CHIPALATTA

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More thoughts as countdown goes from weeks to just hours


A handful of thoughts as the months and then weeks have now turned to hours before Houston’s pitchers and catchers report to Kissimmee.

  • Didn’t see Brett Wallace clearing waivers and remaining with the Astros’ organization. Just shows how far the former first rounder has fallen. At this point in the spring — and the Astros had to know this — many teams’ 40-man rosters are either full or nearly full. Still, if a team thought Wallace had another shot in him, they would have found a way. Now, watch him tear up spring training and the Astros have to cut someone else to make room at the end of next month for Wallace.
  • The old school keeps going away. There once was a way of playing the game. Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell got dirty. Roy Oswalt was one of the old schoolers himself. Remember Bernie Williams? Or Bob Gibson or Ozzie Smith or George Brett? They played the game the right way, along with many others. With Lance Berkman and Roy Oswalt walking into the sunset, just another reminder of the link to the good times. Now, Derek Jeter says he will retire after the 2014 season. The game isn’t the same, and I’m not sure it’s for the better.
  • So, we asked the question recently when Berkman retired. But should the Astros now retire Roy Oswalt’s #44? It’s hard to say ‘no” to either one. There is no doubt that both Oswalt and Berkman are among the top 10 players in all of Astros’ history. Most would put Oswalt in the all-time Astros’ rotation and few would leave Berkman off the all-time lineup card. From my vantage point, you retire both numbers. By doing so, you also continue to hold a higher standard than in previous years for retiring numbers.
  • Projections and predictions will start to roll in soon for the baseball season. Here’s an early look from Clay Davenport. Good news is this projection predicts a dramatic improvement for the Astros. Bad news is they finish last in the AL West. Surprise. Check it out. If these predictions hold up though, the Astros won’t have the #1 pick in 2015.
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About Chip Bailey

Chip Bailey lives in Colorado Springs, CO, and is an author and former sports editor and sportswriter who has followed the Astros for more than 40 years. A native of Natchitoches, La., Chip enjoys watching baseball at most any level, especially pro and college. Several years ago, he worked as an associate of Pastor John Bosman, who enjoyed giving nick names to his staff. He came up with Chipalatta, and it’s stuck.

9 comments on “More thoughts as countdown goes from weeks to just hours

  1. Steven
    February 12, 2014

    The Astros should sign Oswalt and Berkman to 1 day contracts. They should even offer to let them be on the roster on opening day, walk out to their positions, and then be replaced. Let them tip the cap to the fan base that followed them for the best parts of their career.

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  2. BrianT
    February 12, 2014

    Please no on Wallace. I don’t mind if he’s the Redhawks first baseman, but he should be in a glass case that says, “Break Glass in Emergency Only.”

    I disagree that there are no more Gibsons or Bretts or whomever. Curt Schilling and The Big Unit were a Bob Gibson types — fierce competitors. I know, they’re retired. But Wainwright, Kerahaw, Darvish; these are all guys who took the ball and pitched deep into games. And they are fierce competitors. I’m pretty sure Mike Trout would have been a fan favorite in any era. I miss the old players, but I expect to see Correa in Houston by the time he’s 20. That’s talent, hard work and grit. And George Brett probably would have been thrilled to see a guy like him on the left side if the infield.

    I think the Astros are in danger of running out of numbers before too long. Look, I love Roy O. I was there the day he made his first start. He and Mike Scott are my favorite Astros pitchers. But we need to stop retiring every number. Or I wish we could un-retire a few.
    I’d be thrilled to pick sixth or eighth in 2015.

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    • Chip Bailey
      February 12, 2014

      Brian, I wouldn’t disagree that the Astros have set some bad precedents with the numbers they’ve retired. But I don’t believe we can use that as a barometer of whether to retire 44 and 17. That should be a stand-alone decision. Agree also on the un-retire idea.

      Yes, some of those players you named may be throw backs, but that’s just it. There are far fewer Biggios, Gibsons, Bretts, etc. Wasn’t suggesting there weren’t any at all, just that they aren’t as prevalent as even 10-15 years ago.

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  3. 1oldpro
    February 12, 2014

    Ellsbury gets as down and dirty as anyone. Bryce Harper runs into walls to catch balls. There aren’t many, but there never were many playing at the same time. Brooks Robinson, Lenny Dykstra and Pete Rose come to mind but the reason these guys stand out is because they just played harder and that’s why we remember them.

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  4. 1oldpro
    February 12, 2014

    Seeing Wallace clear waivers just made me chuckle after reading comments from a few who said that Wallace would immediately get picked up and come back to haunt us. Nobody would trade for him and not one team would take him for free. It’s not sad, it’s baseball. All someone has to do is open their eyes and watch the games.

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  5. devin_
    February 12, 2014

    Survey any fanbase of any other team (perhaps except the Yankees) and they’ll name you a couple of recent players from their team that “they don’t make like that anymore.” The flip-side of Biggio/Bagwell not getting the respect we feel they deserve is that often times we overlook the intangibles or qualities that don’t pop out of a box score from players in other cities as well.

    I have a different reaction to Oswalt and Berkman retiring…it makes me feel old. I’d probably hold off on retiring any numbers for a few years. It’s not that I think they are undeserving…there is as good an argument for either of theirs as any other retired Astros number.

    I was wrong on Wallace. I suspect you’re right though – teams know he can only play 1B / DH, can only hit RHP, and is prone to striking out more than he gets on base. He’s not the guy you clear a roster spot at this point of his career. Still…if he has a big spring he may have enough value to win a spot or entice someone to trade for him.

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  6. Dan P
    February 13, 2014

    Hey Chip – interesting stuff here:
    – I guess the question is – if Wallace had been waived at an earlier time when 40 mans were not full – would it have made any difference? I’m guessing it made no difference that teams think he has had enough opportunities to show who he is. So, if he is back with the organization does he go to the minor league camp or get a NRI invite?
    – Though he did not hit well – I thought Brandon Barnes played that hard nosed baseball last season for us and I think that is why he was a fan favorite – folks thought he would run through fences for a fly ball. Maybe somebody like Oberholtzer could do that – I thought he gritted his way through spots last season. Qualls might bring that with him.
    – I don’t care how many numbers get retired – they certainly won’t be running out anytime in my lifetime – I care about the quality of the player. Berkman was probably fairly even with Bagwell as the best quality hitter we have ever seen in an Astros uniform (Biggio wins the quantity test) and unlike the other two he was the most clutch playoff hitter we ever had. I think Oswalt was the overall best pitcher we ever had for an extended time – he certainly has to be in the top 2 or 3.
    And both those guys deserve it more than some folks already retired.
    You only need 25 numbers for the roster – we probably won’t run out for another 300 years…..
    – I want to see a dramatic improvement and if the Astros do that and still have the 2nd pick in the draft as Davenport’s computers predict – that is just gravy.

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  7. daveb
    February 13, 2014

    If I’m Wallace, I seriously consider resurrecting my career in a place like Japan. He would not be the first MLB dud that found success playing over there.

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  8. Becky
    February 13, 2014

    Saw where the MLB has been watching the Astros, and Marlins very close to see how much Crane has increased the pay roll. Brett Wallace will get a chance once again to join the Astros, sometime this year……..

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This entry was posted on February 12, 2014 by in Astros.
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