Archive for November, 2011

11/28/11: Astros Get Permission From Rays To Interview Andrew Friedman

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Just because a team obtains permission, it doesn’t mean that the proposed interviewee wants the job.

Why on earth would Andrew Friedman want to leave his great job and come to a terrible team in a terrible situation like this? When he signed on with he Rays after they got rid of Chuck LaMar, he inherited a team with a couple of decent major leaguers, and even more importantly, a very VERY stocked minor league system chock full of top prospects. AND he got Gerry Hunsicker to sign on, to boot.

He won’t be allowed to spend on the major league team, he will inherit a fan base that has mostly said good-bye to the team and he has virtually nothing in the monors and 3 actual major league ballplayers, no stars. He will have yet another low budget team with an owner who has very little actual money, a lot of debt and no supporting partners. AND he will be working for the guy who screwed his own father out of the team.

I am guessing that he would be offered a Theo Epstein kind of position as team president, whatever that is, and allowed to hire a GM and coaches and scouts. More money, sure, and a Better Title. But a much MUCH worse situation. I don’t get it.

I asked my Husband, who is a man, and therefore might could understand the motivation, orr why trade a great successful team for a bad  one. He shrugged and said – same reason why Youse Females like to screw Ashton Kutcher to break up his and Demi’s marriage. It’s a power trip. I said – well, why is a better title more power if the job is worse? He said, because Respect = Title + Salary. You think if you have a better title and more money that you can trip your own self into thinking you can make chicken salad outta chicken poopoo.

You know, I agree that Sometimes, It’s Harrrrrrrrrd To Be A Woman, but best I can tell, I’d find it absolutely impossible to be a man…

11/27/11: Rumor Has It That Ed Wade Will Be Fired; Tal Smith MIGHT Retire

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Like, big, like deal. A lot of good that is gonna do. Getting rid of Ed Wade and replacing him with someone else who can “work with” Tal Smith ain’t gonna do a bit of good.

Richard Justice says that Crane wants to get Andrew Friedman of the Rays. So does pretty much everyone else. Andres Friedman, by the way, is the son of the man who headed a group who was also trying to buy the Astros – and unlike Crane, had real actual money as well as other partners who have money. And were not going to install some basketball guy as CEO.

Andrew Friedman would be absolutely OUT of his mind to even think about it.

Same with Gerry Hunsicker.

But youneverknow – I wouldn’t have thought that Theo Epstein would have hated Larry Lucchino so much that he would actually take a job with the Cubs. Maybe Andrew Friedman doesn’t like his father. Maybe Gerry Hunsicker wants to leave a great job for a bad one. Who knows?

There is all this talk about re-building this Organization from the ground up, but Crane isn’t going to spend money, the last 5 drafts have been lousy, there are no good major leaguers on the team except for Wandy Rodriguez, who is going to be traded (so I hear) and there are no really good minor leaguers. I don’t want to hear about George Springer, who hasn’t done anything more than Jio Mier or Delino DeShields. Or the pitchers that Atlanta handed us from the bottom of their barrel. Paul Clemens can’t find a strike zone with both hands.

I really WILL get that recap of the drafts out, I swear. Ed Wade and Bobby Heck really did a terrible job finding GOOD prospects. Signing your top 15 picks is not something special if the prospects aren’t any good.

Happy Thanksgiving 2011

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

It never fails. Every Thanksgiving, somehow the toasted pecans which I arrange neatly on top of the pecan pies become, uh, disarranged, often absent, and this curious event occurs when my Daddy just happens to drop by. So this year, I put them in a box, padlocked the box and put it in my closet.

Baby Girl, sez my Daddy, trying to look innocent, aintchu gonna fix no pies this year? Ida know Daddy, I answer, they bad for your sugar. But I don’t GOT a sugar problem, so where’s the pies? Well, Daddy, IFFN I was gonna fix pies, today is NOT Thanksgiving yet, right?

sulk

But I had, in fact, fixed a special treat for Great Uncle Johnny, wrapped it up special, and put a For Uncle Johnny so NOBODY TOUCH THIS OR ELSE!!!!! sign on it. And so after dinner last night, I went to the fridge to get it to bring it to him – he needs the calories because he’s sick, and I can’t find it where I left it and I know SOMEbody got into it so I go into the living rom and confront trying to look innocent males and say WHERE THAT OAT CRACK PIE AT?

Sudden silence, guilty looks, tongues licking crumbs offn lips.

Well, huhhuhhuh, er, you see, sez Cousin Marvelle the security guard who thinks he should be a cop,  ah thought you said crack PIPE so I had to, uh, investigate. Yeah, that’s the word, investigate.

Lemme get this straight here boy – by your own self, you went into MY refrigerator, opened the present for Uncle Johnny and ate 4000 calories worth of butter, oats, cream and sugar to make sure it was legal, do I got this straight, while all these other boys just sat and watched you, it that right?

So of course Cousin Marvelle ain’t gonna take the rap his own self and immediately implicates Husband, Brother, Daddy and Sons 1-3, still surreptitiously licking crumbs off fingers. Which of course, I knew, seeing as how I knew only too well that the only thing they like to share more than gossip is greasy, sugary, buttery, creamy goo. And that pie takes FOREVER to make, too.

So between having to remake it, repost threats of refusal to cook any more at ALL, and making the usual stuff, I’ve had no time to make the announcements that

1 – no more Clint Barmes – he signed with the Bucs for 5 mill a year for 2 years. Looks like Angel Sanchez or some minor leaguer or crappy guy offn the scrap heap is going to “play” short.

2 – Buddy Boy is trying to assuage furious Astros’ fans anger against Crane (henceforth to be referred to as the RWP – racist War Profiteerer) by saying that Drayton McLane agreed to move to the team to the AL way BEFORE the sale. Yeah, surrrrre. Ain’t making Astros fans any less angry at either you or the RWP, Selig, you swear words. And the team using AAAA players everywhere isn’t making either one of you look good and is certainly NOT going to increase ticket sales.

3 – Corporan and Towles are off the team, as they have picked up some other horrid AAAA catcher who is a Corporan/Towles clone.

4 – They have signed 4 guys to minor league contracts with invites to ST – Lance Pendleton (RH RP who was on the roster in Sept after being released by the Yankees), Travis Buck, 29 yo LH OF (1st round pick of the A’s in 05, AAAA guy, 737 AB over 5 years with a .727 OPS), Joe Thurston, 32 yo AAAA IF, (5th round pick of the Dodgers in 99, who we know from his 226 ABs with the 09 Cards –  lifetime .626 OPS in 323 ML Abs over 9 years) and Brad Snyder, 29 yo LH OF (1st round pick for Cleveland in 03, who has a grand toal of 35 ML Ab, all with the Cubs and has a AAA .835 OPS over 1760 ABs.)

uck

You know that if these guys had been 40th rounders, they wouldn’t be getting a ST invite. Might as well stockpile some crappy AAAA guys at AAA OK City so they will have SOMEbody to play, seeing as how we don’t have any decent minor leaguers, right?

They have left 23 year old Kody Hinze off the 40 man – he was undrafted and has hit like crazy – don’t guess they need any prospects who can, you know, like, hit. Ed Wade’s obsession with crappy utility infielders over minor leaguers who could, you know, like, maybe someday, like contribute, continues.

The minor leaguers left unprotected are: Xavier Cedeno, 25 yo LHP who we got in the Paulino trade; Kyle Greenwalt, 23 yo RH SP/RP, 20th rounder in 07; Danny Meszaros, 25 yo RH RP, AAA, 48th round in 08; Sergio Perez, Rh SP, 2nd rounder in 05 – wracked, or is it wrecked, by injuries, 2 years of suckage at AAA.

Kyle Greenwalt has possibilities – the other 3? Nope.

Also, Brandon Barnes, 5th rounder in 05; Jon Gaston, 7th rounder in 08; Collin DeLome, 5th round in 07; and T.J. Steele, 4th round in 08. All of em outfielders who can’t hit a lick. No obvious great loss. We already HAVE a CF who can’t hit a lick, when he can tear himself away from Mary Jane, that is.

Hmmm. Schafer hasn’t yet been tried or sentenced. Maybe we NEED another OF who can’t hit a lick…

11/17/11: The Day The Astros Died

Friday, November 18th, 2011

I had hoped for the best and now have to accept the worst. This is like when you have a stomachache. Only it lasts more than a couple of weeks and you aren’t feeling right so you see the doc and she tells you – it’s nothing bad, it should go away. And it seems to, but it keeps coming back and you see another doc who says, well, we’ll get some tests, meanwhile, take this medicine. And you do, and you think you are getting better. But then they take an X-ray and you hear the technician say uh-oh. And you have this bad BAD feeling and finally the doc takes a look at everything and says – it’s malignant, it’s terminal and nothing can be done. Let me give you the number for hospice and a script for pain meds because you’re gonna need em.

I’m in the final stage of Astros fandom, ready for hospice.

I’ve already been through

1 – denial
2 – anger
3 – bargaining
4 – depression 
5 -and now am fully into acceptance that the team has been sold to a person who I hope rots in hell, who has taken the baseball team from me and every last remaining Astros fan. Sorry, DH ball is NOT baseball and there is not now and will not be any rivalry with the Dallas Rangers except in Nolan Ryan’s revenge-filled head.

I started writing this entry a couple of weeks back when I got the grim news from several informants that Bud had informed  Crane that he would approve him, war profitering, racism and all, if he agreed to move to the American League and Crane said – and you will pay me HOW much? The answer was 70 million bucks, which means that Crane has bought a major league baseball team for FIVE million dollars cold hard cash. You can’t beat it. And he’ll make his 50 mill a year by taking a dive year after year.

They say that you always think that everything was best when you were a child/teenager. I don’t know about that. I do know that I used to LOVE MTV when it did this weird thing called playing music videos and I quit watching it after they took Beavis and Butthead off and replaced them with people who all need to get hit by a train. I know I used to LOVE BBTN a long time ago when it actually used to not concentrate 90% of the show on ESPN top 5 faves.

But they both decided that they would market what is cheapest and sells best, and they lost me as a consumer, not that they care seeing as how I am not in the demographic they want to reach.

For years, we have been watching Bud Selig do, not what is best for the game of baseball, but what makes the owners the most money. He wants to try to make baseball approximate NFL as closely as possible, although he has given up on smashing the MLBPA, as he no longer needs to do that to defeat them. He wants to homogenize the Leagues and have simply MLB, not the NL or AL. He has already removed League presidents, blended the umpires and instituted multiple divisions and Wild Cards for the purpose of removing any importance of winning a Pennant. The regular season no longer means anything whatsoever with respect to team excellence. The Postseason is just an extraneous tournament in which, like football, any team can win any given Sunday. Makes it better to gamble with.

Bud wanted to increase the number of teams in the playoffs, to increase income, as playoff games produce more money. To do this, he instituted yet ANOTHER Wild Card, and in order to better serve this purpose, he wanted to move some crappy team with no fan base into the AL, to ensure that there would always be interleague games, a more unbalanced schedule and even give a cherry to Nolan Ryan, who now gets to kick the heck out of the team and city that refused to install him as King.

Rivalry my ass.

So Crane, looking at 50 mill a year income, which is what the owners all get, at absolute minimum, said – hey, no problem. You think a guy whose company engages in war profiteering and discrimination against b*****s, n*****s and s****s is gonna have ANY hesitation in destroying a team and its fanbase?

please

Jeffrey Loria made 50 million a year with the Marlins and their empty stadium.

Crane is not an Astros fan. He doesn’t give a good gooddarn about either the city of Houston or Astros fans, the few that are left. Why should he? He’s in this to make millions and to pump up his ego.

Richard Justice is all happy because now he gets to see his beloved Orioles every year. Larry Dierker says that Astros fans won’t care because they can’t tell the diference between real baseball and DH ball anyhow. Well, for the people who will still go to the ballpark, which won’t be me – I guess that is true. You get all KINDS of people who go to a ballpark who have not even remotely the faintest idea what on earth is going on out there, nor do they care. Don’t ask me why they bother to go – I wouldn’t take a free ticket to go see a soccer or hockey game. But Pam Gardner will still get those groups in, all right.

But I won’t be there. I won’t do anything whatsoever to support Jim Crane – I pray every day that he gets some terrible debilitating disease, like fibromyalgia, which is unresponsive to any pain therapy and spends years in endless excruciating agony. Same for his little pal Bud Selig, who I hope rots in the afterlife under Satan’s heel.

My mother, who has had Astros season tickets since 1970, is not renewing. Neither are most of her friends, a few of whom have extremely expensive tickets. She’s going back to the Cardinals, the team of her girlhood. Much easier now that TLR is gone.

My inbox is filled with emails from Astros fans I have corresponded with over the years, telling me that they are saying good-bye to the Astros right now – why wait.

But this is the last year, I’m not committing suicide, I’m gonna live out the last year of the Astros – I sure wish that Crane crap-head would do at least ONE decent thing and change the name of the team so we Astros fans can have our memories of what was. Like Expos fans do. Bitter memories, but their own team, just the same.

amusement

I bet every other owner in MLB wonders how on earth he could get such unquestioning compliance, such obeisance from THEIR local media. Ours has done exactly zero to defeat Crane and this hellish move. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt and hope that they were all blackmailed into silence, rather than simply not caring.

Well, my few remaining readers, I’m going to get myself together and go over the crapitude that has been the reign of Ed Wade – the unspeakable lousiness of his drafts and the vast majority of his trades. I hope the racist war profiteereer keeps him forever, in case I decide I want to root for the Phillies.

I hear tell that a certain media person thinks he is gonna go after Andrew Friedman and actually get him, as if he wouldn’t mind working for the man who defeated his father. Or my favorite – get Gerry Hunsicker back, as if Gerry wants to work for a loser who wants to make money keeping a lousy team.

Well, youneverknow.

But truth is that I don’t really care. This team is on death row, has terminal inoperable cancer and the end is closing fast.

I remember Larry King, whose mother was a rabid Brooklyn Dodgers fan, telling the story of how when THE GIANTS WON THE PENNANT!!!! she shut the radio off, went into her room and closed the door. Her husband went in there, hoping to get her to come out and prepare dinner, and left rather quickly, telling his son, let’s see if we can find some cans. At least Mrs. King was able to think about waiting until next year. For us Astros fans, there IS no next year.

My mama told me that she isn’t going to Opening Day. And she isn’t kidding. The only year I have missed Opeining Day was in 02 when I was too pregnant and too sick to go. Husband asked me, a little carefully, if I felt the same way (notice that he was not unspeakably stupid enough to remark that that I can watch DH ball as well as real baseball because what’s the difference, really). I don’t know, I really don’t know. It’s a death sentence, and it’s the last year I will be able to watch baseball in my lifetime – I mean, in a stadium, and I’m torn between wanting to watch it while I still can, terrible team and all, or saying that I might as well start withdrawal now, why postpone the inevitable?

I have a long time to decide – I assure all yall there will be PLENTY of free tickets, and I will not spend ONE penny on  tickets or anything inside that stadium that could possibly go into the the RWP’s pocket.

sigh

Maybe I’m still at Stage 3. It’s gonna be a long LONG time before I no longer start to cry when I hear  Take Me Out To The Ballgame.

11/13/11: Athletes And Morals – My Take On Joe Paterno

Sunday, November 13th, 2011

I know I’ve written about this particular subject before, namely, WHY should athletes be held as “role models” let alone paragons of virtue? The vast majority of professional athletes have been spoiled, pampered  persons whose relation to others has been that of royalty to peasants. WHY? Because they can run or jump or hit/catch/throw a BALL? Why should these skills be not only admired, but those who do such things almost worshipped?

I was thinking this again because of all the news about Joe Paterno, the Sandusky child raping scandal, the students rioting against Paterno’s dismissal. Two weeks ago, I had never even heard of Joe Paterno. Now, he is the premier example of the old saying that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The story is sordid, but simple. Joe Paterno, a man who had immense power over a city and a university and many state politicians because he was a successful football coach and was literally worshipped for this, allowed a pederast to remain with the University, the team and a “charity” supposed to be helping young boys. Let me say the most astounding part – he was literally the most powerful man at a University and the most powerful person for a 300 mile radius because of a GAME. People gave money to the University, not because of its teachers, research or academics, but because of a stupid GAME.

I’m a Texan, I know that people like football games. I know that UT and A&M have popular football programs. But the coaches do not wield power like a despot over the entire University, the town and a good deal of the legislature (not to say real too particular good things about the Lege, but at least they don’t do obeisance to some football coach.)

Paterno – the word comes from the latin word pater, meaning father. He spoke about the athletes, unpaid moneymakers for the University – clearing at least $50 MILL/year in profit, making exactly nothing, as his “kids.” He boasted of his pristeen morals, of fomenting those self-same morals in his clubhouse and locker room.

But what should a good father, a man of unquestioned high morals (and WHY are those morals unquestioned, I ask?) do when he discovers that one of his “kids” is a creature of evil? And make no mistake about it, adult men who anally rape little boys are just flat out evil. There is no other appropriate word. Evil. Do you excuse him because he is your “kid”? Do you think that you should allow him to continue to rape, unmolested (hahahaha) and cover up any tales of his crime? Is it because he is yours and therefore his crime would reflect on you, or is it because you think that your family and the family business, the game of football, is far more important than any 10 year old boy’s rectum.

How could anyone, ANYONE, especially a man with boys of his own, so easily dismiss a crime like this? To protect a GAME?

You all know the story. In 2001, an enormous male, age 20 something, caught a smaller, much older man raping a child in the locker room. The discoverer was an ex-football player. The rapist, his former coach and one of his present bosses. The discoverer did absolutely NOTHING to stop the rape or help the child, just called his own daddy, who told him to keep his mouth shut and tell Paterno in the morning. He did. And what happened with the rapist? Not a thing. Again.

Oh yes, it had happened before.

Paterno, in 1998, was the most powerful man at the University, not just the most highly paid. He obeyed the letter of the law and reported the matter to his immediate “superior.” And went on as if nothing had happened. The rapist was forced to “resign” with a nice severance package, but essentially continued on as if nothing had happened. More and more people witnessed the rapist raping. Paterno heard no evil, saw no evil and did evil by saying nothing.

Did he think his legacy would be tarnished by exposing (hahaha) the monster in lion’s clothing? Did he think people would think ill of him for saying – I discovered that this piece of garbage was molesting little boys in our own locker room and I made sure that he was imprisoned immediately and the victim provided for? How can he defend to himself, let alone the God is supposed to worship, his decision to literally “keep it in the family” at the expense of raped children? Is it that they were not his kids so who cares? Is it that they were the disenfranchised, so who cares? Is it that all he cared about was the image of his football team?

I know that many males will explain to me that being female, I can’t possibly understand the locker room mentality, the importance of omerta at any cost. That football is so crucial a piece of existance that its players and coaches should be allowed to do essentially anything as long as they play winning football.

They are right. I don’t get it, any more than I get the cult of college football and the fanatical fantasy that these athletes are “amateurs” and students who just happen to be able to play a game that nets their University uncounted zillions and themselves nothing but endless sexual partners.

I may be a fan of a team, or of an athlete, but if I EVER found out that the team had supported or enabled a rapist (hello Boston Red Sox and your skeletor in the closet – hahahaha) I would most certainly NOT excuse ANYTHING and would demand that anyone who allowed this to go on or didn’t report it be outed and punished accordingly, even if the only punisment available was social censure.

How, HOW???? could students support Joe Paterno, no matter what ELSE he had done, after learning that he put the importance of a football GAME above the safety and sanity of these poor raped boys? The support is based on, what, that he won football games and obeyed the letter of the law and only informed a person who he knew could be relied upon to sweep the unpleasantness under the rug?

You could try to excuse the graduate assiatant who witnessed the rape and didn’t call the police on the grounds that he was afraid for his future and chose to protect himself and let the child go to hell. Some excuse. But excusing the ONE person who had absolute power, the power to stop the rapist because he won FOOTBALL games – that is the utmost in unforgiveablilty.

I understand those who, like Joe Posnanski, who believed Paterno to be the moralest of the moral, shocked into disbelief. Disbelief, I understand. I would feel the same kind of disbelief and shock if someone who I believe is one of the moralest of the moral, like Lance Berkman, was accused of a heinous crime. BUT faced with incontrovertable evidence, I would certainly not be telling him – well, I still love you because you hit .300 as an Astro and had a 1.063 OPS+ in the World Series. That is less than nothing vs evil. And what Paterno did, keeping quiet, placing a stupid GAME over multiple human lives, was just as evil as the rapist.

sigh

It isn’t that I don’t understand the instinct of preserving the family - I guess this Paterno creep was virtually head of a family. I understand not wanting cops. I understand not wanting trouble. I understand not wanting scandal. I understand not wanting disgrace. But What I do NOT understand is tolerating a child rapist in your family because he is your family and at least so far, his victims are not One Of Your Own.

You want to know if I am going to let my own children play football. The twins don’t want to and Da Bull, who is enormous and urged frequently by those who don’t know better to go play football, tells them (and I quote): No thank you – I abhor gratuitous violence.

Yes, I did teach him them big ol words and he DID have to practice it until he got it juuuuuuuuust right…

And yes, their daddy and I HAVE sat down with them, discussed the importance of them feeling comfortable enough to tell us if someone tries to touch them in such a way that it makes them uncomfortable. We hope we made them understand that they would NOT be punished and that they should not think they should have to pay the price of silence and rape to continue on with their lives.

11/11/11: Jeff Niemann Hosts A Pitching Clinic At Lamar HS Today At 4 PM

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Sorry to be so late in posting this.

Jeff Niemann – remember him from the CWS Champion Rice Owls 04 team? He’s pitching for the Rays, after years recuperating from this surgery and that – yeah, his arm just might could have been a leeeetle overused in college.

This afternoon, he’s having a pitching clinic from 4-5 at Lamar HS to benefit Rudy Bocanegra, who is LHS grad who was diagnosed with cancer. Cost is $50 and every penny goes to Rudy’s medical expenses. Jeff is DONATING his time. Good for him. Too may famous people want their cut offn the top.

There will also be a 15 team tournament this weekend. ALL proceeds will go to help pay Rudy’s medical bills.

I guess that the tems have been pre-determined, but no reason that a grrrrl couldn’t get a pitching lesson from Jeff. Too bad I can’t go.

Lamar HS is in River Oaks, on Westheimer, betwen Buffalo Speedway and Kirby. Good luck with the traffic.

11/6/11: Goin To The Dogs

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Well, my friends and loyal readers (hi Mama!!!), I decided to do what Famous Columnists do and recycle some of my favorite Dog tales whilst trying to think of something positive to say about this team, who has so far picked Great Finds offn the scrap heap of crappy waived AAAA guys – Brian Bixler, another crappy utility infielder and Craig Tatum, another crappy catcher. Not even worth writing up. NO idea who they plan to pick up to replace Clint Barmes, who is a free agent and will not be offered a contract, as he will cost more than minimum wage – translation from Ed Wade’s comment about gee we would like him back, but…

Anyway, for more cheery stories:

Here is how Tony Gwynn Dog, AKA Phat Stuff Dog, came to be part of the Gray family and how, by the way, he singlehandedly woofed the Astros to the Wild Card in 2004.

I act like a Mami Dog

More baby Dogs

And Jana Makes Three!!!

 

 

The 2011 Hardball Times Annual

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Click here to check it out.

As all yall know, I used to contribute to THT when they wrote a preseason preview – I talked Astros, naturally. I still do the Astros’ players review  for the fantasy site – meaning write a few lines about the guys in the Astros Organization and how I think they’ll do. (NO, I am not allowed to discuss Brad Ausmus…) Brian Cartwright,  who actually knows how to use computers and Excel and stuff like that does the stats via the OLIVER system. Don’t ask me to explain it because I don’t understand how you get linear weights or anything else. But I have faith in the system because Brain is smart. I mean, Brian is smart.

Anyway, the Annual for this year is now for sale – click here to buy. A lot of guys did a lot of work, writing about this season and next, as well as statistical outlooks. I know it is cheaper on Amazon, but if you buy it there, the writers don’t get any of the money and it’s not like they end up getting very much $$$ for a lot of very hard work, anyway.