CHIPALATTA

All Things Astros and a whole lot more

Longing for — and remembering — the simple, old days


I long for the simple, old days.

The days when the man wearing the Texas star walked out to fill up your gas tank, check your oil and clean your windshield.

The days when you could go to a real doubleheader and enjoy a “great day to play two”!

The days a baseball game was a baseball game and a football game was just a football game. Rather than a stage for protests, statements and politics.

The days when you could get to September and enjoy a pennant race and players were real people, not mega celebrities and multi millionaires doing photo opps and cameo appearances.

The days when pitchers threw nine innings — or extra innings in a few cases — and regularly pitched on three days’ rest.

Whatever happened to that?

Remember when it was easy to tell the good guys from the, ummm, bad guys?

Remember Wilbur Wood starting both ends of a double header? Remember when Fergie Jenkins and Nolan Ryan regularly pitched 300 innings? Now, most pitchers struggle to reach 200!

Remember when you could take the family to the ballpark for a hundred bucks or less! And still feed ’em!?

Remember when the Astros were perrenial players in the playoff race?

Remember when baseball was fun?

Life happens, but the game has changed and  has threatened to leave a generation behind.

Remember the Saturday Game of the Week, when only one game a week was on TV?

Remember when you actually knew the names of the Astros’ announcers? And listened to the radio broadcast?

Is it just me? Or has the game lost some of its luster?

The Astros have some great players, no argument there. But do you get the same feel when you hear names like Carlos Correa and Yulieski Gurriel as you do with Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio and Ken Caminiti? George Springer and Cesar Cedeno?

Perhaps the players are as talented, but the game has changed. The era has changed. Times have changed.

If you don’t believe that, just tune into the presidential debate Monday night.

I long for the simple, old days. You?

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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.

176 comments on “Longing for — and remembering — the simple, old days

  1. Billy Castillo
    September 27, 2016

    Astros win!!!

    Like

  2. Becky⚾
    September 27, 2016

    AGAIN…….WHERE would this team be without Chris Devenski!!! OMG!! We’re still holding on……by a thread, but the boys are playing until every out is made. Gotta believe!!

    Like

  3. Billy Castillo
    September 27, 2016

    Toronto beat Baltimore

    Like

  4. Becky⚾
    September 27, 2016

    Lourdes Gurriel had a private workout for a handful of teams, and will be able to sign with anyone after Oct 19. He can play short, slide over to 3rd or left field.
    Surprisingly he is about Correa’S height and weight, 6’4″ and 205lbs. We shall see what happens!

    Like

  5. 1oldpro
    September 28, 2016

    Just thinking about all of it.
    1 through 5 in the lineup had ten hits and 1 BB. Bottom four spots had I hit(Bregman’s) and I BB.
    Anyone notice the splinters fly out of Bregman’s bat on his hit. A broken bat blooper.
    But wait! Anyone see the jamshot single by Cano late in the game. The Bomber gets lucky, too! Maybe Bregman is going to be one of those guys who’s both good and blessed. Like Cano and Altuve.
    JJ Watt likely out for the year.
    One of those nights when Fiers is not good, but gets bailed out of a loss, versus not being good and not getting bailed out.
    That may be the first time I’ve ever seen a head first slide into 1B actually pay off.
    When I saw Seattle’s infield with their SS in the hole on the left side and the second baseman in the hole on the right side, I told My wife that all Marwin had to do was get it past the pitcher and we would have two more runs. Did Seattle realize how much room they were giving up the middle? Marwin nearly knocked the second base umpire down with that shot. He was standing about halfway between the pitcher and the second baseman. Marwin’s eyes must have been bugging out of his head when he saw that hole. That’s the third time in the last ten days or so that Marwin has hit a big two-run single up the middle.
    Jandel Gustave’s first major league win.
    Neshek in the ninth? Our bullpen is gassed.
    Can we start Tyler White on the mound tomorrow instead of Fister. Tyler has only given up one home run all season.
    What a novel idea! Springer starts swinging for base hits, and starts getting a bunch of base hits. Wish they would have figured it out two years ago, you know, when all of us here at Chipalatta figured it out.
    If not for the Mariner’s SS’s error, Gurriel would have hit into his sixth double play in his last seven at-bats.
    If it can’t be the Astros in the WS, I like Brad Ausmus and the Tigers. The other AL teams I don’t care a bit for. I mean, I really don’t care for them. At. All.
    The last time Chris Devenski started a game he threw five innings of two-hit shut out baseball with no walks and only threw 71 pitches, even though he struck out five batters. Am I the only sane person in the world or the only insane person in the world? With all our crappy starters, why is this guy not starting for us?
    Alex Bregman needs to lead off next year. Jose Altuve needs to bat second. George Springer needs to take his new swing and bat third. Carlos Correa needs to hit fourth. Then we need a good LH bat to hit fifth and four other good batters to hit after him. I’ll concede Heineman batting ninth when Gattis is resting against a couple of RH starters. But can we hang on with that until Stubbs is ready to slip into the lineup. Yeah, all right!
    Hang in there, Lourdes. In the meantime, you and Yuli look for houses in Houston, OK? Do you have Yoenis’s number? Call him. There has to be three perfect houses for you guys in Kingwood. Just a 20 minute drive to MMP. Here, have a cigar. They’re Cuban. I bought them in China because they can roll them cheaper there. The children roll them with their hands and their feet! At the same time!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. sandy
    September 28, 2016

    “The last time Chris Devenski started a game he threw five innings of two-hit shut out baseball with no walks and only threw 71 pitches, even though he struck out five batters. Am I the only sane person in the world or the only insane person in the world? With all our crappy starters, why is this guy not starting for us

    The 64 million dollar question

    Like

  7. sandy
    September 28, 2016

    Has Gurriel come down with Hudgenitis?

    Like

    • Devin
      September 28, 2016

      He only has 121 plate appearances, but pitchers have figured out two things.
      1. He doesn’t walk
      2. He struggles hitting pitches on the inner half.
      They are pounding him low and in and then working pitches up out of the zone middle away…which he eagerly chases.

      To answer your question, I doubt Hudgens has made any suggestions at this point as there is very little evidence many of our hitters come to games prepared.

      Like

  8. sandy
    September 28, 2016

    Carlos Who battling 274 for that other Texas team.

    Like

  9. Kevin
    September 28, 2016

    I have been biting my tongue so as not to jinx it. Do you think Springer has finally figured it out. If so man what a 1-4 next year!!!!

    Like

    • sandy
      September 28, 2016

      He does look good at the plate lately. I’m always afraid to say anything good about this team. When I do they all take a nap.

      Like

  10. Tim
    September 28, 2016

    Bregman is in the lineup today batting 2nd and playing 3rd.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      September 28, 2016

      Sweet

      Like

  11. Tim
    September 28, 2016

    Astros already getting Fistered. Down 3-0 and M’s still batting in the top of the 1st.

    Like

  12. Billy Castillo
    September 28, 2016

    Grr…HATE Fister

    Like

  13. Kevin
    September 28, 2016

    Shame on mgmt. 4 games left we have no other options than Fisters 20 ERA.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      September 28, 2016

      Fister is ridiculous

      Like

    • sandy
      September 28, 2016

      The shame is they do have other options

      Like

      • Kevin
        September 28, 2016

        Yup instead of crying I’m chuckling , we still had a shot and we leave it up to Fister and Chapman. I guess all the church league softball pitchers were busy.

        Like

      • Tim
        September 28, 2016

        The other options were probably Paulino or Rodgers. Sure, in hindsight they would have been better, but before the game I’m not sure you would go with them. Fister did pitch a serviceable game his last outing.

        Like

    • Devin
      September 28, 2016

      Well, I wondered earlier how much it would hurt Fister’s prospects to sign a good contract this winter (elsewhere of course) if the Astros skipped him for no reasons pertaining to health. I don’t think Luhnow will/would do anything at this stage of the season that could jeopardize his negotiations for other players this winter. Now, I’m wondering how this stinker and the overall losing record (unless we have a big comeback) may hurt his prospects even worse.

      Like

  14. Devin
    September 28, 2016

    They just showed a woman with purple hair on TV as we go to the break in the middle of the second. She wasn’t wearing a Springer jersey, so I know it wasn’t Becky.

    Like

  15. Tim
    September 28, 2016

    Let’s start the Hot Stove League talk as the 2016 Astros season is over, for all intents and purposes.

    Like

  16. Billy Castillo
    September 28, 2016

    There’s a monster homer!

    Like

  17. daveb7
    September 28, 2016

    The best thing about this game is the short beer lines. You put four brothers together and we all act 12 years old again. I hope someone doesn’t pull a hamstring going up for the next round.

    Like

    • Kevin
      September 28, 2016

      Dave is the crowd chanting for Sipp yet?

      Like

  18. Billy Castillo
    September 28, 2016

    Maybe this is a repeat of last night…?

    Like

  19. Billy Castillo
    September 28, 2016

    I heart Gattis.

    Like

  20. Billy Castillo
    September 28, 2016

    Bog at bat for Kemp

    Like

  21. Kevin
    September 28, 2016

    As my old friend Dion wrote ” has anybody here seen my old friend Astro Pitching”

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Billy Castillo
    September 28, 2016

    All the scrub pitchers in there today. I think this does it 😦

    Like

  23. 1oldpro
    September 28, 2016

    Springer has gone a full year without being hurt.
    Gattis came back from surgery and had a much better season, and is worth something.
    The Astros are out from under a bunch of contracts with players who are not part of the future.
    Tony Sipp finished a bad season with two good innings.
    Jose Altuve may win another batting title.
    Joe Musgrove is a major league pitcher.
    The Astros found one, maybe two, third basemen.
    Chris Devenski is a major league pitcher.
    James Hoyt is a major league pitcher.
    Brad Peacock is a major league pitcher.
    Teoscar Hernandez is a lot better player than he showed last season.
    The Astros have a lot better idea about what kind of players AJ Reed, David Paulino and Tony Kemp are.
    The Astros have a good idea what kind of pitcher Mike Fiers is.
    The Astros have found out what kind of hitting coach they have.
    The Astros have found out that the home run/ strike out approach doesn’t work.
    They have found out how far away from being a world series contender they really are.
    These are all good things that have come from this season.

    Like

    • Billy Castillo
      September 28, 2016

      plus today was the last time we ever have to see that schmuck Fister pitch for us, so that’s a positive! Oh, and Gomez is gone.

      Like

  24. Mr. Bill
    September 28, 2016

    Things I learned this season:

    1. Never, ever listen to pre-season hype. It is all just . . . well, HYPE!
    2. Major league players your team acquires via trade are never as good as they looked in the highlight reels you are provided from their previous place of employment. They suck in some way, or they wouldn’t be made available to you unless you are offering Jose Altuve or Carlos Correa for them.
    3. Spending more money on the payroll does not necessarily equate to either being a better team or winning more games. Giving substantial amounts of money to most players generally results in a lackadaisical approach and less production. Formerly dirt poor Cuban and Venezuelan players may be the exception.
    4. If the Astros are going to compete with the Rangers next year, we need a new approach in every area of the game, starting with the batter’s box and on the bases. In general, we need to become less predictable in every phase of the game – because the Rangers know us, our signs, and our way of doing things better than we know these things about ourselves.
    5. Rookies who performed well in AA or AAA generally do not contribute much of substance to the MLB team when most of their time with that team is spent on the bench watching seriously under-performing veterans serve as bad examples of how to play this game at the major league level.
    6. Evan Gattis cannot – and he should not ever – DH. But he CAN catch two or three days a week.
    7. Injuries can happen any time, and suck the life right out of a team.
    8. Ken Giles can throw hard – though he does not generally throw 100 mph as advertised.
    9. Ken Giles will walk too many opposing hitters, give up too many wild pitches, and serve up too many home runs, to ever be the kind of dependable, door-closing closer we want. But one out of every three times out he will look like a superstar.
    10. Tal’s Hill will not be missed. But the shorter fence will help the Rangers, Mariners, and Angels’ hitters a whole lot more than it helps our guys, who – except for Gattis – seldom anything hard to straightaway CF.
    11. This team badly needs an on-field leader.
    12. There is actually not much help in our minor league system, despite all the rankings and hype. Maybe Stubbs. Maybe Laureano. Maybe K Tuck. After that, it’s a lot of long shots. Even the pitching is looking pretty average now that Musgrove and Devenski are here.
    13. Some folks take themselves and their blogging positions way too seriously.
    14. No post on any blog should consist of more than 12 points.

    Like

    • Kevin
      September 28, 2016

      EPIC MR BILL ESP 13

      Like

    • Mr. Bill
      September 28, 2016

      Kevin, I appreciate that. But my personal favorite point was #14.

      Like

      • Mr. Bill
        September 28, 2016

        At the risk of crucifixion, here are point #s 15-21 of ‘what I learned this season’:

        15. Jake Marisnick does a head-first slide better than anybody in the game. When he lets it fly, with his long hair flying in the wind, it is a thing of beauty to behold. Too bad it is so rare that he gets on base and has a chance to show it off to the world!
        16. Just because someone CAN run around third base in the direction of home plate without being stopped by a third base coach, Orbit, or a lightning strike from Heaven does not mean one SHOULD.
        17. Smart base running is fundamental to a team’s offensive success. Getting picked off by a right-hand pitcher in this league should require one to wear a dunce hat on top of his batting helmet during the next at-bat.
        18. Doug Fister’s name alone should have kept him out of the MLB. And his performance for us in the 2nd half of this year should ensure the mistake will be corrected.
        19. We had our chances.
        20. It just wasn’t meant to be in 2016.
        21. See # 14, above.

        Like

      • Tim
        September 28, 2016

        22. Some bloggers like to change management as often as their bedsheets. 😉 🙂

        Like

      • Kevin
        September 28, 2016

        OMG Timmy please tell me you change your sheets more than every 6 years Yikes.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tim
        September 28, 2016

        If the shoe fits, Kevin…

        Like

    • daveb7
      September 28, 2016

      OP had 16 or so points. Does that mean he’s on thin ice?

      Like

  25. Kevin
    September 28, 2016

    I just saw an espn interview with Theo Epstein, it was awesome. I love that dude, He was so down to earth and real. I know its easy when you’re winning. He was just not smug and arrogant like another Gm I have seen interviewed.

    I know Crane and Uncle Jeff aren’t going anywhere , but I’m with Mr Bill

    12. There is actually not much help in our minor league system, despite all the rankings and hype. Maybe Stubbs. Maybe Laureano. Maybe K Tuck. After that, it’s a lot of long shots. Even the pitching is looking pretty average now that Musgrove and Devenski are here.

    This off season for us to win the west, we need a lot of great player moves/decisions/ trades/FO.

    Year SIX baby!

    Like

  26. Becky⚾
    September 28, 2016

    I’m back home from a VERY fugly game. I thought I was gonna see another 6th inning bailout, but when that second 3 run homerun was put up, our boys just gave up.
    Virginia Rodgers husband pitched a clean inning. There were so few people left in the park by then, I’m sure he could hear me calling his name!! I buy a ticket to see the WHOLE game, and when people took a mas exidus out of the park the team saw it and it really pi$$ed me off. I felt almost relieved when we left to come home. Now they don’t have that do or die game in front of them anymore. They will have a winning season, and Old Pro is right, there were a lot more good than bad with our guys for 2016. Fister is a flawed pitcher, and leaving the game today you could see it. Tough way to end his season, but I think we were wondering if it was wise to give him one more start that answer was *NO*. I hope Luhnow has taken his last vacation this year…..because he’s got a lot to work on with this team. The bullpen needs a major over haul…..and the rest of this team does too. Today is why I love this game so much, getting to see Gattis hit a MONSTER homerun, and Marisnick fly across home plate with his hair flying everywhere…..*PRICELESS*!!! I just hope whoever the rangers play, beats the ever loving S N O T outta them! That’s all I got! Becky⚾

    Liked by 2 people

    • daveb7
      September 28, 2016

      Becky, maybe about five thousand of us stayed until the bitter end, but those are family rules, always have been. Sorry I did not track you down. Maybe next year?

      Like

      • Becky⚾
        September 28, 2016

        Yes daveb7…..maybe we can plan to have a few of us meet for a game next year!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Tim
        September 28, 2016

        Dave,

        I thought you resided at some tropical island somewhere. Did you move back to Houston?

        Like

      • daveb7
        September 29, 2016

        Tim, airplanes do still fly from my outpost, after a short boat ride to St. Kitts where the airport is. Just in for my annual poking and prodding and wanted to get to the park.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin
      September 28, 2016

      Vacation heck Uncle Jeff needs to surround himself with some baseball people. The smartest guy in the room is the one that surrounds him self with smarter people then he is !!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Becky⚾
        September 28, 2016

        Kevin…..that’s what I said, he gets no more vacations until he “fixes” this team!

        Like

      • Kevin
        September 29, 2016

        AWE go Becky

        Like

  27. Billy Castillo
    September 28, 2016

    Pet peeve…the chron site’s Astros twitter feed consists of mostly football (yuck) posts.

    Like

  28. Devin
    September 28, 2016

    Barring an unprecedented collapse by BAL, DET, and SEA…we can make reservations for tee times. I have to ask, does anyone else think perhaps the narrow miss and bad luck this year was bad karma from NOT knocking Tal’s Hill down last off season? It’s no goat, but…

    Like

    • Kevin
      September 29, 2016

      Devin that’s awesome the best reason yet by far. I am going with that when my friend s give my crap about my team, the curse of the hill, love it.

      Like

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This entry was posted on September 25, 2016 by in Astros.
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