Archive for Chicago Cubs

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.

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Shame on You

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , on September 16, 2008 by beckeesh

… Drayton McLane

You sold us out.  Without your stamp of approval, this either wouldn’t have happened, or it would’ve happened under serious and unified protest.

… Bud Selig

Obviously, we did not play two “home” games in Milwaukee, nor did we play two games at a “neutral” site.  We played two games in a roofed stadium full of 23,000 Cubs bleacher bums.  That’s more bleacher bums than fit at Wrigley, making it a worse venue for us than the one on Clark Street.

… Aramis Ramirez

Wow, I really didn’t know you had this in you: “If they cry about it, that’s the wrong thing to do because you’ve still got to play the game,” he said. “You’ve got to go out there and try to win ballgames. It doesn’t matter where you play or what situation you’re in. We’re on the road, too. Even though we had a lot of Cubs fans, we weren’t playing at Wrigley Field.” 

So, you’re betting you won’t face Oswalt in October?

“Off the Ledge, Tex.”

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , on September 15, 2008 by Astropolithecus

 

    Alright, everybody back away from the hurricane shattered open window.  We got no-hit. Zambrano was aces.  Pence couldn’t drop a line drive into the gap. Big Whoop. As losses go, this was one of the least stressful I’ve ever had to deal with as a fan. Seriously.

    First, it was clear that Zambrano was sick after the second inning.  Not sick in the head, per usual, but dirty bomb filthy.  Second, the Astros had experienced an atomic storm all their own, before they even faced the baby blue bull.  Their freakin’ victory today was actually flying out of Houston.  I bet it felt like The Twilight Zone as they looked down upon burning refineries on their way to play a game at “Wrigley North”. Dudes came out of the clubhouse like a limp pickle. Of course they did. I’ve never felt more calm.  Our starter and line up were flat distracted. Duh! They’re just guys dealing with extraordinary shit. None of them currently have power, and they won’t know what’s going to happen to their families in person because they are on the road for another week. That’ll take your mind off the game for a night.

No excuses. ‘Stros didn’t execute. Couldn’t catch up with the heater.  So what? We gained a half game! Two out! We’re two out! Bet that’s the first no-hitter that accomplished that!   

Got a feelin’ the Stros have a few more axes to grind tomorrow. Bet they’re refocused now. Maybe Lilly will be in the path of his own storm.  Our boys don’t get mad, they get even, a la Brad Ausmus vs. Kyle Farnsworth , a la Berkman unloading on Springer. A la Oswalt.   I predict an Astros win tomorrow. 1:05 Central.  Bring it on. 

I did hear Theriot’s basement flooded because of those little rainy storms here.  Boy, I don’t know how those Cubs can suit up every day.

Fans, no big deal. We weren’t winning this game. Period.  We just lost on a historic night.

Still don’t feel consoled? The whole country knows we got a raw deal, and they know the Astros are handling it with grace.  Cubs fans probably feel a little defensive about this Zam no-no, because of the surrounding situations.  That can’t be comfortable.  But the Houston Astros coming through a post-hurricane no hitter to reach the playoffs?! That would be one of the best baseball stories of all time. And I’ve got a feeling it will be.

STILL don’t feel better? Here are some actual Astros players from a 1994 Sega Genesis game lineup:

     {-Brian Hunter, Derek Bell, Derrick May, Rick Gutierrez, Anthony Young, Jeff Tobaka, and Mike Simms-}

Glad you’re not watching that team? Me too!!!

Remember, we, in recent history to be fair, have always played like Biggio and Bagwell. Class and talent gold standards. The Cubs? Their recent stars are Sosa , sorry, and Soriano, a man who once didn’t take the field cause he DIDN’T LIKE his position. Awww.  Their only real class acts are Lee and Theriot. Let them have a deserved walk in the sun. The Zambino machine was a stud.

I’M the one who lives in Chicago, and will have to deal with this garbage all day tomorrow.  Don’t bother me.  Think I’ll wear my Astros cap at work. 

STILL DON’T FEEL BETTER?!

 Texas made it through the hurricane, and it wasn’t as hideous as was feared. A Katrina hasn’t developed. Texas can rebuild, with a mighty effort, quickly.  And maybe they can watch the good guys from Houston win it all while they do so. It’s possible. Feel better.

Complete Bull

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , on September 14, 2008 by beckeesh

Bud Selig’s office, in conjunction with Drayton McLane, have moved two of our three scheduled games against the Cubs to Wrigley North, er, Miller Park.  According to Uncle Drayton, this is being done out of respect for Houston fans who are undergoing hardship in the wake of Hurricane Ike.

Just goes to show you, rich people rarely know what the rest of us want.

We want to WIN.

We want the opportunity to brave flooded streets and fork over $6.50 a beer to cheer for our team.  “Go ‘Stros!” we’d shout in one of the only places in town with A/C.

But no, the team is fleeing the scene. Oops, I mean, escaping town.  Oops, I mean, leaving a disaster zone in a slightly hurried way.

Lance, la Guagua, Roy-O and co. are headed north to play a “home” game in front of 30,000 Cubs fans.   Oh, and plenty of Brewers fans.  (Which side will they be on?) 

Meanwhile, back in Houston, ‘Stros fans will, if they’re lucky, tune in the radio to hear Brett Dolan’s play by play.  (I’ll save further comment on that for another post.)

Since I’m not in Houston, I’ll be watching via satellite, saving choice and important words for our owner, who better be sitting front row center.

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Update:  If you want to get even angrier, or more depressed, please visit the Cubs and Brewers mlb message boards.  Those witty Cubs fans are promising to teach those horrible Brewers fans the words to that absolutely awful song, “Go Cubs, Go.” 

This reminds me, since we are the home team, will “Deep in the Heart of Texas” be sung during the seventh inning stretch?  Yes, imagine how ridiculous it would be.  Yes, imagine how utterly ridiculous it will be to see the Astros wearing white jerseys beneath a sea of blue.

Postcard from a Disaster, aka Monday Morning Quarterbacking in the Summer of Brett Favre

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on August 7, 2008 by beckeesh

Well, we survived the tornado, but not the disaster.  Cecil Cooper lost two games for us this week, and he should have to answer for it.

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Case One:  Tuesday, 8-5-08, Astros v. Cubs

Wandy gave up six, and the Cubs surged to an early lead after two innings played.  However, the momentum began to shift to the Astros’ favor later in the game.  We scored two in the fifth, two in the sixth, and three in the seventh to jump to a one run lead. 

Then, the bottom of the seventh.

Sampson was on the mound after pitching an effective but shaky sixth inning.  He started off the seventh by giving up back to back hits followed by a sac fly from Fukudome.  With the eighth spot due up, Lou Piniella sent in Daryle Ward to pinch hit.

And then, with runners on the corners and one out in the seventh, Cecil Cooper made the call to have Sampson INTENTIONALLY WALK DARLYE WARD. 

I’m sorry, WHY?  Daryle Ward is a career .264 hitter, and this season he’s only hitting .227.  He’s only 1-for-4 against Sampson with two strikeouts, and he’s never faced Wesley Wright.  In fact, I can’t believe Cooper didn’t salivate at the idea of getting the lefty-lefty matchup there.  Why not bring in Wright to face Ward and force Pinella to manage his way out of it? 

WHAT WAS COOPER THINKING?!

I can tell you, I was sitting very close to this action at the time, in a group of ‘Stros fans, and all of us were asking, “What’s he doing here?  Why is he walking Ward to face another pinch hitter?” and  “Wait, doesn’t that mean we’ll see Soriano this inning?” and finally, “Do we have this right?”

We did have it right, and Cecil Cooper had it all wrong.  It would not be his first mistake.

Fontenot (lefty) had been announced to pinch hit for the pitcher, Howry, but Coop went to the bullpen again.  Wesley Wright came in for the Astros, so Pinella burned Fontenot and turned to Geovany Soto (righty) for a better matchup. 

This makes it bases loaded, one out in the bottom of the seventh, Astros 7, Cubs 6, Geovany Soto v. Wesley Wright. 

The count went 1-0, 1-1, 2-1, 2-2… Strikeout!  

Strikeout! Strikeout! 

Now it’s bases loaded, TWO outs!  TWO OUTS!  “Maybe things will turn out OK after all.  Go ‘Stros!” we’re thinking.

We temporarily forgot that coming to the plate was… Alfonso Soriano.

Well, Wright is DEALING, so bring it on, Soriano!

<<<PA Announcement:  Pitching change for the Astros.  New pitcher Doug Brocail.>>>

MISTAKE NUMBER 2, COOPER, SIR.  We fans in the stands were deflated.  Weren’t you?

I’m sure I don’t have to remind you of what happened next:  grand slam, left field.  Grand slam on a 1-2 count! Brocail would give up another run that inning, and we would not be able to come back. 

Eleven, eleven, eleven, 11 runs Cubs, 7 runs, Astros. 

Of the fateful moment, Cooper had this to say:  “It was a pitch that [Brocail] didn’t get where he wanted,” Cooper said. “He wanted to bounce a slider and ended up hanging it. When you hang it to guys like [Soriano], they’ll make you pay.”

I have yet to hear any explanation for walking Daryle Ward.

[We got] down, and I felt like the Cubs, a first-place club and a talented club like that, it’s kind of tough to come back. But we got some big hits and everybody played well.”

Everybody, Coop?

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Case Two: Wednesday, 8-6-08, Astros v. Cubs

This case is a lot simpler to make:

Brandon Backe, EIGHT earned runs in the third.

No one up in the bull pen.

Two earned runs in the fourth.

Who is that, Byrdak out there?

Eleven, eleven, eleven, 11 runs Cubs, 4 runs, Astros.

What made this loss really hard to take was the fact that once out there, Brydak threw 2 2/3 scoreless, and LaTroy Hawkins, who pitched the eighth (to boos from the Cubs audience) STRUCK OUT THE SIDE!

I’ll call this a WAY #2 loss: bad starting pitching.  But in my mind this game, like the one before it, was lost by Cecil Cooper.

Scenes from a Tornado, aka On the Road with the ‘Stros

Posted in Houston Astros with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 5, 2008 by beckeesh

I’m on the road with the Astros this week, catching their three game series at Wrigley.  And I have great seats!!! 

One of the things we’d really like disastros.com to offer readers is a fan’s look at the team.  For this reason, I’ll be blogging with all the insights and pure speculation I can gather based on seeing the team up close and personal. 

What went down at Wrigley yesterday:

1.  Humberto Quintero goofed around with both Matsui’s interpreter and his massage therapist.  Check out these photos!

        

2.  Erstad and Pence practiced their swings outside the dugout:

    

3.  The game started.  Matsui started us off by grounding out to first.  At least he looked appropriately ashamed afterwards:

 

4. Following Matsui’s out, Tejada got a single, tagged up on a fly ball by Berkman to advance to second, and  then Lee drove him in with a double to right.  I cheered, and a crazy Cubs fans sitting near me (70 years old?  80?) yelled that I “stop putting my hands together.”  (No photo)

5.  The game continued.  Moehler pitched well.  He only allowed 4 baserunners, while striking out 4.  According to the Chicago radio experts, this was due to the home plate umpire (Laz Diaz, I believe) giving him too much on the outside corner.  Whine, whine, excuse, whine.  The Astros scored again in the 4th on a bases loaded RBI walk by Humberto Quintero.  Drayton McLane, who was sitting very near me, cheered loudly for “Q.”  I’ve never seen him cheer on TV, so I found that interesting.

Oh, here are some more shots from the game in progress:

        

6.  I went to the ladies room in the bottom of the 5th and heard some announcement about a tornado warning.  I returned to my seat in the top of the 6th and sprinkles fell.  They quickly turned into full-fledged drops as a drizzle came down. We abandoned our uncovered seats and went up to the upper deck, where I took this photo:

7.  An announcemet came over the PA.  We couldn’t hear it very well, but it ended with “get to the main concourse.”  Even the bleacher bums headed out.  Check out the trash they left behind!

   

8.  I’d just started a fresh beer, and anyway it looked crowded down below, so we weren’t going to leave our seats in the upper deck, but then they set off police sirens across the street, and everyone got kinda alarmed, so we made our way down the ramp.  haha!  Not fast enough, because heavy heavy winds blew in along with the rain, and everyone had to run down the ramp as fast as they could, since being on the ramp left one most exposed to the elements.  It was hairy for a while there.  We took cover on the first deck.  Here was the scene:

 

Of course, concessions were still being sold below:

 

8.  We hung out for about 20 minutes until the rain let up.  I got some good field-level shots on our way out.

 

9.  We made it home safely, thanks for wondering.  The game ended up being continued for a couple more innings, then another delay.   Unfortunately, I saw none of this, as ESPN and WGN conspired to blackout the final innings.  I woke up the next morning to find that the game was called in the 8th.  Astros win!

I’m off to today’s game.  Let’s go, ‘Stros!