Archive for baseball

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,

Astropolithecus

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.

Schadenfreude,

Astropolithecus

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.

Astropolithecus

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 MLB.com – 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,

Astropolithecus

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.

It’s Official Astros Fans: Never Gonna Happen 2010

Posted in Astros rivals, Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2010 by Astropolithecus

Folks,

Though our fair broadcasters on both radio and television might gloss over  a very ugly season by not saying anything very negative or critical, I want to make an announcement. Houston is done as of today, June 19th. This is from an eternal Astros optimist.

We are a crap team this year, and for the first time since I can remember I’m questioning the effort team wide, which bothers me deeply. Oswalt wants to leave, and rightly so.

I say blow it up and start all over.  Youth movement in Houston helmed by new hitting coach Bagwell is about the best we can hope for in the next two years.   Buckle down, ladies and gentlemen, judging by the listless nature of this mediocre squad, your fandom will be tested Pittsburgh Pirates style until the blessed day in early October when this train wreck(Wooo!Wooo! my ass) is over.

I knew the playoffs would be a miracle, but I never imagined what I’ve been watching these last 3 months. Only up from here, I hope.

Onward and Upward,

Berkmaniac

Cubs Walk Off Doesn’t Worry Me. Really.

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , on July 28, 2009 by Astropolithecus

I was waiting to see when I felt like posting again.  I haven’t written with The Disastros for awhile, being either too tired or at a loss for what I wanted to say. 

    So , I’m surprised after Soriano’s walk off grand slam I’ve regained the calm itch to say something of value. At least of value to the long suffering Astros fans I know.  

  This is a three game skid. This sucks. And few things are worse than a showboat like Soriano grabbing the upper hand on your scrappy ballclub with a huge homer.

 But THIS doesn’t worry me. I’m no more worried than I was at any point in the season thus far.

 The Astros should have taken three from the Dodgers recently. They came right back.  They were losing series in embarrassing fashion all through the beginning of the season, yet here they are in the thick of things even with tonight’s loss.

They will always worry me with inexplicable hitting slumps and shaky starting pitching, but even if the Cubs sweep this series, the ‘Stros are in this thing until the end. 

 Our Disastros have fought momentum valiantly every game this season.  Just when you think they can’t take another bone crushing loss (the Nationals eating them alive at home, right?), they come right back and win with a relative ease that makes me scratch my head, and throw a spotlight on their resilience.

They can also beat freakin’ Johan and then look mystified by a guy from Triple- A , so momentum hasn’t been a key factor in their season so far. They are actually, for the first time ever, taking it one game at a time this season.  Slow, steady, mildly consistent winning, which may be enough to kick them over the top in this fun but floundery division.  

And yeah, this grand slam might start Soriano on a tear, and the Cubs might stay hot because of it.  But he’ll probably go right back to being the bravado guy with the hole in his swing and the inability to read a close play down the third base line.  The Cubs will live and die with this newfound “momentum” for the next few days, or even weeks.  There might even be something to it.  It might put them over the top. But we know what will probably keep happening in the playoffs, sad as that is to think of.

 And I know one more thing. The Astros of this team aren’t gonna pout their way through this series. They actually played a pretty great game tonight. They’re just experiencing a little late season dead bat phase right now, exacerbated by the absence of Berkman. 

 The Astros will keep plunking along, slow and steady until the real end of the season, when they’ll either fizzle or rocket hard to the end. 

And I have the strange feeling our plodding turtles (led by the speedy Bourn)might just catch these hyped up rabbits napping.

New-han’s On Deck, or, Predictions Schmictions

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2009 by Astropolithecus

Quick check in on our beloved and terrifyingly inconsistent disAstros.

I have not blogged in a bit, mostly because I was intently watching my NCAA Tigers go all the way to the Sweet 16, only to be dismantled by Missouri. And Now I’m watching Kentucky try to woo Memphis’ future away.

ANYhoo, this is not a Memphis blog, though Calipari could learn from the loyalty of Bagwell, Biggio, and Berkman.

This is an Astro blog, and though hope springs eternal yada yada, No one in baseball has the slightest respect for the Astros’ chances to even compete in the NL Central. Despite our scrappy pedigree, even the Reds are consistently picked ahead of us, though they have proven nothing more than the Stros as far as I’m concerned.  

I state this now. Listen oh predicting and Astro loving world.  A very slow start, or more than 3 early injuries, and we can kiss the Astros’ season goodbye, but even a medium start, and I will guarantee you the Astros hang around for postseason contention.  Our pitching staff, though the weak point of the team, isn’t as horrifying as everyone predicts.  I respect Moehler, Hampton is solid if healthy, and Wandy could easily have his best year this year, put it all together, so to speak. 

How many times has a team’s pitching staff proven saltier and more durable than anyone expected.  There are at least two story lines like that EVERY YEAR in Major League Baseball. 

And don’t get me started on how disrespected our hitters are, at least as a group.  Now that we’ve got Pudge too, Our lineup is very solid. I’d take our club’s hitters over the Red’s any day of the week.  Berkman and Lee are blue chippers, and the only knock against Pence is that his sophomore season wasn’t spectacular. The only knock on Matsui is his health, which is a legitimate worry, but when he’s playing, baby, money all the way.  Remember the Rockies folks? Not that long ago.   And Tejada? Still one of the best hitting shortstops in the game. And he’ll have something to prove coming in.

I’d put our bullpen up against any in the majors.

So, there you go. All the predictors can BITE ME!

The 2009 Astros probably won’t win the division, but they will compete for the Wild Card.    

My only major concern now(besides injuries)?

                                                            Management.

After Cabeza’s research, and after reading about Newhan’s anger concerning Cooper’s handling of his release, I am worried about his leadership. I was a big supporter last year, and I think he is a gritty, cool guy, but he may not be a good leader with the Astros. Now, he may be, Newhan could just be blowing justifiable steam, but if the players don’t respect Cooper, we’ve got a problem.  Wade may not be liked all around, but I bet he’s got some respect from the boys.

If the players leave it out on the field, then the weird Wade and Cooper vibes will dissipate, but if not…

Of course Drayton McClane is a weirdo, and they’ve been fine under him for a number of years. 

A player, and soon, should make a statement of solidarity concerning Cooper. Please.

P.S. Concerning Wade, I’ll hear other arguments, but don’t bring up Chacon and how Wade handled that badly.  Shawn Chacon is an idiot.  Don’t attack your boss after you instigated an argument.  Don’t PHYSICALLY attack him anyway.

I repeat, I don’t care what Oswalt said, Chacon is a hot headed moron, who blew a chance at late career glory because he wanted to flex up against a sixty year old man who gave him a second chance to start. At least Caminiti waited till he was retired.

Astros Lose by Only Two Runs!

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , on March 9, 2009 by Cabeza De Vaca

On Monday, the Astros lost to the Washington Nationals 8-6, in 10 innings. Wait… 10 innings? What the hell? We should have had another tie ballgame! Anyway, just for the shock value, here are the results so far in Astros Grapefruit League action:

Astros 6, Nationals 3

Braves 8, Astros 7

Nationals 2, Astros 0

Pirates 6, Astros 5

Mets 13, Astros 1

Astros 5, Yankees 5

Rays 12, Astros 2

Braves 13, Astros 0

Cardinals 5, Astros 1

Pirates 11, Astros 4

Nationals 8, Astros 6

Yeah, the Strosies have been outscored 86 – 37. Hey, things are looking up, though. Pence and Quintero went yard. Prior to that, Pence was hitting .150, and, well, Quintero was hitting an even .000.

I know, I know. These games don’t count. I know. Roy, Carlos and Miggy are all playing in the World Baseball Classic. I know. Lance Berkman isn’t doing a whole lot of playing. I know, but the same is true of every team’s
best players. So what does that mean? Everyone’s scrubs are better than our scrubs? Not to worry, scrubs, help is on the way.

The only reassurance I can give myself is that the Astros have always been horrible in Spring Training. This realization actually makes me feel a great deal better. Of course, I don’t know of anywhere to look up past Grapefruit League standings, but I am pretty sure the Astros have been horrible every Spring Training of my entire life. Why should this year be any different?

Frack! Sorry I’m late to spring training.

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , on March 6, 2009 by Astropolithecus

Wow,

 I’m sorry I’m so late to spring training.  I had no idea it had even started. I must have had the times wrong. I’ve been hanging out in Panama, drinking guava daiquiris. Lee told me the report date was toda- hey, where’s Randy Wolf?

Anyway, I’m like totally sorry.

Um, Why does Miggy’s locker have yellow tape wrapped around it?

Berkman’s not sulking-I’m getting really frackin’ freaked  out –??!! Holy crap, who’s the old guy with a beard and taped wrapped all  around his torso?! Is he pitching, is he a new pitching coach?! No one told me-WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?

 Whoa, Baseball Projection ranked us where?

No, I just can’t do this right now, no , just, just STOP!!     Look, I’m gonna grab some brunch with M-Lo and my new boy T-Hall to settle my stomach. I’ll see you guys at  Brad A’s annual spring meeting where he roasts all the new young free agents. At least that’ll cheer me up.  

                     Peace,

                               Berkmaniac