Astros Respite: “IT” knocks “it” out of the headlines

The media obsession with the latest “thing” is nothing new to the world. I was talking to a person who had a young family member come back from the army almost 60 years ago and commit a horrendous crime against members of the family. He said they were grateful when Marilyn Monroe died because it knocked their family’s name out of the news.

And so it always seems to go whether it is natural disasters or terrorist acts or celebrity deaths or almost anything else you can name. The vultures circle and swarm and pick and pillage on one corpse until a newer, fresher corpse arrives.

And so it seems to be with the Astros cheating scandal. The “it” story that would not go away has been replaced by the “IT” story that will not go away – the coronavirus driven cancellation of the rest of the spring training games and the indefinite delay (don’t believe the two weeks) of the start of the regular season.

Is it wrong for fans to be glad for this respite from the “it” story? Well, no it isn’t. We did not do anything to cause the original situation and we have suffered through the worst off-season we could imagine. Now we face the delay and possibly, in the insanity of the current situation, the cancellation of a season we hoped would help our team regain the pride they threw away. There is nothing wrong with hoping the “it” story gets watered down or even drowned by the “IT” story.

This will continue to be a difficult time for all fans. Here at the blog we will do our best to fill the time with posts that distract or make you think.

It brings to mind something I read in the late great Roger Kahn’s Boys of Summer. He was talking about his start at the Herald Tribune when local high school sports were interrupted by what I remember as some type of strike. He asked his editor what he was supposed to cover with “it” (no sports) going on and his editor told him to cover “it”. And o he did.

So, if you have any special requests for this corner of your life – toss them out there as we work as a team to fill the void that “IT” has created.

91 comments on “Astros Respite: “IT” knocks “it” out of the headlines

  1. Dan, I would be interested in the effort of our coaches to get players to hit away from the shift. I saw Tucker recently get a hit away from the shift which was good. It seems like he is a consistent pull hitter. Also, I would be interested in any coverage of our recent international signings.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Assuming Baker is here for only one year, who would the loyal readers like to see take the reins of the club.

    Who will be the everyday outfielders in 2021?

    Who will be the everyday first baseman?

    Who will make up the starting rotation in 2022?

    Who will be the starting shortstop if Correa takes off for the bright lights? Should Bregman move to SS? If so, who will take over at third base?

    Will Click be able to rebuild the farm system without having to have the major league club tank?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Now this is funny. A post from a Mother who has a son that plays football for Clemson. (Her emojis won’t paste)

    “Dear ACC, i did not sign up for you guys to send my kid back (Woozy face) who’s gonna feed him. Rex Ray #8 go stay with Dabo he wanted you!!!! Remember to wash your hands. Mommy Love You Though (Face throwing a kiss) (Purple heart) (Orange heart.)

    Like

    • I feel for you Dave and for all those whose business and livelihoods have directly taken a hit. Over here in the oil patch it is more an indirect hit – if oil prices stay down we will have a steady flow of projects postponed or never started which will indirectly hurt us.
      It is weird being home on a weekend and not having any sports I care for available. I usually will work around the house with something on in the background – I’ve even been enjoying the XFL – which is obviously a step below the NFL, but they have some interesting rule changes that I think make it a good product.
      It has been just a weird time for me as a blogger. Off-season is always a bit of a struggle and this year I had to mix in some writing about “it” in because frankly the Astros personnel wise were pretty darned quiet. Spring Training isn’t too exciting to write about, the teams needs and who will be vying for it can only go so far. And with an established team you may be only talking about 3 or 4 spots up for grabs towards the end of the bench or bullpen. But at least Spring training is finite or most years it is.
      This time around we are in a double twilight fog – battling the uncertainty of how our team will handle the ethical mistakes they made – paired with the uncertainty of when / if our team will actually get a chance to redeem themselves.
      Weird times we live in folks…..

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dan, we’ve got a very healthy environment, at least for now. Virtually everyone is cancelling, the cruise ships are shutting down and flights are getting cut more and more everyday. A few larger events have been cancelled, but we really don’t have any restrictions to deal with today. The sun is out the sky is blue and I’ll be taking my swim in an hour. Maybe we’re kind of stuck here now, but there are worse places and we’ve got the island pretty much to ourselves!!

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  4. Hey Dan – perfect time to let the readers take some of the blogging burden. Perhaps just a few simple questions to the readership: what was the first baseball game you went to? or, what other sports do you follow? What sports did you play as a kid? Stuff like that…

    Liked by 1 person

      • First game I remember going to was the Houston Buffs, 1960 or 61, over at their old place on the Gulf Freeway. Doubleheader, I think. And then in 1962 for the Colt 45s at the Mosquito Palace. Best memories, though, are of the early Astrodome. My dad put together the bid to build the Astrodome when he worked for the contractor that was awarded the job. I remember he took me and my brother out to the job site on a Saturday morning when it was nothing but a hole in the ground. That was some kinda fun for an 8 or 9-year-old kid!

        Liked by 2 people

      • Chicken Little has been known to lie. Be cautious. And Henny Penny seems to know a lot. Gander Lander was last seen in Baytown. However, Turkey Lurkey currently is being played by Manfred.

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    • Excellent question. The first baseball game I recall going to was against the Giants in 1986. It wasn’t the Mike Scott game – I listened to that one on the radio. We probably went to ten games that year, but I can only remember playing SF.

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  5. my rooster crows at dawn, my rooster crows at dawn
    aw he dont do nothin when the dark come on
    you know it dont seem right
    aw it dont seem right
    bird oughta do something about it gettin night

    ray wiley hubbard song, rooster. look it up on you tube. play around with some music there. a way to pass some time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. On a totally non-baseball note…. I like to do those daily crossword puzzles when I’m sitting at my desk at lunch.
    Yesterday’s puzzle had a joke from Steven Wright woven into it.
    “If at first you don’t succeed…. better to not take up sky diving.”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. These things:
    Just like 9-11 our lives will never be the same. I’m starting to believe China did this on purpose. Tomorrow is a day of prayer around the world, let’s make that an everyday occurrence.
    MLB hasn’t released this, but Ken Rosenthal and Jeff Passan have said the season won’t start until the first of May.
    The minor league kids are NOT being paid. Many flew in to Spring training, some drove…..the millionaire’S on this team need to step up and help these kids.
    This may very well be a blessing for Verlander, it gives him time to get better.
    The rotation is a BIG question mark….after Greinke everything else is a crap shoot. McCullers hasn’t pitched enough to even get to 50 pitches. James and Framber have only pitched 3-4 innings they gotta figure out a way to get these guys some time to work up to at LEAST 4 inings. Who is gonna be that 26th guy?
    I’m more than angry that Manfred hasn’t put his report on the Red Sox yet.😠
    There just too many questions and absolutely NO answers to even begin to talk about the start of the 2020 season. Our world has been turned upside down and it appears we were way unprepared for it. By the way everyone keeps saying this virus effects elderly people, like over 70…..let’s get something straight, *I’M NOT AN ELDERLY PERSON*!!
    Look at all the money I’m saving not going to the casino!😍

    Liked by 1 person

  8. As to my first game it was around 1951/52. Went to Stuart Stadium in Beaumont. I saw the Houston Buffaloes one game, and the Fort Worth Cats another. Many a player back then made the jump from Texas League (AA) to the Majors. I was too young to remember exactly who played on what team. But if you look up those old rosters, lots of future major league managers were on those minor league teams.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. First game I ever attended was at Buff Stadium. 57 or 58 I think.
    I was a die hard Cardinals fan at the time.
    First major league game was in 72 at the dome. Dierker was pitching against the Reds. It was a playoff clinching game for the Reds. I fell in love that night with Astro Turf and a bunch of guys in orange and white uniforms.
    I’ll never forget my first look at the inside of the Astrodome. For the next 6 summers I spent a lot of nights there. I still miss the place.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Cardinals had a big following for many years in Houston because of the Buffs. You know Sandy I miss the Dome too – didn’t think we needed a new spot for baseball. But first time I walked into the ballpark, it felt like home too.

      Liked by 2 people

      • The first time I remember being in the Dome was obviously the second year. It was an exhibition game with the Twins. Earl Battey was their catcher and he had his catcher’s mitt on the ground between the mound and third. He then took a bat and a ball and practiced “putting” to see if this new product produced any strange rolls. It was obvious that I was not the only person who had never seen Astroturf.

        If you look at their lineup, just watching batting practice was worth the price of admission.

        https://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/MIN/1966.shtml

        Liked by 2 people

      • I was there for opening day at MM / Enron. Very impressed with the retractable roof and the beautiful building, the old scoreboard too. Bidge and Bags were there so yes, it felt like home as well.
        But there was just something about the dome. Maybe it was my youth. I was going to school and working part time so I didn’t have season tickets or a lot of money. My nights were spent in the pavilion with a group of other avid fans. Bringing our snacks and occasionally living it up on hotdog night.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Me too for the Houston Buffs in the early 60’s. My Dad occasionally worked the concessions there and in the summer he took me and I got to watch the games. First Astro games were in the summer of ’86 in the Dome.

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  10. One of my sons is out there amidst the fight against the coronavirus. He wears a complete hazmat suit all day.
    He has not talked to us in weeks because he hasn’t had time. But my wife called him yesterday and was told by him to do everything we are being told to do by the president and his team because it is the truth.
    He said that he would eventually catch it because of the job he must do but that it will be mild for him and he will self quarantine. He lives and works in Texas. And he said we will not be seeing him for a while and told us to stay home, literally STAY HOME.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. The contributors here have some awesome breadth & perspective, sharing stories about the history of Houston baseball. Compared to other city traditions, it’s still relatively new. But it really adds depth to hear about these experiences.

    I’m finding a number of positives about the season delay; not only related to the dynamics of our injuries and manager’s getting up to speed, but in terms of doing more reading and spending time with loved ones. I can go off the deep end sometimes with 24/7 all things baseball. This has been good for perspective.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Is it possible for the players to remain in camp and have inter-squad games so that the players can stay sharp and not lose their focus. Since I see that they have already been released they could do it in Houston. Just a suggestion. Otherwise we get to start all over.

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    • Zanuda…..part of the guys are staying in Florida and some came back to Houston. McCullers is one who stayed in Florida, I would imagine they are trying to stay on schedule as much as possible. He’s one who has to work on extending his innings and pitches.

      Like

  13. OP…..your post sent me reeling this morning. We are thankful that your son is helping those in need here in Houston, but I know your heart is heavy for his safety. We ARE staying home, and so far we are doing well. I’m angry at how this virus was leaked to the ENTIRE world. On this national day of prayer I know what I will be doing….your son will be a part of my prayers (as are you) 🙏until you tell us he is healthy and back with your family. Becky⚾

    Liked by 1 person

  14. A post from Frank Viola today:
    “All MiLB players to be sent home with no pay or knowledge of when the season will resume. They’re supposed to be prepared for a possible season with no pay? As if the $1,200/month for 6 months was bad enough… glad to be retired, MLB should stand up and help.”

    Followed by this today from Nick Tanielu:

    “I know of guys who only had enough money for one meal. So they would stay up all night Saturday to sleep through breakfast and lunch on Sunday. So they could afford dinner that night. Unfortunately, this is the reality of milb baseball. #milb”

    Like

    • That’s what I said yesterday. These kids either had to drive or ask mom and dad for some money to get a plane down to Florida. Now….they are getting no per diem, no money to eat and find their own way home. I said it was time for some of these multi millionaire’S to help these kids out!! I’m talking to you Greinke and Verlander! It’s a sacrilege to treat them like that. Nick knows what he’s talking about…..he’s one of them. Don’t you like the way I spend someone else’s money.

      Like

    • I don’t want to come off as defending the billionaires, but remember in late summer/fall when it was leaked that it was Luhnow’s plan to contract minor league teams to save MLB teams some money? It’s not an awful idea. Reduce the number of players and increase their pay. Reduce the number of games they play so they get a few more off days during the season to recover. Re-open the baseball academies that have closed in other countries and expand the presence of extended spring training with better pay. I’m not trying to pick on him, but if teams are willing to pay guys like Josh Reddick or Nick Markakis eight figures to be below average hitters they should be willing to add eight figures to the budgets for paying / providing benefits to the young guys as well.

      Like

  15. Good morning everyone,

    Maybe Manfred should designate that 5 million fine the Astros paid to assist minor leaguers. And maybe major leaguers can “adopt” a minor league player for a shot period of time financially. Would love to see the the ML Players Association coordinate such an effort, but alas, they’ve never shown too much concern for Milb players.

    1OP to your son out on the front lines, and to all of you with loved ones involved in todays care effort, God speed.

    On our little outpost, things have quieted remarkably fast. Most all vacationers have left, making sure they got airlift before it all cancels. In another week, I suspect all mainland airline service will be interrupted for a month or more. Cruise ships have already been told all calls are off.

    So I suppose we’re self isolating, but we’ve always done that to a degree here anyway. Our population is healthy with no reported cases, although testing has been minimal. We’ll see how it goes. We do have plenty of toilet paper.

    Stay well all!

    Like

  16. This President didn’t create this virus,
    but he ignored it,
    denied it,
    minimized it,
    joked about it,
    weaponized it,
    politicized it,
    exacerbated it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin –
      I tend to stay out of the political end of these things, but I would like to point out some facts.

      Our last large pandemic was the H1N1 swine flu in 2009.
      – The flu first appeared in the US in March 2009
      – In June 2009 the CDC reported that there were likely over 1 million cases in the US.
      – It was declared a national emergency by President Obama on October 24 2009. I don’t have numbers for the number of cases on that date – but on Nov 12 2009 the CDC estimated 22 million Americans had been infected and 4000 had died. By December they estimated 50 million Americans had been infected and 10,000 had died.
      – With coronavirus I believe we had the first cases in the US early February. We have something like 3800 infected and 70 deaths. And within a month to month and a half we already have a national emergency declared plus all of the actions being taken that were not taken during N1H1.
      – I’m not going to criticize what President Obama did back then – he was addressing it like we have always addressed it. But this time around the media has gone bat guano crazy about this and made it into something much bigger than similar pandemics in the past. I know it is a serious thing and many people will get sick and die. But why is it being reported this way this time and differently back then?

      Like

    • I try not to get political on this blog but Kevin, with all due respect, keep your political opinions off of this blog. There are plenty of other forums for you to espouse your them. I may or may not agree with you but it has no place here.
      This is about the Astros. Thanking you in advance for consideration.

      Like

      • I understand your response Dan, and I wanted to reply in kind but I thought the succinct comment was very much more apropos in this instance. Occasionally, my brain is engaged before my mouth but it’s a rare occurrence.

        Like

  17. So . . . what if some former Astro players [yes, pre 2017] just happened to show up at the ST facility at the same time as some former Nationals players- and a baseball game just happened to break out?

    Like

  18. roadthriller got to see the Astrodome inverted! His dad put together the bid to build that won. You talk about a claim to faim. Dan, what a way you have with words: “bat guano crazy.” A well known baseball term starting with “bat.”

    Like

  19. I’m thinking about a July 1 start to the season, I hope anyway. That would mean things are pretty much back to normal, stateside. No inter league play. Each team in each league plays 4 games against each other. 14 teams x 4 is 56 games with a few day night doubleheaders to help scheduling, taking us through late August.
    With such a short regular season, there will be no way for each club to play each other home and away.
    Top 8 teams in each league then play a 3 game series, 8th seed and against 1 seed, etc. Roughly, August 30 to September 3.
    Top 4 teams then play another 5 game series. Roughly, September 5 to 12.
    Top two teams then play for the ALCS/NLCS, 7 game series, Roughly September 15 to 24.
    Then you’ve got the World Series.
    I know, that’s more clubs in the playoffs than I want, but more owners will get more playoff games at inflated prices. And with the initial short 3 game playoff series, there will be a couple of the better teams bumped off, which is always interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I would do the top 6 teams with a bye for 1 & 2. Then 4 & 6 and 3 & 5 play. Then the winner will play 1 & 2 with the winners facing off for the LCS crown. Series games are 3, 5, 7. But then again who knows what they’ll do.

      Like

  20. With everything on lockdown I’m going to do something I generally refrain from doing – ask a question about the Texans. So, DanP, as the resident expert I have to ask, is B.O.B clinically insane, did he just trade Hopkins out of spite, is there an undisclosed injury he’s hoping the Cardinals won’t catch, or did the trade get misreported in terms of what’s coming back? Because, umm, that sure seems like a candidate for the worst NFL trade of the last thirty years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Devin – when it comes to the GM job, I keep thinking that GM/Coach BOB is channeling his inner Spec Richardson. Thoughts
      – This is a better haul than the Jadeveon Clowney trade – which is saying nothing
      – I cannot believe that Hop did not bring two excellent picks like a first and a second.
      – I do believe that BOB gets in his mind to make trades and then does them no matter what. Clowney was on his bad side for some reason and “had” to go – so a third rounder was enough. He “had” to trade for Laremy Tunsil so he gave up two first round picks and now Tunsil has him over the barrel to re-sign him
      – So this leaves us with our top two receivers as Stills and Fuller who neither can stay on the field
      – Hopkins was simply one of the best receivers I’ve ever watched

      By the way I hate this trade – this makes BOB look like a better coach than GM and that is saying something.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Many of us fans did not appreciate how Coach BOB ran his offense and his usage of some of his best tools including Hopkins.
        My bet is that Hop said something to BOB about his usage and apparently you don’t do that.
        This team is headed for a fall because now they’ve made a move that ALL of his players have to question. I think they could crash and burn next season and then who will BOB fire?

        Liked by 1 person

      • THIS IS A BASEBALL BLOG. No political posts (football) are allowed. My opinion of BOB is his first two letters – just BO.

        (I wonder if I am about 5 key strokes from a permanent ban on here. My attorney, DaveB, will handle all future replies.)

        Liked by 1 person

      • 45, good, solid crusty post. Kevin, I like hearing from you, but at a time when we’ve got so much baseball to talk about, that was a real boner. You even managed to get Dan riled up. 45, you might need a new a new attorney soon. I could lose my license.

        Liked by 1 person

  21. Just do a good old fashion month-long round robin for each league. First three games played by each team (each against a different team) establish which bracket your team goes in. Two brackets per league.

    Once bracket play starts, two losses and you’re out. NLCS and ALCS [winners of top brackets vs. winners of bottom brackets] go seven games head-to-head. Then the 7 game world series caps it all.

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    • Reed has been a regular sports issues columnist for several sports magazines and a freelance contributor to multiple publications, including the New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He currently blogs on sports issues for the Huffington Post. This is why he thinks this way. Loser he is.

      Like

      • Every time I read a story like this, it reminds me of the public speaker who once said, “I am a sociologist, when someone asks me my opinion, I just go and take a poll.”

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      • He’s a bit late to the dance, isn’t he? After all, every angle has been covered for months now. I’m still waiting on the Brandon Taubman exclusive. Who’s got that?

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  22. The guys on Sports talk 790 went BALLISTIC about the trade. They said it was the worst trade in Texans history, and voiced “who?” Would ever want to come here to play for them. It appears two things were involved 1.) Money and
    2.) Personality clash. The fans took to twitter this afternoon, and it was UG…LY!
    Manfred said no baseball for 8 weeks…if that. One writer thinks it will be sometime in June at the earliest. MLB Trade Rumors thinks the Red Sox report will come out in the next week, and that Manfred will try to quietly put it out to keep the team out of the fire like he did to the Astros, because you know like they ARE the mighty Red Sox and the Astros are just trash. I think it might be time to send the commissioner another *Becky email*…grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.😠

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Don’t know how it is where ever y’all are living but I just went into a sporting goods store and over half of the guns that were there Friday have been sold. There must have been at least 30 people in the gun department at 7:00PM. Now I’m starting to be concerned.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. The government wants to send every adult in America a check for
    $1,000.00. I would gladly give mine to one of those kids from the minors who came to spring training with stars in their eyes. Thank goodness there are wonderful families in Corpus Christi that open their homes to some of our Hooks kids. Becky⚾

    Like

    • Is it okay to say that I’d rather see the money go to those that really need it, rather than everyone? You know, like most baseball players and other regular people on very limited incomes. ( I saved myself from a non baseball comment).

      Like

    • If you don’t want yours I’d gladly take it. Have yet to be cleared to go back to work and short term disability has yet to be approved. Players are still getting paid at least!

      Things are rough all over.I’ve seen the ugly side of humanity since the virus started getting real bad. There really is no banding together…it’s everyone for themselves. I’m saying this while wearing a shirt from my job that was given to me during a charity event we do every year (until this one). Saw a fight nearly break out at HEB yesterday over groceries that both people already had their baskets full of. People are divided among things that shouldn’t matter and if one person has a different point of view it’s an issue. Meanwhile people are sick and dying. I myself might be sick which in my condition probably wouldn’t be a good outcome.

      Sorry for going off subject but been reading this thread in the waiting room and I realized something. I’ve been here since the beginning (dating back to the chron days). I know this is a baseball blog but in case I don’t get the chance to say this for whatever reason I want you all to know I consider you guys friends and if I can give any piece of advice it’s to love one another. Not just online but in the real world. It’s a nasty place but always try to bring joy and light.

      To quote the great Brian Wilson (not the pitcher)
      “Love and mercy to you and your friends tonight”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Billy, glad you are well and fighting hard. Keep it up. I’m not at all concerned about ML players. Look back. I’m concerned about most baseball players, those keeping our game alive, the kids on the bus, Southwest, making jack. These are the guys that keep the dream and occasional reality afloat for us.

        I’m lucky to be 65 and in great health. But indeed, I’m still working my ass off. I have no savings, Fair to say I screwed up my retirement fund. But I’d still rather give my thousand dollars to someone who really needs it bad. Maybe a family that needs food. Like the service staff in restaurants all over the planet. (I mentioned baseball players again so I’m hoping Dan does not give me the gong for violating company policy).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Billy, thanks for acknowledging when Dan reported the problem I had a few months back. Appreciated it. hoped I helped when we conversed via email years ago during your housing crisis.

        Liked by 1 person

  25. News flash – Justin Verlander has undergone groin surgery and should be out for 6 weeks – which may well work with the push back of the season. No jokes allowed…..

    Liked by 2 people

  26. With the developments of postponing the MLB season, Verlander is now ahead of the timeline he would have been on before. So, the Verlander news is actually good news.
    In other news, last night was the last family dinner for at least two weeks. We rotate cooking once a week with the three families who live here and these dinners are so loud and fun for the 10 of us, and that has been put on hold. Gramma cooked her famous fried chicken dinner and topped it off with St. Patrick’s Day cookies. Now we rest.
    Gramma also was totally panicked because she misplaced five months worth of pain meds that we both take in separate prescriptions. We looked all day yesterday and the kids searched the entire house last night after dinner.
    I went to the dumpster this morning and found the full bottles with the old empty bottles in the trash I put out over the weekend. Mrs.1op was more relieved than embarrassed. Apparently she was thinking about other stuff when she threw the full bottles away. I told her to slow down because we will have a lot of time on our hands in the coming weeks.
    I will be putting up barbed wire fences and petting cows, because cows won’t give me coronavirus.
    Then, there is the vegetable garden.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Funny about the garden. We live in town (if Nacogdoches is a town). So I started a square foot garden in the back yard this winter. Now we are semi-self contained for a while. It was easy because we only go to Walmart Neighborhood grocery anyway. (Our last movie I think was Platoon.) Yet, we are prepared to watch Baseball starting end of the month. Oh Well. Guess it will be binge watching something on Amazon Prime. Life goes on, but missing baseball will be tough.

    Like

      • AC I too had my subscription renewed as of March 1. Since I only selected the Astros mine was about $99. Still I will just be patient like everybody else is being. Hopefully, this will all pass soon.

        Like

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