And now, for something completely different: Ask Dan

With apologies to Monty Python, it is time for something completely different. Dan P is really bored and like everyone else my sports interest is at its nadir.

So today let’s do something completely different. You ask questions and I answer them.

You don’t have to limit yourself to baseball or even sports, though you probably will get better answers if you do.

So, it can be about the Astros, about their past, current or future teams. Or it could be about anything else you’d like to be given the absolutely correct answer about. Music, movies, literature or whatever are open subjects. Y’all know what may be too controversial, so please stay away from those things that will get more people mad at you or me or this blog.

So lock and load those questions. I’m ready.

85 comments on “And now, for something completely different: Ask Dan

  1. I’ll go first! Dan, what if Springer, Reddick, Brantley and Peacock never play another inning for the Astros (assuming the season isn’t played). Where do the Astros go from there?

    Then, suddenly, in 2021, Houston is faced with the FINAL year of Greinke and Verlander. Starts to look like a rebuild, rework or reshuffle is coming soon. What’s ahead?

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s a great and depressing question Chip. Let’s face it a big chunk of the Luhnow plan was to have a fairly long window of competitiveness. You’ve had three season in a row where this team won the WS (with no asterisks here), steamrolled into the ALCS and got steamrolled by the Sox and then came within a few outs of another championship. This season was supposed to be part of that window with a great lineup and a great top of the rotation and perhaps enough supporting parts to go all the way.
      Obviously, if they don’t play this season and lose the four you listed they will be hurt – perhaps not mortally, but pretty badly. I think they could choose to try to use some of the money they save on those four and buy some competitive pieces. But that might be a bandaid that they might be better off ripping off and starting to rebuild.
      One of the things that really hurts here with a late (or no) start to the 2020 mlb season and no minor league season is that the Astros were hoping to get some of these prospects in the minors ready to take significant roles some time in 2020 and in 2021. That has been derailed.
      If this season does not happen, the Astros will be at a crossroad heading into 2021 and I’m thinking that the former Tampa GM might try to do a mini rebuild in lieu of a 2006-2008 type slow sink into the mud.

      Like

      • This is why I am saddened by Luhnow leaving. His outlook was impeccable and his drive was just what this team needed. By allowing front office people to leave has narrowed the gap between the Astros and other teams. Yes, I know they left for more money but perhaps it was Luhnow’s ego that allowed them to leave instead of offering more money to keep them. I fear the club will experience a lull that was not visible as recently as two seasons ago.

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  2. How many of the current Texans’ players are you able to immediately recognize on first sight?

    I consider myself lucky to make it to about ten.

    (It doesn’t count if you’re looking at them wearing their jersey numbers.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s always been a bit of a trick question because the helmets really get in the way, Larry. But I’m sure I would recognize DeAndre Hopkins. What? Jadeveon Clowney. Huh? Johnathan Joseph. Oops? Kareem Jackson. Oh no!
      Ok – JJ Watt and Deshaun Watson and that’s it.

      Like

  3. Kinda back to Chip’s question…welcome back by the way! We miss you!
    Replacing the guys you mentioned will be next to impossible. Replacing George will be a fan backlash like no other. And Brantley has given us a REAL left fielder instead of the baptism by fire with Valdez or someone else that has never played left. Above and beyond that….the Astros are still thought of as the scum of MLB.
    There will be guys who don’t want to “dirty up” their name by signing here.
    That’s just a fact, and that may end up why we will lose Springer. The stench may be too much for him, plus because he has been so dang good playing center and right, he is setting himself up for a VERY BIG payday. I’m not sure if Crane is ready to make that big of an investment in any player.PLUS the owners are losing MILLIONS with this shut down. Sitting in a straight back chair and not being able to move sucks. And I can’t even watch the games ATT&T are showing from the 2019 season.😭 Becky⚾

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure right now – he had dropped out for a while and a couple times he talked about coming back. It might be a good time to touch base with him.

      Like

  4. A non sports question. Most people in the area complain about the toll road system and its unending fares. I am of the mindset that the toll roads are valuable as massive people movers and should always be upgraded (read: expanded) to handle the additional vehicular traffic as needed. If they are not expanded, then bottlenecks and stop and go traffic will appear. I agree that the tolls are needed to pay for these expansions. What is your and our friends’ views on this?

    Liked by 1 person

    • My only personal caveat is we pay about 38 cents a gallon tax for roads. When I look at all the cars, and trucks on the road, it would appear (just an eye ball test) that there is plenty of money if they would quit with the mass transit boondoggles.

      Like

      • But the idea is to have the drivers pay a user-based fee as it is now. Why penalize those who do not use the system (such as me) for the benefit of those who do?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Look at how METRO has become a large giant in transportation ideas, mainly horrible ones. All of the money that has been poured into the construction on the West Loop and Post Oak for moving people through the Galleria area. I predict very low ridership on this route. A route from the Northwest Transit Center to Westpark and back.

        Liked by 1 person

      • In Austin, a few years back when they were talking about the Capital Metro line to someplace North, a gentleman that owned a Limo company went to the meeting. He listened and asked how much money they needed, and the anticipated ridership each year. He then offered to provide a Limo and pick up each rider, take them where they wanted to go. WAIT for them to come back, and return them home for less money. He was tossed from the meeting.

        Liked by 2 people

    • I do remember back in the early ’80’s the southwest freeway was gridlocked every night. When we moved back in the late 80’s the Beltway 8 system had helped relieve some of that

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What has happened to the third reservoir for Houston area? Hurricane Harvey hit us in 2017 and the governments clamored for funding and building of the third reservoir. Now, going on three years, nothing but crickets…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sarge – I don’t really know the status of the 3rd reservoir but I know any work on it will be slow rolling because if there is some tiny amoeba that would be disrupted by it we must halt all work related to it….

      Liked by 2 people

    • Just because someone inherits a ton of money does not make them a brilliant businessman or club owner. I’m not sure Bob was that smart a club owner.
      I think Coach/GM BOB must be a Svengali and have Cal under his spell. BOB has not earned the power he has been given.

      Liked by 1 person

      • My brother, a Texan’s season ticket holder, keeps blaming coach/GM. But it’s really the McNair family that is screwing this thing up. What happens when Watson gets disenchanted, if he is not already?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Dave – I fear that Watson will spend 5 seasons here listening to his coach say “It is on me” or “I’ve got to do better” and realize that someone who doesn’t change – someone who still thinks the Hopkins trade is a good value trade – is never going to improve.
        We are wasting the prime of Deshaun with a prime Donna coach/GM

        Liked by 1 person

    • Good question RT. Not too long ago I was working on the front end of a mega project – huge petrochemical project where my team was in charge of the overall plot plan layout. It is a highly complex thing as you try to best fit all these different shaped and sized blocks into the most efficient layout. You have to take into account which units feed which other ones, wind direction for safety reasons, where to safely place buildings, routing roads, rail, water access, space for giant flares and so much more.
      It was very challenging but a bit fun too. So of course that project got cancelled….

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Dan, my question is really simple. If I vacuum the house, won’t the exhaust spread the coronavirus around the room. Now, this story has worked for four weeks and I’m hoping to stetch this out until June 1st.
    Can you help me out here?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I was reading this article that claimed that based on research by the University of Arizona that the only safe vacuum for not spreading microbes was a special HEPA air filtered vacuum.
      Since I’m betting that you don’t have an extra $1500 (plus taxes and shipping) to order one of these babies – you should just hold off until the crisis is passed. And of course you should add a few weeks on to that – just in case….

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi, Dan! My name is Brandon Bailey. I am drafted in the Rule 5 draft by the Orioles, who pay $50,000 to the Astros. If I play my cards right and look terrible in spring training, I get back to the Astros, save them $25,000 and get to continue my career in the minors in Texas, right?
    How smart am I?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brandon the problem with being a Rule 5 pick this season is that the Orioles may have no problem at all keeping you on the big roster for a portion of the season. And if there is no season the MLB may decide to just have you stay with your new team.

      Like

    • I would line them up just like you have them – Hitler – Stalin – BOB and shoot one bullet into Hitler that would go through him and Stalin and maybe slightly into BOB.
      Then I would flip Stalin and Hitler and shoot into Stalin. Then if Hitler and Stalin are still alive I would use the revolver as a club.
      I would hope that BOB is only slightly wounded so that I can say – this is what we think of your stupid coaching and GMing – CHANGE!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Now rj – even though sports can be life or death to us fans – we do not shoot our sports offenders…..without at least a trial with a jury of their peers. However, since Coach O’Brien thinks he is peerless, that may make this a tough thing to arrange.

        Like

    • While I have been sitting here bored out of my mind I have developed a new mathematical item called the round non-root. I think it would apply, but I am not sure if the math world is ready for it.

      Liked by 1 person

    • All civilized people know it is over the top towards you. Any other way shows a lack of civility and intelligence. That is my unbiased view of the way I do it….

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A followup to sargeh’s question about the 3rd Reservoir…..
    https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Study-Third-reservoir-won-t-stop-13837093.php

    Reading this and some other articles – studies have shown that there is probably not enough surface area for the reservoir in the middle of the Cy-Creek drainage area where it is most needed. Sounds like they need to do some combination of things including smaller projects and possibly a huge tunnel or tunnels to bypass the area (not sure how the heck tunnels work in an area where we can’t even have basements). They also talk about sending water out into the Katy prairie (better hurry up before that’s developed also.

    Sounds like they will continue to spend money on words and studies rather than action for a while. Hopefully we will not have another 1000 year storm like Harvey, but I feel like I’ve lived through about five – 100 year storms, 1 – 500 year storm and a storm for the millennial in the time I’ve lived here.

    Like

    • Commissioner Radak has offered the Paul D. Rushing Park, near Katy-Hockley Cutoff and West Road as the starting point of the third reservoir. I know the Katy Plains friends are up in arms about that. His idea might wither on the vine since he will not be in office next year.

      Like

  9. Received this in response from Chip to the comment (and “likes”) about the new header on the blog

    “Well, just had a little time to play around. I HAVE been learning a lot more about adding readers and blogging in general, trying to up the game on both blogs right now.

    Thanks for the heads up…would LOVE to make it easier and more accessible!

    Chip”

    Like

  10. I just checked in with Brian T. He has been busy trying to get an agent for his first book and working on the second in a series.
    He has also been very busy with his two daughters who are in college and high school. Been helping through various challenges.
    It was good to hear from him and I invited him to stop by anytime to comment if he feels up to it.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Dear Dan, if the Astros turn loose of all the guys who are free agents after this year, would you offer both Springer and Brantley a QO?
    Since all of the free agents for the Astros would add up to a total of $62.2 million in salary reductions, would you go after Realmuto or Betts or Springer or any combination of 2 or 3?
    In all their years, I’m pretty sure the Astros have not had a catcher as good as Realmuto is. His cost would be his salary and probably their 3rd round pick, since they don’t have a 1st or 2nd round pick. Betts would then cost them his salary and their fourth round pick.

    Like

    • 1) I would offer them both the QO. Springer won’t take it and you will get a pick and Brantley might which would be OK – though I think he might want something longer than one season.
      2) I think I would go after Realmuto and likely fail. But I think I would be looking for a pitcher too. I would love to have Springer back, but not at what he is likely to cost. I think someone will give Betts stupid money and I don’t think we are stupid.
      Speaking of catcher – I was looking at this fantasy playoff they are advertising on mlb.com – where each team has an all time team that will go up against the best all-time of other teams in a bracket playoff.
      Looking at the Astros’ below – Ausmus is an awfully weak best catcher. Almost every other positon has all-time greats, but that is a giant weak spot, which matches the Astros history at catcher.
      ASTROS
      Pitchers: Roy Oswalt, Larry Dierker, Mike Scott, Joe Niekro, J.R. Richard, Dallas Keuchel, Nolan Ryan, Billy Wagner, Dave Smith, Joe Sambito, Brad Lidge
      Starters:
      C: Brad Ausmus
      1B: Jeff Bagwell
      2B: Craig Biggio
      3B: Alex Bregman
      SS: Carlos Correa
      LF: Jose Cruz
      CF: Cesar Cedeno
      RF: Lance Berkman
      DH: José Altuve
      Bench: Jimmy Wynn, George Springer, Moises Alou, Terry Puhl, Bob Watson, Alan Ashby

      Like

  12. Local stuff:
    -Last Monday Gasoline was 94.9 at Shell in Lone Grove, OK.
    – Our county has had 1 coronavirus case so far. That person recovered. Yet, our county has been shut down for 4+ weeks.
    -The oil business cratered when Russia and Saudi Arabia could not agree on oil prices. Our production up here disappeared because of the price and people lost lots of jobs even before the coronavirus shutdown.
    -Though the startup for OK is slated to begin in the next two weeks, the two of us have agreed we are self-quarantining until June 1, when we will re-evaluate.
    -We helped work the cattle today, with social distancing. Shots and de-worming, eartags, banding newer bull calves and, of course, branding. It was nice to get out and do something. Cows are funny.
    – I ran out of questions for Dan, but should be refreshed for tomorrow.
    G’night.

    Like

  13. dear dan, when we return from daylight savings time, is it now daylight wasting time? why dont we just move it 30 min one way or the other and just leave it.

    Like

    • I don’t think daylight savings time makes much sense anymore – not many people (beside op) are out on the farm
      We have a weird twist in our family. My second son is in Australia. They are 15 hours ahead of us right now, but in the fall when we fall back they fall forward being in the southern hemisphere and they will be 17 hrs ahead.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. What’s your most interesting oil and gas projects?
    Best country you’ve visited with business?
    Not-best country you’ve visited with business?
    Am in energy too, just curious.

    Like

    • My best oil and gas project is the one I mentioned above – huge mega project in Saudi.
      The funny thing Simon is that I have not made many out of country trips – work a lot from here.
      I probably liked Mexico the best – the people were quite friendly
      I tolerated my time in Kuwait and Iraq back in 2003-2004. Found the Iraqis nicer than the Kuwaitis but the weather through the summer was almost unbearable.

      Like

      • Well have to trade stories about overseas adventures sometime. I spent 2 years in Saudi in the mid 70’s, 3 months in Madrid in the early 90’s, a month in Taiwan, and a year and a half in Kazakhstan and Moscow between 99 and 2001. I wouldn’t trade those experiences for the world but they were very frustrating at times. Most recently, I was intrigued by the Iranian attack on the Saudi facilities at Abqaiq. I spent about 4 months at that facility during my time there. Of course the whole Middle East has changed so much since I was last there. Where is the project located that you currently are working on?

        Like

      • Funny. Kuwait was my least favourite. No beer! I was glad to get back to Abu Dhabi …. that tells you all! Even though I’ve been in Nigeria a lot, I’ve always enjoyed it plus / minus. Australia the best though. Because of Margaret River. Most fun in Malaysia. Houston trips also great. Calgary was very cold!

        Like

      • I’ve been to Calgary once – middle of January and about 70 degrees cooler than Houston, though did get to go to a Flames game. Have been to Australia once because my son moved there and got married – a heck of an interesting and fun country. Kuwait had a lot more creature comforts, but when we moved to the camp inside Iraq we had much shorter commutes to the Rumaliah oil fields (which have also been variously spelled as Ramalia, Rumalia, Ramalyia, Rumalyia and I know I am missing a few).

        Like

    • When I was a kid, there was a show called The Millionaire. Black and White TV time. This guy would give a person $1 Million dollars and then the show would be about what he/she would do with the money. My grandfather worked at a sawmill. They were sitting around talking about what each would do with the money. Old black man had the best answer, “I will pay on my debts, as far as it will go.”

      Like

      • The Millionaire is one of those shows I remember, but barely. Others in that same area of my memory banks (i.e. not big hits but slightly memorable): Loretta Young Show, Pete & Gladys, Surfside 6, Topper, Pruitts of Southhampton (starring Phyllis Diller), Highway Patrol.

        Like

      • If you need a good laugh, go to Youtube and watch reruns of “You Bet Your Life” with Groucho Marks, probably one of the funniest guys that ever was.

        Like

  15. dear dan, do you think all of this mask wearing is gonna cause more crime? what kind? is it ok to throw rocks at those outside not wearing masks? if you were gonna throw something but didnt want to hurt anybody what would you throw? (i’d pick a soft curve ball)

    Like

    • I don’t think the mask wearing is going to cause crime rj – though it does feel funny that we are encouraging people to wear masks into businesses – which was the old cliché about criminals wearing masks.
      I’m more afraid of people without jobs and slow to get money turning to crime.
      It is never ok to throw rocks at anyone except in self defense (though I can see where some may see this as self defense.
      I threw my arm out awhile ago playing outfield in a soft ball league. I could throw anything at anyone and not likely hurt them.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Interesting question daveb. I bet a number of books have been written already but are being held back until after “It” is out of the headlines.

      Here are some possible authors and titles…
      “Astros – The Easiest Scapegoat” by Rob Manfred
      “Drinking too Deep from the Cup of Success” by Brandon Taubman
      “Ma, the Other Kids Were Cheating Too” by Jeff Luhnow
      “I Really Blew It: The AJ Hinch Story – From Failure to King to Disgrace” by a cast of ghostwriters
      “How I Failed Houston Twice” by Carlos Beltran

      Y’all can pitch in any time now….

      Like

      • “Two Kill a Mockingbird” by Jeff Luhnow and AJ Hinch.
        “Bang the Can Slowly” by Carlos Belran.
        “Gone with the Wind-2020” by MLB.
        “Devil Wears Pin Stripes” by American League Teams.
        “A Tale of Two Cities” by Texas Baseball Fans.
        “Catcher in the Rye (Grass)” by Brad Ausmus.
        “War and Peace” by LMJ and Trevor Bauer.
        “Seven Habits of Highly Effective Cheaters: by Anonymous.
        “The Neverending Story” each Chapter by a different Sports Writer.
        “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Joe West and Angel Hernandez.
        “The Profit (sic)” by Jim Crane.
        Soon to be released “The Boston Strangler” by Rob Manfred.

        Liked by 2 people

      • One thing that I don’t recall hearing any explanation about why Nolan Ryan said he would not be back with Astros this year. I did hear Crane wanted his son to become more involved with the team which was the reason for Reid’s assignment to a lower position. Is there anything more that one can add to this?

        Like

      • It certainly has been quiet Zanuda.
        If I were going to make a good guess it is that Nolan felt like Reid’s demotion was back hand slap that put the blame for the Taubman debacle on his son. Perhaps it was tied to whatever early news there was on the cheating scandal – but yes it has been quiet.

        Like

  16. Dan, I am sorry I didn’t post this until after you had already posted afresh on another subject. But my question has to do with ‘Faith in Baseball, c. 2020 A.D. Here is what I am curious about: Do you – or does anybody else on the blog – know what kind of spiritual ‘core’ the Astros team has? Are there ‘FCA’ kind of guys? A devoted chaplain? Hey – is there even a priest, a rabbi, a preacher, an imam, or a guru that the players, or a core of them, consult or pray/meditate with for spiritual guidance? I see a lot of behavior, and hear a lot of coarse language, from some of our guys that I do not think any acknowledged faith would be very supportive of.

    And, if I may have a follow-up, Mr. President . . . . Whether or not there is anything formal to tie this team to a faith-walk, are there individual players that have a meaningful faith-walk individually or as part of a small group?

    Like

    • Just re-read my comment/question. I would like to be clear. I am not judging or condemning our players for their talk or behavior – that is not my place. My question is who -if anyone – is mentoring them as far as how their on-camera, and sometimes even off-field, speech and behavior affects children and younger fans who watch the game? Is being a ‘role model’ a ‘thing’ anymore -in the Astros’ organization at least?

      Like

      • Thanks for the quick response to the tardy question, Dan. It is interesting that of all the Spanish-speaking players mentioned in that article, only Altuve, Correa, and Gurriel remain with us. And it is also curious that two of the most heavily involved people in the 2017 scandal – Beltran and Margo – were at the time a part of this group. I would sure hope this chaplain, or someone else, would ‘reactivate’ the prayer group and reintroduce spiritual influence before play resumes.

        Like

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