Thoughts on Baseball

The Astros are heading into a guaranteed four-day non-losing streak, their longest of the season. That’s right, it’s the All-Star Break. Mild still hasn’t won a taco sauce race, but mild sure seems to have taken over the hearts of the Astros. Y’know what I miss most about the Astros of yesteryear (aka the Past-ros)? The fact that would win at least half their games. (My in person record this season is an abysmal 2-7.) Y’know what I miss second most about the Pastros? Any player who seems to really love playing and is always optimistic and enthusiastic. Players like Biggio, of course, who always seemed as excited to be out there as a player making his first start in the majors. Michael Bourn has that same boyish grin, but he doesn’t flash it often enough. I miss Miguel Tejada, too. I miss the zippy little ditty they’d play for him when he came up to bat, especially when JD and Brownie would don their sombreros for it. And I miss his spotlight. You could tell he really loves the game. Whenever a player on either team would make an especially fine play, Miggy would throw them a spotlight. I loved watching for it. I miss pitchers like Valverde and Lima who got so emotional. Maybe it was too much, and I do hate seeing that emotion on opposing pitchers, but at least you knew they were alive out there. And I miss Brandon Backe who could often be seen standing at the dugout rail, being a cheerleader, wearing his rally cap. I like that we stock our team with “good guys” who don’t go in for the bigger-than-life celebrity lifestyles/images, but a bit more fire and enthusiasm would be nice. Hunter Pence seems to be weighted down with the struggles of the season, emulating Berkman and Lee. Even the new youngsters like Manzella and Johnson and Castro, who might all turn out to have fine careers, don’t seem to have any bounce or emotion in them.  Keppinger, the only Astro exceeding expectations this year, is solid but, let’s face it, boring. Jeff Bagwell is the new hitting coach. I’m all for a bit of change and I really like Baggy the person and the player and the hitter. But it’s hard to believe that another Mr. Monotone, bottled-up-emotions guy, will be able to fire up the Astro bats.

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