9/30/07: Astros Win 3-0 In Biggio’s Farewell Game

Although you’ve come
To the end of the road
Still we can’t let you go
It’s unnatural
You belong to us
We belong to you…

(apologies Kenny Edmonds)

And of course it isn’t REALLY finished – next year there will be Craig Biggio Appreciation Day and Retiring Biggio’s Number Day…

But for today, everyone came to send him off and end The Year Of The Biggio in style. The owner, the mayor, the teammates, his kids. He hit career hit #3060, double #668 and scored run #1844. I’m going to write a more complete career retrospective later on this year, the good and the bad, NOT the “perfect” ballplayer Richard Justice wants to pretend he was. No such thing as a perfect human being of ANY sort.

And as for the game – well, Felipe Paulino pitched decently. He kept Harris, Chipper and Francouer off the bases, gave up 2 hits, 3 walks and 4 K over 6 IP – 78 pitches, 46 strikes. McLemore and Moehler each pitched a scoreless inning and Borkowski struck out the side for his first save this year.

Speaking of saves, Brad Lidge will be getting his knee fixed at 7:30 AM. Should have been fixed at LEAST a month ago.

Speaking of pitching, Dave Wallace, the pitching coach, will not be coming back because of “family issues” – whatever that means. I didn’t see THAT one coming. He did a great job with both Lidge and Wandy, but I’m not sure that I should be blaming him for Woody or Jennings… He will be replaced by Dewey Robinson, the minor league pitching coordinator, who I know worked with a lot of the pitchers who came up through the system.

Speaking of replacement, Mansolino, the 3rd base coach, who was Phil’s man, will be replaced by someone else, not sure who, but I’m not exactly unhappy about that, as I thought his judgement was lacking a few too many times. Cheo Cruz will be returning to coach first base and Jackie Moore, the AAA manager for the past 8 years, will be the new bench coach.

I will be writing a team retrospective later on in October. I am really REALLY tired and am going to take a week off, then will re-start by writing player assessments. We already know what I think of the management from Drayton on down…

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22 Responses to “9/30/07: Astros Win 3-0 In Biggio’s Farewell Game”

  1. Austin says:

    Kind of wondering why Jackie Moore didn’t get more consideration for the head coaching job. They didn’t even look. Didn’t even inquire about anyone else. They just took the guy that fell into their lap. How lazy.

  2. Lisa Gray says:

    “head coaching” ????
    you mean manager?
    because bud selig “endorsed” and “recommended” cooper and drayton is bud’s lap dog that’s why. he wouldn’t have even CONSIDERED anyone else after that.

  3. Mark says:

    I wonder if Selig will discipline the Astros for not following the protocal that he set up and interviewing some majority candidates.

  4. Steve Schramm says:

    There’s an awful lot of gloom and doom here. The ‘stros were basically a .500 team for the last the last three plus months. From June 27 to the end, they were 41-43. The Brewers were and awful 37-47 during that same time and still only lost to the Cubs by 2.
    Cooper might be a fine manager — youneverknow. Give him a chance. It’s better than having a retread loser like Garner or someone like him. And for all the cries of lack of african-Americans in the organization, why not embrace someone making it reasonably high into the chain. Let’s not condemn him until he’s given a chance.
    And meanwhile, even though you’ve all decided that Ed Wade is a dufus yesman for Drayton who doesn’t know a lick about baseball and will make stupid decisions right and left, that’s also premature.
    There’s a lot of parity in baseball, which means we’re never that far away from being right back in the race. this season stunk to high heaven for so many reasons. Many of those reason will not be present next year.
    Let’s see if we make steps forward, or we come up with new ways to fail. But I’m telling you –
    Biggio retiring is good.
    Jennings out of the rotation is good.
    Lane and Ensberg off the team is good.
    Palmeiro off the team is good.
    Ausmus not getting many ABs is good.
    Healthy Backe and Oswalt is very good.
    Healthy Everett is good. Honest.
    Healthy Pence is good.
    These are all improvements. You may not think it’s enough. But it’s a darn good start. Let’s see what else happens.

  5. Steve Schramm says:

    Oh, and another thing. Biggio is not perfect, of course — no normal person could maintain the motivation and performance as long as he did without being obsessively competitive to the exclusion of many other things.
    But the fact is that we’re lucky to have had one of the best baseball players in the history of the game play on our team, and it’s rare and a gift.
    His 1997 is one of the best seasons even by anyone. He had 744 total plate appearances. think about how many that is compared to what most players get. 744. He grounded into zero double plays. In 744 appearances. Yes, he’s a leadoff hitter so take 162 of them off. That’s still 582 plate appearances. Was there anyone on base? Well, he knocked in 81 runs from the LEADOFF POSITION. So, yes, there were. And not one GIDP. One reason is because he ran hard to first base EVERY SINGLE time he hit the ball.
    Oh, and he had a .916 OPS, so he hit the ball a lot. Did I mention that he scored 146 RUNS?? That he slugged 22 HRs? That he stole 47 bases and was only caught 10 times? That he got himself hit by 34 pitches and walked another 84 times?
    This guy was amazing. He was dominant for his position and his baseball era. And he deserves the kudos. Even if he is selfishly obsessive about numbers. Because that’s part of what made him a monster big leaguer. And it sure was fun to watch.

  6. Steve Schramm says:

    Congratulations, Carlos Lee!
    No one in Major League Baseball grounded into more double plays than you in 2007.
    Yes, it’s true, you didn’t win the award outright, as you tied with Albert Pujols. But he created so many more runs than you that you don’t belong in the same class with him. So we’re awarding you the Wasted Opportunity of The Year award. Think of how many more RBIs you’d have had if you’d stop rolling over on those outside pitches and pounding them into the ground.
    It’s true that it didn’t matter this year because your team had such pathetic pitching and defense. Actually, your defense is not too hot, either. But I digress.
    Next year, this may matter more, so try to lay off those pitches — or take them to right field, okay?

  7. Mark says:

    I didn’t agree with Garner’s platooning (Lane and Scott, Lamb and Ensberg) I don’t think that he was the main problem with the Astros. If he had been allowed to manage the team without interference from the three stooges, McLane, Smith, and Purpura, things might not have gone so horribly wrong early. I guarantee that Garner knows more about baseball that the three stooges combined.
    Tim Purpura wasn’t qualified to be a GM, and he’s the one that put the lousy roster together and mandated that Chris Burke was the starting center fielder. He also brought Lane and Ensberg back. He also made the Jason Jennings trade, and the Fat Boy Wigginton trade.
    On Ed Wade–he can’t do any worse than Purpura. I’ll give a chance to screw up before I start hating him.
    On Cooper–rather than embracing him because he’s African-American, I believe in hiring the best guy for the job regardless of his race. In this case, Cooper was hired because Bud Selig wanted it done, and it’s apparently OK to skip the requirements about interviewing different candidates if you already have a minority who happens to be Selig’s “bud.” I’ll celebrate the day Cooper is fired.

  8. Jack says:

    You’ll celebrate the day Cooper is fired? That’s harsh.
    Selig’s meddling made me furious, and I’ll probably be thrilled when he leaves office, but it wasn’t Cooper’s fault no one else was considered.
    If Cooper is a bad manager next season, I’ll dislike him then. But until he screws up, I’ll withhold judgment.

  9. Steve Schramm says:

    Mark,
    You’re out of line regarding Cooper. He was a terrific player, he’s been managing for quite a while, and Drayton is not Bud Selig’s stooge. It’s certainly true that Selig wants more A-A managers, and he’s not hiding his opinion on that. But Cooper has been bench coach for years and Drayton would not have promoted him if he thought the players would not play for him — and they wouldn’t unless they respected Cooper.
    You know that Drayton probably talked to Ausmus, Biggio and others about what they think of Cooper as a possible manager, and they would have sunk his boat if they thought it was a stupid move.
    Cooper has done nothing to give you a reason to believe he’s a bad manager, so give the guy a chance to perform and see how he does before you pass judgment. And let’s see what type of players Ed Wade provides him with to see how much of a chance he really gets.
    But if he simply stops all that stupid platooning and position switching and lefty-righty BS and just lets the players establish positions and play, that will be a huge improvement.

  10. lisa gray says:

    about cooper -
    at this particular minute, the only real criticism i have of COOPER is that he thinks, or says he thinks, that steve randolph can pitch successfully in the majors. i LIKE the fact that he has stopped the stupid platooning and strict LOOGY crap.
    my complaint is actually directed at BUD SELIG. he has exactly zero business tampering with the hiring of any manager and to give a public “endorsement” of anyone at all who has been appointed as an interim manager is incredibly inappropriate, to say the VERY least.
    and if drayton is not selig’s stooge, well, that would mean that he refused to give any draftee more than slot out of just plain cheapness and that is almost as bad.

  11. Steve Schramm says:

    No, Drayton’s not cheap. If he were cheap, he’d cut the payroll to $30M and make tons of money off revenue sharing and overall MLB media and service contracts.
    He didn’t pay over slot because if the owners pay over slot, then it becomes a bidding war and they all end up spending many millions of dollars for kids who in all probability will never reach the majors. And that means fewer dollars for real players at the big league level. so he’s holding the line and hoping other owners do the same since it’s in their interest to do so. But if the other owners don’t play along, then Drayton gets screwed — and so do we. So we’ll see if he changes his game plan this year.

  12. lisa gray says:

    well steve
    we will see what he cuts the payroll to this offseason. he laready had cut it 9 mill from last year. he only has (that i count so far) 48 mill in already signed contracts, and he will hafta pay lidge 5-7 mill, backe 1-2 mill, wiggy about 5 mill and everyone else about half a mill. and i am adding this up to 70 mill give or take a few mill.
    which is way down. and this is assuming that wade doesn’t go all hot and heavy and give too many mill to crappy middle relievers, as he was into when he was with philly…
    - yeah i know the theory with slot. problem is that when you already have virtually nothing, you have to overpay to get something, or agree to stink for a lot longer…

  13. Mark says:

    Lisa–
    I read some comments that Tal Smith made regarding the free agent market and how it would probably cost more than it would be worth to bring in much out of an already thin class. I’m glad Smith is thinking this way just because of what you mention–Wade’s history of overpaying for relievers.
    Steve–
    Just looking at what Astros management has done since Hunsicker left doesn’t give me much confidence. I’m glad they brought in new blood in Wade, although I’m not sure that he would have been my choice from the list of candidates, and I was hoping they’d bring in some new blood to manage. My problem with Cooper is that he was standing next to Garner helping him make a lot of the decisions that got him fired. I don’t see him as being an upgrade, and in fact, he might be Phil Garner with less experience.

  14. Jack says:

    The problem with paying slot is that there are players who are considered too hard to sign, and thus are drafted below where they’d go on pure talent, by teams that think they can convince them to sign by paying over the slot price.
    If the Astros weren’t willing to pay over the slot price, they should have drafted players that would sign for the slot price. Obviously there was some terrible communication lapse somewhere and we drafted in the early rounds expecting to overpay, but McLane either changed his mind or he wasn’t consulted until it came time to sign them.
    That’s the problem with the Astros’ most recent draft.

  15. Jack says:

    The Steve Randolph example isn’t bad judgment yet. It will only become bad judgment when they play him next year expecting something out of him and he fails. If Cooper comes to his senses, or if we’re the wrong ones about Randolph and he pitches well, then Cooper has exhibited good judgment, not bad. Don’t make the mistake of counting a decision he hasn’t yet made, and hasn’t yet gone wrong, against him.

  16. Austin says:

    “From June 27 to the end, they were 41-43. The Brewers were and awful 37-47 during that same time and still only lost to the Cubs by 2.”
    Sorry, I fail to be impressed by mediocrity that is still only relative. The Astros were bad this year, and should have been better. They took Jennings and Woody out of the rotation and had the return of Brandon Backe and Hunter Pence, and they still stunk. Burke got more playing time. They still stunk. This wasn’t going to be a playoff team, but they should have been better than a .500 team.
    I agree with Lisa that it seems nice that Cooper has given up on the loogy and platooning crap. And his decisions with pitching were a lot better than Garner. AND, we should score more runs next year without Mansolino screwing everything up at third base. However, I still see some of Garner’s bad judgment in him, as with the Steve Randolph example.
    My complaint isn’t so much that they hired him, as that it seems they didn’t even seem to really consider other options. I’m withholding judgment on him, because I still haven’t seen much. I’m just saying that I view their hiring of Cooper as lazy, because they never even seemed to seriously consider anyone else. It seemed lazy to me.

  17. Lisa Gray says:

    jack
    agree that IF the astros were going to insist on a certain number they shouldn’t have wasted a pick on someone who wouldn’t sign for THAT number. but on the other hand, to insist on getting no one instead of paying a few dollars, and it WAS only a few dollars more, is shooting your own self in the foot
    i haven’t made any real judgements for/against cooper at this point because i have absolutely NO idea whether or not he really had any input on WHO to play, even if he DID have any input on WHEN to play them. therefore, i haven’t really commented on who he did or didn’t play, only on his not doing the platoon/loogy crap any more. for all i know he may be stating the company line on randolph, he may have been ordered to play him so many times/innings…
    i don’t know what quality manager cooper will be
    i will see what he does
    i still stand firm in my opposition to bud selig’s tampering and my disgust that the media has not had the cojones to call him on that

  18. Steve Schramm says:

    Jack, I agree with your comments about either finding players that will accept slot money or drafting players that won’t and then paying them what is needed to get them to sign.
    The fact that the ‘stros did half of one and half of the other should get someone fired, at least.

  19. Austin says:

    “The Steve Randolph example isn

  20. Jack says:

    “I disagree. At that point, it will not be bad judgment, it will be a bad DECISION, which is something slightly different.”
    Okay- you’ve got me there. But the point I was making still stands. Right now all we can judge him by is the decisions he has made in games that don’t matter, and by the things he says, which may or may not have significant bearing on his future actions.

  21. Jack says:

    Also, I thought you all might find this amusing… or not.
    SI’s Jon Heyman put out his list of award winners yesterday. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2007/writers/jon_heyman/10/03/postseason.scoop.wednesday/1.html
    His award for NL executive of the year, is named, of course, The Ed Wade Award…
    Ouch.

  22. Lisa Gray says:

    jack,
    you got it juuuuuuuust a little wrong -
    here is heyman’s quote fron the SI article:
    “Ed Wade Award (Worst NL Executive): Ned Colletti. (Side note: The award has been called that for years, and it’s just a coincidence that Wade has actually been hired to be a GM, in Houston, a tragic coincidence for the Astros.)”
    i’m really not understanding how on earth colletti beat purpura – maybe just on money alone…

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