Thursday, March 8, 2018

Thursday Morning Hot Links

*JFrank1034 told me on Twitter dot com yesterday that it's bullcrap how the Astros don't get to play their 1st regular season game at home, instead having to slum it in the World's Largest Hair Dryer up north. I got outraged. Then I thought I'd look and see how common this is.

Basically the Astros are the eighth team in the last ten years to open their defending champion season on the road. Only the 2016 Royals (vs the Mets in a repeat of the 2015 World Series) and the 2009 Phillies (vs the Braves) were *allowed* to open their season at home. Interestingly, the schedule makers seem to favor rivalry matches on the road to open seasons.

The 2017 Cubs opened at St. Louis; the 2015 Giants opened at Arizona; 2014 Red Sox at Baltimore; 2013 Giants at Los Angeles; 2012 Cardinals at Miami (eh); 2011 Giants at Los Angeles; 2010 Yankees at Boston.

So for the Astros to open at Arlington is keeping in line with recent tradition. Outrage withdrawn.

*The Astros lost to the Mets today, 7-6.

Jose Altuve hit a homer to straightaway center on a 3-0 count.
A.J. Reed was 2x2 with a double.
George Springer was 1x3. Jon Kemmer came in to replace him and went 2x2

Gerrit Cole: 3.2IP, 4H/0ER, 4K:1BB, 47 of his 69 nice pitches for strikes.
Tony Sipp allowed 4H/4ER, 0K:1BB in 0.2IP. Jacob Dorris and Riley Ferrell combined for 2.1IP4H/3ER, 2K:3BB in the losing effort.

*Ten Minor-Leaguers were reassigned to Minor-League Camp:

-Randy Cesar
-Jacob Dorris
-Drew Ferguson
-Alejandro Garcia
-Riley Ferrell
-Jamie Ritchie
-Myles Straw
-Nick Tanielu
-Framber Valdez

-Cionel Perez - who is on the 40-Man roster - was optioned to minor-league camp.

*Jake Kaplan has a really good piece in The Athletic about Brandon Taubman, a former banking analyst in New York and a daily fantasy baseball dork who parlayed [waves hands] all that into becoming Jeff Luhnow's right hand man. Subscribe to The Athletic.

*Brian McTaggart: Josh Reddick is perfectly happy in Houston. Reddick:
I think being sandwiched between guys like George, Altuve and Correa for most of the year made my job easier. As being the lefty who got plugged in there, I felt like maybe [opposing pitchers] were a little more relieved to see me in the box. I got a few more pitches to hit than most people would, but you've still got to hit them.

*The Washington Post's Dave Shenin says the Astros hope youth and talent will prevent "the inevitable World Series hangover." It's like he didn't even read when I thoroughly disproved the idea of a "World Series hangover."

*Hunter Atkins writes that Max Stassi's swing could keep him with Houston.

*Corpus Christi has another On The Farm report, with a look at Carmen Benedetti, Randy Cesar, and Ronnie Dawson.

*Jeff Sullivan: Baseball keeps on breaking the same record.

*Former Hooks Great Brett Phillips is taking the trade rumors in style.

*How one swing changed Colin Moran's career and the Pirates' future at 3B.

*If I'm doing the math right, the Rangers could give Tim Lincecum $6m this year.

*Bob Nightengale: How the Angels worked this winter to perfection.


So, I was born in England. My mom still has the accent, and everything. Moved to the US when I was two years old. While I always "rep the H," there's still a lot of pride in where I was born. I have the lion from the crest of England tattooed on my wrist. It didn't hurt that, as I was figuring out how much music meant to me, it was a golden age of British music: Blur, Oasis, Pulp, Supergrass, Kula Shaker, Manic Street Preachers, Ocean Colour Scene (still a favorite of mine - I actually got to see them in concert in Hull in 2001). My aunt - who now lives in Houston - would send me CDs from popular bands in a huge box that would always include a few issues of NME (New Musical Express), and I'd read it front-to-back.

In high school, Cornershop (Brimful of Asha, anyone?) opened for Oasis at the Aerial Theatre on the day before my birthday, and I distinctly remember getting to the Blockbuster Music on Spencer Highway at 6:30am to wait in line for tickets going on sale three and a half hours later. Thanks to breathless concert reviews I had read in NME, I was sure there would be people lined up around the block. I almost slept on the sidewalk the night before. As employees - some still drunk - trickled in, they asked "What are you here for?" This question would be returned with an indignant scoff, "Oasis tickets...?" And, to a person, the response would be some variation of a shoulder-shrug. I was the first - and only - one in line when the tickets went on sale. It was a good show.

Thanks to NME I got to see one of the worst concerts I've ever attended: Massive Attack was opening for The Verve, of Bittersweet Symphony fame. (The Worst Concert I Ever Attended was when Pink opened for Lenny Kravitz in Nashville. It was awful. I got free tickets and still felt cheated.) Massive Attack had quit the tour (and, wait, is Banksy in Massive Attack? This is a weird close to a post on a Houston Astros blog) and The Verve were just a few dates away from splitting up, themselves. Without an opening act, they simply dimmed the house lights at the Aerial Theatre, played house music for an hour, and then The Verve came out and played.

I vaguely understand the economics of journalism, but to have the Houston Press and NME fold up their print versions in the same four-month period is disrupting memories from when I was becoming an adult. RIP, NME.