Archive for April, 2011

Oy Pain. Berkmaniacs are Beaten in Spirit.

Posted in Astros rivals, Ex-Astros, Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 29, 2011 by Astropolithecus

In Pumorian. We weep.

It seems like our former guy, the man I loved so much to watch in the box, the man who could never really come through in the last few years for Houston, would rather pour it on now, and it seems spiteful, it seems so obvious to any Astros fan. Let Blue Jay, Brewer, or Marlins’ fans awe in Berkman’s massive one man slaughter  of the starred ones on Thursday night, we know better, Houston fans. This was the only outcome. Poetic justice and revenge play out with melancholy redundancy against our squad. The bigger the ex-player, the bigger the beating. I called this very heinous Berkman beat down to my father via e-mail in March. Should have spent the week in Vegas.

But the truth is that Lance was only going to succeed somewhere else. He had battled under too many injuries and expectations for too long in Texas, with a team “sort of” built around him, and glory fading from him in every at bat. Not to his fault, he gave everything, but  we all knew he’d never be the same in Houston, there was too much history. It was like when we went to the World Series, Berkman and the other boys of summer left us at the altar, and instead of worshipping them as our heroes, we felt embarrassed, hung out to dry by our listless ‘Stros in the biggest spotlight. This isn’t actually true, our guys played hard in that four game sweep, but after that, the fan base was stung, and the team was dismantled, forever rustling Berkman’s feathers because, let’s face it, all his buddies either retired or were traded away.

The Puma’s renaissance in St. Louis comes with fresh perspective, patience, and protection in the line up. We should only wish him the best, always, even if he enjoyed pummeling his former team a little bit too much this series.

After all, we have a new, hungry squad, out from under the Berkman and Oswalt shadow, and playing like a group that wants a taste of victory, even if their taste buds have been fried by one of the foulest flavored bullpens Houston has ever had. (I hope only so far: Really, your name is ABAD? Even that joke is too easy to hit.)  Bourn, Pence, and Wallace could not be themselves if old Puma was still holding court in H-town.

So breathe out Houston diehards, be glad you survived the inevitable with one win, and know that it’s possible, if Fat Elvis keeps playing like this, we’ll see his happy ass in Cooperstown. And he wouldn’t be caught dead there in Cardinal red, no matter what anyone says.

May Lance Hit This Well Against The Cubs,


The Brewers Don’t Have Stars on Thars

Posted in Astros rivals, Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 23, 2011 by Astropolithecus

Okay , Houston happies, I officially hate Miller Park. It’s like a satire of Minute Maid Park. “If Houston was good, they would play here..”

Also, always, ALWAYS, Houston seems lost here. “Where are we?” they utter as they stumble around, “Oh, this isn’t our park, oh, but it was our park against the Cubs once, we got no hits, oh no, now we’re scared and confused…”  and then they wander about the field until they lose, like loveable penguins that forgot which way to go on the ice, and then fall over.

Miller Park is a crap hole, it’s dumb and I hate it. Waaah.

How does Houston respond to their first series win, their first back to back wins?  They give up 23 runs the next two games. Atta boy, fellas, that’ll strike the fear of god into our road opponents.

We can still win the series, though. And Michael Bourn is on a tear. Our offense overall is looking okay. All is not lost.

The ‘Stros just always lose at Miller Park. And Citifield. And every park in California. But they haven’t lost in Montreal in years.

I miss the Expos. Sigh. I’m gonna go watch the 12-2 Cub beat down highlights now.



All Houston Astros Fans, I Need Your Help!!! (or, “Politics at the Park”, or “Any Dems on the Diamond?!!”)

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 19, 2011 by Astropolithecus

Hey Ho Houston Happies,

I’ve got something on my squeaky mind right now, and I need some help. Maybe Beckeesh, maybe Nick, our other authors can help, but anyone’s help is gratefully appreciated.

Okay, here it is, don’t flinch: Astros politics. I hate mixing politics and sports, except to say I can’t think of a greater bipartisan venue than our american past-time.   Who cares who Hunter Pence voted for when he’s screaming his way around the bases for a game ending RBI double? One of my favorite things about baseball is the ability to leave it all on the field, no matter our wildly different views on national issues.  BUT – BUT  BUUTTTTT– I’m weary of the assumption of many affiliated with the Astros organization that every fan is a staunch republican by default.  I’m not here to espouse any political viewpoints, but I do cringe when the Astros always acknowledge G. Bush 1 and his wife as if they are english royalty. I mean, granted, in Texas they pretty much are, but Houston is a diverse city, giving it a diverse fan base of Latinos and many others not generally associated with the white-collar oil syndicate. Not to bash the rich white Houstonians too much, I mean they are very important to the Astros existence, whether we like it or not, but many people, especially in Houston, have not forgotten Barbara Bush’s idiotic “sleepover” comments to the stranded victims of Katrina in the Superdome, and I, for one, am not ready to knight her grand dame of my favorite ballclub. At all. period.   ZZ Top is a much better option for Astros Ambassadors in my opinion. And I’m too polite to even mention the Enron fiasco (oh, whoops!).

GOP in the Good Seats

"Barb's hot, could you close the roof?"

Again, I’m not saying it’s not exciting to acknowledge a former president’s presence at the ballgame, it is, but I had to sit through Milo Hamilton’s long-winded praise for the Republican party, for G.W., and his dad, and some major figure associated with them as a speech writer (sorry, I forget the name right now, please feel free to help me out), this was DURING A BROADCAST, and it pisses me off!! I’d like to know what’s going on on the field occasionally, Milo.  I mean, Hamilton, legendary as he is, has already become hard to listen to, between his confusion of play on the field and his persistent capitalism with every breath (that criticism is for another post however), and I don’t want to know his damn political views. It really turned me off, and I bet it chapped other Astros fan asses as well. I mean, republicans are why we have the Rangers, right? Or is that just me?

So, between that, Berkman’s unabashed conservative views in years past, and the fishy political leanings of “Faith and Family Night”, I send out a plea to the other sides. I bet the Astros clubhouse, with their  inner diversity, is amicably divided, and I’d like our fan base to create  the same amicable division. Please let us know, through careful research or hear say or straight up gossip, which Astros/prominent Astros fans are democrats. Or independents. Who in the clubhouse or in the broadcast crew supports current  President Obama? I’d like to even up the playing field. I want to see the “blue”, or the “green”, or hell, the “yellow”  side of the Astros organization. It’s only fair to know, or to speculate on.  Please fill the comment section with your thoughts on this!

Then we can go back discussing, as one, how our squad keeps blowing late leads.


What Penetrates the Fog

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , on April 18, 2011 by beckeesh

Sorry to say it, Astros fans, but I’ve been away from the game for the entirety of the Padres series. Vacation/work/why do you care?  Yet some facts about this team have managed to penetrate my MLB fog.  I’m writing today with a stranger’s perspective:

1 – Astros are in last place.  Yikes, still haven’t won a single series.

2 – However, Astros are in first place in taking out middle infielders at second base.  Does this implicate some fire in the ‘Stros clubhouse?

3 – Wandy, Wandy, Wandy.  Even strangers are crying about your 7.31 ERA.

4 – Brett Myers.  Even strangers are impressed that the Astros have a solid starting pitcher in the rotation.

5 – Strangers have noticed that Lance Berkman is on fire!!!!  Oh, wait, he’s a Cardinal.

6 – Strangers have noticed that Hunter Pence is not on fire.

5 – Strangers conclude that the Astros are back to being the disastros, which is a lot better than being “the good guys.”

New York City, here they come!

Wilton Wilts Comeback Hopes.

Posted in Astros rivals, Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , , on April 14, 2011 by Astropolithecus

You know, for a guy that is constantly praised for his great stuff and his former consistently great performance by the Astros radio crew, I myself am beginning to wonder. He’s got excellent stuff sometimes, and I like him, but good God, I’ve rarely seen a reliever prop open a door like he did tonight. When your own error is the icing on a three run gimme cake for the Cubs, that is a terrible outing. Still, I say we give “Lopey” a few more starts to work out of it before we start the fan panic.  After all, Lyon is throwing much better now that his hideous opening day is more in the  rearview mirror.

Here is Zambrano’s take on the subject:


Thanks Z, I couldn’t agree more. Derrek Lee sends his regards.

So Astros fans, we are an awful 3-9 to begin this season, and the worst part is I doubt very many of us are surprised. It’s embarrassing, especially with Berkman and Oswalt currently succeeding elsewhere, and even Pirates fans eyeing us with pity.

I will say this, though. And I mean it with that squirrelly instinct that rises up in me from time to time (an instinct I often laugh off and doubt but usually ends up being right): the Astros have looked pretty good in their nine losses. Sure, certain parts of the squad have played horrendously, and at inopportune moments, and our bullpen worries me more than it has in a long time, but we are in all of these games.

Our two comebacks against the Cubs fell short, but there we were, actually battling and playing with spirit. The team even seems confident.  I have a feeling that if a few breaks tip our way, we may start playing more consistently, we may get hot, and float right around .500 until the all-star break, which for Houston would be solid progress.

The Padres, hitting poorly, stroll into town tomorrow night. They always seem to beat the pants off of us, but if we can take three of four, we might see a young and dismissed squad hit a hot streak.

We’re a few bad innings from being 6-6, and that, believe it or avoid it, is good news.


From Feisty Fish to Whiny Bears.

Posted in Astros rivals, Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2011 by Astropolithecus

Hey, nice win Houston. Way to clamp down for that 2nd win. It was a good win, although I’d like to see the Astros slogan change from “See if we can avoid the sweep” to “.500 is a thousand to us”.

Major positive from the Astros 7-1 win: Doubles!!! Showing some gap power. Very cool to see some balls drilled high and hard and not just high.

Major positive 2: Downs, Quintero, and Sanchez, oh my! These guys are playing their Texas Pecans off! I love it! Seriously, Q can be a Yadier M. type player if he can keep hitting like this.  No more going for three though please, unless the ball is stuck in the scoreboard.

Super Negative 1: we “jumped” to 2-7. If we can’t one year play better early, we’ll never compete, not even in the drunk tortoise race that will make up the NL Central this year.

Super Negative 2: CITIBANK ON MY HIGHLIGHTS!!!!!!!!! If I have to hear the “you got a weather balloon with points” techno rap one more time, I will buy a weather balloon with my CHASE points and hang myself with it. Holy hell!! Before every freaking highlight!? “weather balloon with points. Yeah, I did.”  Well, Citibank, you put it out there, so I’ll tell you. That is one of the stupidest ads I’ve ever seen. It’s embarrassing faux hip, it doesn’t explain anything, it has nothing to do with baseball or sports, and no one who needs a weather balloon will ever buy it with Citibank points. I’d rather watch Nomar step out of the batter’s box a hundred times (two at-bats) than ever, EVER open a Citibank account. And – for SSHHAMMME –  before every damn highlight!? We can put up with a few product placements now and then but- BUT- it’s becoming a trial and boredom to watch video of our favorite sport on your website for one simple reason – you’re greedier than sin. Quit acting like the National Coalition of Avon Ladies and give us some room to breathe between ads and “deals”.

How about an ad every five highlights and it can be twenty seconds? Whaddaya say, a compromise?

MAJOR POSSIBLE FUTURE HIGHLIGHT: We sweep the Cubs in Houston to go to 5-7. Bourn steals 7 bags, Johnson bangs up the out-of-town scoreboard, Downs hits a walk-off jack, and Q. picks off Soriano at third to win game 3.   Oh wait, Soriano doesn’t bother to step off the bag…someone else then.

Look out for Aramis the Ex-Pirate. Dude is swinging molten lumber.

Searching for Artifacts of Great Seasons Past,


Wow, It’s an Astros Jungle out there.

Posted in Astros rivals, Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2011 by Astropolithecus

Okay, I admit first that Houston is playing hideous “monkey escapes the zoo” baseball. That is the form of baseball in which, much like a chimp breaking out of its cage, a team beginning the season doesn’t run free or gain any ground but instead freaks out, looks ridiculous, is completely wild, and swings at everything. Everyone is embarrassed for the escaped ape, they feel bad for it, and it ends up covered in its own poo before being sedated.

But before tranquilizing these young Astros and putting them back into their cage until 2012, I’d like to grant this HAPP-less young squad a caveat. They are certainly playing poorly, but they are also experiencing hilariously bad luck. Five errors, Scorched line drives caught by the suddenly brilliant Phillips, and smarmy little droopy bloops falling all over the field for the Reds and Phillies. Also, the strike zone, at least according to Gamecast, seemed all over the place. Who umpired home tonight, Frank Drebin?

And the best of all, at an incredibly crucial point in the game, Towles rares up on a pitch and is ready to fire a strike to third base when his arm catches the stalwartly motionless bat held like a true champion by Ramon Hernandez. Damn, Ramon, you’re a bona fide hero, standing there like a bump on a log. Almost as breathtaking as you’re opening day three run bomb. Next time I hope he throws it into the side of your helmet.

Yes, that is the right call, error on Towles, as all the Reds come around to score, but you know tonight, if that had been the Astros, there would have been a batter’s interference call, and the umps would have called every visiting player out for the next three innings. What the hell?! His arm hit the damn bat? I’ve never even seen that before. And when a red-hot team is given freakish momentum, they will dance on your grave. 12-4.

A painful way to start the season, facing the three toughest aces in baseball and then the team that tormented you all last year in their house. Still, you should be able to win one in each series. We’ll be very lucky to win tomorrow.

I like to think some demons have been exorcised early, and that we’ll start to play some real baseball coming up shortly. I also like to believe I might win the lottery every week.

Still Houston, let’s try to prove all the doubters wrong instead of backing them up so assertively.

At least bite the zookeeper a few times before he shoves you back in your enclosure. We, the fans, have earned a little fight.

Going Bananas Early,

Berkmaniac (soon changing his moniker)

P.S. Bright spot of the post – We have an excellent manager. It may not seem so at the moment, but he is a strong leader and the Astros are lucky to have him.

Phillies – dang.

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2011 by beckeesh

Some small thoughts from this losing series…

1- Well, we were swept in the opening series last year.  As everyone knows, this is a (only) second half team.

2 – Wandy:  He should have been the opening day starter.  Yes, I know his Spring Training performance was horrible and that most people feel he underperformed last year, but with Roy gone, Wandy should be the number one.   Then, Mills has him pitch to Towles?!  Why does Wandy have to pitch to Towles?

3 – Angel Sanchez.  I’ve always liked him, even though the conventional wisdom (according to Alyson Footer and then Brian McTaggart and anyone else who answers Astros Mailbag) has been that he’s not a good enough major league hitter.  Phooey!  I’m glad he’s in uniform and I’m not missing Clint Barmes.

4 – Jason Michaels:  I’m glad to see Jason Michaels!  Even when he’s letting balls hit off his glove in left field I’m glad to see good old Mr. Clutch,  Jason Michaels.

5 –  Roy Oswalt:  Still weird that he’s a Phillie.  Not weird that he went inside on Carlos on Sunday, following Hunter’s home run.

Is anyone going to Fanfest?