Friday, October 19, 2012

Hunsicker joins Dodgers

Former Astros GM Gerry Hunsicker has left the Rays (where he was senior vice president of baseball operations) to join the Dodgers as their senior advisor of baseball operations, assisting president Stan Kasten and GM Ned Colletti.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Highlights from Porter presser today

New Chronicle Astros beat writer Brian Smith has been live-tweeting the Bo Porter introductory press conference today like a boss. Some things we learned:

This is not a stepping stone for me. I'm not looking to build the Houston Astros into a championship organization and go somewhere else. I'm all in.

*Conflicting reports about Tal's Hill and the Train. Either Jim Crane will not be altering Tal's Hill or the train for the 2013 season, or a decision will be made next week. Of the two, most likely to change will be Tal's Hill.
*Matt Galante, senior advisor for baseball operations since 2009 (and who had previously been with the organization from 1980-2001), had an option to return to the team in 2013, but has declined in order to pursue other opportunities.
*The Astros will be spending money this off-season, and will be targeting OF/DH positions.
*Coaching staff positions will be announced in phases, not all at once. Names being considered are "recognizable."
*Matt Dominguez - based on a strong conclusion to 2012 - is early favorite for 3B1 in 2013, but Brandon Laird and Brett Wallace are possibilities.
*Your first three rotation spots are locked down with Harrell, Lyles, and Norris (order given by Luhnow), but SP4 and SP5 are up for grabs. Luhnow wants to have nine SPs available to get through the season.
*Minute Maid Park will get an updated paint job, but only after November 2. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why I Am Rooting for the Cardinals

I was born in St. Louis. This information might get me kicked out of Astros County, but its true. We moved to Houston in 1990. As a result, for my first 8 years I was a Cardinals fan. Ozzie Smith was my favorite player. His homerun in the 1985 NLCS  was one of my earliest memories. When Jack Buck said “Go crazy, folks, go crazy,” I did, along with my Dad.

I am not a Cardinals fan now. It did not take long for Biggio, Bagwell, Caminiti, etc. to steal my heart from the Cardinals.  The Astros were on every night in my house, and they were good. Ozzie Smith was replaced by Jeff Bagwell. My Dad adopted the Astros as his own too. He cheered for them, and was heartbroken for them, and we watched them together.

For a while it was easy to still like the Cardinals. Especially when they weren't very good in the late 90’s and the Astros were winning the division nearly every year. Then they started to become rivals. The division started to go through them. Then 2004 happened. That was a fantastic series and I lived and died with every pitch. And my formerly beloved Cardinals broke my heart in game 7.  A year later, one strike away, a Cardinal ripped my heart out. That story had a happy ending. When the Astros made their first World Series, I called my Dad. We celebrated for our new team.

My feeling towards the Cardinals had shifted. It started happening earlier, but in 2004 and 2005, there was a clean break. The Cardinals were no longer my other team, the team I held on to for Ozzie’s sake. They were the enemy. I actively rooted against them, and began lumping them into the same category as the Yankees.   

Thing is, my Dad was also born in St. Louis. Only he didn't leave when he was 8. His favorite player was also Ozzie Smith, but before that it was Lou Brock, and before that Bob Gibson, and before that Stan Musial. That’s a lot of history. When the Cardinals began their improbable (impossible?) runs in 2006, 2011 and now 2012, I greeted it with frustration. My Dad, however, is still a fan. He cheered. When the Cardinals pulled out that ridiculous comeback against the Nationals last Friday, I got a text message the next day from my Dad saying “How about those Redbirds.” I did not share his enthusiasm.

My Dad is sick. We found out this weekend, just a couple days after the Cardinal's comeback. We don’t know how sick, but the news is not good. Baseball is so unimportant right now. There are so many more important things that bind us together. Our faith. Our family. But, baseball still means something. My Dad and I have enjoyed so many baseball moments together. Baseball comes up in nearly every one of our conversations. I can’t root against the Cardinals right now. If my Dad is rooting for the Cardinals right now, so am I. I hope you can forgive me. I am not really rooting for the Cardinals. I am rooting for my Dad.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekend Link Dump

*Awful news out of the organization, as Carlos Corporan and his wife Stephanie lost their 16-month old son over the weekend.

It came out this past April that Corporan's son had heart trouble, and had at least two heart surgeries as a premature baby. So everyone take a moment to offer one up to the Corporan family.

*John Sickels takes a look at how the Cardinals were built- sixteen of the 25 men on their post-season roster were acquired through the draft.

*"The best thing that could have happened to Jimmy VanOstrand was getting cut by the lowly Houston Astros."

*The Corpus Christi Caller-Times' Lee Goddard remembers the 1980 NLCS.

*The Sunshine Kids Foundation celebrated its 30th anniversary.