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Saturday, November 18, 2017

How an Astros player helped high-school kids have a cool World Series celebration

This is the story of a Houston Astros superfan who lives in Texas Rangers country, who teaches high school history and who promised his classes a pizza party if the Astros won the World Series — even though many of them weren’t Astros fans. But he was and he thought this was the year.

And it’s the story of one Astros player who saw a tweet about the pizza party, then answered with a few swipes on his phone and a little bit of money from his bank account to give those kids another party, because as he says, high school is “always better when you have a little extra fun.”

Is Thickie Don the primate Thickie Don???

TDF didn't lie, he just didn't remember Posted: November 18, 2017 at 02:52 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Monday, November 13, 2017

Muchas Gracias, Béisbol (Carlos Beltran announces retirement)

“Thank you.”

This is and always will be my response when someone thanks me for what I’ve done in this game. Because I am so eternally grateful.

I am blessed to have played this game for 20 years.

I am blessed to have played for so many great organizations.

I am blessed to have shared all of my experiences with my wife and my three kids, my family and friends. To have so many loving fans. To have been able to build a school in Puerto Rico and change the lives of so many kids. To have won the Roberto Clemente Award, which is the greatest honor I could have ever received as a ballplayer.

And I am blessed to be a champion.

But now, my time as a player has come to an end.

Today, I am officially announcing my retirement.

Muchas gracias, béisbol.

I can’t wait for what the next chapter holds.

Russlan thinks deGrom is da bomb Posted: November 13, 2017 at 04:47 PM | 137 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, mets, retirement, royals

OTP 13 November 2017: Politics, race now touching every sport

Like legions of Giants fans who hate the Los Angeles Dodgers, Le rooted for the Houston Astros to beat them in the World Series. But he changed his mind, swallowed hard and began cheering for the Dodgers after Yuri Gurriel, a Cuban-born Astro, hit a home run against Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish then was caught on camera pulling the corners of his eyes with his fingers in a racist gesture.

“I couldn’t really be OK with them winning any longer,” Le said of the Astros.

With Gurriel’s gesture, yet another major sporting event in the United States came to be viewed through a prism of race, politics or both.

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: November 13, 2017 at 08:05 AM | 2202 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dodgers, politics, world series

Saturday, November 11, 2017

How the Astros learned to apply their trove of pitching data | SI.com

Some interesting stuff from Tom Verducci.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 11, 2017 at 07:11 AM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Friday, November 03, 2017

The Houston Astros’ World Series Win Wasn’t Guaranteed - The Ringer

Funny things happen on the way to becoming a dynasty.

According to Neifi, a player evaluation and projection system that’s licensed to major league teams, the combined value of the Astros’ players under team control, at both the major- and minor-league levels, dwarfs that of any other team, exceeding the second-place Indians’ total by $244 million. (The Dodgers rank third.) Most of that value comes from homegrown guys—draftees and international signees—some of whom predate the current regime. There is no other club that wouldn’t want to be where the Astros are, not only because of the rings they have on order but because of their chances of acquiring more. On top of that, the Astros’ payroll this season ranked 17th, so they can recruit from outside if they want to, keeping pace with the rise in revenue that’s sure to result from their championship glow.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 03, 2017 at 02:21 PM | 12 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dynasties

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Carlos Beltran finally gets his World Series ring | FTW

While his teammates sprayed beer and champagne around a cramped visitors clubhouse at Dodger Stadium following their 5-1 Game 7 win, Beltran, who saw only three at-bats in the series and did not record a hit, suggested he will consider retirement.

“My decision is going to be difficult — playing one more year, or deciding to stay home,” he told For The Win. “But staying home won’t mean staying at home. Staying home would still mean being able to be around the game of baseball. I love the game of baseball, and I have learned, this year, so much about working with the guys.

LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: November 02, 2017 at 10:46 AM | 83 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, carlos beltran, count the ringz, retirement


Astros beat Dodgers to win first World Series | MLB.com

Congratulations to the Houston Astros organization and the team’s fans. You did it!

Jim Furtado Posted: November 02, 2017 at 07:09 AM | 114 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dodgers, world series

Monday, October 30, 2017

OTP 30 October 2017: Yuli Gurriel’s offensive gesture unleashes World Series debate about racism and political correctness

The episode, caught on video and repeated endlessly on television and social media, opened up a new heated conversation about race and identity in professional sports, which has already been grappling with NFL players taking knees during the national anthem.

Many found Gurriel’s antics as juvenile and insulting as they were sadly familiar.

“It just felt like, ‘Man, again?’ Like, we’re so used to this,” Jason Chu, a Chinese American rapper based in Los Angeles. “People don’t even pause. They think that this is acceptable, socially, to target Asian Americans in this way, or Asians in general.”

Mellow Mouse, Benevolent Space Tyrant Posted: October 30, 2017 at 07:48 AM | 1917 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dodgers, politics, world series

Astros on verge of title after beating Dodgers in epic Game 5 | Houston Chronicle

In a back-and-forth battle between two heavyweights, the Astros overcame three deficits and countless momentum swings to defeat the Los Angeles Dodgers, 13-12. The final Minute Maid Park crowd of the season was treated to a game that was all sorts of crazy and ultimately left the American League champions merely one win away from their first championship.

That. Was. Awesome.

LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 30, 2017 at 03:48 AM | 108 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dodgers, game 5, world series

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Astros closer Ken Giles falters in Game 4 of World Series, says he ‘let the team down’ | USAT

Giles was fantastic in the regular season, pitching to a 2.30 ERA and converting 34 of 38 save opportunities.

However, it’s been a different story in the playoffs. After being charged with three runs and not getting an out in Game 4, Giles’ postseason ERA rose to 11.74.

Giles has given up runs in six of his seven postseason appearances this month. That’s not good.

LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 29, 2017 at 04:07 PM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, combustable, ken giles

Friday, October 27, 2017

Lucky, Good, and Ruthless

The Houston Astros’ players are easy to love. Their front office is not. Should we care?

Perry Posted: October 27, 2017 at 11:39 AM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, front office

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Game 2 filled with crazy moments | MLB.com

I thought it was over when Jansen came in the game. I was wrong.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 26, 2017 at 08:14 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dodgers, world series

Bombs Away: Astros Escape World Series Game 2 With Dramatic Extra-Innings Win | SI

What a night. In one of the craziest World Series games you’ll ever see, the Astros rallied in the ninth, took a two-run lead in the 10th, gave it up in the bottom-half of the frame, then rallied again with a George Springer two-run homer in the 11th and almost blew it again before finally finishing off the Dodgers, 7–6, in World Series Game 2. It goes down as Houston’s first-ever win in the Fall Classic, evening up the series as it moves to Minute Maid Park for the next three.

LA Podcasting Hombre of Anaheim Posted: October 26, 2017 at 02:50 AM | 46 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dodgers, world series

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

#CARDCORNER: 1975 TOPPS CÉSAR CEDEÑO

Cedeño played so well, displaying a rare combination of speed, range in the outfield and sheer power, that some Houston writers began to refer to the Astrodome as “César’s Palace.” Cedeño’s all-around excellence – at bat, on the bases, and in center field – evoked comparisons to another one of the game’s legends, but not Clemente. Now the talk involved Willie Mays. Such comparisons to Mays became inevitable because of the identity of Cedeño’s new manager, the venerable Leo Durocher, who had been hired late in 1972.

Cedeño reminded Durocher of Mays, a player whom “Leo the Lip” knew all about, having managed him with the New York Giants for the first half of the 1950s. Durocher loved Mays, whom he regarded as one of his favorite players. He was willing to put Cedeño in the same category. “If I ever saw another Willie Mays, it’s Cedeño,” Durocher told Ed Rumill of the Christian Science Monitor. “Of course, Willie has done it much longer. But there’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that Cedeño is going to do it, too… Willie had power in everything – his arm, his bat, his speed; so does this young man.”

Fiore Gino Posted: October 25, 2017 at 11:11 AM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cards


Statcast of the Day: Turner’s HR helped by heat

As we noted before the game, research has shown that every 10 degrees of temperature can add approximately 3.3 feet of distance to a batted ball, and the average temperature in Los Angeles at this time of year is 77 degrees. Because the temperature at the start of the game was 26 degrees higher, it was fair to expect that a fly ball on Tuesday could possibly go seven or eight feet farther than it might have on a regular Southern California evening.

Kind of surprising how big of an effect the temperature can have on how far the ball travels.

Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: October 25, 2017 at 01:36 AM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dodgers, statcast, world series

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The not-so-tall tales of Jose Altuve

He is unique.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 24, 2017 at 07:22 PM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jose altuve, world series

Yuli Gurriel has found a niche with Astros | MLB.com

According to Statcast™, Gurriel sported a .320 batting average, and slugged .583 with eight home runs during the regular season against sliders, ranking him fifth among 66 hitters with at least 100 at-bats decided on the pitch. He also hit well against fastballs, combining to hit .308 and slugging .484 with seven home runs against four-seamers, two-seamers and sinkers during the regular season.
No matter the pitch, Gurriel hits the ball hard. He has always hit the ball hard.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 24, 2017 at 03:21 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, yulieski gurriel

Dodgers vs. Astros is a World Series for baseball’s Information Age – Orange County Register

It’s not your daddy’s Moneyball.

The Dodgers and Houston Astros are playing in the World Series this week. But this is also the Proprietary Information Super Bowl.

Fifteen years into the post-Moneyball era, an analytics department is as essential to a major-league team as fungo bats and sunflower seeds. In the early 2000s, the disparity between the sophisticated and the unsophisticated was wide. Not anymore, every team now searches for advantages in algorithms and metrics, taking the data available from sources like StatCast, PITCHf/x and Trackman and squeezing it for all its worth.

“You should know there are at least a half a dozen, maybe 10 teams that are all in on analytics,” says Dodgers team president and CEO Stan Kasten. “Most of the teams in the playoffs were those kind of teams.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 24, 2017 at 01:44 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: analytics, astros, dodgers, sabermetrics

Monday, October 23, 2017


World Series 2017: The inside story of how the Houston Astros won the American League

The plan included its bumps. All paths to a championship do. The Astros whiffed on draft picks. They let go of players who blossomed elsewhere. The baseball establishment clowned them for titles – the brilliant Sig Mejdal, Luhnow’s consigliere, was named “director of decision sciences” – and for their reticence to part with the prospects they had hoarded and for believing they could use the mountain of data available to tell them the things traditionally in the purview of scouts. If nothing else, Game 7 served as validation that the Astros had some something right. A lot of somethings.

This winter, for example, as the emergence of Altuve and Correa and Springer and Bregman coalesced around a deep pitching staff, the Astros dipped into a traditional baseball maneuver: load up on veteran presence. Hinch, a former player whose front-office experience gave him gravitas among executives and in the clubhouse, believed the Astros needed players who could guide the young core while complementing it. In came Carlos Beltran, the future Hall of Famer, and Josh Reddick, the gritty outfielder, and on Aug. 31, with the trade deadline fast approaching, Hinch pushed for the Astros to acquire Verlander, and owner Jim Crane agreed to front the bump in salary, and Luhnow decided to give up the prospects, and in came the eventual ALCS MVP who threw an immaculate 13-strikeout gem in Game 2 and saved the season with seven shutout innings in Game 6.

Then there was Brian McCann. The Yankees, whose own development system had churned out a cache of phenomenal young talent, had seen catcher Gary Sanchez grow into a star. McCann, whom they had signed to a five-year deal, no longer was needed as an everyday catcher. The Yankees tossed in $5.5 million to help cover the remaining $34 million of McCann’s contract. They paid, in part, for their own Game 7 downfall.

“I was appreciated in New York,” he said. “I just wasn’t going to start anymore. Gary is one of the best catchers in baseball. I’m so proud of him. I knew I had more years behind the plate left, and I wasn’t ready to DH against right-handers and catch once a week. I wasn’t ready for that role. When the season was over, I looked around, and it was either come here or go to Atlanta, go home and play for the Braves. I knew this was one of the best teams in baseball, and this would give me the best chance to win a ring.”

Jim Furtado Posted: October 23, 2017 at 08:36 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, world series

World Series 2017 Dodgers Astros breakdown | MLB.com

Catcher
With all due respect to the quality Houston pair of Brian McCann and Evan Gattis, Dodgers backstops Austin Barnes and Yasmani Grandal have the edge. The Dodgers’ catchers (.261/.343/.468, 30 homers, 116 wRC+) outhit their Astros counterparts (.251/.318/.445, 30 homers, 104 wRC+). They were better at catching runners, putting up a slightly above-average 29-percent caught-stealing rate compared to Houston’s Major League-worst 12 percent. And they were far better at pitch framing, topping the big leagues with +34 framing runs, well above Houston’s -6.

Jim Furtado Posted: October 23, 2017 at 08:22 AM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dodgers, world series

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Petriello: Bregman’s split-second call preserves shutout

With apologies to Judge, this is the defensive play everyone not named Sterling and Suzyn will remember.

...Given the risk involved, and the fact that Bregman was already facing home plate and would have needed to turn his body to throw back to second, he made the right decision.

That’s in part because of past experience. Speaking to FS1’s postgame show, Bregman referenced a similar opportunity against the Angels on Sept. 24, except that time, he did try for two. It didn’t go well, as he got the runner at second but not the hitter, and the run scored. The Astros lost that game, 7-5.

“Ten games before the end of the regular season, we had a similar play, and I tried to turn a double play and we didn’t get the guy at first base,” Bregman said. “I told myself, and I talked to [manager A.J. Hinch and bench coach Alex Cora], we thought in the playoffs in a close game, it would be smart to try and get the lead runner. We were fortunate enough to put it on the cash, and McCann made a great tag.”

Renegade (((JE))) Posted: October 22, 2017 at 09:11 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: alcs, alex bregman, astros, great grab, great throw, yankees

Astros’ Justin Verlander named ALCS MVP after two dominant starts vs. Yankees

The Astros are the American League pennant winner, thanks in part to a 4-0 (box score) Game 7 ALCS win over the Yankees on Saturday night. Among the post-game housekeeping items is naming an MVP and MLB has done so, with starting pitcher Justin Verlander taking the honors.

In two starts in the series, Verlander was 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA, 0.75 WHIP and 21 strikeouts in 16 innings.


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