Saturday, April 04, 2009

Batter up: Houston Astros

It's that mystical, wonderful time of year where you commit to a baseball team who you know fully well won't win. This season, in honour of an popular Internet meme, we'll present 25 things that are tangentially about each team. At bat: The Houston Astros.
  1. Senators owner Eugene Melnyk wants you to know anyone who thinks the Astros should blow up their roster should get a bomb and blow themselves up. They fluked out an 86-win season, but now have an aging lineup and strange as it might sound for a team in Texas, have about run out of bullets.

  2. Astros great Craig Biggio is now coaching his son's high school baseball team. People have been saying they're better than they get credit for, but everyone will soon realize that they have just been overachieving.

  3. It might have been better to come up with a list of 25 beejos than 25 things about the Astros.

  4. Houston ace Roy Oswalt's closest comparable is Roy Halladay. And they have the same name!

  5. It's best to not go looking for a picture of Astros owner Drayton Moore and just picture him as the Rich Texan from The Simpsons. Carlos Lee and Miguel Tejada's contracts are on par with owning the world's fattest racehorse.

  6. They had the oldest team in the majors before signing a 37-year-old catcher universally known as Pudge. Ivan Rodriguez hasn't been a league-average hitter since 2004.
  7. If you want to know why Nolan Ryan pitched forever, check the expression he gets on his face just before he reaches back to squirt Charlie Kerfeld with champagne. It's right at the end.

  8. At one point this spring they had overwhelmed one opponent, underwhelmed 16 and whelmed three. Their overall spring training record was 11-19-1. It only means something if you let it mean something.

  9. FanGraphs gives their farm system an F.

  10. Centrefielder Michael Bourn's 41 steals were the most for a Houston player since Craig Biggio swiped 50 in 1998. This is about the only similarity between them as players.

    It's always a laugh-and-a-half to read that a player could be good "if he can get his on-base percentage up." That's almost like telling a basketball player, "be taller."

    Bourn could crack .300 if he started getting hit by pitches at a more Biggio-esque rate. He was plunked only twice last season.

  11. There's a sneaking suspicion that the Baseball Prospectus people listed catcher Jason Castro as the 76th-best prospect just so people could say they didn't have anyone in the top 75. That was downright decent of them.

  12. Mixing and matching interleague opponents really mushroomed once the Astros, an NL Central team, started playing the Texas Rangers, an AL West team (in the first couple years, the West played the West, and so on). There are some great ideas to make interleague better, but don't expect it to happen.

  13. The most glamourous thing about middle reliever Geoff Geary is that he's represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council. Somewhere there's a 25-year-old guy trying to use, "I worked on Geoff Geary's contract" to impress women.

  14. Lance Berkman has on-based .413 and slugged .560 in his career, which are big-time numbers for a 10-year veteran. He's kind of a poor man's Jim Thome.

  15. Has everyone forgotten that it was reported last spring that a Houston trainer supplied steroids to retired Astros great Jeff Bagwell, along with Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte?

  16. Jose Valverde (pictured) is a dominant closer, but the Astros having him might be a bit like GM execs keeping their private jets. It's going to be a long season in Houston.

  17. Please show some love for Wandy Rodriguez, who's among the best pitchers no one outside of fantasy leaguers has ever heard of.

  18. This Roger Clemens Sports Illustrated cover from five years ago is pretty ironic.

  19. Tuesday is the 30th anniversary of former Astro Bob Forsch throwing what was then the earliest no-hitter in baseball history. His cather that night was The FAN 590's Alan Ashby, who the good Lord willing, will get to commentate the next Blue Jays no-hitter.

  20. You probably knew that veteran outfielder Darin Erstad was the punter for the Nebraska Cornhuskers when they won the NCAA football title in 1994, but did you know he actually caught a pass that season? You do now. It's around the 2:00 mark of the clip. Apparently, the Cornhuskers were using an old Ottawa Rough Riders playbook: Have the holder drop the snap, pick up wildy run around wildly and heave it downfield and hope something good happens.

  21. From the department of "good to know," the franchise record for losses in a season is 97, set the first year the team was known as the Astros.

  22. The best baseball team in Houston right now is probably the Rice Owls. They're 19-7 this season.

  23. Minute Maid Park could stand to lose Tal's Hill in centrefield. How someone hasn't broken their neck running up that incline is absolutely amazing.

  24. Lance Berkman's spouse is named Cara and knowing that is not the least bit pathetic.

  25. Cecil Cooper could be the first manager fired this season, one of the risks of working for the Rich Texan.

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