Friday, April 3, 2020

(Mostly) 'Rona-Free Hot Links, Vol. 6

Saturday, April 4 at 7:30pm Central! There will be a Zoom meeting set up for Astros fans while AT&T SportsNet Southwest shows the Astros/Yankees game. There's a ton of special guests and giveaways lined up. It's going to be pretty epic.

*What we absolutely do NOT need: The Astros prepare for the possibility that George Springer (and Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick) has played his last game for the team. Chandler Rome:
Owner Jim Crane said in January he "made it clear" to Springer and his representatives that there was interest in an extension. Springer and Mookie Betts will be the most coveted free agents of an otherwise light position-player class.

*AT&T SportsNet Southwest will continue to pay its free-lancers at least through mid-April.

*Looking back at Zack Greinke's 59mph pitch.

*RIP Bill Withers, one of my absolute favorites:


*Craig Biggio was on Buster Olney's podcast.

*Jake Kaplan wrote about the 2012 Draft, and why Clint Barmes' one season in Houston mattered long-term.

*Rudy T got elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

*A judge dismissed the Daily Fantasy Sports lawsuit against the Astros, Red Sox, and MLB.

*For the first time in 28 years, Sid Bream will watch 1992 NLCS Game 7.

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*Jon Miller broadcasts Strat-O-Matic.

*Learn Something:


*HBO will stream about 500 hours of free programming.

*Check out one of my favorite baseball novels: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach.

*Vice: I followed a kilo of cocaine from field to street.

*The Ringer: The 30 Best (Truly) Independent Films of the 21st Century.

*Outside: Try this 10-minute stretching routine.

*A Musical Selection:


Thursday, April 2, 2020

'Rona-Free Hot Links, Vol. 5

IMPORTANT: If you are in a Zoom Meeting with more than two people, and do not mute your mic, you will be brought before a war crimes tribunal.

*I know these are supposed to be COVID-19-free, but here's how the Astros Foundation is helping to coordinate and deliver medical supplies.

*Chandler Rome has a mailbag. He talks about impending free agency, three prospects he thinks will throw 90+ IP in 2020/2021, whichever comes first, Forrest Whitley, and A.J. Hinch.

*Speaking of A.J. Hinch, Buster Olney reported (confirmed by Chandler Rome) that, if the 2020 season is canceled, Hinch and Jeff Luhnow would still be eligible to return to baseball in 2021. This is consistent with MLB's decision on player suspensions not having to spill over to 2021 (Francis Martes, for instance).



*Here are the draft pools and slot bonuses for the 1st 10 Rounds of the 2020 Draft, though how many rounds there actually will be is still up in the air. The Astros' 1st selection of the Draft will be #73, thanks to the Yankees giving Gerrit Cole over $300m. That pick has a slot of $857,400. Their next pick will be 3-102.

*Listen to Part 2 of Evan Gattis' conversation with The Athletic on the Astros' sign-stealing in 2017. Gattis:
I think we got so f***ing caught up that we f***ed up.

*Jon Singleton was the most-hyped Astros' 1B prospect of the last 20 years, says MLB.com. I think I was more hyped for Brett Wallace, but the point stands.

*Lance McCullers is Tags' pick for Future Ace of the Astros.

*Meet "the conscience of baseball."

*Chris Cwik went back and undid all of Jeter's wrongs with the Marlins.

*Tim Kurkjian: Ichiro's love of hamburgers, math, and his bats.

*Sam Miller: The most meme-worthy moments for all 29 teams (yeah, the trash can takes the cake for the Astros. If it's not Coronavirus, it's trash cans. This is what we are now.)

*Outside: The Woman Who Lives 200,000 Years In The Past.

*Explore.org has a ton of webcams for you to pass your time.

*You need Yoga With Adriene in your life.



*Learn Something:

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

'Rona-Free Hot Links, Vol. 4


*The June 1976 rainout in the Astrodome was the one weird fact about the franchise.

*MLB is trying to keep the notes from the Astros and Red Sox investigations out of court.

*Sidd Finch: The greatest April Fools' Joke in sports journalism history.

*Shin-Soo Choo is giving every Rangers minor-leaguer $1000. I know we hate everything about the South Ardmore Rangers, but this is a class move by a class player.

*A Virtual Safari in Zambia.

*

*RIP Adam Schlesinger:


*Live-streamed DJ sets are taking hip-hop back to its roots.

*The NBA's secret addiction.

*Inside the brilliant career, and tragic death, of Javier Valdez.

*GQ: The Ghosts of the Glacier.

*Learn something:


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

'Rona-Free Hot Links, Vol. 3

*I don't really want to lead off with this but Jim Crane says MLB "explicitly exonerated" him in their investigation, for the expressed purpose of leaving him out of any lawsuits that proceed against the team he owns in the event that the Astros, do in fact, continued to get sued.

*Evan Gattis said he had retired from baseball, and you should absolutely listen to the podcast where he announced it.

*So did 2014 2nd Round pick A.J. Reed. Chandler Rome:
The Astros did not summon Reed for a September call-up in 2017 or 2018. His weight and conditioning were often problems. Frustration grew visible. Houston designated him for assignment last July to clear a spot for pitcher Jose Urquidy on the 40-Man roster.

As a junior at Kentucky, Reed hit .462/.588/.962 (read that again) and had a 2.83 ERA in the same season. That's insane. That 2014 Draft was...hoo-boy. Picks through the 1st 10 Rounds:

Brady Aiken, Game 5 Hero and Current Toronto Great Derek Fisher, A.J. Reed, Current Mets Great J.D. Davis, Current Oakland Gret Daniel Mengden, Jacob Nix, Brock Dykxhoorn, Derick Velasquez, Bobby Boyd, Bryan Radziewski, Jay Gause.

It turns out that the prize of the Astros' 2014 draft was either Josh Big Flames James, the 1006th selection of the draft, who has put up a 0.8 fWAR, or Ramon Laureano, who has posted 5.9 fWAR...for Oakland, because the Astros traded him to Oakland for Brandon Bailey, who will likely be in Triple-A this year.

*Click this MLB.com link to see how Ryan Pressly has the nastiest 10" in baseball.

*Baseball-Reference is using OOTP21 to simulate the 2020 season. The Astros are 2-4.



*Minor-Leaguers will get $400/week until at least May 31, plus medical benefits. It's literally the least a $10 Billion industry can do.

*GQ: Inside the poisoning of a Russian double-agent.

*The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal: Victor Martinez's audacious dream is within sight.

*I have attended precisely one Leeds United game in person. It was this one, a Champions League game against Lazio, with my dad. You can see how I'd be hooked. There's a "What Happened To Leeds United" Astros County post coming in the next few days.



*I highly recommend you to watch Icarus, which is available on Netflix. It's one of the best documentaries I've ever seen.

*This is one of my favorite books of all-time.

*"Cocaine, Speed, and Gallons of Jack Daniel's." The last Rock n Roll Superstars were...Korn?

*Check out this three-part series from ProPublica called "Blood Will Tell." It will take you all afternoon. Then, when you're done with that, read this follow-up, which broke Tuesday.

*Learn something:



*A Musical Selection:



*Another Musical Selection:


Monday, March 30, 2020

'Rona-Free Hot Links, Vol. 2

*Brian McTaggart ranked his Top Five Astros' 1Bs.

*The Ringer: The knuckleball isn't dead yet.

*ESPN: The Grandmaster Diet - how to lose weight while barely moving.

*ESPN: "You're the guy with the ball to the crotch." The inside story of the funniest baseball card ever made.

*The Downton Abbey Economy: How one costume drama reinvented British tv.

*Chicago Magazine: How Roger Ebert discovered John Prine.

*Consider a FanGraphs membership for $3/month.

*The Cut: How many bones would you break to get laid?

*Bicycling: What happens when two strangers trust the rides of their lives to the magic of the universe.

*A Musical Selection:



*A Hilarious Diversion:



*Another Musical Selection: