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Hang on Sloopy: 10 Reasons to shake the spring training blues


Back in the day, a lot of kids thought that the song by the McCoys was “Hang on Snoopy” (who the heck names their daughter Sloopy anyways). Either way, the sentiment can be applied to the current situation with Astros fandom. The team is struggling a bit the last week or so with starting pitchers getting hit, relievers getting hit and hitters forgetting how to hit. Fans have not seen a game that counted since October and are getting grumpy, antsy and let’s face it…. a little over-analytical about what it all means this time of the year.

So, here are 10 reasons to shake off the Spring Training Blues and to look forward to the 2016 season:

  1. THE CAPTAIN!!!…..You get to watch Carlos Correa, the greatest shortstop to ever strap on the Astro’s cleats and by the time he is done he might be the greatest Astro ever.
  2. THE BEARD!!!…If you can’t get excited watching Cy Young award winner and left-handed Bad-A#% Dallas Keuchel, force opponents to hit everything on the ground to somebody – well you don’t have a pulse.
  3. COLBY JACK!!!….This southern boy loves living in a city where his monster pickup truck is not out-of-place and he gave the Astros something they never got out of Biggio or Bagwell – a clutch hitting playoff appearance.
  4. ANDREW JAY!!!….A.J. Hinch gave the Astros the steadiest hand on the tiller since either Phil Garner or Larry Dierker guided the team to big time success. He seems to merge a sense of fun with catcher intelligence and some behind the scenes discipline in just the right portions.
  5. WAIVER WIRE MAC!!!….The Astros gave up nothing, nada, zilch, the big bagel to pick up Collin McHugh. In exchange for about a $1 million in salary he has given them a sterling 30-16 record.
  6. GEORGIE PORGIE!!!….George Springer is a tremendously talented individual with a wonderful attitude and needs just a little luck to play a whole season and put up some awesome numbers.
  7. CAR-GO!!!….Carlos Gomez was one of the best players in baseball in 2013 and 2014 scoring 175 runs, hitting 47 HR and stealing 74 bases. That is exciting and is recent enough that it can come back around.
  8. MAR-GO!!!….Marwin Gonzalez worked his way from fringe player to critical Swiss Army Knife and can be trusted wherever and whenever they choose to play him.
  9. THE PEN!!!….I don’t care if Ken Giles is being knocked around and Luke Gregerson is not quite back. This basically same bullpen made a quantum leap from the worst in baseball (the one where you cringed every time the manager approached the mound) to one of the best crews in the business in 2015.
  10. THE YOUTH!!!….Whether Tyler White or A.J. Reed or Matt Duffy or Colin Moran or Michael Feliz or Joe Musgrove starts the season with the team or ends the season with the team – there are a lot of young players that will make this team more fun to watch over the next season or five.

So what are your Top 10 reasons for watching this team in 2016?

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About Dan P

Dan Peschong is a full time engineer and a long time Astros lover from the days of Joe Morgan to the days of Jose Altuve.

130 comments on “Hang on Sloopy: 10 Reasons to shake the spring training blues

  1. Mr. Bill
    March 23, 2016

    Reason #1: The Astros have been my team since 1962. There is no other team.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Tim
    March 23, 2016

    Until about 2 minutes ago I thought the song was ‘Hang on Snoopy’. Thanks for saving me a future embarrassment. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Tim
    March 23, 2016

    Basically, what Mr. Bill said, except I wasn’t alive in 1962, but they have been my team since 1977 when my family moved to Houston from upstate N.Y. If I stayed a fan from 2010-2014 then I will remain a fan forever. I love baseball and I love the Astros so we are a perfect match.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 1oldpro
    March 23, 2016

    Top 10 reasons for watching the team in 2016:
    10. Direct TV
    9. Bob Aspromonte
    8 Jim Wynn
    7. Art Howe
    6. James Rodney Richard
    5. Mike Scott
    4.Larry Dierker
    3. Jeff Bagwell
    2. Craig Biggio
    1. Carlos Correa.

    Like

    • sargeh
      March 23, 2016

      I dare say that I have personally watched each of these players actually play in an Astros/Colt 45’s uniform.

      A quick quiz… who were the players on Oldpro’s list that wore both of these uniforms?

      Like

      • Tim
        March 23, 2016

        Aspromonte and Wynn.

        Like

      • Tim
        March 23, 2016

        Aspromonte and Dierk. Not Wynn

        Like

      • sargeh
        March 23, 2016

        Actually Wynn joined the Colt 45s in 1963. So all three are correct.

        Which of these played in a Colt 45s uniform?

        Joe Morgan
        Jose Altuve
        John Edwards
        Don Wilson
        Dallas Kuechel
        Rusty Staub
        Preston Tucker
        Chris Carter

        Like

      • Dan P
        March 23, 2016

        I’m presuming the Astros must have worn Colt .45 uniforms in the last year or two – so all the guys did? I don’t know if Don Wildon did or did not – would have been on the cusp.

        Liked by 2 people

      • sargeh
        March 24, 2016

        Yes Dan, a trick question and you got it. Wilson and Edwards did not wear the Colt 45s uniforms! Good going!

        Like

    • Steve Fredrich
      March 26, 2016

      Good list of top Astros down through the years. Some of my personal favorites, just because they were tough, gritty bulldogs: Billy Wagner, Mike Hampton and Billy Spiers. You might beat ’em but you’d have to kill ’em first.

      Like

    • Steve Fredrich
      March 26, 2016

      And James Rodney Richard. Came up as a flame thrower with major control issues. But once he got the control worked out and mastered the slider, oh my he was filthy! For that 2 or 3 year period he was the best righty I’ve ever seen.

      Like

      • Dan P
        March 26, 2016

        Steve
        Billy Doran was another one of those tough kids too – loved those guys too.
        JR was like Brad Lidge if Brad could pitch 7 innings. It was really difficult to hit that 98 mph fastball but the 92 mph slider sucked them in as they thought it was the cheese. Unhittable pitch.

        Like

  5. 1oldpro
    March 23, 2016

    I was one broke dude with four kids and a new business when I was given two tickets to this game. I hope the link is good because the hero of the game was playing his first ever major league game.
    Another reason I love the Astros.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/HOU/HOU198707160.shtml

    Like

    • uncleknuckle
      March 23, 2016

      Gerald Young had quite a bit of talent. Unfortunately, drugs became more important than baseball. By 87, he was already going in the wrong direction.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        March 23, 2016

        Interesting you would mention Young’s problems, when the hero of the night, Caminiti, also had the same demons.

        Liked by 1 person

      • sargeh
        March 23, 2016

        As some of you might have surmised by now, I am in employ of a local law enforcement agency. I, unfortunately, had instances of “meeting” some of the heroes of our teams in dire circumstances. As Oldpro mentions Caminiti, I am reminded of when he became a “guest” and was assigned as a worker (trustee) for me. I was really saddened by the turn that he had taken. He is only one of the many that have come across my path in life on the wrong side. I state this only to speak about how our heroes can have the demons, not to demean him or others.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dan P
        March 23, 2016

        Sarge – we used to drive by Caminiti’s place going to my inlaws in Pecan Grove – pretty unassuming place (later moved to a new palace). His house was right by Glen Davis’ house. The thing that haunts me there is he had 3 young daughters. What drug and addictions do to folks..,

        Liked by 1 person

  6. 1oldpro
    March 23, 2016

    And my son and I were guests in the blue suites for this game. We left the Dome at 3:00am. Look at the stars playing for the Dodgers in this game. The guy who kicked our butts with his bat in this game was 3B Jeff Hamilton, and he ended up being the losing pitcher. I know I was not very attentive at Sunday Mass the next morning.
    Notice Biggio with 3 ABs as the starting catcher and Trevino with 7 ABs as the backup catcher.
    http://www.baseball-almanac.com/box-scores/boxscore.php?boxid=198906030HOU

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      March 23, 2016

      Want some baseball memories? Look at who umpired this game. The attendance was 34,000 plus, but there were about 2000 of us left when that game ended.

      Like

      • uncleknuckle
        March 23, 2016

        Yeah, and down 4-1 going into the 9th, most everyone had left already.

        Like

    • uncleknuckle
      March 23, 2016

      I was there1OP. I remember our small group down behind third base sang “Take me out to the Ballgame” three times that night. I think you probably got bonus points for even showing up at Mass Sunday morning.

      Liked by 2 people

      • 1oldpro
        March 23, 2016

        Dave, the attendants left all the food in the skyboxes and went home by 10pm. We were on the third base line way up high. We didn’t want to leave because we had never been in the skyboxes before and never were again, so we made the most of it. Valbuena even came into the game to play first base. What a memory this is for me.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        March 23, 2016

        Sorry, Fernando Valenzuela, not Valbuena. God, I’m old.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Mr. Bill
        March 23, 2016

        Loved that classic Valenzuela eye-roll. It was hypnotizing. Watching him do what he did so well is what made me start throwing the screwball as my out-pitch. Never learned the eye-roll, however.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Mr. Bill
    March 23, 2016

    Another reason for watching the ‘Stros this year – one which was not that important in the past [until last year] – is the growing, great SILVER BOOT rivalry.

    When I think the team’s tussles with the Rangers last year I think about the scene in the John Wayne classic ‘The Cowboys’, which is built around the eternal ‘youth and strength’ vs. ‘experience and saavy’ conflict. At one point Wayne’s character, the venerable Wil Anderson, and Mr. Nightlinger [Roscoe Lee Brown] are watching a young bull and an old bull fighting for the herd. Wayne says: “The young one has strength; the old one has experience.”

    Last year the old bull’s experience won out. This year the young one’s got a little more saavy and a lot more swagger. Come on, Astros, you’re burnin’ daylight!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Mr. Bill
    March 23, 2016

    Okay, Dan – your song-styling invitation is hereby accepted. Move over, Wierd Al – there’s a new kid on the block.

    [The catchy bass line is the same]:
    Duh, duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh-duh-duh-duh,
    Duh, duh-duh, duh-duh, duh-duh-duh-duh-duh.

    1-2-3-4 . . .

    ‘Tuve comes from a very bad part of town
    And everybody, yeah, tried to put lil ‘Tuve down
    But ‘Tuve’s really showed them a thing or two-ooh-ooh-ooh!
    And look at ‘Tuve now, wearin’ orange and blue-ooo- ooo!

    And so we sing out
    Bang on, ‘Tuve – ‘Tuve bang on!
    Bang on, ‘Tuve – ‘Tuve bang on!

    The Captain’s funky hats? Cool as they come!
    and that swing is quick and strong, just like Jamaican rum.
    The newby sends it flying high and far-ar-ar-ar-ar.
    We’re so proud he wears that Astro star-ar-ar!

    And so we sing out
    Bang, on Newbie, Newbie bang on!
    Bang, on Newbie, Newbie bang on!

    Well it feels so good [come on, come on!]
    You know it feels so fine [come on, come on!]
    Well crank it, crank it, crank it ‘Tuve!
    And spank it, spank it, spank it Newbie!

    Bang on, Tuve, Tuve Bang on!
    Bang on Newbie, Newbie Bang on!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dan P
      March 23, 2016

      Beyond words here – my only regret is that I can only give you one “Like” on the song writing.

      Like

  9. MarkW
    March 23, 2016

    Good. Old. Memories.
    I was there the night Jeriome Robertson was vying for first Astro rook to win 16. He just had to get past Bonds for us to make the playoffs. What was it, 10-0 before we had our first beer?
    Or a year or two before in the Braves series, We Had bases loaded down one run in the 9th ends w/Hidalgo DP to end it. Damn the Braves pitching was supreme, and our brand just always seemed like the team which was missing that one cog.
    Had to watch on TV the ’80, and ’86 series, but man those were heartbreaking – yep!
    The players who stand out and who did us in? Podsednek, Dye, Lehritz, Brown, Glavine and Co. (Bobby Cox), Pujols to name a few. If we had simply spelled them in key situations, our song would’ve been more joyous!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Bill
      March 23, 2016

      Mark, those are names that ought never be mentioned in polite company. You need to immediately go scrub your poor contaminated little fingers with a grill-brush and a liberal dose of anti-bacterial soap! At least you didn’t mention Lenny Dykstra, Andruw and Chipper Jones, Rafael Furcal, or Jermaine Dye – oh wait – dang it, now I have to go scrub my hands too!!!!

      Like

      • MarkW
        March 23, 2016

        Oh, yeah that twitchy lil [….], Dykstra! And the hit ‘n run boozer, Furcal? You’re right, Mr Bill. I would have been better off with their names stricken from the record.

        But, as Dan points out, it’s a new day with some amazing athletes who know their mission is to Train to Reign. I’ve seen some real nice pieces of hitting (as well as defense, pitching and youth movement) this Spring that gives me confidence we won’t have the age-old anemic offense.

        Like

      • 1oldpro
        March 23, 2016

        Selig

        Like

      • uncleknuckle
        March 23, 2016

        The Pete Rose encounter with Nolan in game 5 of the 1980 playoff series is my worst Astro memory ever.

        Stros scored three in the 7th to take a 5-2 lead into the 8th. The Dome was in a frenzy. I still remember the smoke cloud in the upper reaches of the stadium. In those days, everyone smoked. Indoors! Ryan was a shut down pitcher in those days. Heck, he never gave up a lead late! First guy hits a seeing eye single up the middle. Then two infield hits. And then top of the order with Rose. I don’t know how many pitches it took, but Rose fouled off fastball after fastball and finally walked on a 3-2 count to bring in the first of a five run inning. I had never seen Ryan looked defeated before.

        We lost that game and the NLCS in 10 innings. Up by three runs, six outs away from the World Series, Ryan on the hill with Sambito and LaCorte waiting in the pen? That’s a lot of years ago, but still, what a vivid, devastating memory.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dan P
        March 23, 2016

        daveb – The 4th game was a killer too. Lost a 2-0 lead in the 8th. And it should have been 3-0 when Gary Woods pulled a little league play and left 3B too soon and was called out on appeal in the 6th. We did come back and tie it in the 9th but lost in extra innings in that one too.

        Like

      • uncleknuckle
        March 23, 2016

        Yeah Dan, four out of five games in that series going extras. I guess that’s why 36 years later I’m still not over that fifth game!

        Like

    • 1oldpro
      March 23, 2016

      How about the human bobblehead sitting next to Cox, Leo Mazzone? Great pitching coach.

      Like

      • MarkW
        March 23, 2016

        I’m interested to see what, if any effect Dyar Miller’s addition will mean in Fresno for guys like Musgrove, Feliz and Martes.. Not to mention whether Strommie we can McFister and McFeldman the way we did with McHugh.

        Like

      • uncleknuckle
        March 23, 2016

        I heard Leo made good spaghetti too.

        Like

  10. Mr. Bill
    March 23, 2016

    So if Jon Singleton somehow manages to make the team and play first base our DPs will be Newbie to ‘Tuve to the dude with the doobie!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. 1oldpro
    March 23, 2016

    Peacock optioned to minor league camp this morning.

    Like

    • MarkW
      March 23, 2016

      See, I saw a spark in him I wouldn’t quite lump with Straily. Peacock reminds me of Wojo in needing some maturity and self confidence. He threw a nasty slurve to end the game yesterday that wasn’t called, but unless your name is Nolan or Roger, you don’t get to show up an umpire.

      I’d hang on to Peacock to see if he can gain the respect of teammates and the league.

      PS I Havent seen anything on Tommy Shirley in awhile either. Back from TJ surgery, it sounded like he was progressing.

      Like

  12. Dan P
    March 23, 2016

    One of my favorite games of all time is here
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/HOU/HOU196804150.shtml
    April 15, 1968 – I had school the next day, but I could not turn my radio off as the Astros and Mets slogged through 24 innings and the good guys won 1-0. I bet Tommy Seaver was not pleased to get a no-decision after throwing a 2 hitter for 10 innings and you know the late Don Wilson who was habanero fiery was not happy walking away from a 9 inning shutout effort with nothing to show for it. At least they came out of the game with great ERAs.
    Look at Tommie Agee whose BA went from .313 to .192 after an 0 for 10 and 4 K’s – or Ron Swoboda who plummeted from .385 to .217 after an 0 for 10 and 5 K’s.
    Nolan Ryan missed the fun by one day as he had thrown 6-2/3 of shutout ball the day before.

    Liked by 1 person

    • uncleknuckle
      March 23, 2016

      Dan, I was a Mets fan in those days, growing up on Long Island. A year later, in 69, that terrible Met team became the amazing Mets and won it all. That was an experience. We still had a black and white TV back then. I remember after our move to Houston in 70, my father suggesting that since we were in a new city, we had to change allegiance to our new home team. So we did. I quickly embraced the Astros and the Dome. I thought it was great that we could go a game on a rainy day. But he cheated. Never did give up on his Dodgers, having grown up in Brooklyn.

      Like

      • Dan P
        March 23, 2016

        My family moved from Milwaukee (Hank Aaron was better than Willie Mays – just ask my parents), to Chicago to Dallas to Houston in 1965 – and I flipped to the Houston teams faster than they did (though the Braves move to Atlanta sealed it for baseball for my parents).
        My father-in-law sounds freakily like your dad, Dave B. Huge Brooklyn Dodger fan, worked for ConEd, loved the Mets when they came and then moved to Houston in 1971. I did not know him until 1976 and by then he was a big Astro fan. I think he gave up on the Dodgers pretty soon after they left Brooklyn.

        Liked by 1 person

      • sandy
        March 23, 2016

        Those amazing 69 Mets. I have to admit I was pulling for the Mets to win that series. ( on my black and white TV). Can’t recall the managers name but he was my hero.

        Like

      • uncleknuckle
        March 23, 2016

        Gil Hodges Sandy. I can still give you the full line up, including platoons……Hodges was the first guy to really use platoons on a regular basis.

        Liked by 2 people

    • 1oldpro
      March 23, 2016

      It was early in the season but Seaver had a higher BA than leadoff hitter Al Weis, 1B Ed Kranepool, third baseman Ed Charles and PH Bud Harrelson.
      I don’t remember listening to that game because I was in college until 1pm and worked until I locked the gas station at 10pm. Then I would go try to study or sneak over to Ms.1OP(She was a Ms.) parent’s house for a minute. Baseball was definitely #4 in my life back then.

      Liked by 1 person

      • uncleknuckle
        March 23, 2016

        Then we had Cleon Jones in left, Tommy Agee in center, the previously mentioned Ron Swoboda in right (Kranepool was out there on occaision). Don Clendenon also played some first. Jerry Grote was behind the plate with J.C. Martin as his back up. Harrellson ended up being the regular shortstop. And Jerry Buchek would platoon at second with Weis. And the rotation had a young Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Gary Gentry, Don Cardwell, and maybe a 5th that I’ve forgotten.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. MarkW
    March 23, 2016

    So here’s a Dome question for you seasoned vets.

    Who hit the most impressive Homer there? I have heard Mike Schmidt hit the CF speaker, and I saw Dale Murphy and Greg Luzinski hit some batting practice..

    In the early 80’s my dad and I would try to get there early, get down in the LF corner during BP and shag foul balls..

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      March 23, 2016

      For me, it was the Toy Cannon’s bomb. Upper Deck in LF at 5’10” and 160 lbs. The seat had a cannon emblazoned on it forever after and I’m sure it rests in some guy’s man-cave this very day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • sargeh
        March 23, 2016

        And remember there was a seat a few spots over from his that had the Red Rooster on it.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Devin_
      March 23, 2016

      I saw Eric Anthony put one in the skydeck against the Cubs. Truthfully, though, some steroid era shots down the line by guys like McGwire and Belle were more impressive for the sound and velocity.

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        March 23, 2016

        In 1991? If so, I was there…was my birthday!

        Like

    • Dan P
      March 23, 2016

      Well technically – Schmidts hit was the most impressive single ever as the speaker was in play and he was held to first base. I bet that would have gone almost 500 ft – insane distance to that speaker.
      I saw some unbelievable chemically induced HRs by Mark McGwire in batting practice one day when more people came out to see him hit than to see the games.
      In the Dome they painted a few seats in the upper deck for balls Jimmy Wynn and Doug Rader hit which are an insane distance from home plate.

      Like

      • Steve Fredrich
        March 26, 2016

        I remember Cedeno quoted in the paper the next day after Schmidt’s bomb: “I thought it was gonna hit the flag.”

        Like

    • Steve Fredrich
      March 26, 2016

      Most impressive I saw was not necessarily the longest (though it was well hit): Nolan Ryan, in what I think was his first start in the Astrodome as an Astro, hit a 3-run homer to give the Astros the lead. Big crowd that day and I thought the roof was gonna blow off from the noise after he hit it that one!

      Like

  14. uncleknuckle
    March 23, 2016

    If I recollect correctly, at my first Dome game in August of 1970, Bob Bailey with the Expos hit one way up into the upper deck in left, not far from where there was a seat painted with a rooster, where Doug Rader had hit one previously.

    However, I think my most memorable one was the laser into the black hole in straight away center that Glen Davis hit against the Mets in the first game of the 1986 series won by the Stros 1-0, Mike Scott out pitching Dwight Gooden.

    That was the other so difficult series to stomach!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Dan P
    March 23, 2016

    A true legend, Joe Garagiola died at 90. I remember him all the way back to working with Tony Kubek announcing games. I think he was boyhood friends with Yogi Berra in the Italian part of St. Louis. Lots of good old folks passing on.

    Like

    • MarkW
      March 23, 2016

      Yeah, used to love ol Joe and Tony calling games. Most memorable were the Big Red Machine calls of those two.. Back when the Saturday game is all ya got. They weren’t my team but back when you memorized stats from playing cards and Guinness Books, I can still repeat the ’71 Pirates and the ’75 Reds.

      I loved reading Chip’s memories of listening to Gene Elston, what it took to follow the Astros out of State. And even though the latter years of Milo were not his best as a broadcaster, I really miss him.

      Most guys you had to wait for a station break to get the score. With Milo, the first words out, his tone alone, told you what was happening. I still remember his call and watching live the Hank Aaron homer..

      Like

  16. 1oldpro
    March 23, 2016

    So, Hinch brings Giles in a ninth inning save situation against his old team, Strikeout, groundout, strikeout. Boom!

    Like

    • MarkW
      March 23, 2016

      Maybe he actually meant last time out it felt “really, really good”?
      Or, maybe we got to see the heart of a lion whose tired of the early naysayers.
      Or, maybe (Conspiracy Theory) the Phils laid down so the trade doesnt look like they Bourn’d us?

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        March 23, 2016

        I’m pretty sure the guy has been getting ready for the regular season and working up to his normal game. The same way our dugout ninjas are just playing their way to their regular season, when things get serious and winning is felt in every pitch.

        Like

  17. Becky⚾
    March 23, 2016

    Since I didn’t get to hear the game, or see the game how did Feliz look? And Giles?

    Like

    • uncleknuckle
      March 23, 2016

      Too bad we don’t have jobs for all the guys that threw tonight.

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        March 23, 2016

        Daveb…Think Feliz is ready for the big club?

        Like

      • Dan P
        March 23, 2016

        Like many good pitchers he struggled in the first inning and then was nails. First inning gave up a hit, 3 walks and a run and the next 3 innings he gave up nada. Maybe we don’t have space for everybody but you know they will need about 20 pitchers during the course of the season.

        Like

      • uncleknuckle
        March 24, 2016

        Becky, it’s good to know that he’ll be on standby.

        Like

  18. Becky⚾
    March 23, 2016

    By the way……Comcast/Xfinity does not service Kingwood. We have suddenlink, and you don’t wanna see the emails I’ve sent them!! Safe to say, I probably should go to confession, but I’m a little embarrased!! Have you guys ever heard of ” chemo brain”?
    That’s what’s been happening to me…..good Lord it makes your brain fuzzy!

    Like

    • MarkW
      March 23, 2016

      Becky, my mom had it and had trouble even putting her thoughts together sometimes. For as sharp as you are, bet it’s frustrating. I think you’ll Always know exactly what’s going on with the ‘Stros though, even if you cant see them!

      I heard Feliz pitched well, and what a great option between the aging vets and the new prospects crop. If he were truly in the mix for the best team on the field, I think he’s earned a spot. Seems like we’ll have a bunch of guys filter in/out this season.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      March 23, 2016

      I’m afraid to ask what my excuse is for my brain fuzz.
      The Astros were not televised today.
      But! They will be on MLBTV the next two days at noon. Don’t have a clue who will be announcing. Starters the next two days are Keuchel and Doctor McHugh.
      Very good to hear from you, Becky B.
      PS. I think Feliz will be a starter in Fresno and maybe the next man up. He’s getting better at being a pitcher instead of a thrower.

      Like

  19. Mr. Bill
    March 23, 2016

    Great to see [well, not exactly see, since it wasn’t on TV, but you know what I mean] Kenny Giles have the kind of outing we have been waiting to see from him. Way to go, KG.

    Like

  20. Becky⚾
    March 23, 2016

    Guess who has tickets to opening day at home…..4th row up behind our dugout!!!
    NOTHING could keep me from going to that game…not cancer..not ANYTHING!!
    I can not wait until opening day!!
    Thanks you guys and gals….it’s been a rocky road for me, but I’m feeling better everyday. I’m off to Houma La. for Easter. Huge crawfish boil on Good Friday, eggs to dye on Saturday, and barbecue on Easter Sunday after mass. I can’t wait to see my Cajun relatives….I have missed them soo much. You fellas (and Sandy and Dianne)
    Have a great Easter weekend with your great loves….and don’t forget what Easter is all about. Without His love….we are nothing. Love to all, Becky⚾

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dan P
      March 23, 2016

      Have a great time Becky. I’ll be around family and I’ll be singing at the Easter Vigil.on Saturday and Easter Mass on Sunday. All prayers to you.

      Like

    • Tim
      March 23, 2016

      Becky,

      I’ll be there with my boys. Let me know your section and your first cold one is on me as a treat for being so strong and kicking cancer’s ass. You deserve it!

      Like

    • Diane
      March 24, 2016

      Thank you, Becky, and I know you’re so relieved to be this far along. This will be a special Resurrection Day for you. Best to you and Sandy and all. 🙂

      Like

  21. 1oldpro
    March 24, 2016

    Two announcements from the Chron concerning Astros coverage.
    Angel Verdejo Jr is moving from prep sports to Astros beat and Jake Kaplan is coming from the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he covered the Phils to the Chron to cover the Astros.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. 1oldpro
    March 24, 2016

    At this moment the Astros have the second lowest BA of any team in baseball in spring training, a low .241.
    But here is what might be their starting lineup and their current spring batting averages:
    Altuve 2B .333
    Springer RF .290
    Correa SS .414
    Rasmus LF .269
    Gomez CF .263
    Tucker DH .321
    White 1B .371
    Valbuena 3B .265
    Castro C .280
    The Astros, as a team, may have struggled this spring at the plate, but not the starters!
    Oh, and the super sub, Gonzalez, he’s hitting .393.
    Let’s rock and roll.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dan P
      March 24, 2016

      Hey where is Singleton?
      I would basically take all those BAs right now for the season and not look back.

      Like

  23. 1oldpro
    March 24, 2016

    According to Baseball America writer, Ben Badler, Astros #11 prospect Albert Abreu pitched 2.1 innings in a minor league game on Tuesday and struck out seven batters. His tweet say the batters were overmatched and Abreu recorded Ks on four different pitches. He throws fastball, slider, curve ball and changeup.. Abreu is 20 and pitched for Greeneville, the Appy League Champions last season.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Bill
      March 24, 2016

      Today’s line-up against the Mets split squad [with ace Matt Harvey matching up on the mound with Kid Keuchy] features Carlos Correa, Preston Tucker, MarGo, and a bunch of up-and-coming prospects led by Tyler White, A.J. Reed, Colin Moran, and Roberto Pena. This will be a baptism of fire for the up-and-comers, as we all know what Harvey does even to seasoned veterans.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        March 24, 2016

        You’re right Bill, that is a very interesting lineup. https://twitter.com/brianmctaggart

        Like

      • Dan P
        March 24, 2016

        Pretty premier pitching matchup Mr Bill. I always like the youngsters to get experience whether it is playoff or against the very best pitchers.

        Like

      • Devin_
        March 24, 2016

        A tangent, but Harvey and Moran both played at UNC. That made me wonder about Kent Emanuel, who had TJ surgery last June. Does anyone have info on his recovery and schedule?

        Like

      • MarkW
        March 24, 2016

        This lineup today – really in line with my thoughts that White is ahead of Reed on the field. I know what you’ll all say, but Reed as a fixture at 1B makes White trade bait in 2017. I dont like it. It blocks producion from June on from five players, which IMHO does not substantiate the trade off for our “grooming of the future 1B,” so to speak. Not meaning to harp, but I’ve yet to see it explained how (depth chart at 1B) White, Marwin/Reed, Valbuena, Duffy, Tucker and until super 2, Gattis at DH – how will these guys get their swings in with Reed blocking? In 2016, its a mistake, and they’ll literally be best served platooning in 2017 also. If they dont, Becky called it, they will trade – White, or somebody. My hope is they’ll get outfield prospects and a #3 lefty starter, maybe our future backstop? Be pre-emptive and get a package together. I can tell ya 5 guys right now that they’ve seen enough to know whether the shed has better tools. But the notion of White and Reed playing together is not workable bc it leaves power on the bench!

        We get freed up next year? oh but hold up – what *if* Valbuena, Marwin, Gomez and Rasmus have (even) close to career years. Now what? I think Reed needs a secondary position to work Tucker into DH, and that still leaves Marwin, Jake and Duffy on the pine.

        Instead, what I believe is like Luhnow was saying the other day – they love Marwin. I think with (Koch-Weser and Co), advanced positioning puts less of a premium on speed, and more on players knowing where we are trying to pitch to hitter tendency contact. Ref. Correa makes a routine groundball PO at 2B vs a RHH! What is that? Answer, brilliance. Tucker in RF today – betcha we pitch away from him if possible. Fleet or savvy, neither Tucker nor Reed are George Springer, but nobody in their right mind would ever try to stretch a triple on Dave Parker. Who would you want in RF on a corner shot? Something to think about if you want White and Reed everday.

        It really highlights the “cuts to the flesh” that happen when you’re bursting at the seams with talent. Even the potential bargain salaries of Vb, Neshek and Marwin will eventually give way to Moran, Hoyt and Bregman et al.

        Like

      • Devin_
        March 24, 2016

        Mark, you’re assuming Reed can outplay Gattis and Tucker to have him and White in the lineup. I would expect they bid adieu to Gattis for $100k this off season rather than pay him, but the 2016 goal is to win the WS. I think the players like Gattis too much to jettison him unless he is approximating Chris Carter (who they also liked) performance. As for Tucker, the outfield is unsettled for 2017, but if he does damage with the bat he will play the Carlos Lee/Matt Holliday/Dante Bichette/Kevin Mitchell role in LF and not hurt us too much because our CF will be elite.

        Like

  24. Diane
    March 24, 2016

    Dan, thanks for acknowledging Joe Garagiola. Passed almost 6 months to the day after his pal Yogi, and same age, 90. Laughed many a time with ole Joe. Beautiful, quick and sweet sense of humor. Never mean. In 1954 he was called before a Senate subcommittee on monopoly practices. Chairman of the subcommittee suggested Cardinals were guilty of “tampering” by improperly trying to lure him from the Cubs. Joe replied: “Senator, how can you tamper with a .250 hitter?”

    God bless him.

    Like

    • Dan P
      March 24, 2016

      Yeah he was a great broadcaster, a good interviewer (hosted the Today Show if I remember) and very funny. They were talking on KILT 610 AM about him. During a break in one game he was complaining about some commercials for a product that could “cure” baldness. He said he felt insulted that being bald was considered an affliction. A cute subtle sense of humor. He and his buddy Yogi will be missed.

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        March 24, 2016

        Can a guy with a beard tell a bald-faced lie?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tim
        March 24, 2016

        As a young baseball fan in the 70s the highlight of my day on Saturday was watching This Week in Baseball hosted by Mel Allen followed by the game of the week broadcast by Gargiola and Tony Kubek. It was the perfect start to my weekend.

        Like

      • Steve Fredrich
        March 26, 2016

        My all-time favorite call in a baseball game was by Tony K. working a game with Joe. A pitch bounced off the plate and came up on the catcher, obviously right behind his cup. Catcher flops over, writhing in pain on the ground. Kubek jumps right in: “Oh! It got him right in the…thigh!”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dan P
        March 26, 2016

        Nice memory Steve – reminds me of Monday Night Football and the Oilers are getting killed an they zoom in on a fan who flip the finger at the camera. Dandy Don Meredith says “There’s one fan who thinks his teasm is #1”

        Like

      • Steve Fredrich
        March 26, 2016

        Dandy Don and #1. The Danderoo was a bit inebriated that night. Don and Howard – now there’s a pair to draw!

        Like

  25. MarkW
    March 24, 2016

    Inside the Park-er.

    I guess Cespedes is so used to having everything handed to him, and unfortunately Pete Rose wasnt the RF to save that one. What a laughing stock.

    Like

  26. Dan P
    March 24, 2016

    Well I did not get to see it, but somehow the non-athletic slow A.J. Reed just hit an inside the park home run.

    Like

    • MarkW
      March 24, 2016

      Dan, Reed crushed a ball that landed at the base of CF wall and Cespedes looked at it for a second and raised his hands. I think it was CB Buckner that ran out there, asking “what are you waiting for, pick the ball up.” He then reached down and flicked it out from under the wall. Meanwhile, Reed jogged the bases cautiously wondering what the ruling. In this case, Reed at DH was perfect. Even Tucker hit a liner to end the 1st w/a DP, but it was a questionable call, which would’ve scored the first run. There is no Matt Harvey mystique today!

      Like

  27. Dan P
    March 24, 2016

    Well apparently the Astros youngsters and oldsters are not afraid of Harvey as they take a 3-0 lead in the 2nd.

    Like

    • MarkW
      March 24, 2016

      Bert Pena got a nice base rap to keep the inning alive, and ol Money Marwin with the sac fly…

      White starts the 3rd in the rain with a ground rule double to left, Reed doubles to right.. Lets see if Moran drives him home? Advances Reed to 3B. PENA walks on 5 pitches. Fisher hitstwo strike triple down 1B line

      Like

  28. Dan P
    March 24, 2016

    I’m home watching on mlb.com and White and Reed rip long doubles back to back for a 4-0 lead. Loving this!

    Like

  29. 1oldpro
    March 24, 2016

    So I’ve watched the first three innings and here is what I have learned. The announcers for the team with the ugliest baseball caps ever(except maybe those old Pirates Circle caps) says the Astros have always had ugly uniforms.
    The “potential” Cy Young Award winner for the Mets is way off, but not one word about the incredible patience of the Astros hitters.
    When the Astros hit the ball a ton, it’s because Harvey is just bad, not that the badly uniformed Astros were any good. It seems like the Mets announcers think the Astros are the Washington Generals rebelling against their Harlem Globetrotter Mets. Can’t wait to see if the Astros could possibly crush another Mets pitcher who is having a bad day! Oh, please make it so, Number 1.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Mr. Bill
    March 24, 2016

    Young Mr. Reed is having himself a day.

    Like

  31. Mr. Bill
    March 24, 2016

    Mr. Duffy in Left Field? This could be interesting!

    Like

  32. MarkW
    March 24, 2016

    Duffy to left, anything to get him swinging it.

    Devin, Preston is hitting it on the screws, but no luck today in an 0-4 effort. He was badly outrun by Springer on the gapper to his side early, agreed, while Jake and Gomez are the most elite defensive tandem. I’m sure you won’t go as far as Steven and say Tucker should be the starting LF, replacing Rasmus ($15,800,000), but for argument sake, Tucker and Marwin’s ’15 numbers are pretty close. It might be interesting to see which of those two draws more AB’s.

    But what is even more apparent to me today, and I’m willing to concede Reed is a Man among boys and would make a statue-esque 1B – agreed.

    That is, the Astros should never, ever, ever take Tyler “the hitting & OBP Machine” White out of the batting lineup. So, this is your kobayashi maru, Op (Hinch). Make it so.

    Like

    • Devin_
      March 24, 2016

      Nope, thinking purely of 2016 of for Tucker in LF.

      Like

    • Steven
      March 24, 2016

      Well to be fair what I said is I would not have brought Rasmus back. Once he is here I would probably play him over Tucker, but I personally would not have even made the qualifying offer. I think in the course of 500 plate appearances Tucker will out hit him. That said, Tucker won’t see 500 plate appearances unless there is a string of injuries.

      Like

  33. uncleknuckle
    March 24, 2016

    At this premature point in time, I don’t see White as trade bait. He’s going to be a professional hitter who in 2017 will be a very good DH also able to play either corner for about 600K a year. Since that will be 600 times his signing bonus, he’ll be delighted. And for right now, he’s getting more work in ST at first because that’s likely where he’ll be starting the season in 11 days.

    Reed will go the Fresno but end up at first at some point this season, whether he forces the issue, someone gets hurt, or traded. But it won’t be White. White and Reed will be in the line up most nights. Gattis could end up as a back up catcher and pinch hitter until he can be unloaded.

    And unless Marwin decides to hit in the regular season as he has all spring, he’ll still be a quality utility man on this club, getting some starts against lefty pitching. But with 6BB/51K and a .701 OPS against righties, he’s not going to be an everyday player. And regardless of how much Luhnow likes him, he won’t be around too much longer with this club at 2 million plus a year.

    If Valbuena should have a career year, then maybe that helps our march into the World Series. But then he’ll cost too much in 2017 and Moran is going to want the job by then anyway.

    And if we again have the good fortune of Rasmus and Gomez having career years too, then all the better. We almost definitely can say good bye to Gomez, because he will get a huge deal somewhere. But if Rasmus is still happy in Houston, he might be kookie enough to give us a hometown discount. As for Tucker, he might be a poor outfielder, but he’s a poor outfielder who can hit. We don’t have the depth out there right now to let him go. Unless of course, we end up trading for a Jake who can also swing the bat. Speaking of Jake, he can’t keep a job forever without learning to hit consistently.

    I think Duffy is the odd man out. Some club is going to need a third baseman at some point. Those guys don’t grow on trees.

    .

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dan P
      March 24, 2016

      I think that Reed hit more great hits today than Singleton has hit all spring

      Liked by 1 person

    • MarkW
      March 24, 2016

      Stros may wait on White for two weeks to get another year.
      You bring up good points, Dave, both of us making our projections. I made my peace, but still won’t be happy while White is out of the lineup on any given night.

      Although he has yet to play in a meaningful MLB game, Tyler White has drawn the Youkilis comparison. These are the numbers to meet. They both have roughly the same 1B fielding percentage – White has a dreadful 92% at 3B.

      TYLER White .311.422.489.911
      KEVIN Youkilis .281.382.478.861 (career)

      Fisher impressed today! Speed and hit tool in-house to tide us over til Tucker/Cameron pan out?

      There has to be a Fister, Fisher rhyme in there Mr Bill can bust out this year..

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      March 24, 2016

      Dave, I counted 15 points you made in that post and I agree with every one of them.
      That was amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

      • uncleknuckle
        March 24, 2016

        Guys, I’m mentally exhausted right now, sipping a small rum and watching hoops. Baseball overload. Thanks!

        Like

    • Tim
      March 24, 2016

      Dave,

      I was going to say the exact same thing OP just said. You’ve had many good posts in the past, but this might be your best one yet. It is spot on, in my opinion.

      Like

  34. 1oldpro
    March 25, 2016

    Kevin Chapman and Jandel Gustave were optioned to minor leagues and Neal Cotts was given his unconditional release. All happened this morning.

    Like

    • Dan P
      March 25, 2016

      So that points to Wandy making it in my mind – he sure has pitched well but will it last?

      Liked by 1 person

      • 1oldpro
        March 25, 2016

        If they keep Wandy, it will be because of what they hope he can do and because of insurance, if they are afraid of the bottom of the rotation. I can understand that.
        But, if they want a better pitcher as that seventh guy in the bullpen, it’s James Hoyt. He’s outpitched Straily and Wandy in the numbers against same-sides and oppo-sides and they stretched him out beyond just one inning the last two times out, if I’m not mistaken.
        Scouting-wise, he’s got better stuff. I’m just laying it out there
        Yesterday, Wandy really scared me in relief. His pitches looked like balloons out there, and if the wind had not been blowing in….
        I would secure my bullpen with the younger guy who has four pitches and have confidence he could give me three good innings out of the bullpen if I needed him to, especially at league minimum.
        Wandy gave the team an ultimatum yesterday, I’d call his bluff.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Tim
        March 25, 2016

        If this team wants the strongest bullpen then Hoyt should make the team. I think he starts in Fresno, but he is definitely better than Wandy, Straily or even Feliz.

        Like

    • Dan P
      March 25, 2016

      Gustave had pitched well most of the spring but not yesterday. Still I think he was going to be sent down anyways.

      Like

    • uncleknuckle
      March 25, 2016

      That was fair to Cotts. He’ll get a job somewhere. I still think he’s the loogy that Wandy is not going to be.

      Like

      • Devin_
        March 25, 2016

        It’s amazing to think Cotts couldn’t fill a spot on our roster. A lot has changed in a year and a half.

        Like

  35. 1oldpro
    March 25, 2016

    Hey, our guy Joe gets a start!
    Altuve DH
    Marisnick RF
    Rasmus LF
    GomezCF
    Castro C
    Duffy 3B
    Singleton 1B
    Sclafani 2B
    Worth SS
    Straily gets the start instead of McHugh, as they want to give Straily a shot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mr. Bill
      March 25, 2016

      It looks like Straily just got back in the competition for emergency starter/long reliever. Especially considering his other outings this spring, I still have my doubts -especially in light of his 2/5 GO/AO ratio today. For the spring his GO/AO ratio is a terrible [for MMP especially] 0.27, which tied for 2nd worse on the staff with Josh Fields. But even with that, I am also not convinced Wandy would fare much better. Please get well soon, Mr. McCullers! And please get your command back, Mr. Fister!

      Like

      • Dan P
        March 25, 2016

        A dark horse for the spot might be Michael Feliz. 1.29 ERA in 14 IP and….his last name starts with an F.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Billy Castillo
        March 25, 2016

        I thought George Harrison was the ‘dark horse’…or was that Katy Perry?

        Like

  36. 1oldpro
    March 25, 2016

    The front page on chron.com looks like the index page of an entertainment magazine. I’m very happy that there is nothing serious going on in the world this morning.
    doot de doot de doot de dootdoot.

    Like

    • Dan P
      March 25, 2016

      Is that a little Lou Reed, “Walk on the Wild Side”? Yes not sure what journalism even means these days.

      Like

      • 1oldpro
        March 25, 2016

        It is.

        Like

      • rj
        March 25, 2016

        good catch dan, too funny yet again op!

        Like

  37. 1oldpro
    March 25, 2016

    Jon Singleton must be wondering what’s going on. He was at the plate with Duffy on second and two outs and popped up foul(which is actually one of his signature outs).
    The third baseman dropped the popup giving Jon another chance at the RBI. Duffy then got picked off of second by the pitcher..
    The next time up, Castro’s on second after driving in the Astros’ only run and advancing on a throwing error. Duffy struck out and up strides Jon to the plate as a monster thunderstorm approaches the stadium. Big Jon strikes out and slowly walks back to the dugout in the pouring rain, with a bat in his hand that might have been an umbrella, for all the good it did. The game was then called.

    Like

    • 1oldpro
      March 25, 2016

      And this song flashes into my brain: At the bottom of this mine lies a big, big man. Big Jon.

      Like

      • Dan P
        March 25, 2016

        Jimmy Dean – the sausage serving singer!

        Like

    • uncleknuckle
      March 25, 2016

      Kind of like The Natural in reverse.

      Like

      • Billy Castillo
        March 25, 2016

        Call him The UNNatural

        Like

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