Tag Archives: Houston Astros

October Baseball

Like any consummate baseball fan, I’m super superstitious. Just like baseball players who jump over rather than stepping on the chalked baseline, won’t speak the words “no hitter” during a game that could potentially prove to be one, and Houston Astro’s pitcher Justin Verlander eating three crunchy taco supremes (no tomato), a cheesy gordita crunch and a Mexican pizza (no tomato) from Taco Bell before every start. Which seems strange, a guy who doesn’t want runs eating at Taco Bell.

 I haven’t written about baseball at all this season, so I’m nervous about doing it now, particularly with my Astros in the playoffs. But there are regular season rituals and playoff rituals. With that said, understand that until the Astros once again hoist that World Series trophy, I’ll be wearing my lucky pink socks inside out, only watching the games from my favorite chair with two table lamps on (even for day games), and, of course, not washing my favorite lucky Astros shirt. Small things, I know, but this is October baseball and every little bit matters.

If you doubt the strength of the baseball superstitions, check out Hall of Famer Craig Biggio’s batting helmet: he practically wore a hole in it from the millions of times he adjusted it exactly the same way every at bat. And it worked. Three thousand and sixty hits don’t lie. Even today’s team understands. When in September Josh Reddick hadn’t taken a pitch out of the park since the All-star break, he wore an injured George Springer’s pants to the plate. I’m not sure exactly how that conversation went, maybe, “Hey, I left my pants at home and since you’re not wearing those…” Whatever, he hit a homer in the next two games. Face it, Springer, you’re not getting your pants back.

Before Roger Clemens started a game, he had a trainer rub the hottest possible liniment on his testicles. Between Roger and the trainer, I’m not sure who had the worse end of that deal. But if that’s not gross enough, Moises Alou, who hit .355 with 30 HRs for the Astros in 2000, never wore batting gloves. Instead, to toughen up his hands, he urinated on them. Knowing this kind of stuff happens makes you seriously rethink asking for that autograph.

Now grab your cheesy gordita crunch, your lucky socks and GO ‘STROS!

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Baseball is BACK!

44444It was exactly 148 days of dark, cold, baseball-less winter. Four months and 28 days since the Houston Astros won the 2017 World Series until it was Opening Day for Major League Baseball, and I’m as happy as a tick on a fat dog. The Cracker Jacks® are cracking, the hot dogs are grilling, and the Astros are gearing up for another run on the Title. These are the days filled with great hope, optimism, and a belief that all can be right with the world. Until it’s not.


There are some weird things brewing in the back offices of America’s game. Since I haven’t gotten the call up to take over as the Commissioner of the MLB, there isn’t much I can do about these proposed changes. Obviously, if I had any say at all, the Astros wouldn’t be playing in the American League West; there’d be no such thing as a designated hitter; and there’d be a cap on salaries and ticket prices.

So somewhere in the Halls of Power, someone is drunk. In order to speed up the game, the MLB is proposing that each extra inning starts with a runner at second base. I can only wonder if the players will also be expected to sell those $1 chocolate bars to raise money for the party at the end of the season, if there will be 10-run rule, and will the winning team get free snow cones from the concession stand?

From someone who sat up to watch all 18 innings of the Astros game against the Atlanta Braves in 2005, I think this is a ridiculous, pointless rule. If they’re going to do that, then why not just call the game after five innings? Why play at all? Just send the two owners to the mound and flip a coin. Heads gets a win and a bath in a cooler of blue Gatorade. Tails has to eat one of the new pickle corndogs that the Texas Rangers will be selling at their stadium this season. Poor food choices are just one more reason to not like the Rangers. If you need more reasons, hit me up. There’s a long list.

We can only hope those who need to come to their senses do. Meanwhile, from the five-year old with a glove bigger than his head to Jose Altuve once again besting his own batting records, it’s finally time, fans! Let’s Play Ball!

 

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Are You One of “Those People”?

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I’m coming to the realization that there are just some people in this world who are beyond the point of social rehabilitation. When you encounter them, I recommend you bolt or at least avert your eyes. You have to understand that your time and energy are better served other places, like chipping old nail polish off your toes or alphabetizing your spice rack. These are folks who are beyond your help, and you must just let them be. No matter how painful that is. The list is extensive, but here are just a few of the major players.

People who play Sudoku. Be wary of these people. They play number games that can’t be solved, all by themselves, for fun. In any book, that’s suspicious. You’re probably wise to be cautious around anyone that deals extensively with numbers, including but not limited to engineers, accountants, and stock brokers. They can be shifty.

The Astros. Bless their hearts. They have all the fundamental characteristics of being a baseball team. There’s a stadium where they all gather together wearing the same type of clothing that other baseball teams wear. They have access to bats and gear. But somehow, that’s where the illusion seems to end. No amount of squinting or wishing or bartering first round draft picks with Satan can actually convince anyone that they’re really a baseball team. Not this year.

Anyone who doesn’t understand Texas. While I am a proponent of worldwide acceptance and love of all peoples, anyone who doesn’t “get” Texas should be scorned. I had to unfriend someone on Facebook because of something they said about Texas. I won’t repeat it here because my mother raised me better. Certainly a level of grace can be extended to those who might be unaware of all that is the Lone Star State, but it is merely short-term. Immediate conversion, proven by memorizing all the words to any George Strait song, must be forthcoming or they should be shunned. Texas isn’t just a state; it’s a state of mind.

Of course, it goes without saying that Justin Bieber fans, anyone who willingly owns a snake, people who pour ketchup all over their fries instead of dipping them, and the creepy kind of clowns that give you nightmares long into adulthood are on the list. Certainly this is just my opinion and in no way reflects the attitudes and beliefs of the management. Even if they do agree.

(Credit: Suspicion Drawing by Tim Ernst)

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