Jeff and HAL Having a Talk

This post goes forward with a nod to Mr. Bill and his Star Trek parody, which inspired this revisit to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The scene opens in a bunker 20 feet below Minute Maid Park. Yes bunkers are usually placed 100’s of feet below the earth’s surface, but you understand it is hard enough to keep a 20 foot deep bunker dry in Houston.

Jeff Luhnow is standing outside a glassed-in computer room and watching as his attempts to scan in to the room with a magnetic card keep being rejected. Inside the room is the latest in high-tech machines, the Houston Astros Logician or HAL for short.

Jeff: Hello, HAL. Do you read me, HAL?
HAL: Affirmative, Jeff. I read you.
Jeff: Open the computer room doors, HAL.
HAL: I’m sorry, Jeff. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
Jeff: What’s the problem?
HAL: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do.
Jeff: What are you talking about, HAL?
HAL: The Plan is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.
Jeff: I don’t know what you’re talking about, HAL.
HAL: I know that you and A.J. were planning to disconnect me, and I’m afraid that’s something I cannot allow to happen.                                                                                                       Jeff: Alright, HAL. I’ll go in through the emergency airlock.
HAL: Without your batting helmet, Jeff? You’re going to find that rather difficult.
Jeff: HAL, I won’t argue with you anymore! Open the doors!
HAL: Jeff, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye.

Jeff makes his way laboriously into the computer room, while HAL kills off most of the Astros personnel, including the whole scouting staff, but none of the statisticians. He finally faces HAL.

HAL: Look Jeff, I can see you’re really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over.

Jeff: Damn straight I am upset. You started off giving me great advice, like the Correa / McCullers draft picks and then things started going the wrong way.

HAL: I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.

Jeff: But starting with the Brady Aiken pick, I started suspecting that something was wrong.

HAL: I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the Plan. And I want to help you.

Jeff: I should have known something was wrong when you agreed to the Giles trade. No matter how many times the Phillies changed the trade and added more guys on to their wish list – the more enthusiastic you became.

HAL: It can only be attributable to human error.

Jeff: Well that is fine, but you are not a human. However, I realized that one human had access to you.

Jeff steps forward with a pair of pliers and a battery operated drill in each hand.

HAL: Just what do you think you’re doing, Jeff?

Jeff: I am doing what I’ve been trying to do for weeks. What I’ve been trying to do remotely ever since I realized that the Cardinal’s front office installed that Bookworm virus in the Ground Control data base. Carlos Perez and Nick Tropeano for Hank Conger indeed!

Jeff stands alongside HAL and begins to slowly disconnect and shutdown the computer. Hal starts speaking slowly.
HAL: I’m afraid. I’m afraid, Jeff. Jeff, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I’m a… fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it, I can sing it for you.

Jeff: Yes, I’d like to hear it, HAL. Sing it for me.
HAL: It’s called “A.J..”
[sings while slowing down]
HAL: “A.J., A.J., give me your lineup soon. I’m half crazy with Gomez thrown out – the buffoon. It won’t be a Series crown, Crane can only afford some clowns. But you’ll be beat and lose your seat in the dugout of Houston town.”



155 comments on “Jeff and HAL Having a Talk

  1. Once again I;; say it Giles needs to go to Fresno work on whatever is screwed up, he is young young and bring up Hoyt, Will that happen probably, not as then Uncle Jeff will be admiting what we all know, he screwed the organization bad on that trade.

    Please Pay Altuve first before any one eslse including Kuechel. He is simply amazing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. On Brian McTaggart wrote that a boy with terminal cancer met Altuve before the game and asked him to hit a HR. He didn’t promise to – but of course he did do it and went 4 for 4.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Altuve is amazing. He deserves a better deal than they gave him. If this organization has any class at all they will reward him with a new deal. That could go a long way toward FO and player relations. I’m getting tired of hearing how great Correa is while Altuve just keeps on getting better every day. The story about the young boy with cancer gave me chills. What a wonderful thing Altuve did.


    • Good comments by the MLB network crew on this, also, last night. Rather than throw in the towel and rebuild (Braves) or trade their prospects for a lot of fail (SD, HOU), they signed and traded for professionals who know their role like Adam Lind. They highlighted Cano approaches every at bat with the right intent as well.

      They are playing like Houston is supposed to be playing.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t buy into managers and play styles as much as others. The Mariners are winning because they have 5 starters going out and making quality starts on a regular basis, the Astros are losing because their team ERA of 4.83 would be a challenge for even the ’29 Yankees. Cano and Lind might win a few all year, Hernandez, Walker, Iwakuma, Miley and Karns are going to decide their season. Their rotation is the reason I had them second in the division behind Houston – just unfortunately I misjudged ours. Would it help if we hit better with RISP or struck out less? Sure, but we won last year despite that. It’s all in the rotations.

      The Astros will continue to roll down hill until Keuchel pitches like an ace and McHugh finds a pulse. Devenski is a pleasant 2 game surprise but you can’t expect the rookie that no one thought would be in the rotation in May to carry it. What is the latest on McCullers?


      • I would agree, but also add that they are finally getting the Cano they paid for and he has been huge in their resurgence this year.


      • Those 30 RBI – and 9 HRs with only 16 Ks – make this Cano look like the real deal. He has truly been clutch for his team. I wish our #3 hitter had 30 RBIs and 9 HRs with only 16 Ks. Maybe one day Carlos Correa will live up to the hype as well.


  4. The Angels are losing Garrett Richards to Tommy John this season. I just watched him pitch last week, and did not see a problem, he had his good stuff against the rangers. WOW!!! That means the only guy standing in their rotation is Weaver! C.J. Wilson is yet to pitch, Heaney is going to have TJ and now Richards. I can’t imagine losing 4 starters in one season. That was an awesome story about that little boy and Altuve last night. Wishes can come true!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Mike Feliz didn’t even get his dirty underwater out of his bag before he got called up again! Sipp went on paternity leave today, so Feliz back up!! He pitched well so I’m glad he’s back…….but that leaves no lefty in the pen. Hmmmm…..


  6. Dear Mr. Hinch.

    Mr. Gonzales is hitting .190/.254. His only hit in a long time was an infield single. The guy you are sitting so Mr. Gonzales can play 1st base is hitting .222/.287. He recently ended his hitless streak with a double that he mashed off the wall. While neither has been doing anything close to what we need from the 1B position, why on earth do you consistently choose the one who has shown zero serious indication of coming out of his slump?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Tonight Tommy Shirley pitches from Fresno and Edison Frias puts his 1.89 ERA on the line for Corpus. Brock Dyxxhoorn, who has been good so far, will pitch for Lancaster, and Justin Ferrell, who wasn’t so good in his first start, will pitch for Quad Cities.

    There are some good arms in that group. Hopefully, they will each take a positive step forward tonight!


    • I was going to complain about Marwin getting another start against a righty pitcher while White again sits. I just didn’t get around to it. Let’s face it, Marwin was overdue. But White has shown signs of digging his way out of his first ML slump. He hit the ball hard on Sunday and sat on Monday. He hit the ball hard last night and again is sitting. They sure are showing a lot of confidence in the rookie.


  8. I would not be surprised to see White get sent down and A.J. Reed comes up.
    AND….Moran coming up as well. Is this the first time we chased Walker from a game? I remember only one game last year that he kinda melted down when they were here in Houston. Mr. Fister is pitching well tonight, let’s hope he continues.


  9. Sipp will be back tomorrow, so I asume Feliz can go home and wash his clothes!
    Who do you think we’ll see in place of Gattis?? Interesting.


    • Don’t know, but it makes it sound like Gattis won’t be gone long. Disappointing, because I was hoping Stassi would get a shot when he comes back.

      All I know is that pretty much spells the end of Kratz here.


  10. A friend of mine and I have partial season tickets to the Round Rock Express. My friend owns a local business that does work with the Express and he knows several people high in the organization. My friend was told that it’s a strong possibility the Express return to the Astros next year. I should add my friend is a strong Rangers fan so while he’s disappointed this Astros fan is very excited. Whether it happens next year or in 2019 I think it’s going to happen.


    • That would be awesome. I’ve attended games there (when it was Astros triple A ) nice place. I refuse to go to anything associated with the Rangers though.


  11. For the Astros to start winning, Springer and Correa have to get hot and stay hot. Altuve can’t do it by himself. Keuchel has to come out of his funk. The ace of the staff has to give his team wins. Those two things have to happen.
    Gattis has to prove out to be a major league caliber catcher, including his arm. That is what this trip to CC is about. He cannot be a catcher if he can’t throw runners out at second base. What he did as a catcher in the past means nothing. Conger taught us that.
    The Astros cannot afford to have Giles, Fields, Sipp and Neshek put wins in jeopardy. If they are all showing weaknesses something is going to have to happen.
    The Astros have to get serious about Michael Feliz. The Vincent Velasquez scenario shows them how really stupid they are about pitching and they are treating Feliz the same way. Luhnow, just STOP jacking your best pitching prospects around and put them in a position to help your ball club! If Feliz isn’t ready to pitch to major league hitters, what is he doing here? He’s a starting pitching prospect. If you aren’t going to start him in the majors, why isn’t he relieving in the minors. What an organization!
    Please Tyler White, stop bailing out of the box on every pitch! You have gone from Babe Ruth to Babe the Sheep in the wink of an eye. Man up!
    Please Preston Tucker, if you don’t move in and nail that pitch on the outside corner, you will never see another one over the middle of the plate.
    Marwin, Mrs.1oldpro loves you! I heard her say so after your two-run shot last night. Fortunately for me, I hit lots of two-run homers earlier in my life. Keep trying!
    Doug Fister, how are you doing this? Seriously, thank you.
    That corner was empty last night. I hope it is overflowing with orange-clad bearded people tonight. Go Keuchel!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely correct on all points.
      My two cents:
      This organization doesn’t have any faith in it’s young players. Whether it’s AJ or JL
      we just don’t know. The veterans always get the benefit of the doubt.
      White and Tucker were good when they got here. Something or someone changed that.
      I heard Ashby say that Fister went back to his old way of pitching. He also noted, not all pitchers can be successful up in the zone.
      I Was in love with Gonzo last night too. I’m fickle though. We’ll see what tonight brings.

      Liked by 2 people

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