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 Outrage withdrawn.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.


kevin wright said...

First, I always lead with this, I love this website. It's the first thing I read each day.

I was at the Verve show you mention. I was early into the British scene and didn't know who Massive Attack was but was looking forward to seeing them. I loved the Verve. Devoured Urban Hymns when it came out. I sat up in the balcony while my friend was down in the standing area. I kept thinking the show was getting pushed later and later, waiting for MA. And then, boom, the Verve takes the stage. No idea what happened (thanks pre-Internet). I remember the Verve ended that show with the song "Come On", which literally ends with them repeating the line "we're breaking up!". I walked out hearing that line in my head, and then they really did break up. I believe I'm remembering all that correctly. Memories have a way of forming stories that aren't always true, but nonetheless, I was at the show.

Growing up a little punk in Channelview, Texas, the only way to hear the bands you named (still break out Cornershop at parties), before the internet made the world instantaneously available, was print. I never got into NME, although I knew about it, but I would read Mojo Magazine. I still buy Mojo occasionally (actually just bought the one with Nick Drake on the cover). Mojo opened up those bands you named (and I want to add Spiritualized for sure), and also bands like Television, Yo La Tengo, Teenage Fanclub, Big Star, Bowie. I could go on and on. To find those bands, get their albums (on a very limited budget of a sacker at Krogers) was not easy. It took time and patience and desire. I love the instant access I have now to all things music via the internet, but I miss the hunt. I do.

Anyway, awesome we were at the same show. Keep writing and much congratulations on your success. Well done.

Astros County said...

Best comment ever. I was down in the standing area for the Verve show. I did like Mojo, but the free NMEs I got from my aunt stole my heart. Spotify, while great, does ruin the chase for new bands. Good on you, Kevin!

James Montessi said...

I think WS Winning teams start the season in their rivals house to shove it in their face. I'm all in favor of this. Too bad we couldn't do a tour of StL and Chi while we are at it.

ManiacAlum said...

That was my same thought. Too bad this wasn't the year we match up with the NL Central for interleague. Would love to visit Baseball Best Fans®™© as the World Champs. But I'll settle for Baseball's Most Obnoxious Fans. The schedules come out in like September though, right?