Astros’ 2020: Is 30 just a number?

Over the last few seasons, the Astros team salary total has been edging upward along with their average team age. Last season their everyday players were the second oldest in the majors at 28.9 years old (a weighted average based on ABs and games played) and their pitchers were fifth highest at 29.9 years old again based on a weighted average. Back in 2017 they were ninth and 16th in the majors for everyday players’ and pitchers’ age respectively.

While the Astros still have players who can help keep that average down a bit – Yordan Alvarez (22), Kyle Tucker (23), Carlos Correa (25), Alex Bregman (25), Jose Urquidy (24), Roberto Osuna (25), and Bryan Abreu (22) – they are increasingly relying on folks on the “wrong” side of that magic number of 30. Now whether that even matters is another question.

As they sit today the following folks are on or above that 30 mark: Yuli Gurriel (35), Michael Brantley (32), Josh Reddick (33 this Wed.), Martin Maldonado (33), George Springer (30), Dustin Garneau (32), Justin Verlander (37 this Thurs), Zack Greinke (36), , Ryan Pressly (31), Joe Smith (35), Brad Peacock (32), Austin Pruitt (30), and Jared Hughes (34). And that does not count Jose Altuve, who hits the magic mark in May.

Is this a problem? Well, based on last season, the under 30 crowd seemed to have more injuries going than the above 30 crowd, but it has to be a concern for the Astros this season, especially in the starting rotation. Brad Peacock already is a probable scratch for the race for the 4th and 5th spots in the rotation due to continuing concerns with his shoulder. As durable as they have been, losing Verlander or Greinke for any significant time would turn the rotation into a huge question mark.

The everyday position players are not nearly as much of a worry due to the outstanding depth of their lineup. (Which does not mean they can survive losing four or five at a time as they have done a few times in the past).

The bullpen? Well this is an area of both concern and fair sized potential entering the season. They lost Pressly for an extended time in 2019, but luckily the return of Joe Smith and the breakout season of Will Harris filled that hole in the bullpen. Now of course they have lost Harris, but re-signing Smith and picking up Pruitt and Hughes may well help the team down the line. Plus a youngster like Abreu or any number of other youngsters coming to camp may give this team depth and arm talent to survive the season.

With a season where the team may well be the most hated and despised team in recent history, it is probably a good thing to have a solid cadre of vets in the locker room. In the end, having so many grizzled veterans (or veterans dying those grey hairs) could be a plus or a minus, but it is an area of risk for the team.

 

80 comments on “Astros’ 2020: Is 30 just a number?

  1. Dan God bless you for working hard to keep Astro baseball talk alive. Today was a sad day for me. I removed all my 2017 playoff memorabilia from my man cave and boxed it up into the storage shed for now. 40 years and I feel like I’m starting it all over and the last 3 years are irrelevant, very sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I feel for you and all the fans, Kevin. If anyone had asked us whether we would have wanted them to cheat – we would have said NO! But we get stuck with this sadness inside and a feeling like we wasted our hearts on an unworthy suitor.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I destroyed everything I had that was Astros related Kevin. No papers, no jerseys *NOTHING* I’m sure there are plenty veterans in the clubhouse, there are some BIG personalities in there. Remember what I said any free agents after this year should get as far as possible from this organization? Springer was asked today if he wants to stay here long term…his answer “it’s way too early to disguss that” what he meant *HELL..NO*. There ya go…..one down 4 to go.

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  3. This group is a very small sample, but it seems the Astros could take a really big hit at the gate this year.

    All the people involved and not one thought about how much they might ultimately impact the financial health of their company going forward? The stupidity is incredible. So bleeping irresponsible.

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  4. I did read where Manfred will be through with the Red Sox investigation in about 10-11 days. Meanwhile I’m waiting so we can share the cheating stage with someone else, maybe the writers will give us a break for a few days.By the way there are SEVERAL other teams that are being investigated for sign stealing.

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  5. Relative to uncleknuckle, “not one thought about how much they might ultimately impact…? It’s the smartest guys in the room all over again, plus it’s the original name of the field.

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  6. Pardon me for being cruel today, but Mike Trout who is probably the best current player in baseball is WAY off base in his comments. First, Dude, you guys lost 90 game. Looks like nobody needed to cheat to beat your team. And to the best of my recollection, no Astro Over Dosed last year. Clean up your own team before throwing rocks at others.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. A statement on the state of journalism – on Astros MLB web site they have a headline “Astros RHP suspended for 162 games”

    OMG I must click on this to find out if it’s Verlander, Greinke, McCullers, Osuna, Pressly etc etc – it’s all about the clicks

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    • I started being a fan of this team when I saw the 45’s. play the Braves ( Joe Adcock hit a homerun for the Braves) and I got mosquito bit. I still have an old Dierker shirt. I was an Astro fan way before this current ownership and any of these players. My wife and I have over the last decade gone to Yankee stadium with friends who are Yankee fans. They wear their Mantle and Whitey Ford shirts and I wear my Bagwell shirt. I am not throwing anything away. I expect to continue my routine this summer in NY and will wear my Bagwell shirt. These are tough times for this Houston team. They brought it upon themselves, but the national reaction is a bit overboard. I expect the players to show us in their best manly way what they are really made of. I appreciate Carlos for speaking up for Altuve. Groveling to the media will get the team nowhere. Show up and play baseball and sooner or later we will all just enjoy wonderful game. Just drink a beer and eat some peanuts- Geez.

      Liked by 7 people

      • Larry – I know where you are coming from on this, though I got to Houston just after the Dome opened. In my case, I do have a few Astro items like my Altuve shirt. In many ways the biggest “souvenirs” I have are the many blog posts I’ve written. I feel a little bitter about expending so much effort in analyzing and indeed praising the team and their manager and general manager. Those are souvenirs that float around forever.
        And yes I hope that baseball itself will be the lotion that soothes these feelings.

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      • I haven’t thrown away anything. I haven’t even removed anything from its place.
        They didn’t commit treason or murder. They used a camera to steal the pitchers signs. What’s so different than standing on second base and stealing as the catcher gives the sign?
        They broke a rule that ( they say) they didn’t know about.
        The Yankees did the same thing. See any Yankee fans abandoning ship.
        My husband and I both wear Astros tees most weekends not one person has ever said anything.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Larry, the lovely wife and I continue to purchase Astros gear ourselves. As Sandra (who, coincidentally has the same name as my lovely wife) says, “They didn’t commit treason or murder. They used a camera to steal the pitchers signs. What’s so different than standing on second base and stealing as the catcher gives the sign?”, we fully agree and stand with them.

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  8. Dan, I know what you mean about those cyberspace souvenirs that will follow you forever. I had already thought about whatever comments I’ve made being out there in perpetuity, and noticed some contributors have gone mum since the controversy arose. Look on the bright side. Tom Wolfe took his love of, knowledge of, and research on space exploration and rendered it partly truth and partly fiction. Now all you have to do is the same. It’s a natural: “The Wrong Stuff.”

    Liked by 1 person

      • Dan, I only make “jokes” so-called to keep it at bay. Not that I know for sure, but it looks to me like we were given a sense of humor for a reason, since it clearly seems to be a component of most — not all — natures. Somebody knew we were going to need it. This is the pits, I know that. I’ve gone to sleep thinking about it and thought about it in middle of night, while a few other issues were sloshing around. How in the **** did this happen? How in the **** did supposedly responsible people, “leaders” so- called, wash their hands and choose blindness to this degree? How so many in one place? One thing I’m serious about. With time and distance, it will make a tremendous read. Just needs the requisite romance (which I’m sure can be found) and the writer. At one time, that might have been Mickey Herskowitz, if you’re limiting it to locals. If you’re going outside, look for the best there is.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, when one puts oneself out there, there will be times when it will come back to bite you.
      For instance, when a guy says he’s been following Francis Martes for years and wants to keep a close eye on his progress. One week later the guy follows Martes right to the edge of a cliff and watches him jump off. I believe I’ve followed Martes’s career as far as I can and I think I will turn my attention elsewhere.
      Wow, what an offseason!

      Liked by 6 people

      • Hope you, and Mrs Op are well as expected, Op. Let’s talk Martes, then..

        Not sure what jump off a cliff infers? His career is far from over. I don’t believe he loses his option this year, either.

        Since he was a #1 prospect, you weren’t alone in following his every move. Our latest report from the Dominican this Winter was more struggling with command and weight issues!, while it was surely a disappointment he was ineligible for post-season last year anyway.

        [Perhaps, it has occurred to you that Cano juiced on purpose, too? In order to get traded, and as a convenient cover story for Dipoto to get out from under the albatross? Mets wouldn’t have a moral problem signing a juicer.]

        If Martes wasn’t going to be able to stick, this is a way to get him another year under our roof (and possibly a little stronger). Anyway, it was somewhat predictable he wouldn’t pitch in HOU this year.

        As I mentioned six months ago.

        “Here’s a just guess list of guys who will (or might) fall off the 40-man.
        Guduan, Rodgers, Biagini, Cole, McHugh, Deetz, Devo Marisnick (arb eligible), Rondon, Smith, Maldy/Robbie, Mayfield, Reddick, Harris, Sneed, Martes.
        Potentially ~16 spots.” –commented on MiLB Trends to Watch Aug 12, 2019.

        11 out of 16, and those remaining are still trade/DFA candidates.

        I can think of five pitchers I’d rather see get Martes’ innings in 2020, anyway. James, Abreu, Javier, Bielak and Whitley.

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  9. I have hesitated in posting a sermon, but have decided it might fit in well here. First, I have one 2017 souvenir which is a cap – a gift from my 16 year old granddaughter. I continue to wear it at times when it makes it to the front of the hat rack.

    About 30 years ago, we were leaving a large church in Arlington and moving to a small town. We visited the town and just fell in love with the young pastor there. The Arlington pastor wanted to wish us well and say goodbye. For some reason he veered the conversation to “the sermon.” He told me to put my trust in God and never put it in man. All men will disappoint you.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. I have a question.
    When is enough, enough? With all the bashing of Manfred’S report, I would NOT be surprised to see him take the World Series trophy away from this team.
    These people want blood, and they’re not going stop until they GET blood.
    I’m preparing myself to hear Manfred take the Trophy away.
    When is enough, enough.

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    • Yesterday MLBtraderumors ran a poll about the 2017 trophy. With over 27,000 votes in hand, 25% say Astros should keep the trophy – 75% say give it back.
      I don’t know what is enough. If they gave the trophy back then they would turn to ranting about player suspensions or having Crane sell the team or more lawsuits or public floggings or …. There will never be enough.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dan, I think this is all part of today’s culture. Without going into politics (which I don’t like to talk about) we are moving towards a mob mentality. I honestly believe that most polls are garbage and I rarely believe them. It just gives pundits something to talk about. They could take away the title, suspend players, levy fines and it still wouldn’t be enough for some or most. I live in an area where there are numerous Yankee supporters. While some seem reasonable in that we all agree that it was wrong, that the Astros cheated, and the team has been punished many feel it’s not enough. I try not to talk too much about it to rabid Yankee fans because at my age, the last thing I want to do is to get into a fight about something as stupid as a disagreement over baseball.

        Liked by 2 people

      • You know, I don’t give a crap if they ended up giving it back. Let’s see what the Sox did wrong and see what kind of uproar we end up with. Manfred could lose his job over this thing. When 75% want the death penalty, seems to me our commissioner misjudged what the reaction would be to the way he handled the whole mess. And maybe we should give it back. Let’s face it, it will always be tainted. Always.

        Liked by 1 person

      • More than one source is contending the Astros scandal has been good for baseball. Don’t count it out. And don’t count out that so much vitriol will be spewed against the ‘Stros that somehow, some way the public tide will turn in their favor. Stranger things.

        Liked by 2 people

      • If there is not “enough drugs” for a drug addict, there is not enough punishment for some people.

        Manfred addressed this in his interview and talked about punishment in historical terms. No titles have ever been taken away. No home run trophies, no Cy Young, even Maris and his “Aserisk” is gone.

        And he basically said, he had to give the player’s immunity to get any information.

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  11. Back to baseball
    – Scott Kazmir is attempting to make his second comeback to the majors (he is only 36 y.o.). Folks may remember he basically pitched himself out of the majors in 2011 and 2012 (1.2 innings with the Angels in 2011) and bounced around the minors including a stint with the Sugar Land Skeeters before hooking up with the Indians. The Astros picked him up (unsuccessfully) during the 2015 wild card run and he has not pitched in the majors or practically anywhere since 2016.
    – Jared Hughes would cost the Astros $1.5 MM if he makes the roster – he also has an opt-out in late March if it looks like he does not have a shot with the Astros. This good be a solid pickup for the Astros if he returns to his 2013-2018 self.

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  12. I don’t care if MLB takes the trophy back. To me the Astros are the 2017 WS Champions.
    I was a fan when they were losing 100 games in multiple seasons. I don’t need the commissioner’s permission to continue to be a fan.
    I’ll continue to wear that championship tee shirt whenever I want. I dare anyone to say one word.
    I started out mad at the team for putting themselves in this position but this has gotten ridiculous.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Am sitting here annoyed, or maybe chagrined after reading the latest foolishness from Nick Markakis. When did MLB become such a self righteous clan made up of impeccable souls? Why not simply flog at second base weekly the drug users, the domestic demons, those who cheat on their income tax; any and all of that clique that don’t reach the threshold of being a human being without flaw. Seems suddenly there are many of them.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Sandy….it’s the mob mentality who are jumping on the “bury the Astros”.
    It doesn’t help that the writers keep all of this stirred up. I got into an email fight with Joel Sherman about a piece he published about “it” in the New York Post.
    I caution all of these righteous writers, and MLB players:
    Manfred has at least 8-10 other teams under suspicion of breaking the rules, so maybe they should shut their mouths until MLB finishes *ALL* the investigation’s. Even when that happens…it won’t be “enough”.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. LeBron chimes in? Is Saturday Night Live next? Larry, I get your point, and more power to you, but I don’t like baseball right now. I suppose I could read a box score by age 5 or so, initiated to the game by 4 older brothers. But this is the first February in 60 years where I just don’t have any enthusiasm for my game, hard as I might try to fight the disgust.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I emailed MLBTRADERUMORS.COM and asked them to stop bashing the Astros, until Manfred finishes ALL of his investigations. All it is doing is causing* rage* among guys in spring training. It needs to stop. Too many guys are calling for our guys to get hurt…..that has to stop. RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Let’s talk about the pitching rotation! Strom had a Q&A today with Mctaggart about the pitchers in camp. He like a lot of you is high on Abreu and Valdez.
    Said he was going to go work with Whitley in a couple of days, and thinks Forest has really good stuff. THEN….theres Zack Greinke! Someone asked Dusty why Greinke wasn’t in camp yet…Dusty said “because he’s Zack Greinke”! I thought Zack kinda got lost in the Verlander & Cole sandwich last year, I’m looking forward to see how he does when it’s just Verlander and him at the top of the rotation.
    He’s a quirky guy….wouldn’t you love to hear what he thinks sometimes? I would!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. To me, 30 is just a number when it comes to baseball. But, 35 is more than just a number.
    Truth be told, Verlander and Greinke pitched like aces last season, so pardon me if I don’t sell them short until I see them not able to get guys out.
    I’m a believer in Tommy John surgery and in LMJ’s ability to be even better than he was.
    I think Joe Smith and Ryan Pressley can pitch better than they did last fall.
    I think the rest of the staff needs to be Urquidy and big young arms.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah I saw that – the 5 PM – 1 AM shift might have appealed to a much younger Dan P and I don’t think I am able to match their snarkiness on the Astros situation….

      Liked by 1 person

  19. i thought what strom had to say about hinch speaks volumes.Q: How different has this camp been with a new manager in Dusty Baker and the circumstances surrounding the team?

    A: AJ [Hinch] was very, very an accomplished leader. I’ve always respected AJ for his ability to compartmentalize and put things in place and be organized and things like that. I’m still getting used to Dusty. It’s a little bit different. Obviously, he and I are from a different era. Dusty didn’t hit me as hard as Enos Cabell did and Enos lets me forget. It’s a different personality, different way of doing things, but I sense a great deal of respect in that clubhouse for Dusty Baker and as I did with AJ. I will not lie. I miss AJ. I miss being with him on a daily basis and he always gave me respect and a chance to voice my opinion. Whether he listened to it or not was really immaterial more times than not. I thought he did a tremendous job for us for years and really helped get this organization going good. I’m excited work to work with Dusty.

    Liked by 4 people

  20. Try as we may……”it’s” just not going to stop. As long as writers keep bashing this team, the more pressure on Manfred to do more punishment to the Astros.
    Maybe we should March these guys in front of a firing squad and shoot every one of them. Maybe that will please them. Other than that I don’t know what else to suggest. Who knows……Manfred may bend to all the noise and suspend every guy on the team for 5yrs. I tried to change the subject last night, but “it” won’t go away.

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    • No! It ain’t gonna go away.
      Mr. Manfred created this mess and now he can’t seem to stop it from escalating.
      So just for the sake of argument let’s say he suspends 50% of this team and a few players that have moved on to other teams. The Astros would not be able to field a team. Would they then have to forfeit the season? What would that do for the schedule? He literally can’t suspend the players without destroying baseball. So let’s say he takes the trophy back. Would he then have to take back Boston’s too? And what about punishment for what the Yankees did? He would have to take back the trophies of all the teams that won with players on steroids. It would be never ending.
      The best thing he could do right now is send a memo to all clubs stating everyone should shut up or they will be investigated, punished, and fined.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Interesting take by Chris Russo on “High Heat” (MLB network). He basically is telling all of the pundits and players to knock it off. You’re not doing the game any good. John Smoltz seems to have a similar attitude. I haven’t been able to find the video on YouTube or other spots but I found it interesting.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. I can’t send the link on my phone, but if you go to the MLB.com / Astros web site they have a nice article about Craig Biggio working with Garrett Stubbs on 2B skills – as somebody who has done the C to 2B conversion. (Of course Stubbs isn’t converting – just becoming more flexible)
    Stubbs had already been working on infield skills with his off-season room mate Gold Glove Matt Chapman.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. You know, as time and stories about “IT” have come out, sometimes in life it is almost humorous to look at things from about 20,000 feet in the air. Looks like more than one team broke the rules in 2017. It looks like it stopped in 2018. It looks like (concerning the video room) no one broke the rules in 2019 because MLB had a monitor there for each club.

    So a year and a half passed with no issues? Then a guy who pocketed the $500 bonus for being on a World Series winning team, decided to just stir the pot. And now he is a “Hero????”

    Liked by 2 people

      • I think the expletive-laden comment from 3B coach, Phil Nevin to Alex Bregman, had to do with Cintron shooting the bird to their Dugout Camera fixed on the Astros. Getting Hinch’s signs! Last season.

        Typical of the Yankees, they won the game 7-0, but still tried diverting attention away from themselves toward our whistling.

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      • Thanks for the link. It illustrates how MLB inaction really let things escalate to this point. I suppose they assumed they could steer the narrative and let the Astros be the only scapegoats. Public opinion is on their side at this point so maybe it’s working. However, I don’t want anyone to forget that Luhnow and his friends proved themselves to be the dumbest people in the room through all this.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Really makes ya wonder if there was an ultimate decision-maker? We’ve heard many names, and it seems like they were in conjunction with one another.

        How McCann wasn’t able to stop it, Hinch, or Altuve’s strength of will being so adamant against it. Seems almost as if some ONE over-rode everyone! For the life of me, I cannot understand why they would continue after the memo with such a huge lead in the division? And if that memo was the “be-all” of warnings, why didn’t Manfred confirm it was read and understood by players. [When you send a Notice of Intent to Lien, an accompanying document must be signed insuring it’s read and understood, for example.]

        Further, how were the personnel working on the programs promoted, and not terminated? Sure suggests that it was a Top-Down decision, as if they wouldn’t punish someone they told to do the deeds. If it still happens, would those two named have a wrongful terminaton suit — and that is why the inaction? So many questions, and yet please let’s just play ball already! Settle it on the field.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Grayson the dates I was using was what I understood Manfred to say. (My mistake)

      So just to be clear, Manfred is full of it. In fact, when he dies, he can be given an enema and then buried in a match box.

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  23. Thank you to Mr. Beltran. Thank you Mr Fiers. Thank you Mr. Manfred. Thank you Mr. Jomboy. Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Over-the-Top Haters. Thank you for the gravel in our gut and the spit in our eye. Thank you for the motivation to show up every game and make your favorite team’s night a living nightmare. Thank you for being so nasty and irresponsible that we won’t feel the least bit reluctant to exploit your weaknesses and show you up in front of the world.
    Have a nice day – and see you soon!

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Lucroy joins the Sox and blasts the Astros. What does he say next week when Boston gets their punishment from Manfred, assuming Manfred has the balls to give them more than a slap on the wrist.

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    • Lucroy is saying two important things: 1. that everyone ‘knew’ the Astros were stealing signs, and 2. he, and other catchers, were therefore changing the signs every pitch [making effective sign stealing impossible]. Put the two together, and one thing is clear. The Astros’ sign stealing did not win them any ballgames – much less a championship – and, to the contrary, actually decreased their likelihood of success. Thank you, Mr. Lucroy, for proving our point.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Bill, that’s a bit of a reach. I don’t know if anyone knows to what degree the cheating helped or did not help the Astros win baseball games. The only thing I am fully clear on is that we had a great team, of the the best ever on paper, capable of winning with talent alone. The club instead chose to screw up that record, that memory, for all time with their collective incalculable arrogance and poor judgement.

        At the same time I’m totally fed up with player after player, guys that have been stretching the rules since Little League condemning this whole mess as a unique event in MLB.

        But that does not erase the actions by our club. We fully controlled our own destiny and tossed all the good away.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. We can stay mad, or we can find a way to move on and overcome.

    We can wallow in the muck and mud, the hurt-feelings and the outrage, or we can man-up and get over it.

    We can pretend we never did something STUPID when we were in our 20s and should have known better, or we can chalk it up to lessons learned the hard way, and grow up.

    We can throw away our orange and blue fan-gear, or we can encourage our guys – and F.O. – to be better, and make our city and fanbase much more proud in the future than we were about the trophy a previous bunch of flawed players won [yes, really won, despite all the haters’ hullaballoo] back in 2017.

    We can cry, or we can get up off the ground, dust ourselves off, and vow to prove something.

    Lace up the cleats. Break out the bats. Oil up the leather. It’s time to Play ball.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Mr. Bill, you’re a better man than me. I’m not prepared to accept what occurred and move on. I might well not ever again be the same Astro fan I was for so many years. Right now, I’m not close. And as I noted earlier, I’m fed up with all of MLB right now, not just the Houston Astros. I can also tell you that I’ve done a whole bunch of dumb things in my life. But I have never been a part of a premeditated effort to cheat anyone in any way. It’s not self righteousness, it’s the way I was brought up. And we’re not simply talking about a few 20 something guys screwing up and wandering off course for a weekend. We’re talking about dozens of millionaire’s, some upper management “leaders” working for a billion dollar corporation in a long term focused effort on getting an illegal edge.

      If my son came home from school with a trophy won while cheating was involved, even if only by his teammates, he and I would have taken that trophy back to school.

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      • Aw, come on, Dave – it’ll be alright. Go fishing. Drink a little rum! Imagine Dan P or OP running for MLB Commissioner, or President, or something, and having a big rally on the Island. Give it a couple of month’s and you’ll be talking me back from the edge of the cliff after our nincompoops looked lost in space while they were getting swept by the Rangers, Ms, Angels, or As.

        Like

      • At least you know one thing for certain, Dave. If nephew cheated when he was with us, cheating is definitely not something anyone in your bloodline does well!

        Like

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