Friday, October 14, 2011

Deadspin picks up ValleyCat Groper story, uses better headline than AC

Deadspin has picked up the ValleyCats groping story. And their headline was way better than ours.

Keith Law, on why the Blue Jays traded Brett Wallace

In today's (Insider-Only) report on the Arizona Fall League, Keith Law talked Anthony Gose, whom the Astros traded to Toronto for Brett Wallace:

When the Jays traded Brett Wallace to Houston for Gose two summers ago, I didn't understand the deal, as Wallace was a polished, disciplined hitter while Gose was all tools but didn't have great performances or advanced mechanics. Wallace, it turns out, had a fatal flaw that was exposed in AAA and now in the majors -- he cannot turn on inside pitches, so he tries to go to the opposite field instead; with minimal defensive value and no apparent way to fix that flaw, he was expendable for the Jays. Gose, meanwhile, is no longer a tools goof but the kind of high-upside prospect Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos has said all along that he wants in the organization. Gose still needs work in some areas, including developing a viable two-strike approach, but the risk the Blue Jays took in acquiring him appears to be paying off in a huge way.

Salt River Report: October 13

Salt River beat Scottsdale, 3-1 yesterday.

Dallas Keuchel went 4IP, 2H/1R (0ER), 3K:0BB for the win
Jason Stoffel: 1IP, 1H/0ER, 1K:0BB
Josh Zeid: 1IP, 1H/0ER, 1K:0BB

Jake Goebbert: 1x4, R

Astros hire Orioles scout

Courtesy of Native Astro, we find this, in which the Astros have hired John Martin from the Orioles. Martin was responsible for the state of Florida.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Salt River report: October 12

Just in time for this evening's game to start, here's your Astro-centric Salt River recap from yesterday.

Salt River defeated Scottsdale 10-5, to improve to 6-2.

Jay Austin: 0x4, sac fly, RBI, GIDP
Kody Hinze: 1x4, RBI, BB, error

Dispute over whether Crane met with Selig

Randy McIlvoy, Sports Director at KPRC, has some sources that says Jim Crane did not, in fact, meet with Bud Selig today. This obviously disputes CultureMap's source from earlier this afternoon.

Crane off to meet with Selig

Jim Crane is heading to meet with Bud Selig, according to CultureMap.

Anonymous source:
"Materials have been prepared for the meeting. They're going to discuss specifics."

Three outrighted to OKC

J.R. Towles, Jose Valdez, and Alberto Arias have cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Oklahoma City. So the 40-Man roster now stands at 37.

Petition to Save our Stros

Here's an online petition that you can sign and send to Bud Selig to keep the Astros in the National League.

And the text:
Dear Mr. Selig,

As a lifelong Astros fan I am very upset with your plans to move the Astros to the American League and/or out of the Central Division. The Astros have been in the National League since their beginnings in 1962 as the Colt .45s. Before that the Houston Buffs were a minor league team for the St. Louis Cardinals which is also in the National League. All our rivalries are in the National League.

We are also in the central time zone which is 2 hours ahead of the western time zone. If the Astros were moved to the western time zone a majority of our games would not start until 9pm and would end after midnight. The box score would not even make our newspaper.

You acquired the Seattle Pilots in bankruptcy court, moved them to Milwaukee, and renamed them the Brewers in 1969. The Brewers were in the American League from 1969-1997 (28 years) and then moved to the National League in 1998. Since the Brewers don't have near the years of history in the National League that the Astros have, move the Brewers back to the American League to make the American League more balanced if that is so important.

Please Mr. Selig, leave the Astros alone. You are breaking my heart and ruining what is left of our fanbase.

Sincerely Yours,

Berkman wins Comeback Player of the Year

Lance Berkman has won the NL Comeback Player of the Year, announced this morning.

Berkman played in 145 games, most since 2008, for the Cardinals, hit .301/.412/.547, with 31 homers (most since 2007), and posted a career-high 166 OPS+. This last stat tops his previous high of a 163 OPS+ when he hit .315/.420/.621 in 2006.

The Astros, meanwhile, had their first basemen his .274/.352/.423, for a .775 OPS, and 16 homers.

I still think that letting Berkman walk was the right move. But this one hurts a little bit, seeing him take the Cardinals far into the postseason, while the Astros were out of it by May. And you think Berkman didn't enjoy beating up on the Astros? He hit .425/.477/.900 in 11 games against Houston.

Two ValleyCats are in some trouble

We don't know which two ValleyCats are in trouble, but police are involved and the ValleyCats are cooperating.

Two members of the Tri-City ValleyCats baseball team were not charged in an incident in which a waitress told police one player sexually groped her and another injured her arm as she worked at a downtown bar.

A police report obtained by the Times Union indicates the waitress, a 21-year-old Colonie woman, filed a complaint with Albany police on Sept. 3, a week after the incident at the Bayou Cafe on North Pearl Street.

The identities of the suspects, one a pitcher and the other an outfielder, are being withheld by the Times Union because they could not be reached for comment. Both men played for the ValleyCats in the season that ended Sept. 4.

The unidentified woman:
"When (the player) grabbed my chest and my butt, he's like, 'Do you know who I am ... I play for the ValleyCats,'" the woman said Wednesday. "He thought it was OK because he's a ValleyCat ... I know right from wrong."

Going on:
The woman said a bouncer made the player who allegedly grabbed the waitress leave the bar after the incident, but the other players stayed behind. An argument later ensued between the remaining players and a bouncer. The woman said at least two players "were just screaming in my face" and that another player allegedly grabbed her arm and squeezed it, causing a deep bruise.

Bar owner:
"At that point I said, 'Screw this, we're calling the cops,'" Spillenger said. "Who the hell has a right to grab a girl like that. ... I took her up to the computer and I got on the ValleyCats' roster and she identified every one of them."

However, this is odd:
The police report indicates the incidents took place between 12:15 and 3:19 a.m. Aug. 27, when the team was out of state. It's unclear if the police report, which misspelled the victim's name, listed the wrong date.

Look at the roster if you want, but we certainly won't be speculating on which ValleyCats may be involved.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Oh, if Nolan wants it, then...

Nolan Ryan would happily welcome the 56-106 Astros to the American League.

Ryan was in favor of the Astros becoming the fifth team in the AL West. He doesn't like it that the Rangers are the lone Central Time Zone team in the division, which leads to late games for fans to watch and late-night travel arrangements for the team.

And, once the Astros become competitive again, there would be a natural Texas rivalry between the teams.

"It'd be good for baseball in Texas to have two teams in the same state vying for the division lead," Ryan said.

Funny how it's a natural rivalry for the team who might win the pennant. For the other team, it's death by designated hitter.

Salt River: October 12

Salt River fell to Surprise 11-4 yesterday in AFL play.

-Kody Hinze: 2x4 with a double, 2RBI, and 2Ks.
-Jason Castro: 0x3, BB
-Jake Goebbert: 0x4
-Josh Zeid: 1IP, 3H/2ER, 0K:1BB

Crane in, Astros to AL, with implied question mark

Here's a Chronicle report referencing a Peter Gammons tweet saying that Jim Crane is expected to be approved as owner of the Astros, with the condition that the Astros will then move to the American League.

Gammons followed that tweet up with a very telling tweet that read, "TGHSAW$!%FFFFFF"

More as it develops, I'm sure.

UPDATE: Not so fast my friends. This new report from the Chronicle, entirely free of Peter Gammons tweets, says that Crane has not been contacted about a move to the AL.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Salt River Rafters: October 10

We'll be better about this in the coming days, but here's your Salt River Rafters (Arizona Fall League) Astros recap from yesterday, October 10:

Salt River defeated Surprise, 13-6.

Kody Hinze: 3x5, HR, 2RBI
Jake Goebbert: 1x4, 2BB
Jason Stoffel: 1IP, OH/0ER, 3K:1BB, 19 pitches - 11 for strikes

NBC Bay Area doesn't think Bud Norris is funny, gets personal

So the guy from NBC Bay Area is kind of a douche, because he apparently loves all the Brian Wilson exposure, thanks to Taco Bell.

In the linked article, he lists the potential comebacks for Brian Wilson (who apparently isn't clever enough to come up with his own):

1. Your name is Bud, Bud.
2. You pitch for the Astros, Bud.
3. Are you in any commercials, Bud?
4. Have you even met Charlie Sheen, Bud?
5. You know you're only seeing the commercials because you don't know what the postseason is, right, Bud?
6. I can't hear you, my 2010 World Series ring is shining too brightly in my ears, Bud.
7. Please call me if anyone will pay you for something other than baseball, Bud.
8. Look at my beard. Now look away. Now look back at my beard. Bud.
9. U MAD, BUD?

There are probably plenty more, but you get the point. Brian Wilson > Bud Norris.

I guess they haven't been listening to KTRH.

Brian Wilson = Third Eye Blind

When I was in high school, Third Eye Blind was the shiz. I liked their songs, because I was in high school, and didn't know any better. But then something happened. Houston radio played them over and over and over and over and over again. I got tired of Third Eye Blind. I even hated them. I sighed with relief when Smashmouth opened for U2 at the Astrodome, because Third Eye Blind had opened for U2 previously on the tour and I desperately did not want that. We in Houston were not as lucky as San Antonio, who actually got Rage Against the Machine opening for U2. That's just not fair.

Still, Bud Norris questioned:
Does Brian Wilson play baseball or work in Hollywood? I can't tell but his Taco Bell commercials are a joke.

Everyone knows TBS sucks, because you're sick and tired of hearing about the two things they're promoting all during the post-season. And I mean ALL DURING THE POSTSEASON. Still, to call out Brian Wilson for how often his commercial is on is silly. It's not his fault that TBS shows the same commercial ad nauseum. He filmed it once (you know what I mean). It's out of his hands at this point. Can't call him out on it.

Astros coaching staff to remain intact

Everyone gets another year to prove they deserve a job! Including Astros County! The Astros announced today that Doug Brocail will remain pitching coach in 2012, and Mike Barnett (whom I called "Gary" for a good two months without realizing what an idiot I was) will remain hitting coach.

So you may be wondering, is Ed Wade still calling the shots? It would certainly look that way, and it's something he has every right to do. While Wade's job may be in jeopardy under the Crane administration, it may be another five weeks before Crane gets approved - if he gets approved at all. Wade has an obligation to continue running the team as though he was in charge. Because, for now, he is.