up with a really good heckle for these guys. It’s not nice to make fun of the unfortunates….

Oh, and before I forget – Rick, being a male, is simply dead wrong about how to heckle Brad Ausmus – he mentioned his niece, a “bat” and “hitting” and let me assure you, his niece sure ain’t thinkin about baseball when it comes to Brad, a bat and hitting, trust me on this…

Astros Change Half The Roster For 2008

Monday, February 4th, 2008

I LUUUUUUUUUVVVVVVV Superbowl Sunday. Not that I like football, mind, but because you can keep your males’ eyes glued to the TV for hours, it makes it sooooooo easy to slip out the door with all your female friends and head straight out for the shoe sales. Yes, I NEEDED to go look at shoes and, um, other female-type interesting things because after reading Josh Dubrow the other day, I just needed to assert my femininity.

And just when I was starting to feel a little better, here is Dayn Perry, almost as bitchy as Josh Dubrow, to give his compliments to the Astros. From his latest column about giving hope to the hopeless,
“They have the worst farm system in baseball, and the front office has inexplicably concluded that the team can contend in ‘08. Oh yeah, this was supposed to be positive … Um, Roy Oswalt’s a first-rate hurler, and Hunter Pence is an exciting young talent. That’s all we’ve got.”

Well, I am beginning to seriously hope that the Astros outperform all expectations, just to shut up those, shall we say, mean grrrls. Not that I have any arguments with their agreement with Baseball America/ESPN/Baseball Prospectus’ evaluation of the Astros farm system.
Anyway, 12 or 13 players (depending on whether or not Chris Sampson makes the 25 man) will be new to the Astros. We all know that the Astros had their first losing record since 2000 and the second since 1991. I wondered what happened in the past to teams that changed over half of the players on their roster from one year to the next. Did they do better?

So I wrote it up for the Hardball Times. Click here to read.