Tag Archives: Houston Astros

Call to the Pen: In Appreciation of the Houston Astros New Uniforms

Please click this internet hyperlink to read the entire post over at Call to the Pen

Before all that, the team was known as the Houston Colt .45s, a name that is so objectively better than Astros I don’t even know how to continue living in this world. The name evokes a strong, American image of violence, bloodshed, bullets and pistols—and also malt liquor (combine it all together if you fancy yourself more than a nebbish coward). Their logo and uniforms and especially baseball caps were also straight wonderful. But alas, time ruins all things. The Astros came along and just barfed all over the place. There were sunburst stripes and uniform numbers on pants and all sorts of ridiculous tomfoolery that further cements the notion that the 80′s were just literally the worst decade in the history of modern civilization. Sure, now, from the vantage of the present, these uniforms present a certain kitschy charm, a vague nostalgia worth Instagraming, but the Halloween costume novelty of the cocaine era gave way to bland conformity in the 90′s. There were some neutrals, and a big star, and then some red and some stripes and here we are, ready for reinvention yet again.

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Open Your Ears as Keith Law and Alex Speier Discuss a Moderately Imporant Three Player Trade for 44 Entire Minutes

I just recently finished listening to a podcast in which ESPN Baseball Insider Keith Law* and Red Sox Beat Writer Alex Speier discussed a baseball trade. One baseball trade. The trade that sent reliever Mark Melancon to Boston from Houston in exchange for the shortstopish Jed Lowrie and pitching prospect Kyle Weiland. They talked about this one baseball trade for 44 honest-to-god actual minutes. If you don’t believe me, go here and listen to it. One trade. Three players. 44 minutes.

This post is not meant to denigrate these fine gentleman, but rather to celebrate their prolonged performance, one of extreme and unabashed baseball nerdery. Granted, I was listening to this podcast while applying some really pitiful effort at my place of employment, so it’s quite possible I didn’t fully digest the occasional minute or two here and there. Maybe each isolated moment that my mind was distracted elsewhere, the podcast went off the rails into some really in depth detective novel discussion. Or maybe they talked about Top Chef. Or boardgames. I can’t be sure, but I suspect this did not happen. I suspect these two fellows did indeed discuss Marc Melancon, Jed Lowrie, Kyle Weiland, and other topics related these players and their former and current teams for just about an entire 44 minutes all told. Very impressive stuff. Also, really good stuff. These guys are professionals, and they know what they’re talking about. It was a very informative and interesting podcast that dove deeply into a number of areas of player and team evaluation. And I finally learned how to pronounce Melancon. But still, 44 minutes, holy shit.

*Goddammit, I’m doing that thing again where certain notable figures from one post are becoming the main topic of the next. This really isn’t intentional. It’s just a product of poor planning and mediocre creative faculty.

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How Badly I Feel For Tal Smith Following His Termination From the Astros

Zero. Zero badly.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know who Tal Smith was until just recently. I’m not even going to do my due diligence and look him up on Wikipedia. He might be extremely worthy of my condolence. He might donate 95% of his paycheck to needy children. He might be a living saint. I’m speaking from pure ignorance here. It’s super hypocritical of me—and liberating! So we’re just going to forge on ahead. Facts and knowledge be damned.

Tal Smith was fired the other day. He’s 78, and none too happy about it. Also wait, Tal? That’s his name. That strikes me as unusual. I don’t believe I’ve ever encountered that particular first name before. It’s also quite possible that Tal is just a nickname, that his name is actually Roger or Wilfred or something. Again, I do not know. Not going to look it up. He was fired, and he’s unhappy, and apparently, after 35 years in the organization, some of which spent as the team president, he learned of this firing through the media and was only given two weeks worth of severance.

Word on the street is that he wasn’t even really an official employee anymore. His contract ran out at the end of October, and everyone decided oh what the hell, if he wants to stick around for a while longer, we’ll pay him, but we’re not going to offer him another contract. They call that an “at will” employee, I guess. That seems really weird. I can just imagine Tal Smith walking around the halls of the Astros facilities in a full suit, hands in his pockets, looking at the ground. Occasionally he’d poke his head into an office and make some small talk with an intern sitting at a computer, or awkwardly interrupt a meeting. “The vending machine is out of Sprite,” he’d say, the people in the meeting stopping their conversation, pausing to look at him askance. They’d nod their heads, mumble some muted response and then go back to whatever it was they were talking about. Tal would turn and keep walking. Don’t these people realize I used to be the President of this fucking team? he’d think to himself, his life having passed him by.

Nonetheless, I do not feel too badly for Hal Smith. His two weeks severance was probably more than most people make in a year. Dude is probably rich as hell.

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