It's the first post of 2020! Is there anything going on? Not really!
*McTaggart has your key dates for the remainder of the Astros' off-season and pre-season. In short, as of January 2, it's...
40 days until pitchers & catchers report
45 days until the full squad reports
51 days until Spring Training games begin
84 days until the 2020 season opener
Still not ready.
*Brian McTaggart revisited Lima Time, 20 years later. Larry Dierker, on Jose Lima:
He never really changed. He just challenged everybody and got away with a lot. Really, to be honet, those years at The Dome, I was scratching my head and saying, 'How is he doing this stuff? His stuff isn't that good.' And they're getting great swings at him and he's not giving up very many runs, and he's pitching seven, eight, nine innings, and he's laughing and jumping over foul lines and having a great time and putting the whole team in a good mood.
So here's one. It's a long, mostly irrelevant story about how this trip got set up, but right after my junior year of college, my buddy Myles (an Astros fan) and I ended up driving from Texas to Chicago to see U2 on their Elevation tour. It was awesome. Back at the hotel we were watching SportsCenter and saw that Sammy Sosa had hit his 399th career home run against Lima. The next night's game featured the Astros at Wrigley, so we went. We sat in the left field bleachers at Wrigley decked out in Astros gear. Lima was shagging balls and we yelled various iterations of "Lima Time!" at him. He turned and looked at us, pointed, and yelled, "You wearing Astros at Wrigley Field? You gonna get your ass kicked, man!" We didn't. Sosa hit his 400th career home run that night, off of Shane Reynolds. Despite drinking Slim-Fast for breakfast and lunch, we ran out of money. So we stopped at a riverboat casino in Joliet and in 15 minutes turned our $20 into $150 and booked it back to Texas.
*Justin Verlander is well-represented in this 10 Historic Performances in 2019 list, as is Former Astros Great Gerrit Cole.
*A key stat in evaluating Yordan's rookie season.
*Jose Altuve is Ottoneu's 2nd-best 2nd Baseman for 2020. Alex Bregman is ranked as Ottoneu's Top SS, if that tells you how they feel about Correa's health (Correa ranks 5th) while Bregman is also the top 3B. Yuli Gurriel is 20th at 1B.
*The Astros featured prominently in ESPN's End-of-Decade Recap column.
*After a 1-1 draw with 2nd-place West Bromwich Albion, Leeds United remains top of the Championship table. And check out this guano crazy recap of Saturday's 5-4 win over Birmingham City.
*BBC: The War Game That Could Have Ended The World.
*Rolling Stone: How one man robbed Vegas' biggest casino and almost got away with it.
*Wired: The world's best bounty hunter is 4'11" - here's how she hunts.
*The Athletic: We're all FC Pinzgau-Saalfelden fans now.
*A Musical Selection: