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Sunday, September 20, 2020

Why losing Justin Verlander marks beginning of the end of Astros’ sad legacy

In the big picture, I do wonder whether this is the end of the era, this run that started in 2015 and included the now-controversial 2017 World Series title and three straight 100-win seasons from 2017 to 2019. They will now be without Verlander for 2021, and George Springer, Michael Brantley, Yuli Gurriel and Josh Reddick are all free agents. Given the current stink hovering over the entire organization, what are the odds any of those players are wearing an Astros uniform in 2021? These guys are all 30-something, so the Astros would possibly go in another direction anyway.

Springer would be the one guy you would most want to bring back, but there’s a longstanding grudge between him and the organization after it tried to sign him to a long-term deal when he was still a minor leaguer and delayed his promotion to the majors. In a thin free-agent market, he’ll also be one of the most sought-after players available.

Then Greinke, McCullers and Carlos Correa are all free agents after 2021. Depending on which direction the Astros go, those three could all be trade bait this offseason. Alex Bregman and Jose Altuve are signed long term and Yordan Alvarez will be a monster after missing all but one game in 2020, but Altuve in particular has been terrible and will turn 31 next season. He’s signed through 2024, but it’s fair to ask what kind of player he’ll be the next four seasons.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 20, 2020 at 04:09 PM | 17 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Verlander to undergo Tommy John surgery

Verlander, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner, announced via his Instagram account on Saturday that he has decided to undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery—the first time in his long and accomplished career that he has needed the procedure. Verlander, who has not pitched since Opening Day in July, said he consulted with several doctors before reaching his decision.

“I was hopeful that I would be able to return to competition in 2020,” wrote Verlander, “however, during my simulated game, unfortunately the injury worsened. Obviously, I’m extremely disappointed, but I will not let this slow down my aspirations for my career. I will approach this rehab the only way I know, attack and don’t look back.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 20, 2020 at 04:07 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, justin verlander, tommy john surgery

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Angels vs. Astros Game Wednesday Postponed Because of Hurricane Laura

The Houston Astros announced they’ve postponed Wednesday’s game against the Los Angeles Angels and restructured the remainder of the four-game series because of Hurricane Laura.

Wednesday’s contest will become a road game as part of a Sept. 5 doubleheader:

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 25, 2020 at 01:05 PM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Even in a Pandemic, Everyone Still Hates the Astros

Brendan Donley, a writer and Cubs fan from Chicago, started the Astros Shame Tour Twitter account for the same reason Wilson had in flying his sign over an empty Coliseum: to give the Astros a steady reminder of their transgressions. While Hinch and General Manager Jeff Luhnow were suspended and then fired, no Astros players were punished by M.L.B., something that outraged many fans and opposing players.

Donley opened the account in February, before the pandemic was declared, and within a short time it became a central clearinghouse for all things anti-Astros.

It began in a time of relative normalcy, when opposing fans were showing up to the Astros’ spring training games in Florida to boo, some bearing signs that mocked the team. The real punishment, though, was expected during the regular season. One Dodgers fan group was organizing a trip to Anaheim specifically to jeer the Astros.

“But then this pandemic happened,” Donley said, “and you think, did they really get their one year of shame?”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 18, 2020 at 01:38 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Sunday, August 09, 2020

Oakland Athletics OF Ramon Laureano charges Houston Astros dugout, sparks brawl

Oakland’s Ramon Laureano got hit by a pitch—for the third time in the three-game series—this one by Humberto Castellanos with one out in the seventh. Laureano began exchanging words with animated Astros hitting coach Alex Cintron, then left first base, threw down his batting helmet and began sprinting toward him.

Astros catcher Dustin Garneau tackled Laureano before the A’s outfielder reached Cintron, and a wild scene ensued.

Players rushed out of both dugouts to join the fray. A’s and Astros players who were sitting in the seats, observing COVID-19 social-distancing protocols, also rushed onto the field.

Laureano was ejected by plate ump Ted Barrett, and the umpiring crew could easily be heard yelling at the players to “get back to the dugout!” through a ballpark with no fans.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 09, 2020 at 08:42 PM | 56 comment(s)
  Beats: alex cintron, astros, athletics, brawl, ramon laureano

Friday, July 31, 2020

Astros owner Jim Crane opens up on sign-stealing scandal: ‘It weighs on all of us every day”

“People are aggravated the players didn’t get suspended,’’ Crane said, “but I didn’t have anything to do with that. That was (Commissioner) Rob (Manfred’s) call. Listen, it’s always going to be whatever you want to call it. A black mark. An asterisk. It happened. It’s not good for anybody. It’s not good for the game.

“We broke the rules. We got penalized. We were punished. There’s no doubt it weighs on all of us every single day.

“But I don’t know what else they want us to do. I mean, you couldn’t do a lot more. We took a big penalty. Rob (Manfred) sent a message. We accepted the message, and went above and beyond.

“We’re sorry. We apologized. But no matter what happened, it wasn’t going to be enough. People wanted me out of baseball. They wanted players to be suspended. They wanted everything.’’

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 31, 2020 at 11:03 AM | 37 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, jim crane, sign-stealing

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Bad blood erupts between Astros, Dodgers in opener

It took six innings for tensions to boil over between the Astros and Dodgers.

Benches cleared between the sixth and seventh innings after Dodgers reliever Joe Kelly twice threw at the upper body of a player from the 2017 Astros. No punches were thrown, but the two groups yelled back and forth for about 30 seconds before order was restored.

Both bullpens emptied to join, too, a release of five months of frustration after the fallout of the Astros’ 2017 sign-stealing scandal. The Dodgers, whom the Astros defeated in seven games to capture the 2017 World Series, were vocal in their displeasure with the club’s cheating and its apology attempts in February.

With one out and a three-run Dodgers lead, Kelly threw behind Alex Bregman with a 96 mph, 3-0 pitch. Bregman took his base without incident or words toward Kelly. Kelly yawned on the pitcher’s mound after he threw the pitch.

Carlos Correa, already 2-for-2 with a home run, arrived with two outs. Kelly began the plate appearance with two inside fastballs — the first of which put Correa to the dirt.

Kelly eventually struck out Correa on six pitches to end the frame. As the teams departed the field, Kelly and Correa immediately began to argue. Umpires tried to intervene but, by then, both benches were emptying. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and Astros manager Dusty Baker came to the front, calming their clubs.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 29, 2020 at 12:23 AM | 44 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, sign-stealing

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Astros reliever Joe Smith opts out of 2020 season

Jim Bowden of The Athletic reports that Astros reliever Joe Smith has opted out of 2020 season. Previously, Smith had cited “concerns about the health and safety of his family” as his reasoning for not reporting to Astros summer camp, and those concerns no doubt are the reason for his decision to forego the 2020 campaign.

Smith has been a key part of the Astros bullpen over the past couple of seasons, posting a 3.06 ERA in 84 appearances in 2018 and 2019.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 15, 2020 at 09:05 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, coronavirus, joe smith

Monday, July 06, 2020

The legend of the Astros’ free beer ‘Foamer Nights’

On “Foamer Night,” there was a rectangular orange light next to the scoreboard clock in right field. When the digital clock was on an even-numbered minute while the Astros were hitting, the light was illuminated. If an Astros player hit a homer – err, “foamer” – while the light was glowing, fans got free beer the rest of the night through the eighth inning.
Cliff] Johnson became a hit by paying particularly keen attention to that orange light.
The San Antonio native, who led the 1975 Astros with 20 home runs, would take intentionally laborious strolls to the plate if his turn at bat came upon an odd-numbered minute. He’d stop to adjust his batting gloves. He’d call for time as he dug into the dirt with his cleats, keeping an eye on that orange light. When it clicked on, then – and only then – was he ready to hit.

Mayor Blomberg Posted: July 06, 2020 at 06:23 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, beer

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Alex Cora: Astros’ sign-stealing wasn’t two-man show

“There has been a narrative out there of what happened. Ever since mid-November until the commissioner announced the results of the Red Sox investigation, I have read many things that are true and many others that are not,” he said. “Out of this whole process, if there is one thing that I completely reject and disagree with is people within the Astros’ organization singling me out, particularly [former general manager] Jeff Luhnow, as if I were the sole mastermind. The commissioner’s report sort of explained, in its own way, what happened. But the [Astros players] have spoken up and refuted any allegations that I was solely responsible.”

He added: “If there is one thing I am absolutely sure of, it is that it was not a two-man show. We all did it. And let me be very clear that I am not denying my responsibility, because we were all responsible.”

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 11, 2020 at 05:04 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, sign-stealing

Friday, June 05, 2020

Sources: MLB inclined to allow local governments to decide if fans are allowed at potential games

Call it home-state advantage.

As Major League Baseball and its Players Association wobble toward an agreement to start the COVID-19-delayed season, the Rangers could be handed a huge advantage if the schedule ever gets underway: fans.

According to two major league sources Thursday, MLB is inclined to allow local and municipal governance to take precedence when it comes to allowing fan attendance at games.

On Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that Texas-based teams could now allow attendance up to 50% of stadium capacity. The announcement was an expansion of the state’s previous policy of 25%, which had been in effect for two weeks, but had not yet been tested by any league. All plans would also be subject to change based on health and safety protocols.

Texas is the only state to have opened to pro sports with fans, though some other states have indicated they would consider adjusting their stances as they meet various thresholds in containing the coronavirus outbreak. Texas is home to two MLB teams, the Rangers and Houston Astros.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 05, 2020 at 09:45 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, coronavirus, rangers

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Houston Astros Cheating Scandal Docuseries From LeBron James’ Uninterrupted Coming to Quibi

Quibi and LeBron James’ Uninterrupted sports media company are teaming up for a new docuseries about a cheating scandal that has gone down in baseball infamy.

The short-form content platform has ordered “Sign Language” (working title), a series which aims to give viewers an inside look at the Houston Astros sign stealing scandal and its unprecedented fallout.

Per the logline for the series, it will look to “transcend the baseball diamond to explore larger themes of greed, cheating, corruption, sportsmanship, and social media activism.” News of the series comes around two months after it was announced that “Slow Burn” producers Leon Neyfakh and Andrew Parsons are looking to hit a home run with a podcast about the Astros’ controversial World Series-winning 2017 season, which they then intend to adapt into a scripted series.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 16, 2020 at 05:44 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Friday, May 15, 2020

Remembering Bob Watson as an Astros legend

Former Astros great Bob Watson died Thursday at the age of 74 after a long battle with kidney disease.

Watson, who made his big league debut in Houston at 20 years old in 1966, played 14 of his 19 big league seasons with the Astros. His best seasons in Houston came in 1973 and 1975 when he hit .312 with 16 home runs and .324 with 18 home runs, respectively.

Watson, who was known as “Bull” for his 6-foot, 201-pound frame, went on to become the Astros general manager from 1993 to 1995 before leaving to take the same job with the New York Yankees where he became the first African-American general manager to win a World Series title.

Mayor Blomberg Posted: May 15, 2020 at 10:28 AM | 32 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, obituary, yankees

Tuesday, May 05, 2020

Royals’ luckiest play vs. 2015 Astros in Game 4? Maybe it wasn’t so lucky after all

Morales’ moment still has always been a bit unsettling. KC deserves so much credit for its comeback, yet the game’s most important sequence — the Royals’ odds of winning the game went from 44% to 78% because of that one play, according to FanGraphs (and would have been at 24% had Correa fielded it cleanly to turn two) — has mostly been attributed to the Royals getting fortunate at the most opportune of times.

And yet ... after further review, I don’t think that’s what happened here at all.

Zach Posted: May 05, 2020 at 11:55 AM | 11 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, carlos correa, comeback, kendrys morales, playoffs, royals

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Worth It? Does MLB’s reaction to Astros, Red Sox tainted titles mean cheaters can prosper?

And now, some commentary on the major baseball news of the day:

The 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros are cheaters. We already knew that.

The 2018 World Series champion Boston Red Sox cheated a bit too. Less than the Astros, but enough that MLB on Wednesday docked them a draft pick and suspended one of their staffers for the year.

And for the second time, no players were suspended.

So much for the sanctity of the game, right?

 

QLE Posted: April 23, 2020 at 12:48 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dirty rotten cheaters, red sox

Friday, April 10, 2020

MLB.com: How Wilmer’s Tears Changed Baseball History

Many of us watched what went down at Citi Field the night of July 29, 2015, when Flores, then the Mets’ 23-year-old homegrown utility infielder, found out he had been traded and tried to hold back tears he couldn’t control. It was a rare, relatable glimpse into the human element of the Trade Deadline, a riveting presentation of baseball theater.

That moment, though, is even more important and engrossing with the benefit of retrospect. Whether Flores’ tears directly led to his swap getting spiked remains a matter of dispute. But that terminated trade has had bigger repercussions than the vast majority of deals that actually happened. Its ripple effects include the Mets winning the 2015 National League pennant with Yoenis Céspedes, the Brewers landing an uber-reliever named Josh Hader and Mike Fiers joining the Astros team whose sign-stealing scheme he would one day expose.

Great account assembled from talking to many people involved with these events.


Friday, April 03, 2020

Evan Gattis says his 2017 Astros ‘cheated baseball and cheated fans’

“ Not mad at people hating us — just mad, like kind of on the fans’ side,” Gattis continued. “Not everybody was super-happy about the cheating. … They were teammates, and maybe they didn’t feel like they were in a position to say anything. And they’re living with it right now. I could have said some [expletive], I could have done something, but I did not. Definitely not.”

majorflaw Posted: April 03, 2020 at 10:11 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Friday, March 27, 2020

Dorktown: The 1979 Astros were a team from baseball’s stone age

They finished up having failed to hit even 50 round-trippers. With the Mets excepted, you can see that every other team’s home run total approached or exceeded double that of the Astros — and even New York still hit over 50% more homers than Houston.

Since all teams started playing 162 games in 1962, no one’s hit fewer than 55 homers in a full season. And in only three of the other 1,465 team-seasons did a squad fail to hit more than 60 homers…

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 27, 2020 at 01:15 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros

Astros request a new judge to hear lawsuit filed by pitcher Mike Bolsinger

Before Mike Bolsinger could ask a court to decide whether the Houston Astros played fair with him, the Astros claimed the judge could not play fair with them.

Bolsinger, a former Dodgers and Toronto Blue Jays pitcher, sued the Astros and owner Jim Crane in Los Angeles County Superior Court last month, arguing the Astros’ sign-stealing scheme resulted in a pitching performance so poor that he has been unable to find another job.

The Astros have not yet filed a response to Bolsinger’s claim. But Harry Mittleman, one of the defense attorneys, this week submitted a declaration saying the Astros did not believe Crane and the Astros could have a “fair and impartial trial” before Malcolm Mackey, the judge assigned to hear the case.

Mackey, 90, was first elected to the Superior Court in 1988.

Makes their comments of the other day sound rather hollow, doesn’t it?

 

QLE Posted: March 27, 2020 at 12:42 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dirty rotten cheaters, lawsuits, mike bolsinger

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Astros Cite ‘Sincere Apologies’ in Response to Sign-Stealing Lawsuits

Lawyers for the Houston Astros said members of the organization expressed “sincere apologies and remorse” after the sign-stealing scandal.

According to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic, this is part of the argument presented to try to dismiss three different lawsuits from season tickets holders against the organization.

The lawyers argued the plaintiffs have no legal standing to recover damages, but first noted how contrite the organization has been:

“The ‘sign-stealing’ controversy has been a source of great disappointment to Astros fans as well as to the Astros organization. On several occasions, members of the Astros organization—including individual players and its Owner, Jim Crane—have expressed their sincere apologies and remorse for the events described in the report by the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.”

That’s not how I remember it…..

 

QLE Posted: March 24, 2020 at 12:34 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, dirty rotten cheaters, lawsuits

Friday, January 20, 2012

WSJ: Houston Astros Owner Mucked Up in JeffCo Bankruptcy

We release things drip by drip…and when I have my sewer bonds settlement statements ready for this year, I’ll release them!

Stuck at the unfortunate end of the debt-clogged sewer system of Jefferson County, Ala., you’ll find Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

Fresh into his takeover of the Texas baseball team, Crane has been ordered by a bankruptcy judge to reveal details of his settlement with J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. over $35 million worth of sewer bonds that he bought from the investment bank four years ago—a personal investment that quickly turned to, er, garbage.

Those dirty details, which are not public, are what Jefferson County attorney are seeking amid their own fight with the bank over the complicated series of dealings that, with a little help from a corruption scheme that ensnared the county’s top elected leaders, left the county swimming in a pool of toxic debt.

Ultimately, the county—Alabama’s most populous with roughly 658,000 residents—filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, marking the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Crane said he got stuck with a bum deal, too, according to court documents filed in Texas state court.

Repoz Posted: January 20, 2012 at 04:48 PM | 15 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, business, media

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

MLB: Astros reach one-year deal with Cust

CustomInk: Compare prices!

Jack Cust, who has hit 105 home runs in a 10-year Major League career that has spanned six teams, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Astros that includes an option for 2013, according to a baseball source.

The deal is pending a physical and could be announced as soon as Wednesday. Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow declined to comment.

Cust, 33, appeared in 67 games before being cut loose last July by the Mariners, for whom he batted .213 with three homers and 23 RBIs. He spent the previous four seasons with the Oakland A’s, hitting 97 homers and driving in 281 runs in that span. He’s played primarily left field, right field and designated hitter in his career.

The addition of Cust likely puts him in the mix to start in right field in an increasingly crowded group that includes Brian Bogusevic, Jason Bourgeois, J.B. Shuck and Fernando Martinez, the former top prospect of the Mets who was claimed off waivers last week.

Repoz Posted: January 18, 2012 at 05:57 AM | 33 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, business

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

RLYW: Salvaging a Sunken cost

Burnett projects to have an RA of 5.03 in CAIRO.  The following possible starting pitchers project better than that.

CC Sabathia (3.57)
Michael Pineda (4.37)
Freddy Garcia (4.55)
Brad Meyers (4.56)
Hiroki Kuroda (4.57)
Phil Hughes (4.63)
Ivan Nova (4.93)
...

If that’s true, then every start that goes to Burnett is a start that should be going to one of the above.

...

Unfortunately, since Burnett is owed $33 million over the next two years, the Yankees probably feel obligated to try and get some value out of him.

I don’t think they can do that by pitching him…. trading Burnett’s bad contract to another team for their bad contract might be a way to recoup some of that value.

Mr Dashwood Posted: January 17, 2012 at 12:21 PM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cubs, mets, projections, white sox, yankees

Sunday, January 15, 2012

MLB Trade Rumors: Bartolo Colon Agrees to Sign With Unknown Team

Bartolo Colon has agreed to a deal with an unknown club reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). The right-hander wouldn’t divulge the team because he has not yet passed his physical.

Pretty sure it’s either the All-Stars or the Champs.


Friday, January 13, 2012

Adam Everett retires, joins Indians as special assistant

I forget if Roger Clemens said it or if someone said it to him when he went to the Astros…but the “Now I’ll/you’ll finally have a Major League shortstop behind me/you.” was pure Jeterkill.

I guess this means Adam Everett is officially retired.

Everett was released by Cleveland in the middle of his 11th big-league season last June, and the light-hitting, Gold Glove-caliber shortstop has decided to end his playing career and join the Indians’ front office as a “special assistant to baseball operations.”

Everett hit just .242 with a .294 on-base percentage and .346 slugging percentage in 880 games and never won a Gold Glove, but consistently rated among the elite shortstops in baseball according to various defensive metrics. He also earned about $12 million in addition to the signing bonus he received as the Red Sox’s first-round pick in 1998, so all in all that’s a pretty solid career.

Repoz Posted: January 13, 2012 at 06:01 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, indians

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