This All Star “thing…

If you look up “old school” in the dictionary, you will find a picture of me. Oh sure, I understand things like OPS and spin rate, but deep down inside, my past, relative to life and baseball, harkens back to values from youth. I came from a time period when it was a big thing for an Astro to make the All Star Game, an even bigger thing for him to get in the game and the ultimate big thing to actually perform well on the national stage. Many years we were represented by the minimum of one player with the gut feeling we would not have that one except for the rule mandating representation.

This was back in the days when the team was often out of the race by the ASG. The naming of the All Star team was a big thing for many years. Fans took it personally when someone like Bill Doran was bypassed in an ASG selection. There were years when Tommy Lasorda was booed every time he appeared in the Dome over some slight or another.

But things change, and perhaps my old school is out or even closed down these days. The Astros are a different breed in 2021. They have been in the pennant race the last seven years, though 2020 was mostly a regular-season stumble. They have been to the playoffs five times in the last six seasons, to the ALCS four times in a row and the World Series twice. They have well-recognized talent that has earned them Rookie Of the Year (twice), MVP and Cy Young (twice) awards in the last small sliver of the team’s history. And yes, this has included the All Star team recognition as they had six players earn that honor in 2017, 2018 and 2019.

So, the All Star game has not been as big a thing to the players, the team and frankly the fans, who would trade it all for another World Series crown to shut up the cheat shamers. This season the Astros had four players named to the All Star team – Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, Michael Brantley and Ryan Pressly. Two of them, Pressly and Correa are missing to spend time with their pregnant wives and perhaps to protect them from something (COVID) they could pick up in a “foreign” clubhouse. Ironically, Correa might not see his wife as he is too sick with an undisclosed illness to play this weekend against the Yankees. Altuve will sit out due to a leg injury that is not keeping him out of the lineup. However, Altuve has been hitting .178 over the last two weeks, so maybe his leg is affecting his performance. Michael Brantley will be sitting out due to a hip injury that has not kept him out of the lineup, though he has been the DH fairly often recently. Brantley has been bad the last two weeks, hitting only .186, which has dipped to .105 BA in the last 5 games. Perhaps he is hurting.

Probably the Astros are sitting out for legit reasons. It has been suggested that they don’t want to face the national press that the ASG brings, though they faced that last year, especially in the playoffs. It has been suggested that they don’t want to be in the clubhouse with some of the complainers and accusers about “IT”. That is possible, but in some ways, when do you pull off that bandaid?

Any way you look at it, the Astros will not have a representative this year, and even more Houston fans will bypass the game than normal. It feels strange, but some of the old school heart tugs about my team getting the national spotlight they never used to receive. Perhaps, it is a good time for that spotlight to land elsewhere.

 

45 comments on “This All Star “thing…

  1. While what you said may be true and I have no reason to think it not, I suspect that there may be a hint of other things that might be affecting their decision. The “overlooking” of Yuli not getting selected or Yordan not getting to be in the Home Run Derby might be of some influence. And even possibly the slightest chance of baseball becoming too “political” for some of the players. Of course that may be far fetched but I’ll throw it out there anyway. I think that Manfred in his ultimate stupidity has screwed the game up to the extent that many fans have been driven away. Just look at the NBA and the upcoming NFL season. I have no problem with athletes, management, owners, etc. protesting on their own time but when they interject it on my time when all I wanted to do was to watch a sporting event to “escape” from the day to day BS that we have been exposed to then I ‘ll vote with my wallet, or other means by not attending games, buying merchandise, or supporting the events. It’s really a shame that it has gotten to this but this is the reason I probably will not be watching any of the All-Star events.
    In the meantime I’ll still continue to support my team and hope that they keep their personal feelings confined to outside of their chosen endeavor.

    PS: How can you not like and respect Altuve after what he’s accomplished in his time with the Astros.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dan, if you are REALLY REALLY OLD school, you can go back to the origins of the All Star game. It was a charity event for poor and disabled ball players. How many current players fall into that category? Also, a lot of the luster came off when MLB went to inter-league play. Before that the players played against the other league except for the World Series. And it was started with fan participation until Cincy stuffed the 1957 ballots.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Astros’ 8th round pick, Colton Gordon was UCF’s best pitcher and their Friday night starter. Houston got him in the 8th because he had TJ surgery early this spring and will not pitch until next summer. His coach raved about him.
      As far as I can tell, the Astros have reached agreements with most or all of today’s draft picks.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not sure why our guys would want to hang around a bunch of guys in Denver that can’t move on. They’ve taken enough grief at this point. The four days off are obviously much more valuable to our own All Stars. I don’t care either way.

    I saw two remarkable games this week. I’m still scratching my head over getting a win after giving up 14 free trips. I’m ready for part 2 of the season and I’m ready to see what help we get for the pen.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. * A lot of players said a lot of crappy things about the Astros. Why would the Astros want to share a dugout with them. I would not be surprised if the Astros players decided as a team to not go to Denver.
    * The Astro owe the fans of every team that has booed them nothing.
    * The minor leaguers said it was unreal how the ball flew in Denver. Great place for the “new” MLB, who cares only about home runs.
    * The Astros get shafted by the MLB network, network announcers, other team’s announcers and other team’s fans. Why the hell should Astros players care about anything MLB. The reason they are playing so well is that their dedication is to their clubhouse only and their families.
    * I’m sure Astros All-Stars would want to have their families there with them. Why would they be wanting their families to listen to the jeering and insults and foul language that they themselves listen to on the road?
    They don’t.
    These are the reasons why the Astros players aren’t going.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. OP…I can’t like the “like” button but I want to give you *100* likes!
    An sering the question about “booing”, I saw a tweet from one of the Chronicle writers that they booed our mascot Orbit. Now…if they’re going to stop as low to boo our mascot….that should tell you why our guys decided to say “nah I’m good”, but thanks anyway.
    Have a good rest fellas, eat plenty home cooking and come back ready to kick a$$ and take names!

    Liked by 2 people

  6. If you are an insane baseball fan (like the ones on here) you know the IT story and you also know it stopped YEARS AGO. But a casual fan watching any National broadcast would think it happened this season and may be continuing. The announcers bring it up every Astros game and discuss it for several innings. They don’t bring up the drug use of the Angels or any other cheaters. Heck ARod is one of the commentators. And only the Astros did any cheating. That increases the Boos.

    Liked by 3 people

    • And that’s what still pisses me off. They don’t mention Cora or Beltran or even Hinch. They were the administrators. Hinch was the Sargent Schultz of the dugout. No spine. But the Tiger fans like him while they boo the Astros and Astro fans give him a standing O. Now I’m just getting further pissed during my morning coffee. I made a decision not to comment on this crap. I’ve failed again. Let’s just go win a World Series. There will be no respect coming from any quarter. But our guys will have their own self respect. And they can quietly tell everyone else to go shove it.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Meh. Get ready for the “lowest-rated All-Star Game ever” trope that seems to be foisted upon us every year since the 90’s. I’ve got to believe no one is watching the damn thing. As far as I’m concerned, I fall into the same trap every year…hype followed by boredom around the 3rd inning.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ll be watching reruns of good ol’ shows from the 60’s. If you want to watch a great war movie I would suggest “The Enemy Below” (1957) with Robert Mitchum and Kurd Jurgens. Story line of a German U-boat and an American Escort Destroyer.
      For an old baseball movie you might try “It Happens Every Spring” (1949) with Ray Milland, Jean Peters, and Paul Douglas or “Damn Yankees” (1958) with Ray (My favorite Martian or Mr Hand) Walston and Tab Hunter.
      I remember watching both of these on “Saturday Night at the Movies” when I was in my younger years. Saturday Night at the Movies always had some good ones to watch, like the original “The Day the Earth Stood Still”.

      Sorry, I had an attack of Nostalgia there.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Damn Yankees (and don’t we all) is one of those movies they never play anymore. How can you not like a movie that let’s Edith (Jean Stapleton) Bunker rip off a song? And how many of us old guys (spoiler alert) don’t think we could have made that catch after getting turned back into our real selves?
        Summer time is a good time to watch those old movies and enjoy

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  8. MLBTR waited until the draft was over to put this tidbit from Rob Manfred up on a post:

    TODAY: “I don’t think seven-inning doubleheaders are going to be part of our future going forward,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told reporters (including ESPN.com’s Jeff Passan and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand) today. Additionally, Manfred also suggested that the league could do away with the modified extra-innings rule that saw a runner automatically placed on second base at the start of each extra frame.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Billy Wagner said his son was overjoyed to get drafted by the Astros, and “he is sneaky good”, he will show other teams they missed it by not drafting him! AND Billy and his wife were in tears of joy when the Astros drafted Will.
    Here’s what I think of ANYTHING Manfred has to say:
    You can go STRAIGHT TO HE*L! Am I sorry I said that? NOPE!
    The guys who were drafted yesterday praised the Astros for drafting them everything I saw was complete joy, and chomping at the bit to get started!

    Liked by 3 people

  10. What he said: Going forward, 7 inning doubleheaders will not be part of MLB. And he said: The extra-inning rules, with a runner starting on second base in the 10th inning, may be out too – or at least modified.

    What he meant: Going forward there will be no 7 inning doubleheaders. There will be a 5 inning game followed or preceded by a 9 inning game unless, the first game is tied, and then each additional inning in the first game will subtract an inning in the second game, unless the total innings exceed 14 innings. In such circumstances, the excess innings will be substracted from the next game will the same teams unless the season needs to be extended past December 1st. In addition, in extra inning games there will no longer be a runner starting on second base. There will be runners on first and third base. Plus the team will the most hits will have to forfeit one of those runners and the team with the fewer amount of hits, will get to have the bases loaded unless the game has started after dark that evening. “Dark” will be defined by the review committee in New York and can be confirmed or overruled by the field umpires with a unanimous vote.

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  11. Some post All-Star game thoughts:
    * I am uninformed on the ASG happenings of the past three days.
    * I paid attention to the Astros draft.
    * The Astros are getting close to having their complete lineup and complete bench back.
    * I think the Astros will make a deal for a reliever at the deadline and will not go over the Luxury Payroll tax limit.
    * I hope the Astros will make another run at signing Correa.
    * I can’t wait for Aledmys Diaz to be back with the Astros. That bat!
    * How do you account for a bench role player who has 35 hits and 35 RBIs?
    It blows my mind.
    * Will Carlos be in the lineup Friday night?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Correa was put on the 10 day IL list so not available till the 2oth. As for making a run at him for a contract I would hope so. I think a lot depends on him. Does he want to go for the “BIG” bucks or the bright lights of the big city or stay where he is loved and appreciated by the fans for maybe less $. I’d look at one of those deals where he is signed for 7 with an opt out clause after 3. His money should be somewhere Altuve and Bregman money which averages out to about 21 – 22MM per year, but I doubt he’ll sign for that. I wonder how Springer views his tenure in Toronto thus far. Does more money buy you happiness? IMHO, no but then again, I can’t imagine making that kind of money.
      Do look forward to Diaz returning and possibly Baez in the near future. One of the sites had Houston in the market for Craig Kimbrel.
      On another note I like I’m sure you are too, beginning to lose my patience with every announcer or every article I read about the Astros continually talking about the cheating scandal. Makes me want to jump through my computer and beat the living daylights out of them (like I could, but it sure sounds good). I guess when some of these players retire and will become eligible for the HOF it will reach a fevered pitched so we’ll be hearing about it for another 10 – 20 years. GRRRRRRRRR! (with kudos to Becky)

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      • Dan, from what I understand on the rules, if you are placed on the IL for health and safety protocols and are cleared from them before 10 days are up, you can return before the 10 days are up. The covid-related rules are different from other injuries. Kyle Tucker was placed on the IL for the same reason as Correa on June 16th and activated on June 23rd, and that ain’t 10 days.

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    • 1OP, our team will be better in the second half. And I’m thinking they really want to kick some ass. Nobody looks forward to playing Houston. What Diaz provides in the field is tough to duplicate. The bat is a bonus and we have not seen the best of it yet. That 35 hit 35 RBI comment scares me a bit. Chas is easily our most valuable trade commodity and I don’t want to lose him. It might have to happen though. I don’t like Carlos very much. But he is as close to irreplaceable as anyone is. I just think he’s already destined to be a bleeping Yankee.

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    • Thanks guys. I needed a laugh today. Didn’t know about the health and safety stuff. If I need answers and info, I know I can get them here.
      BTW, what is elan, Dan? And just what is the plan? Is it for a fan? Com’on man. Maybe a flash in the pan.

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  12. Speaking of the draft, I had no idea the Astros drafted and signed Bregman’S little brother A.J. Bregman and Jose’ Cruz’S grandson Trei Cruz! I’ll look both of the up to see where they are and how they’re doing! I did know we have Correa’S little brother.
    OP…I think I read the same thing about health and safety protocols, that a player can come back before the 10 days is up. Let’s just hope he is over whatever he had! We absolutely NEED him….AND Bregman to come back now! I’m ready for “REAL” baseball!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. One other note. I’m just catching up, as I left rainy, gray Houston for my return to the sunny tropics early this morning. For the record, my favorite eatery this trip was The Pit Room, a hot, smoky, ramshackle barbecue joint at 1201 Richmond. For a city with great smoked meat, these guys are very good. And they’ve got a great selection of Mexican and American soda pop.

    Anyway, my point was supposed to be about our pre season discussions trying to guess at an unlikely, surprising contributor. As 1OP noted, so far Chas McCormick has easily been that guy. How many big hits has he produced? And he sure does not look like the rookie he is while out on the field or on the bases. He’s a good baseball player and I don’t want to lose him.

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