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Armando Call-a-robbed-a

Posted in Ump Dump., Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on June 3, 2010 by Astropolithecus

I would just like this to be his new nickname. Armando Callarobbeda. The Perfect Shame. Isn’t this some how better than a perfect game, as a painful as it is?

In a gesture of karma,  Joyce’s car was found stripped as he headed out of the stadium. Of course, it happened in the bottom of the first.

Detroit baby! !

Callarobbeda’s car was stripped out of sympathy.

Detroit baby!

Existentialists all agree, if you look carefully at the replay in super HD slo-mo, you’ll see Joyce distracted on the call by the sudden vicious recognition of urban plight.

Detroit baby!Oh, JACKSON!

Finally, I’d like  to point out that the guy from American Chopper shouldn’t be making calls in the first place.  Go work on your Hog!

Armando. Callarobbeda.

You heard it here first.

Berkmaniac

1983

Posted in Uncategorized on April 16, 2010 by beckeesh

In 1983…

Cabbage Patch Kids were invented.

Hurricane Alicia hit the Texas gulf coast.

The Baltimore Orioles won the World Series (and haven’t done it since).

Terms of Endearment won Best Picture.

A congressional sex-scandal broke in Washington.

Thriller was number one.

The Astros started the season 0-9, but finished with 85 wins.

Talent

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on February 10, 2010 by beckeesh

I’m halfway through The Ticket Out by Michael Sokolove and am thoroughly engaged.

For those of you unfamiliar with the book, it tells the stories of “The Boys of Crenshaw,” baseball players who played on the same L.A. high school team in 1979.  Some in baseball have called this the most talented high school team ever.  Eight players were drafted into professional baseball, and two became MLB All-Stars (most notably Darryl Strawberry).

What I am really enjoying about the book is its tone.  None of the players ends up fulfilling the rose-colored dreams of his childhood, but all of them remain confident that their team was a team to remember, that they played great baseball, that they had what it took.  If only it had took.

The book brings up the age-old question about MLB: do the best best players really get there? Or is it the players who fit the bill, who “look like a ballplayer,” who are considered good clubhouse guys (whatever that means in college towns like Fresno).

I have been thinking about this question constantly for the past two weeks, and it is through this lens that I read the following from the Astros mailbag:

What about Edwin Maysonet? Is the guy ready for the big leagues?
— Juan O., Houston
Maysonet has never been considered a top prospect and is only a career .255 hitter in 661 Minor League games. He can play all over the infield, including a terrific shortstop, and he did pretty well with the Astros last year, hitting .290 in 69 at-bats.
The Astros value his versatility and will even try to get him some reps in the outfield this spring. Defensively, management has no doubt he could play in the Majors right now, but at 28 years old he needs to seize the opportunity to prove he can hit well enough to stay on a Major League roster.

Drayton’s Business

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 16, 2009 by Cabeza De Vaca

There’s an amusing article in the Houston Chronicle about Drayton McLane encouraging Houston business leaders to become visionaries.  The funny part is the description of McLane’s business:

“McLane is the chairman of the McLane Group, a company that makes root beer, tracks down hard-to-find foods like Abba-Zaba taffy peanut butter bars and provides military services.”

Tracking down candy can be something you do? I just spent thirty seconds on Google and I found some Abba Zaba bars.  It’s not exactly like tracking the abominable snowman.

I just hope he doesn’t micromanage the military services the way he does the Astros.

Lastly, I recommend that you read this official description of one of the McLane Group companies.  Business majors, explain yourselves.

Off-day Notes

Posted in Houston Astros, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2009 by beckeesh

Have y’all seen Alyson Footer’s blog?

I’m throwing it a shout out because I am so enjoying the Mother’s Day luncheon pics!

First of all, that luncheon looks nicer than my wedding.

Second, I’m enjoying looking in the background of the shots.  I’ve spied Brownie.  He looks hungry.  And there’s a bunch of Japanese men seated at the table behind Russ Ortiz.  Where’s Wandy?  Can anyone find him? 

All I’m saying is, if I had Alyson Footer’s job, there’d be way more shots of JD, Brownie, and players on the bubble.  And Wandy.  This is what the people want to see!  Geez, we see Berkman all the time.

In other news, as much as I don’t look forward to hearing about Micah Owing’s offensive prowess all season (here and here), I am pumped about the Reds! 

Second in the NL Central, the Reds are the only team in our division with starting pitching good enough to challenge the Cubs long term.  It’s true that Bronson Arroyo isn’t worth his salary right now.  (Unless he’s on the road – What’s with that?)  And yes, Volquez needs to settle down.  (He will!  I believe it.) 

Even still, Cincy is on the up.  (See Cueto, Votto, and don’t look now but Taveras’s OBP is over .380!)

Yes, I’m getting on the bandwagon, and I’m getting on now.

Finally, this Onion Sports article made me chuckle.  And it caused me to look into how greedy Drayton is.  I mean, how much MLB tickets cost across the country.  I ended up happening upon this article about how greedy Drayton is.   Go figure!  Check it out and you’ll see that we consistently rank higher in revenue than we do in payroll. 

Wait – I wanted to end on a positive note.

Hey, we play the Rockies tomorrow!  At 12-18, they’re worse than we are!  And I like Paulino.  If he does well enough, I’ll write a post justifying my ridiculous confidence in this unproven arm.

You Mean We Can Score Twelve Runs in One Game?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 10, 2009 by beckeesh

Astros 12, Padres 5

Phew! and Yahoo! today’s game was fun.

Winning is fun. I’d forgotten.

Lee, Tejada, and Pudge were all hitting. That was super fun.

And it’s true that Roy didn’t look as sharp as Wandy does – ahem, I mean, as sharp as he can look – giving up four earned in six innings, including two home runs.  And it’s true that our bullpen tried to blow it in the seventh and again in the eighth.  And, of course, the Padres are as bad as we are (Worse, actually!) and committed two errors (Ouch, Chris “Smacky” Burke!), and threw in a wild pitch and a passed ball…

But still winning is fun!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Roy Oswalt’s Tractor Saves Infant Quadruplets from Certain Death

Posted in Houston Astros, Uncategorized with tags , , , on May 4, 2009 by beckeesh

“Jaws of Life” Pave Way for Tearful Reunion

In a turn of events that can only be termed “ironical,” Houston Astros pitching ace Roy Oswalt saved quadruplet infants from certain death Sunday near his Weir, MS home.

“I saw ’em up in the tree,” Oswalt explained later during a press conference. “And then I saw ’em fall. And I thought, Well, Drayton give me this tractor. Best use it!”

Of the nearly 900 hours Oswalt has logged on the impressive machine, this was the first spent clearing lives, not land.

“I drove up under where they was,” Oswalt described, “and I had to think fast, so I stuck my arm out like this – and they just plopped right in there easy as pie.”

Asked if he foresaw such dramatic events when he paid the jillions of dollars it costs to purchase such an important vehicle in order to selflessly gift it to Oswalt three years ago, Astros owner Drayton McLane was thoughtful. “You know, it’s not what I had in mind. It’s better! If this tractor that I generously gave to Roy three years ago out of friendship could help out those little babies, well dang it that’s better than what I had in mind!”

The family of the quadruplets could not be reached for comment.

*********************************************************************************************************

OK, seriously…

Like you I’m sure, I clicked on astros.com a couple weeks ago and saw a picture of Roy Oswalt with his tractor beneath a headline that read, “Roy Oswalt gives back to hometown.” (It’s true; they changed the heading by now, but you can find the original here.)

I know, I thought he must’ve heroically saved quadruplets, too!

Turns out he’s opening some steak restaurant… Old story. (Hel-lo, Astros Insider March!) But I guess old is new when one finds a way to link the tractor to it. Genius! Who thought of that? Alyson, was it you? That’s why they pay you the big bucks!

Hey, maybe they’ll add this story as an addendum to the tractor blurb that already lives on the back of Oswalt Topps cards. Ooh, quick, email Jon Miller so he can mention this every time the Astros get Game of the Week coverage on ESPN. No, not necessary. I’m sure the powers that be have already added it to Drayton’s biography.

Astros Opening Day Line-up?

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 28, 2009 by Cabeza De Vaca

Was Friday’s victory over the Phillies a glimpse into what we’ll see come opening day? Cooper fielded this starting line-up:

1. Kaz Matsui (S)
2. Ivan Rodriguez (R)
3. Lance Berkman (S)
4. Carlos Lee (R)
5. Miguel Tejada (R)
6. Hunter Pence (R)
7. Geoff Blum (S)
8. Michael Bourn (L)

Starting Pitcher: Roy Oswalt

I can’t say I’m a huge fan of this batting order, so I hope it’s not set in stone. In particular, I’d really like to see Hunter Pence batting 2nd. He’s had trouble with breaking pitches, and hitting in front of Berkman should increase the amount of fastballs he gets, particularly if a speedy Matsui or Bourn is aboard. Plus, Pence is faster on the basepaths than Pudge.

The top of the order isn’t all about speed, though, it’s about on-base percentage.  I know, Pence doesn’t often see ball four, but Pudge is known for never taking walks. In his career, Pudge has struck out three times as often as he has walked. In 2007, Pudge had only a .294 OBP, walking only nine times the whole season. Last year he picked up the pace, with twenty-three bases on balls. Pudge has a .339 career OBP, mostly from his career .301 batting avg. Pence’s career on-base? .336! 

A young guy and an old guy with virtually identical on-base percentages. One on the rise, the other declining. Both righties. One with above average speed, the other with above average speed… for a catcher.

Coop, you’ve gotta bat Pence 2nd and Pudge 6th.

Also, I know this is super-trendy and all, but I’d like to see Bourn batting 9th, with the pitcher in the 8 hole. What’s the point of having Bourn’s speed in front of the pitcher’s spot? A pitcher should be capable of laying a decent enough bunt down for Blum to advance.  I’d much rather take advantage of Michael Bourn’s occasional hit or walk after the pitcher made the final out in the previous inning. It’s like keeping him as the lead-off man, but without having to see him bat so many times. Also, Matsui’s career numbers are much better in the 2nd spot in the order. So, maybe that could be a collateral benefit.

All I ask is for Cooper to put together a batting order that makes sense from day one and stick to it.  No tinkering day to day, with Tejada batting second sometimes, and Bourn leading off every once in a while.  Ol’ Scrap Iron Phil drove us nuts with that; we don’t need more of it.  This line up has people that can hit, and I just hope we fans get to see it have a chance to come together the way it should, even if it struggles at first.

Positive Thing Happens, but Astros Lose

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10, 2009 by Cabeza De Vaca

[Other Team] [X], Astros [<X]

[Other Team] at the plate: [City] got it going early with four runs on three hits and two walks in the first inning. [Mediocre outfielder] highlighted the early scoring with a bases-clearing double. [Bench player] also had a big day with three hits, including a three-run home run in the 7th inning for the [other team].

Astros at the plate: [Player who will end up in Triple-A] continued to make his case, going 2 for 3, with two doubles. [Major-league outfielder] made solid progress with an infield hit, a stolen base, and a run scored to get the Astros on the board in the 7th inning.

[Other Team] on the mound: Starting pitcher, [Fifth Starter], pitched three scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out one. [Middle Reliever] gave up three runs in two innings. In seven innings this Spring, [Middle Reliever] has given up eight earned runs.

Astros on the mound: Right-hander [Starting pitcher] gave up six runs in two innings. [Another starting pitcher] pitched 1 full inning of work, but had to leave the game with a strained ribcage after walking the bases loaded in the fourth. However , [relief pitcher] pitched three scoreless innings of relief.

Astros 5, Venezuela 5

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 5, 2009 by Cabeza De Vaca

They say a tie game is like kissing your sister.  In the Astros’ case, I think it’s a supermodel step-sister, because this sure feels like a win to me.

In the past four games, the Astros have tied two and lost two.  When the alternative is losing 12-2 (Rays) or 13-1 (Mets), you have to appreciate anything other than a punch in the face. 

Jose Capellan threw 3 innings of shutout ball, allowing only a hit and a walk.  Rule 5 lefty Gilbert De La Vara shut Venezuela out for 2 innings, striking out one batter and allowing a hit.  It will be interesting to see how the pitching situation shapes up.  With Backe unable to throw breaking balls, and looking characteristically command-less, we could have a nice little competition on our hands. 

More so than most GMs, Wade seems committed to hanging on to Rule 5 picks.  The strategy of taking a lefty pitcher is probably a good one.  As we saw last year with Wesley Wright, it’s not hard to find a spot in the bullpen for a lefty.  With Byrdak and Wright, it might be tougher for De La Vara this year, but Wright is probably not a lock to make the team. 

On the other hand, Lou Palmisano, who I would have put money on to make the team to fill the gaping hole at our back-up catcher spot, has no hits or walks this spring in five at bats.  However, this is a tiny sample size, obviously, and the fact that he hasn’t struck out is encouraging.