Wednesday, May 9, 2018

2018 Astros as Birds

Hey guys, Flick is back to writing on Astros County!

Today, I am going to continue a yearly tradition something that originally captured Mr. Astros County so much that he decided to let me write on his blog. Every year, I create threads of most Astros players as something else. It's kind of confusing to explain, but I will leave the two threads I have created below. 

2016 Astros as Bugs 

2017 Astros as U.S. States

Well this year, I am going to make a few changes for the better.

#1 - I am going to use this blog as an outlet to post the thread before it hits Twitter! Lucky you! (Side note: the Twitter thread will compact this information to fit Twitter's character limit. So while this thread will hit Twitter in the next couple of days before I rewrite it, it will not be word-for-word exact. Let's call this Astros County post: The Definitive Edition)
#2 - I am tackling EVERY player currently on the active roster as of 5/6/2018! A first for this type of content.
#3 - I will be going a little more in depth on my reasoning for why I made the selections that I did. I have graduated Twitter threads and have decided 140 characters (or even 280 characters) is not enough to fully flesh out the picture I am trying to paint.

But enough introduction, I know why you're here. You read the title of this post and you were intrigued. You thought to yourself, "what bird could Jose Altuve, George Springer, Alex Bregman, and Carlos Correa possibly be?!!?" Well buckle up ladies and gentlemen! Without further ado, these are your 2018 Astros represented as birds. 


Justin Verlander - OWL

Ah yes, Justin Verlander. The ace of this pitching staff. The guy is currently wielding a 1.13 ERA in 2018 at age 35. A future HOFer for sure. The guy doesn't seem to ever slow down. So what kind of bird would match this sort of personality? I say an owl. Owls have been portrayed as being filled with wisdom. They are sages, if you will. In Greek Mythology, The Owl of Athena has been known as the symbol of wisdom. In Winnie the Pooh, Owl is considered the smartest living organism in the Hundred Acre Wood. In the Tootsie Pop commercial, the owl is the first one to find out that it only takes 3
licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop! The fact of the matter is, the fact that JV is still as dominant as he is at age 35 is almost magical. And not only is he smart enough to figure out how to be on top of his game, but the pitching staff is only getting better by learning how he functions. In February, Justin Verlander was helping Lance McCullers work on his spin rates and elbow location (1).

And it has worked (if we throw out the Twins game because yikes.)

So if somebody has to be the owl, it clearly has to be the wisest, oldest, most omniscient guy on this team.

Dallas Keuchel - SWALLOW

So this one I think needs some explanation.

In 1984, William M. Shields, a biology professor at SUNY, wrote a book called Animal Behaviour. In this book, Shields described an interesting trait that swallows seem to possess. Some breeds of swallows like to form large flocks outside of mating season, thus they like to scout out grounds for them to hang out together. Once a territory is defined, you best not walk into it. Why? Well I'm glad you asked! They like to attack humans that get a little too close to their home. Ferocious things, even though they are just little swallows. (2).

So let me get this straight, a small bird that comes out of a small home in a small nest decides to go out into the big city into a much larger family, where he makes thousands of friends. Then, when a possible intruder tries to come and attack that little bird, he fights back. And he has thousands of others who want to protect him help him out.

Sounds like Keuchel's Korner to me.

Lance McCullers Jr. - PARROT

This is probably pretty unsurprising. Lance has been known to be pretty loud both on and off the field. Whether he's yelling at Rangers players to start some fights, causing a stir on social media with his posts that draw eyes from all over baseball, or doing outlandish things like wearing a grill after a World Series victory, Lance gets attention. It's crazy, because that sounds just like a parrot. You can spot a parrot from a mile away. It's bright, it's loud, and it's just a good bird. The only thing that distinguishes a parrot from our #3 guy in the rotation is the fact that the parrot didn't throw 24 consecutive curveballs to Yankee hitters in the 2017 ALCS.

Gerrit Cole - VULTURE

If there's one thing we have learned about Gerrit Cole in 2018 is that he does NOT mess around. He goes for the jugular every time he walks out onto that mound. He will destroy your favorite baseball team. In fact, he will maul you senseless, chop you up into 45 different pieces with his razor sharp talons and eat your team in one meal. And that's exactly what those rascally birds do too. Gerrit Cole is a straight up vulture. He will not let you win. He will not let you escape.

Charlie Morton - THE TWITTER BIRD

Okay here me out on this one. Remember Twttr? Not Twitter like we know it today, but TWTTR. That's what that social media platform used to be called, before they changed it to the Twitter that we know and love today. They eventually changed the name because apparently nobody new how to pronounce it, and we stopped texting on flip phones and started using iPhones so the humans could finally go back to spelling words out correctly without the extra hassle. But I digress.

Do you know what Twitter used to look like? It looked like this:

Image result for twttr

This logo resembles pre-Astro Charlie Morton. People look at this and think, "wow this is disgusting and awful. Who let this happen?" And then, AND THEN, after the rebrand, we got it. We got Larry the Bird (that's actually the name of the blue Twitter bird, obviously named after Larry Bird himself (3).) And this bird, this bird is Astro Charlie Morton. Much like Larry, Morton is now one of the most well respected and more recognizable icons in baseball (and also, much like how nobody remembers TWTTR, nobody remembers pre-Astro Charlie. Or at least they shouldn't if they like good pitchers). Larry is a sign that no matter how bad you used to be, it doesn't matter, because if you work hard enough at something, you will eventually be great. The embodiment of Charles Alfred Morton IV.

This concludes the longest segment of this piece.



For Ken Giles, we need a bird that's just a little crazy. Enter the Canadian Goose. These territorial little disasters of a bird are the definition of a crazy. They will fight and claw and chase you around all spring long. You don't even have to get close to them! If you just look at them funny, they will come a chargin'. They are always in attack mode. And whether you like it or not, #Kenneth is ALWAYS in attack mode.


"Whoa" you're thinking. "What the heck is that thing?" Well I'm here to tell you. First of all, it doesn't exist anymore. The only remains we have from this thing are from fossils. So I'm going to hit you with all the facts we know about this guy.
1. They are very big. One wing was 11 feet long.
2. They didn't have teeth, their jawbone would just be make big, sharp points, which made it easier to grip prey.
3. It was terrifying. "It would have been a startling sight...just frightening" said Dan Ksepka, curator of science at the Bruce Museum in Greenwich, Connecticut (4). Another thing he said:

It was "basically a dragon."

The only thing that made it not a dragon is the fact that it doesn't breathe fire, but neither does Devo, so you know, he gets a pass.

Brad Peacock - PEACOCK

Do not make me explain this. This has already gone on long enough.

Will Harris - SPARROW

Here's the thing about the sparrow: it isn't as well known as the robin, it doesn't have crazy bright feathers like a cardinal or blue jay, it doesn't do anything outrageous to gain attention like a flamingo, it's just a sparrow. You know what you're getting with a Sparrow. I wouldn't say its a forgettable bird, but it just gets in there and does his job. He eats his worms, he sits on the power lines and hangs out, he just does what birds do. That's basically what you get out of Will Harris. Sure, he was an all-star pitcher, but even then he still flew under the radar. You see him come into the game and you know what you're getting. You know he's not going to give up a run, and you know he's just going to get the job done. Not flashy, but incredibly useful. Also, I guess they get together in groups of hundreds and take their wings and fling them all willy-nilly, kicking up dust and dirt all over themselves (5), so if this was 2013 Oakland A's as birds, this would definitely be Grant Balfour. Long live the Balfour Rage.

Collin McHugh - ROOSTER

Let's get one thing straight, Collin McHugh is the rooster. If you need an emergency starter, Collin is in there pitching 6 innings and giving up 1 run. If you need a bullpen piece, Collin will give you that 15 pitch goose egg in the 6th. If you need a witty tweet or a personable, genuinely fun guy to be around, you got him in Collin. Collin can do it all, much like the rooster. Roosters will mate regularly with the hens to keep those eggs coming for the farm, they work as a makeshift alarm clock, he helps the other hens and roosters find food, he's a good protector, and they just look cool, which obviously makes them a great edition to any farm. Also, you know neither aint gonna die.

Tony Sipp - SEAGULL

Let's get one thing straight, I love this team. All of them. Unconditionally. They are like my giant adult sons. But there is one guy that drives us Astros fans a little mad. Maybe it's the fact he was once so good, maybe it's the fact that we're paying him quite a hefty sum of money, maybe it's just because our lefty can't get lefties out, but Tony Sipp is not well received by Astros fans. Hence, Tony is the seagull. At first glance, you see the seagull and you think "wow what a cool bird." You always find them by the beach, so their caw reminds you of a simpler or a more relaxing time. But if you live near the beach or areas where seagulls hang out, you know that all they do is show up where you don't want them to. They never shut up, thus making them very annoying. You just want to travel somewhere and not hear that caw, or have them not steal your chips or anything shiny, so basically you can't bring anything with you unless you want to be hounded by these creatures. There are no redeeming qualities about these nuisances. Just go away seagulls. Go away.

Hector Rondon - DUCK

This was the hardest one to do, and I really don't have a great answer today to tell you the truth. 2018 just started and we haven't seen a lot of Hector yet this season, but he has seemed to be pretty consistent this season as well as his career. So, I guess ducks are consistent..right? I mean everybody loves ducks right? And you know you're going to see them every spring right? They're good birds right? Yeah lets move on.


So when you see Joe Smith pitch, you're wondering what's wrong with this guy? He's moving and bending all abnormal-like but yet it works. It's inspiring to all the kids that watch this guy pitch because they see that pitching weird can still work and they want to throw like that too (and all our dumb Little League coaches never let us have any fun 😕) . Being different is cool! That's exactly what the silkie chicken is: different and cool! I mean, look at these things. It's a chicken, so they do all the things your average chicken does, but they just look a little different (and hilarious btw. I had to put this bird in here somewhere). I love silkie chickens, and I love Joe Smith!


Evan Gattis - OSTRICH

Ostriches are big and menacing. They are large and in charge. You do not want an ostrich barreling towards you with his mission being knocking you clean out to get what he wants. Much like Evan Gattis, the beast of a human who you do not want to get in his way. Evan and an ostrich are both giants, they are both intimidating, and I would both want them on my team and not on the opposition.

Brian McCann - ROBIN

You know that it's officially spring when you start seeing robins. Well, thats pretty much how I feel with Brian McCann. Sure, Verlander might be the oldest guy on this team, but it just feels like Brian McCann has been playing baseball forever and a day. Even before he came to the Astros, I would always think to myself "how is McCann still keeping up in his old age?" but he would only be like 31. So when McCann emerges from his cave after winter is finally over and shows up on a baseball diamond, you know that it's spring, which means its baseball season.

Max Stassi - BEE-EATER

There is nothing worse than being outside in the summer and having to worry about being stung by a bee or wasp or hornet. You see one and you instantly become anxious. You cannot rest until that scary fly-ie stingy thing has been laid to rest. We need a hero to save us from these foul creatures and once again bring peace to your previously warm stress-free off day. This is why the Bee-eater was created. This bird literally catches the bee with its talons and slams the bee into a hard surface until the stinger falls out, meanwhile SQUEEZING the bee of any venom it might also be carrying. This bird is a freaking hero. Not to mention some species can see bees from up to 200 FEET AWAY. So to recap, this bird finds a bee from 200 feet away, swoops in and clasps it with its talons, and slams its backside into the ground until the stinger falls out of his body before shoving it down its throat and going at it again (6). Yet you have probably never heard of this bird before.. Only one person on this Astros team could possibly be that strong, brave, and destructive yet fly this far under the radar for so long. So yep, it has to be Max Stassi.


Jose Altuve - PENGUIN

Listen to me, everybody loves penguins. They're small, they dress well, they're really just adorable and just an all-around bird in general. That's essentially Jose Altuve, except Jose can also sing. I mean I'm sure that there is a fictional penguin out there that can sing, but I can only remember so many famous penguins.

Alex Bregman - WOODPECKER

One does not simply have a neutral feeling for a woodpecker. Some people find great solace in the sound of a woodpecker hammering its face into a tree, creating that signature sound that we know today. I know people that listen to nature noises with woodpeckers in them all the time. For some, it may even trigger their ASMR senses. However, there are other people in the world who try to use their one stone to specifically kill two woodpeckers because those blasted things just never stop making noise. This is where I feel like baseball is with Alex Bregman right now. I'd say 98% of Astros fans just adore Alex Bregman while 98% of non-Astros fans probably hate him. But I can assure that it's awfully hard to stay neutral to a man of his character.

Carlos Correa - PTERODACTYL

There is a very good possibility that Correa is a once-in-a-generation type of player. The guy that when we're all 80 years old, we will tell our grandkids that we got to see this guy play baseball even though they don't listen to a thing you say because they're too busy making fun of you for how old you are. So if anybody is going to be the bird that is depicted in movies and cartoon as unbelievable beasts that will live on in history books forever and ever, this might be the guy we're looking for. Well maybe Altuve, but he's definitely a penguin. Like, definitely.

Marwin Gonzalez - SECRETARYBIRD

If you know me, this shouldn't be a surprise to you. My entire Twitter account is based around Marwin Gonzalez and a Secretarybird. My official Twitter title is "Flick Nickem & His Trusty Secretarybird Sidekick" after all. Secretarybirds are the best birds in existence. They sprint pretty fast and pretty funny AS WELL AS fly, they have a fun looking headpiece, they kill snakes by stomping their skulls in, they're named Secretarybirds so they can probably take a phone call or file something. It is the alpha bird. Absolute unit. Coincidentally, Marwin Gonzalez can also do everything except maybe pitch and maybe catch (emphasis on maybe). Plus he can hit well, he can gun people down from the outfield, he can bail out the infielders by scooping out balls in the dirt, he can be the infielder that causes our first baseman to scoop out balls in the dirt. He is good at everything. Every baseball team should have a Marwin, and every household should have a domestic Secretarybird in the home.


I sifted through over 100 different species of bird to find a species that looked most like Yuli Gurriel. Please appreciate this post.

Image result for laced polish chicken


Derek Fisher - HUMMINGBIRD

There are two birds known for being very fast: the hummingbird and the roadrunner. The way I see it, the hummingbird moves its wings WAY too fast. It's like if you gave a woodpecker a Monster laced with adderall. They can move all over the place lightning quick , and never really stop moving fast. So out of technicality, hummingbirds can cover more ground than a roadrunner. Since Derek Fisher is a touch faster than Jake Marisnick, we can let him be the hummingbird.

Jake Marisnick - ROADRUNNER

By process of elimination, Jake Marisnick is the roadrunner. I mean that's all I got here. Um..Jake is probably better looking than the roadrunner too, but I guess I can leave that one up to you.

Josh Reddick - BALD EAGLE

I think that even if you haven't followed the Astros in the last few years, you are probably aware that they have a guy who strips down to basically nothing but a piece of our nation's flag wrapped around his groin and goes and dunks himself in alcohol whenever they win a big game. That pretty much is about as American as you can get. So of course, the most American bird in the world is the turkey, or it would have been if people listened to Ben Franklin. Dodged a bullet there. But yeah its the bald eagle. Long live America.

George Springer - TURKEY

Even though George is super popular and famous, you would think that this one would have been easy. I mean, there are still so many popular birds that I haven't even mentioned yet that you might be able to trace back to our World Series MVP. But then it hit me, George IS our World Series MVP...he was the most important guy in baseball in November. The turkey is the most important bird of November, so me and my analytical abilities were able to put two and two together and did this ha ha I can't believe I still have more to write.


A.J. Hinch - PIGEON

Finally, the manager. The guy in charge. I feel like for any manager, the pigeon is the only acceptable answer. Reason being that pigeons are kind of known to be the messenger bird of choice. They were trained to fly in and out delivering the messages that needed to get across. Every manager is the guy delivering lineups to umpires, holding post game pressers after every game, and so on and so forth, so if I were to do 2050 Astros as Birds, our manager would still be the pigeon. The pigeon is our leader.

Well, it's finally time to wrap this article up. I sincerely hoped you enjoyed this post and if it's pretty well-received, maybe I could get another "2018 Astros as _____" before season's end. If you liked this post and don't follow me on Twitter, you can find me at @FlickNickem for more ridiculous content like this. Thanks for reading, and have a great rest of your day!