Astros 2020: Another week, some other thoughts

Here we are as another week begins into the most bizarre time in our lives. Usually, new weeks during this time of year bring more baseball news on which to chew. Unfortunately, the new week does not bring new baseball news and even if it did, would anyone notice? Other than diehards like those who stop here.

So today, we will do a flow of consciousness shot at some things that have just come to this writer’s mind…..

  • Don’t you think that it would just be the Astro’s luck to win their second championship in a season where many folks would apply another asterisk to it? Yes, I’ve already seen columnists putting an asterisk next to a reference to 2017 and I’m sure that even though no one applied an asterisk to the Dodger’s 1981 championship after a strike-shortened season, the Astros would not be that lucky this time around.
  • What the heck is the Commissioner waiting for to announce the Red Sox championship? Oh yes, they are “so busy” addressing the current crisis. But supposedly the case has been completely investigated and it is ready to go. Maybe they want to wait to see when baseball will begin again to decide on a suspension (Cora), but I am not sure I give the Commish that much credit.
  • Raise your hand if you think that whichever way MLB and Rob Manfred choose to go for a re-start or cancellation for the 2020 season, it will be the wrong decision. They seem to have a tin ear to what makes sense and what the fans want in almost every decision that this administration has made.
  • Is anyone watching all the “classic” sports on TV? Truthfully, I watched some of the 1986 Astros-Mets NLCS on TV, and a bit of the Texans beating the Bills in last year’s playoffs, but I’m not watching any of the other old-time (or not so old-time) baseball, football, basketball and golf championships. Even looking back it makes a difference if you have any personal interest in the games. At least to me, it does.
  • What is the smallest amount of regular season games that the teams should play to have a legitimate season? I’ve seen numbers from 60 to 100. This is a tough question, because of questions about fairness, but you have to think they need at least half a season to be legitimate. What do y’all think?
  • If they had to extend another month to get more games in, would they do it? And what would they do about the playoffs and the World Series if they ended up in one of these northern places (NY, Boston, Minnesota, etc) that don’t have a roof? How about the World Series bumping the Cowboys off of Thanksgiving?
  • Does any reader/commenter on this blog know anyone personally, who has actually gotten the coronavirus? How did it go? Are they alright? Your humble writer knows no one with this, but we did have a scare with my mom last week (trouble breathing and a sore throat) that ended up being bad indigestion. Strange how every little illness gets blown up by panic. I guess that’s why they call it a pan(dem)ic.

Any thoughts on these thoughts?

40 comments on “Astros 2020: Another week, some other thoughts

  1. Dan, I believe that I read somewhere that the games could be reduced to 7 innings each.

    Have you ran across this thought anywhere?

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    • I had not heard that one Larry, but truthfully I have not been reading very closely. That would seem to be much more of an attack on the integrity of baseball than playing less games.

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      • I heard (don’t know the source) that the reasoning is that more games could be scheduled to play in an abridged season.

        Personally I don’t see how. FWIW.

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  2. Fortunately, I don’t personally know of anyone that has had COVID-19. And hope it stays that way.
    I think 100 games is about right for a season.
    You must have missed it Dan: yesterday ESPN replayed the 2004 National Spelling Bee. This was real ESPN, not the down-the-dial ESPNs. Now I’ve got nothing against Spelling Bees. But is it a sport? And why 2004?

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    • As a former multi-year spelling bee champ at Landrum Junior High, of course it is a sport. I sweated more over spelling those names than I did in some softball games I played….
      And of course 2004 was the year when they started having the kids spell the Pig Latin form of every word while hopping up and down on one leg.

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  3. Dan, I figure the Astros will always be the team of the asterisk. But I won’t worry too much about any silly little asterisks that some pompous little NY or LA sportswriter chooses to place next to an Astro championship title. Those sassy little stick-figure stars say a whole lot more about the pompous, self-righteous hypocrite[s] who make a point of affixing them than they do about the team that went out on the field day after day and beat the competition in order to win the championship. For us to win the championship, that means we outplayed the favorite teams of those hypocrites – and that makes the championship – and the pitiful little asterisk outcry that goes with it – even sweeter.

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      • Right on Mr Bill and Dan. If the Stros win a shortened season, it will have been earned against the whole league and their efforts. The scandal against the Red Sox will probably just go away. They are one of the league pretty boys, like the Yankees and Dodgers. Concerning the coronavirous, I mentioned some days ago that my sister Cheryl was infected with it in Seattle. After much pain she is in recovery.

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  4. I know a lot of people personally, Dan – and I personally know zero people who either have [a] been diagnosed with symptoms of COVID 19 or who have [b] tested positive for the Coronavirus. All I have heard is a lot – a boatload – of unconfirmed and un-testable statistics quoted by politicians, self-proclaimed experts, and media talking heads. This doesn’t mean there is no virus, of course; I suspect there is. But it does confirm the ancient Texas maxim that; “If ya pay a feller fer tellin’ whoppers, don’t be surprised if he fergets how to go a day without tellin’ a few!’

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  5. Every now and then I work up an email on baseball oddities and statistical outliers for my sons. Today I was looking at Walter Johnson’s 1913 season. He was 36-7 with a 1.14 ERA. Heck, he hit .261 with a 109 OPS+ . But two little-known facts jumped out: he had a WAR of 16.5, the highest for a single season since 1900. The next highest is Walter Johnson in 1912 (14.2) and then the Babe in 1923 (14.1). His team won 90 games, good for 2nd in the AL, but drew only about 325,000 fans, about 4200/game in a stadium seating 27,000. Must have been a tough row to hoe for Senators ownership, with no radio or TV back then.

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  6. Dan, you are correct, whatever partial-season prototype Manfred and his goons come up with will be the wrong decision.

    Well, unless the Astros win it all, of course. If the Astros win it all l declare the Manfred prototype sheer brilliance -indeed, the only possible decision that could have been made under the circumstances.

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  7. Yes, I did know someone….my friend since 1st grade in Louisiana in 1953, with whom I played on baseball teams growing up and in the band in high school and father of one of my godchildren, tested positive for the virus in mid-March, was admitted to the hospital shortly thereafter, and was placed on a respirator in ICU. After 12 days he died on Palm Sunday, all alone except for the tubes and wires and nurses and doctors. No visitation, no funeral. Decidedly unfitting end, but not the ultimate end because of the Victory we celebrated yesterday.

    Ooh…nice zinger in your closing comment-pan(dem)ic. Thanks for sharing your keen insights and talent for expression with us. Somehow we’ll get through this together.

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    • Thank you for sharing, John. It is an unfair way for him to leave this life – very unfair for those who would have wanted to be there as he passed on to another greater life. Good to hear from you.

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  8. Nope, no watching any classic sports. The last time I watched classic sports, the first thing that happened was that some stupid little twerp named Lenny Dykstra ruined my day in a way I had almost forgotten about; then Lorenzo Charles somehow got around Akeem the Dream to snatch a brick thrown up by Arthur Whittington and followed up by dunking the ball to give North Carolina State the 1983 NCAA championship.

    Nope! Never again. It was painful enough to watch the first time!

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  9. Minimum number of regular-season games to play to make up a half-way legitimate ‘short season’? I say ten games against each team in your division. No interleague or interdivision play. No wild cards. The winners of each division play each other [team with best records in each league gets a 1st round bye], and plays the winner of the 1st playoff in a 7-game LCS. Winners of the 7-game LCS play a 7-game WS.

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  10. I just got out of quarantine a week ago. No tests were available at the emergency but I had all the signs . Wasn’t doing so hot for a while there but finally doing better and am working from home now.

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  11. The Astros are going to carry a scarlet asterisk until some other team gets caught doing something the general populace feels is worse. I suggest the best course of action is to go out and win a shortened season, win the world series, and then own it all by printing championship shirts with a gigantic asterisk on them. It doesn’t really matter…no one respects the Houston franchises. To this day we still have to listen to knuckleheads say the Rockets shouldn’t be considered champions because Michael Jordan didn’t play the year they beat the Knicks and only played part of the year they beat the Magic.

    Extending the season is a bad idea. It runs into bad weather/cold conditions like you mention, but also shortens the offseason. I firmly believe that endangers the players. Also, there is little reason. Once September rolls around a large amount of the fans have transitioned to football unless their team is in contention. I don’t mind shortening the season. I can come up with many plans. The first is to throw out interleague play – just drop those games from the schedule. Second, reduce the number of interdivision matchups. If you went with two home and away series with each that would give you 48 games. If you keep a home and away with each of the other 10 teams, but make them two games each instead of three, that would be 40 games for an 88 game regular season. That basically cuts out all the games through the end of May and half of June. They could make this work by squeezing in double headers on Saturdays.

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    • One of the problems they have Devin is that they have 15 teams in each league so they have to have interleague games every day that they have a full schedule and with dropping a chunk of the season they need to play every day.
      I guess the only way around the interleague games would be to have on team play different opponents from their league in a bizarre doubleheader – but that would be untenable – you could not have one team play like 3 doubleheaders against two opponents on consecutive days.

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      • Dan, it really depends when the season starts as to how many off days there can be. Under my plan you would only have up to 14 teams play each day (per league). By playing 2 games out of division and 3 games inside division the schedule can be setup such that the team which does not play is traveling on their off day. As I said, scheduling some double headers allows for additional off days for teams. The problems would be getting the owners to agree as this potentially cuts down on their take at the gate and getting the players to agree as they travel conditions would more similar to that experienced in the minor leagues. At the same time, would they rather play some games this year or continue getting their reduced paychecks? Also, some team(s) would get more off days than others…which would surely cause millionaires to cry.

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  12. I don’t know anybody who has the virus. Most of the cases that I hear about around here tend to be predominantly in Nursing homes and the like. I feel for all those people. Yet as I look at the stats (maybe I shouldn’t) we’ve had 1 in 2200 come down with IT and the death rate is 86 out of a population of 10,500,000. I just pray that this will pass soon everywhere.
    Billy C, glad to hear you’re doing much better.
    As for the baseball season, we all seem to be at the mercy of others. I haven’t watched any sporting events save for one golf match but I have watch numerous musical performances, videos and historical documentaries. Spent a lot of time on the Civil War, and the fight for Texas Independence. I might become a self-professed expert soon.
    Gosh, how I do miss watching Houston Astros Baseball.

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  13. I don’t think that there needs to be at least half a season’s worth of games.
    Seriously, think about it.
    If that is all that MLB can do, every team out there is going to go all out to make those playoffs. The incentives to win every game are going to mean every team uses every player and every move like it’s already the playoffs.
    There will be no more “it’s a long season” mentality as low payrolls and lengthy extended playoffs offer every team the chance to get in on that playoff payoff money.
    Every game will be tense and edgy and players will give everything they have for every game. Extra players on the roster mean extra moves on the field.
    Having no minor league games will encourage teams to utilize star minor leaguers on their rosters and perhaps jettison some borderline players from their roster to groom young stars with the team now, rather than waiting for next season. Keeping a young stud down on the farm for service time considerations goes out the window if he can help you make the playoffs in a year in which you had almost no income for the majority of the time.

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  14. Hank Steinbrenner co-owner of the Yanks dies after a lengthy (non-COVID) illness at 63. He used to be the face of the ownership group, but brother Hal has come forward lately (probably due to his brother’s illness). Even Yankees need our prayers sometimes – so let’s pray for his family.

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  15. With partisan divide in this country, I could see a goofy season where the State of Texas (Astros and Rangers) got to play Arizona or Atlanta, but other cities and mayors keeping the parks closed.

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  16. A few weeks ago I think I tossed around a format that would start about July 1 with the WS ending in early to mid November. But right now, there are so many cities where this virus thing has not yet peaked. It’s going to be quite some time before things get back, back to a “new” normal. Baseball sure would make us all feel good again, but can it really happen this summer? I don’t know.

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  17. One more thought about our world today. I am so amazed, and proud of watching, listening, reading what the amazing companies in this country have done and continue to do. If there is any place on earth that can provide a vaccine, or a safe way to work, play, congregate – it is the good ole USA. (General Motors is already delivering ventilators as just one example)

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    • 45, I don’t know how fast the vaccine can be fast tracked, but that’s what we’ll need to really get back to normal. I’m optimistic it will happen sooner than some others seem to think.

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  18. Good morning everyone. Tomorrow is shopping day for half the island. We’ve been on complete lock down for the past 7 days. No leaving ones own property unless it’s an emergency. Our healthcare system would be quickly overwhelmed if things got out of hand here, so agree or disagree, this is the tactic the local authorities are using. But the shopping trip is a real gauntlet, with far too much social interaction.

    Dan, back to the game. If we play baseball this summer, it’s really going to be a unique format. So the asterisk would apply to whatever team comes out the winner. And I hope we still play, even if I’m sitting here watching the Stros play the Sox from an empty minor league stadium in Arizona. I’d have hotdogs and beer and peanuts!

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  19. Is the commissioner holding back in announcing the Red Sox transgressions because Boston lawyers are quietly threatening a mess of a lawsuit? Are they working at a compromise? Or maybe Manfred is waiting to drop this on the public during a time when we’re distracted by a pandemic or something similar. Or maybe he thinks Becky and others will simply forget about it and move on. Suffice it to say that I think he’s botched the entire affair. Why not simply announce both the Astro and Red Sox crimes at the same time? That could have been done.

    I have not watched any old baseball. I got a Netflix membership. I watched Godfather Part 1 the other night. Then I went to watch part 2. I’ve found out the Netflix version we get here on our little outpost is different than that in the US. No part 2. So one I’ve got to skip to part 3. That’s troubling in these troubling times.

    I think if MLB decides they can play safely, they’ll come up with something, no matter how short the “season” is. The playoffs might take as long as the regular “season”.

    We’ve got 4 confirmed cases on our little island of 15,000 people. I know who 2 of the people are, but I do not know them personally. Next door in St. Kitts, there are 10 confirmed cases within that population of about 40.000 souls. Very little testing though. I expect we’ll see our peak sometime later than cities across the US have started seeing relief. Stay well everyone!

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    • Hang in there daveb
      – Yeah who thought grocery shopping would ever be an event unless you were in one of those game shows where you try to get the most in your cart in 60 seconds
      – They did not announce the Astros and Red Sox at the same time because they did not want the Red Sox tainted by the Astros. I see where this is going. All the Red Sox people stonewalled it because there was no Mike Fiers on their side, so they will probably punish Cora based on what he did with the Astros and they will say the Red Sox did nothing wrong….
      – I hope your island never peaks daveb. Praying for everyone everyday
      – Yeah, I would be good with baseball in an empty stadium and maybe they could pipe in fake crowd noise like a laugh track on a comedy show

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      • During this down time, I must have watched too many criminal/lawyer/court shows. So the Yankees and Red Sox were caught first. Astros were caught one time. First offense has to mitigate the penalty. Red Sox are guilty a second time, so they get to walk. Sounds about the right penalty to me.

        This what happens to one’s mind when the watch Tiger King, followed by Ozark, and then look up and realize that you am actually Keeping up with the Kardashians.

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