2020 Astros “spring” training begins again

Can you remember way back to March 12 of this year? Yes, I know that seems like a galaxy far, far away at this point. That date was the last day of MLB Spring Training games before baseball pulled the plug on itself.

Now we head into uncharted waters with a short Summer Camp starting this week as players are supposed to report on Thursday and hit the field on Friday. This will lead into a three week Summer Camp, a two-month regular season, a one-month playoff run and no minor league season. However, some hand-picked minor leaguers are part of a 60 man pool from which those not on the active roster will be allowed to workout at the University of Houston and Corpus Christi Hooks facilities.

We are entering a Twilight Zone of a season. Here are some random thoughts…..

  • It was announced that one of the Astro players had tested positive for COVID-19, but for the players’ privacy, it was not announced who that was. However, if the Astros report and one man from the 40-man roster (38 in actuality) does not appear, it is a good guess who that is.
  • So far no Astro has opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns about their own underlying health issues or those of their immediate family. Players such as Ian Desmond and Ryan Zimmerman have already chosen to opt out. Players can choose to opt out even without underlying health issues for them or for their immediate family, but without pay. Will any Astro choose to skip the season?
  • In the Astros 60-man roster pool there were 30 pitchers shown, only three who pitch with that “other” hand, Cionel Perez, Framber Valdez and Blake Taylor. That lefty-righty split is so out of whack it is utterly amazing. Will the front office under new GM James Click address this?
  • A big question is how many innings will the starters be able to build up to in the three weeks allowed to them. Right now, published reports state that teams will be allowed three exhibition games, which would likely be against a team training close to them or … the team they open the season against. This means that a lot of the buildup will be done with intra-squad games. But in the end, the top pitchers may get three or four starts before the season starts around July 22-23. Maybe they get up to four or so innings by the time the season starts. And Lord help them if they have some stiffness or whatever in those three weeks.
  • How will the players and manager respond to being immediately flung into a pennant race the moment the season begins? If a good team comes out and goes 1 win 5 losses in their first six games will they fall apart from the pressure? The manager will already be managing differently between starting the season with 30 players available (and a 3 man taxi squad with them on the road) and with the minimal preparation time for the starting rotation. How else will they manage this differently? Will these games be interminably long with a ton of pitching changes along the way? (Not good for us central time zone fans watching 90% of the road games in the Mountain or Pacific time zones).
  • How jazzed will the players be as they fight for the pennant night after night in front of their teammates and a handful of other team employees, reporters and broadcasters? Most of these players have not played in front of this few people since high school or Little League.
  • How will we the fans remember and judge this season? It already is the most unusual circumstances we have faced in our lives. Will we consider this a legitimate season and the winner a legitimate champion? We may if it is our team and perhaps not if it is someone else’s team.

Still, real baseball is within reach and that is a more comforting thought than many we have had for a while.

27 comments on “2020 Astros “spring” training begins again

  1. Howdy folks – how are y’all doing today?? I’d like to ask you to keep me in your prayers – I went in for my annual eye exam including the Optimap and my doctor called me at home (never a good sign) and wants me to go in for a follow-up more stringent 3D test because of a change in my right eye. I don’t go in until next Thursday – so giving y’all a chance to get a head start on those prayers. Thanks

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  2. I wrote a comment in the last hour and it’s not here. Probably my own mess up.
    Will keep you in our prayers for sure.
    I am just dragging after being at the hospital all day Monday with another surgery for my wife. She had a bad reaction to anesthesia and it has been a mess. She is finally ok but will be down for a couple of weeks. I am not as good at this “nurse stuff” as I used to be.
    Will try again to comment on the Astros later.

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  3. Dan, hang in there for that week. Hopefully your Doc is just being overly cautious, as he should be. I’m going to say a prayer for Mrs. 1OP and the rest of us too. Stay well everyone! I’d like to get back for my annual medical checks, but it might not happen this year. No commercial flights on the horizon. I’m ocean locked! And our medical folks back in Houston seem to have their hands full right now anyway. They get a prayer too. I think the first part our 60 game set is going to feel like an exhibition season, but as soon a few three and four team races shape up, it should be interesting. And yes, plenty of pitching changes will = long games.

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  4. Prayers for you and and mrs op1. Wishing all a very happy Forth of July (Independence Day). Good food, good friends, and fireworks are in store. Still missing Baseball but hopefully coming soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. *Every day that passes gets us closer to MLB cancelling the 2020 season.
    *2020 would be George Springer’s 7th season as an Astro. He has only 4 months left until he is a free agent. Still, we have never heard a word about any talks of an extension, other than the one he turned down before he came to the bigs. How easy it is to say that the Astros should offer him an extension. Why do you think that it has turned out this way?
    It is hard for a team’s fans to attach themselves to a player, wishing he could be around forever. But today, in baseball, it rarely happens that way and every team’s fans go through what we went through with Gerrit Cole and probably will with George Springer.
    The truth of the matter is that if the Astros could offer Springer 5/125, he might want to find out if one team out of the other 29 would offer him 5/150.
    After that, somebody in the media will say that the Astros undervalued or underappreciated George Springer and that the Astros are just a sorry baseball organization.
    One of the reasons I like to talk about prospects in the upper minor leagues is because I realized that the players we love today are probably going to be moving on tomorrow. Just a few times before I depart this life, I would love to see a few Astros normal prospects come in and take ahold of some position and become a true major league starting player. Yep, somebody like Jose Urquidy to come in and be a reliable MOR starting pitcher for years, for the Astros.

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  6. By the way – Bregman chose Boras as his agent. He announced he was leaving his agent after he became part of the agency for Lebron James who was financing the Astros cheating documentary.
    Bregman is signed thru 2024 so not much Boras can do for him until he gets within a year or two of that date.
    And don’t read the comments about this news on mlbtraderumors unless you want to throw your laptop out the window.

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    • Weird thing is, I read the article and then tried to get to the comments and my PC wouldn’t link me to them, so I moved on and wrote my previous comment. Now I’m glad I couldn’t get to them. Thanks.
      I picked a half gallon of blackberries this morning. The Mrs and I picked three gallons before her surgery. The temp got to 100 degrees at 11 am, so I came back home. Will do a bunch of berry pickin’ over the weekend. Gotta get them when you can. No problem social distancing by yourself in a berry patch in the middle a 40 acre pasture. So glad I asked my son to brushhog paths through them and around them, rather than mowing them down. Will have blackberries this winter!

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      • I’ve always been a city boy, but my one experience with “picking” was the pecan tree in our front yard in Spring Branch – searching through the thick St. Augustine grass to gather them. Had a great crop every other year and slim pickings on the other. Got to be experts at shelling those nuts….

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      • One of the truly best dishes ever, Blackberry Cobbler with ice cream. Yum, Yum! And Dan I can remember going over to my Grandfathers house in the Heights in the late 50’s, early 60’s and spending Sunday afternoons shelling pecans in the den. We’d throw the shells into the brown paper grocery bags and the pecans in a big bowl. We had to be careful to crack the nuts so we could get the whole pecan or at least the halves out. Had to use those sharp picks that looked like a dental instrument to do that. Also, he didn’t have A/C so we did this in front of a large house fan on rollers. Ah! The good old days.

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      • Good memories Z
        Yes we had those hand nut crackers and “dental” picks
        Years later when my folks had a little money they got this contraption that was kind of like the game Boobytrap which was spring loaded and could crack them leaving the pecan halves – theoretically. Sometimes it worked – sometimes it didn’t

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  7. 1OP, yeah, it seems pretty clear that George will be seeing what the market is prepared to pay him. I hate the thought of him not playing another game in an Astro home jersey. Getting those blackberries by the bucket as a kid seemed like the coolest thing. We knew all the spots down in the woods that later became a freeway near the house on Long Island. Those berries were free and my grandma would make all kinds of good stuff with them.

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  8. Just wondering if the teams will play with masks on. Assuming that they Do play. I have doubts.
    In my mind I see teams, coaches, umpires, camera crews, etc. in mask playing baseball in an empty stadium. Eerie, like from the Twilight Zone.

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    • Well when I watched a little Korean baseball they were not wearing masks out in the field that I saw. I suppose they wear them perhaps in the dugout and clubhouse etc.

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