Thoughts and questions: Can the Astros get back up?


Hello friends. I won’t say I’ve seen it all, but very little surprises me anymore.

As a chaplain and counselor to 2,500 employees, someone who has six kids with plenty of life experiences and someone who has witnessed many generational and cultural changes over the past 20 years, the jams that people get into are no longer shocking.

Honestly, with the dysfunctional state in Washington, the condition of our discourse and a growing entitlement and privilege of many who believe “it’s not my fault”, this downward spin has been coming for quite some time.

Chuck Swindoll says: “Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.” The great Vince Lombardi said: “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.”

While it is true that “IT” will continue to get in the way, as Dan suggested yesterday, it is also true that the Astros have 2-3 choices.

  1. Fold up the franchise, sell it off or move.
  2. Have a fire sale like ones we have seen in the past.
  3. Or, work with the hand you’ve been dealt.

Jim Crane seems to be working with the hand that he has been dealt. Seriously, if options #1 and #2 are not meaningful considerations for him, what other choice does he have?

But let’s be fair and reasonable: This is a major game-changer. MAJOR! It does not compare to the selloff in the latter Drayton McLane years, the forced move to the American League (remember how much of a bummer that was?) or even the selloff that Jeff Luhnow implemented with all the tanking implications that resulted in the run of great drafts from 2011-2016 (e.g. George Springer, Alex Bregman, Carlos Correa, Kyle Tucker, Derek Fisher, A.J. Reed, Lance McCullers Jr. et al).

A person or an organization is not always remembered for the mess they encounter, but how they respond to it. (When is the last time you heard about DeflateGate?) To wit, look at the difference between the responses from A.J. Hinch and Jeff Luhnow. At this point in time, it’s reasonably clear that Hinch could possibly get back into baseball again down the road. Luhnow may have already disqualified himself just by his attempt to distance himself from his guys and blame everyone else.

All of that said, here are some thoughts and questions as Crane attempts to guide his organization back from the depths of oblivion.

  1. How hands-on will Crane be going forward, at least in 2020? For the past decade, he’s pretty much turned over the team to Luhnow. Now, his investment and potential financial return are on the line, though he’s doing pretty well regardless. Can you imagine his address to players when spring training kicks off? Can you say AWKWARD?
  2. As the roster stands today, the Astros are still quite competitive. But, is there another fire sale coming? Will the uncertainty cause other players to steer clear in free agency? George Springer, Josh Reddick, Brad Peacock and Michael Brantley are in the final year of their contracts in Houston. Could they be deadline trade candidates if Crane or a new GM doesn’t see them as part of the future? The Astros would obviously gain more return in a trade than by offering qualifying offers this fall and having them rejected, only to receive less-than-stellar picks in return.
  3. Don’t expect any major additions this year. We now know the reason behind a quiet Astros’ offseason and it’s now clear why the Astros weren’t involved to much degree on Cole and even Will Harris. Moreover, the farm system has been somewhat decimated in recent seasons with the trades for Justin Verlander, Zach Greinke, Gerrit Cole and a few others. Yes, there are some decent players left, but you can now bet good money that Forest Whitley, Kyle Tucker, Yordan Alvarez and other major prospects aren’t going anywhere soon.
  4. Forget the $5 million fine, that’s just a mediocre relief pitcher these days. Yet, with the loss of top draft picks in 2020 and 2021 and perhaps a new and lower budget ahead, the Astros will need to be thrifty and shrewd with their lower-round draft picks. Think Kenny Lofton (17th round pick), Roy Oswalt (Round 23), Darryl Kile (Round 30), or even Ken Forsch (Round 18)? And, we may be headed back to the days of under-the-radar waiver wire pickups and loading up on re-treads and journeymen for spring training.

And here are the questions for your already overwhelmed, exhausted mind:

  1. There is no question, there is another bottleneck approaching. The Astros must determine their core list of players going forward. That pool will shrink soon. Who do you try to extend now to join Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, both of whom are signed through 2024? If they aren’t extended, Verlander (now 37), Greinke (36) and McCullers can all leave after 2021.
  2. Is it really as bad as it seems now? Is this a 100-car pileup that will take a lifetime to clear up, is this a crossroads requiring a major detour or is this merely another bump in the road like the previous change in ownership and leagues in 2011?
  3. Here’s a thought: Would Crane entertain a caretaker manager this year (say, Craig Biggio) and wait out a manager like Bruce Bochy, who says he wants to sit out one season before considering a return? For my dollars and sense, I’m not in on Dusty Baker, Raul Ibanez, John Gibbons or Wil Venable. Anyone seen Mike Scioscia lately? Or how ’bout Brad Ausmus with a Jeff Bagwell as bench coach?
  4. And the Astros are doomed from the get-go, at least on the national stage. If they don’t win 100 games, skeptics will say “See, they won because they cheated.” If Bregman’s home run numbers dip or if Yuli Gurriel, Springer or Altuve don’t approach .300 again, the back-stabbing and mongering will grow. On the other hand, if Houston wins 100 games again and pushes its way through the playoffs toward the World Series, there will be a growing rumor mill groundswell and investigations will again be the norm of the day.

Finally, Dan is grumpy. I’m just befuddled and a little bit irritated by MLB in general. There’s an old saying that you should not complain about what you allow and MLB has allowed quite a bit of junk over the past decade or two.

Nothing happens overnight, it’s generally a slow erosion process. That is not to exonerate Luhnow, Hinch and the Astros in general but methinks the game has been speeding down this road of chaos, calamity and carnage for quite some time.

59 comments on “Thoughts and questions: Can the Astros get back up?

  1. Welcome back to the sanitarium Chip. We’re mostly getting by. We’re sharing a bit of gallows humor at this point, so I think we’ve started the healing process. It will indeed be a long process too.

    Mr. Crane, the guy I sure did not like a few years back seems to be handling this situation as well as can be expected, at least to this point. He’s clearly well into option #3. He might also be working with one of those disaster recovery PR firms. I forget what they call them exactly. He’s also gotten a lot of feedback from Manfred too. That concerns me, because Manfred could be out before this whole mess goes away. It will take years though. More bad news to come for others. And that’s why the owners will be demanding Manfred put a cork in it.

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  2. I think Crane will be quite hands on going forward, at least for a year or so until the Astros are hopefully a stable organization again. He’ll be the voice of the organization..This year should pretty much go one of two ways. The club will be in the hunt and do everything financially possible to go deep into the post season. Or, the team will play flat, get worn down by all of the negatively (it will not go away) and miss the playoffs. In that case, a guy like Verlander will get a chance to go to the post season with another club. Others will follow. The prospects gathered would mitigate the loss of picks in 2021 and 2022.

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  3. The manager hired needs to be a guy who will bring stability, a level hand, credibility and most importantly be respected for his integrity within the game. He does not need to be a long term guy. We need him almost immediately and we need him to get us through 2020.

    The Astros are not doomed. MLB coaches, managers, GM’s, players…..they all know what’s going on in there game. There will be some more distractions, but by and large, from players to owners, everyone is going to get tired of hearing about new claims. So we’ll stop hearing about them at some point. Baseball will circle the wagons.

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  4. And last, while Manfred has only been on the job since early 2015, he could have been far more involved in dealing with whatever was going on in house by dealing with it in house. As it all turned out, the Astros became the public target, but in the end, all of baseball has been damaged. That’s on the commissioner.

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  5. How in the hell did this happen?
    Cora was in the broadcast booth for espn for several years through 2016 and all of a sudden he’s in the Astros dugout orchestrating this debacle. How did he have that much power?
    Beltran is with the Yankees and then comes to the Astros and becomes a big part of this.
    Did Fiers make such a huge mistake letting this firestorm out of the bag that baseball will try to stop anyone else from letting the rest of the story be known?
    Who gives the clubhouse the go ahead to do this?
    I think the absolute worst part of the whole thing for me, is that none of the players or coaches or anybody from the team who made my dreams become reality stood up and put a stop to it. That is devastating to me.
    I am very worried about my future as a baseball fan and as an Astros fan.
    I truly believe we don’t know much of anything about this story.

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    • 1OP, I’m convinced that Cora was given a green light from above and Hinch was told to stay out of it. And then Beltran would have been Cora’s associate. That would keep others quiet, ultimately helping Hinch to his own demise. One day we will hear the dynamics of what happened within our club. But again, no sports journalists in Houston understood the pecking order? No way.

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    • The problem is that when it comes to “stealing signs” there’s gamesmanship and there’s grand larceny, but in the current hysteria they are all lumped together. I think Carlos Beltran would be the first to admit that he is a master at finding pitchers “tells”. So if Yu Darvish is tipping his pitches and the Astros (or any team) figures it out, is that cheating? I think almost everyone would agree it’s not. It’s as old as baseball. And if a runner can stand on second base and figure out the catcher’s signs, I think most would say “more power to him”. Another time-honored tradition. The problem comes with modern technology. If you can use cameras and computers and electronics to give a real-time advantage, then the line has been crossed. Apparently it’s even OK to video the catcher or third base coach during the game, try to decipher the signs and apply that knowledge to the next game. So the Astros committed grand larceny, they were caught and are made the whipping boy. I am incredulous that the schemes they used could be widely effective, and the Commissioner cited no evidence that they were. To me, they tried to cheat but whether it really gave them an advantage is at least arguable, if not doubtful. Since they tried to cheat, I have no real problem with the punishment meted out by the Commissioner, or the extra steps taken by Crane. Would it be “fair” for the offending players to be punished? Maybe. Is it “fair” that we have to listen to the braying donkeys conflating gamesmanship with grand larceny and assuming that we gained advantages beyond what our talent suggested? I think not. But life isn’t “fair”, our team has been punished. Isn’t it fair that we be allowed to move on from there?

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  6. First Chip, thanks for returning our calls. Your posts, just like Dan’s, are thought provoking. Also, I must confess, I am the idiot that voted a 2 or 3 star above by mistake. Erase and make it a 5 please, if possible.

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    • Your list:
      1. I will pay $11.99 when that comes out in DVD. 2. That is over $50 million coming off the books. A few GOOD players can be had for that kind of money.
      3. Agree. 4. I think the Astros will survive and contend in the near future. 100+ wins may be hard to accomplish though.

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      • Also, per Spotrac the Astros owe about $4 million in luxury tax and $5 million in fines for this debacle. So they was an above average reliever, but I doubt Crane is down to his “butter and egg” money.

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  7. It is lovely to have someone else’s voice on here – welcome back Chip!
    Thoughts –
    – As far as the 3 choices go – Crane is definitely not going to sell. I think he made an agreement to fire Luhnow and Hinch in exchange for not being forced out by MLB. He is not going to fire sale mode – unless – the team stinks heading into the trade deadline. Then you might see some movement. He’s going to work with the hand dealt to him.
    – He will be quite hands on – for a while. That is why he said that he is basically the GM for the moment. I think he feels that he will need to be a touchstone for the team as they get used to whichever M and GM he hires.
    – Draft pick wise – the Astros did give up #1 and #2 picks (late in both rounds) this year and next. However, they have a compensatory pick coming for Cole this year and could be receiving ones next year depending on whether they offer qualifying offers and whether they work out deals with certain players. Chances are they might think that Springer is the only one worth a Q.O. next time around and they certainly would like to re-sign him instead. Examples of compensatory picks in the recent past include Lance McCullers (though they picked him only because they could move some of Correa’s money his way), Daz Cameron and JJ Matijevic
    – Question #1 – The bottleneck has always been an interesting question. It will be more so with what is coming up. Of course, if they let Verlander and Greinke go after 2021 that is a bunch of money off the books. My feeling is just like they built the team they have with cheaper home grown position players filled in with more costly starting pitching, they will be headed towards trying to have cheaper home grown pitching filled in with more expensive (already here) positon players.
    – Question #2 – This is not necessarily a 100 car pileup – at least in the short term. They have a team that could fairly easily contend as-is. The bigger problem is that Luhnow and the front office seemed to be master chess players as far as working this team towards sustainability. I have no idea if whoever they bring in can make success sustainable.
    – Question #3 – I would not mind a caretaker manager (as long as its not arm-killer Dusty Baker). But I don’t think that is what Crane will do. If he hires a caretaker now – it will bring the scandal back to the forefront when he goes after a manager a year from now. He wants to avoid that scenario (or at least I would).
    – Question #4 – They can’t win in the sight of public opinion, but the better road is to do like the Patriots always have done – go ahead and win it. Even if everyone hates you, you get the self satisfaction of taking home the trophy.

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  8. one of the things we have going for us is the implementation of computer called balls and strikes. assuming mlb can do this without screwing it up, we wont have to put up with umps with a grudge maybe kinda sorta squeezing our pitchers and being liberal with the strike zone for the opposition. everyone want a level playing field? that is a start.
    my opinion is we have no choice but to work with the hand dealt to us. when life knocks you down, the best thing you can do is get up and fight back. our way of fighting will be to have a successful season and if we were fortunate enough to win the series what does everyone bitch about then? well they cheated last year doesnt really have much umph to it.
    it will take a while, but this will eventually fade away. think back in time to other scandals in sports or politics, they fade away. the public has a short memory. it might be a bit longer given the specificity of the actions, but it will eventually fade.
    keep your chin up and support your team.

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  9. Good morning everyone….and ESPECIALLY you Chip. It’s no secret how this has effected me. Watching the media yesterday trying to get information out of Bregman and Altuve, was painful but they have the right to know. Which is why the entire team MUST have a unified front before anymore damage is done by not addressing “it”….because it’s not going away. I’m pretty sure a leading voice has already reached out to these guys, and either had phone contact, or in person meetings with the entire team. There HAS to be one voice to address this, and not 25 different versions of “it”. I’m a girl and I think like a girl…..my heart is broken over this, how in the hell did this happen. 😭

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  10. They announced the Astros team Hall of Fame inductees yesterday and they included AJ Hinch, Jeff Luhnow, Alex Cora, Carlos Beltran and the president of Waste Management Inc. who supplies the trash cans…..Too Soon?

    They announce six new inductees to the hall they created last year – Roy Hofheinz, Lance Berkman, Cesar Cedeno, Roy Oswalt, Billy Wagner and Bob Watson.

    A very good class to add in at this time. Too bad it’s overshadowed by “It”

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  11. “People respect what they’ve accomplished,” one rival general manager said. “They don’t respect the culture they’ve created or some of the methods they choose to utilize to become what they’ve become.”

    My mistake in all this was trusting Hinch and Luhnow. A few examples of things that point to this GM quote above; tanking, and allowing a Win at All Cost attitude. Just a few examples I uncovered were Luhnow lying to Tucker on Dec. 10, 2018; and Hinch lying about the veterans “helping” the propsects, like in this example at the 3 minute mark forward.

    I cannot divulge my source or go into it further, but where I know it’s going on currently in another contending organization, Hinch in fact allowed the vets & managers to cajole and haze our Future. I’ve always had reservations about his handling of our pitchers too, so I’ll be interested to see how a few guys respond in ’20.

    In retrospect, I’m glad Mgr/GM are gone. I don’t excuse Crane for allowing these things under his watch, however, and he will have quite a bit of proving to do to erase some of the perceptions of how he runs businesses. This won’t be his first rodeo to replace management with his son. Let’s hope he sticks with the men who have been responsible for the excellent scouting, and development of “second rate” prospects, like McCormick, Toro and Altuve.

    With the loss of monies and draft picks, now more than ever we are going to have to win in the International Pool market, and to continue to do a great job (Kris Gross) in the amateur draft. I have to laugh at Chip’s examples of late-round picks, though. There’s no need to go back that far to find late-round studs currently on their way to the Show.

    For the guys like Alvarez Straw and Tucker, it’s time to give these guys a fresh start, without the taint Hinch Beltran Cora Luhnow and others have left behind! I don’t buy any person was told to “stay out of it,” especially those responsible in leadership, and whose name are on it.

    For me, the real shame in this is not stealing signs, because on Sept 15, 2017, Manfred would not have needed to stress a rule clarification if it weren’t “industry standard.” The real shame is Andrew Jay Hinch sitting there, looking into the camera and bold-faced lying. You have brought shame onto the fans who trusted you! You’re also a Christian, and should be BETTER than that.

    When Tony La Russa has been outed by Jack McDowell, or Tim Flannery telling all, makes you wonder in the 1st place whether this sport was ever ethical!
    http://www.astroscounty.com/2020/01/a-liar-wrote-this.html

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    • In the Whitley video, right about the 3 minute mark forward, Hinch begins to talk about the vets helping. That was a complete falsehood, and it carried over with his manager in AAA. Another guy I’d like to see be fired.. Anyone ever wonder why the best pitching prospect in all the land pitched that much worse in RR?

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      • You think the answer is that simple? Maybe he just did not pitch so well. No doubt he remains highly touted by most everyone. But maybe he’s missing something too. Maybe he just does not care enough. He’s had too many issues of his own for me to blame coaching on any of his failures to date.

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      • This doesn’t get a response, dave. You’ve been so incredibly lazy after I spend hours documenting for your questions. Plain and simple, you know nothing about the minor leagues, you are too impatient to even watch Spring Training. I told you that I cannot divulge who said it because you know, it might be the player himself! I’ve watched hours days weeks and months of film, and watched every game televised from 5 affiliates, study all Top 100 pitching prospects, on and on. I’ve even posted where I get the info. Have you once referrred to them. Instead you call me the best salesman on the blogosphere. What the?! We traded your nephew prize player for a Scrubb — what does that tell you about your scouting ability?

        I even wrote in the offseason that the F&B Mgr saw him at the country club lounging playing golf and drinkng beer a lot. Came into ST fat (AFTER we traded Davis!) and later blamed the Astros for knowing he had a thyroid. What a joke.

        If you had more of an inquisitive attitude instead of kneejerk “I’m a cynic,” then maybe you’d be met with a different response.

        Virtually every post I’ve left here has a purpose. Regarding the scandal, teams have been pushing it for 100 years — it’s not a capital offense, and I haven’t lost hope in humanity over it. I post on the prospects for hope for the future, but I also caution on players like Taylor Jones.

        This issue is supposed to draw a gamut of emotions, because it’s not just cut and dried. We cheated, so did they. That is what* our players say,* not just me. The manager and GM, even Owner admitted they knew, and Crane said “knock it off.” Maybe you believe him, that is your prerogative. Op said he thought maybe Espada was part of that clubhouse, should go … who really knows other than what we read, or contacts we have inside the game. I won’t be sharing those again, as it’s just met with immediate accusation. For the future of people who post here, maybe try asking more questions instead of running them off. Good luck and good health to you all. peace

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      • This doesn’t get a response, Dave? I did not ask for one. I certainly don’t think I deserved one, even if you felt obligated. And you turned out a pretty long one. Some of us simply don’t follow the game in the same manner that you do. But I did take a long swim this morning and will go to the gym for a sweat tonight. At 65, I don’t think that’s lazy but maybe I need to reevaluate. As far as Whitley goes, I sure hope the kid makes it. I’m just dubious, because my own pretty good source has told me there have been authority issues with the kid going back to Alamo Heights High School. You’re sure right about Nephew though. That’s my fault. I got him on the Budweiser as a teenager.

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  12. First off, I am a Dodger fan. Have been for 56 years. Since the end of the 1963 series when a team with great pitching and absolutely no hitting dominated Mantle, Maris, Ford and the other great Yankees on that team. And here is where the rubber meets the road. Dodger fans, Yankee fans, and other fans whose teams were not affected are mad. Really mad. They want the players involved banned from baseball. Altuve, Reddick, Bregman in particular. And, actually, there is solid reason and precedent. The Black Sox Scandal. And rumor has it that Cora may be banned. Here is the bottom line. If they are not banned, which I don’t necessarily agree with that, they will have targets on their backs. Pitchers will bear down harder on them. They will get thrown at. They will hear the loudest boos of their lives. Nasty remarks yelled from the stands. Opposing catchers saying nasty things behind the plate. They will have tight strike zones. And the list goes on. They are going to have a tough time this year. They NEED a tough tough manager. Dusty Baker or someone like him. An absolute dictator for at least this year. Right the ship. It will be a hard year for Houston.

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    • Wayne – welcome. Just to let you know – we are mad at our team too. Because we don’t think they needed to do this and we have been such loyal fans for so long and are now stuck with a tainted highlight to our baseball lives.
      I would just say one thing about banning the players. Be careful what you ask for because it could be your team that gets exposed next.
      I think the players should have some punishment too – not necessarily life bans, but the fact that they don’t tells me this is probably very wide spread and they are trying to contain it to blaming a few individuals.

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    • Welcome Wayne. As Dan notes, we’re pissed off. We’re embarrassed. Still some shock too. But what do you do when a family member really screws up? We do not disown them. We hope they reform and we offer support, at least to a degree. Not sure why you focused on Altuve and Bregman and Reddick. I think we’d all like to have some definitive information on who did what and how frequently, but unless you guys have more knowledge out there on the West Coast, I don’t think anyone knows exactly what happened. As an aside, both Bregman and Altuve had significantly better years on the road in 2017.

      There will be some ugly situations. We’ll see how our players handle it. There is one issue I have to disagree with you on though. We don’t need Dusty. Surely you guys can find some kind of role for him back in LA.

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  13. This discussion demonstrates that Dan is correct. (As if anyone here doubts that.) IT is going to be a prime part of the conversation even for diehard Astros’ fans throughout the season.

    With that in mind, it may behoove Crane to name 3-4 people of varying backgrounds to establish a War Room of sorts to handle the responses (e.g. legally, PR-wise, investigative etc) throughout the season. In that way, the rest of the organization can focus completely on baseball.

    Since IT became an issue, we’ve seen the Astros largely inactive on the free agent and trade front. They have settled with Springer, but Harris said they hardly engaged him before he signed.

    One of either Springer or Brantley should be signed for next season (and beyond) as part of the core going forward, but that discussion should be in the forefront now rather than in October. IMO.

    The War Room idea compartmentalizes the sign-stealing stuff and allows the Astros to carry on with baseball activities simultaneously. Otherwise, the baseball operations could get lost in the fray. Again, just my thoughts.

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    • Chip, as I noted earlier, my guess is that Crane is already working with a crisis management group. And I have to figure that unless Luhnow gets what he wants, he’ll being suing. For that matter, I’m sure there will be all kinds of people suing the Astros thinking they might get something out of the deal. The legal bills will be another significant expense going forward.

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  14. Look….I have a real problem throwing names around about this. Unless you have proof on paper that the names you have mentioned were really IN ON THIS please stop. It hurts enough that this has happened…..we don’t need to speculate who was guilty and who was not. I’m sure as the year goes on those names will leak out. I wish I’d never heard the names Alex Cora and Carlos Beltran. Becky⚾

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  15. This person’s initial research has confirmed Manfred’s, “most position players used relays during the latter part of 2017,” but that it appears Altuve did not. I don’t think he is concluded his study, though. This would make sense, since Altuve has some of the best bat/ball skills in the league.

    One other caveat is that a pitch’s effective velocity should be more than 6 mph separation to be a marked enough difference to have an advantage in offspeed vs fastball. The home stats, for example in ’17 vs away do not support the conclusion there was an advantage at home games.

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EOlYm_cXsAE1i5R?format=jpg&name=large

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  16. My question is this. If the stats indicate that the Astros did not gain an advantage from the “cheating” then why continue to do it? Surely they know what is helping and what is not based on the statistics. I’d really like to hear from the players on this but perhaps we’ll never know. For the players not to address the issue at some point in time only adds more fuel to the fire. Oh and one of the sayings that generally holds true is that the guilty dog always barks loudest. That would be you Mike Fiers.

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  17. GoStros1……You lost me about the second sentence. I can’t speak for the others but I’m just a 71yr old lady who’S been a fan of these guys for 50+yrs. Like I said I don’t want to hear anyone start naming names unless or until we all see it in black and white. There’s a quiet movement to out the players and punish them.
    If that happens Crane should just close the doors. There’s also some lawyers in Houston who think the season ticket holders should get their money back.
    I flunked statistics in college, but it looks like you excelled in it. Becky⚾

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    • Have no idea what you mean by naming names, sorry.

      Hope you’re feeling strong these days, Becky. I’m doing fine in case you’re wondering since I’ve been praying for you for yrs now.

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  18. That’s a significant effort by the guy. But how do we determine participation? Just because a hitter goes to the plate and someone is banging in the dugout, it does not establish participation by that hitter.

    I’d like to see stats for each banging at bat versus stats for every non banging at bat. What if there is no difference, or what if we hit better when the hitter had the relative peace of non banging while at the plate?

    I know Altuve and Bregman hit better on the road in 2017. I have not checked the other guys. While attempted bank robbery is still a crime, I think the media would grow weary of this story a bit quicker if it was determined that the whole scheme was ultimately ineffective. Maybe someone at MLB already knows those stats but is not prepared to share them.

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    • Well one little known fact is the drum banging in Oakland helped Altuve and Bregman. Those drum beats meant one hour of irritation – fastball. The entire game of irritation – curveball. And when it was silent, they were headed to the restroom and to buy more beer – changeup.

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  19. I have another dumb idea. IF MLB is serious about cheating, hire two more umpires each game. Have one in each dugout and let them walk around and check the replay video guys also. Then that gives the umpiring crew a day off each week to sit in the dugout and it watches for cheating.

    (However, it might be unsafe for a couple of unnamed umpires to get too close to the Astros.)

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  20. GoStros1…..I owe you an apology. After I went to bed last night I regretted my comment to you. I’m so dam sad about this, I let my feelings over this take it out on you. You went into a lot of detail about all of this…..I can’t come close to understanding it. My heart is so broken ….if I don’t hear any of the players names, I don’t want to believe it. I apologize for lashing out to you, I hope we can still be friends. Becky⚾

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    • I saw that. I wonder if he’s really interested in it, or has someone just threw his name out there. He and Cora are VERY good friends, I have no idea how good of a manager he would be. Whoever takes over is going to have to have VERY thick skin. Ear plugs would be a great thing to invest in.

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      • I don’t recollect this, but seems he was going to be our first base coach in 2014, and then ultimately determined he wanted to spend more time with his family. Or maybe less with Bo? Either way, would he up for the commitment? And I just don’t see a rookie manager being brought into this particular situation.

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  21. Let the self-righteous hypocrites out there in fandom spew, cuss, and prove their ignorance. Let the opposing catchers get the ump distracted by constantly mouthing off at you and moving around in the box. Let the pitchers get so pumped that they lose their command and make stupid mistakes. Have a
    come-to-Jesus’ meeting, become blood brothers, an then just go out and play the best baseball of your lives. If they throw at you, walk to first with a smile on your face – then find a way to manufacture a run. If they boo you, tip your hat and put one in the gap or the seats. Let the crowd noise prepare your ears and mind for a play-off environment – or any series ever in New York, Boston, or Philly [where the fans are always absolute jerks anyway]. This ain’t rocket science, and with our line-up they can’t beat us unless we let them beat us.

    Liked by 5 people

  22. Mr Bill……we are ALL right there with you, but sadly I don’t anticipate that happening. There are going to be boos….and they will be loud, and the one thing none of us wants to happen is injury due to hit by pitch. I really hope that doesn’t happen…..baseball’s thrown at a guys head can kill him.
    Edward Perez just signed a big contract with ESPN last year…..maybe that’s his “out” so he can turn down the job here.

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  23. I am back again. There is a rumor that buzzer devices were used under uniforms. Now, I saw the so called “evidence” videos and they are iffy at best. Like I was saying, I do not agree with banning or punishing unless there is what would be solid evidence like a device found in a locker. Something like that. They will be punished by their peers. Whether they are guilty of not. I am sure there are those who did not participate. And the Black Sox Scandal took down 2 who did not participate. If there is a banning, a ball will be set in motion that may destroy the Astros. What should be done right now is to establish a solid punishment rule like there is for PED’s . That would be a good step. A solid way to say “The buck stops here”. If I remember correctly, The Cardinals were caught a few years back (against the Astros,right?) And got a slap on the wrist. Let the players get out and do their thing. Earn their respect back. Hate to say this but one or 2 might not be able to run the gaunlet. But those that do will be better for it. Now before I leave, I just want to say one thing. Go Astros. Let’s meet again. Next October.

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  24. I hope this is my last post on “IT.” I wish I could back up the clock, but I can’t. I wish I could make it not happen, but I can’t. I wish there was no punishment because it never happened but I can’t. But I CAN move forward. I am ready to talk, and watch baseball. MLB is NOT going to hire Judge Landis and have him come in, after the fact, and over-turn the rules and ban 8 or more just to prove he is tough. The penalty is set, and over. We have to live with what happened. You and me, as fans, get to cheer or boo. But this is all we can do to participate. One month from tomorrow is Opening Day at FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. Go Astros.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. The Rockies sure hamstrung themselves with that deal. And they are pretty much stuck with Charlie Blackmon for 3 more years at 21 million. He simply does not hit away from home. Then they’ve got to pay Wade Davis 17 million. And Ian Desmond will get another 15 million. He hit .219 on the road with a.657 OPS. Does the Denver elevation make these guys worse road bats, or does that park just make them so much better than they really are? Even Arenado has a lifetime road OPS of just .799. Not sure what club want to pick up his contract.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are exactly right sir. Say what you will about Jeff Luhnow, but he certainly did not hamstring the Astros, despite all the many moving parts over the last few years. He may be gone , but he absolutely left the Astros in a very enviable position financially.

      Liked by 1 person

    • As a diehard Rockies fan ( they were my # 2 team prior to “IT”) I will say that the elevation/park makes it very hard to accurately evaluate players. Biggest thing is because of how they hit at home, they develop bad habits that affect them on the road

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  26. This comment is about the topic Chip addresses in his post. Can the Astros get back up? How?
    *Every move the Astros make from now on can’t be to make up? It has to be about winning.
    *In order to win in 2020, they need to hire a manager whose goal is to win the World Series in 2020, not just be a good club.
    * The Astros are going to need their veterans on the field to open the season and weather the storm.
    * If the Astros are still in it by the deadline, they need to make moves to get them what they need to win it all.
    *If they aren’t still in it by the deadline, they need to make moves that enable them to win it all in 2021. This is the only way to keep momentum going in the face of all the hate. Focus on your team!
    * Remember, if you believe that cheating is as widespread as a lot of you have suggested, then a lot of teams are not going to hit as well as they used to, because of the attention paid on breaking the rules.
    * I think the Twins will beat their division to a pulp. I think the Yankees will do the same. How is the AL West going to go? The only way I see the Astros being able to weather the storm from fans throughout the league is to be quiet, come together, cut out the public dugout antics and start beating the teams in their division to a pulp. The more the Astros win, the louder the boos will get and the more together the team will be. Make the fans have to pay for their booing by affording them the opportunity to go home knowing their team got beaten again by the Astros.
    * Don’t brag. Don’t gloat. Just win, over and over. and if you manage to win the first two games of a series, don’t sit your players down for the last games. Play every game to win. It’s the only way to get back up. Their fans won’t let up with their vitriol. Why should the Astros let up? Try to beat them to a pulp every day.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I’m not sure I know what that means. But I was speaking figuratively about being relentless in their pursuit of a WS title to the point of not backing off in a baseball sense, not in a physical confrontational sense.
        I was speaking about winning a game on Saturday night 22-3 and then resting your players the next day and getting beaten by one of the worst teams in baseball history because you let up. The fans aren’t going to stop their booing, other teams will rejoice in hearing it, so why let up when it comes to playing your best every game.

        Liked by 2 people

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