After talking with Miguel Tejada today, I can see how important the World Baseball Classic is to him and how relieved he is to be back on the roster. He has tremendous pride in himself, and his country, and I cannot imagine how hard it would have been for him to watch his fellow countrymen representing the Dominican Republic during the Classic while he sat home, in a manner of speaking.
I think it also bothered Tejada, a tremendous “team guy,” to be portrayed as someone who turned his back on his team after being asked to step into a role he was unfamiliar with. I don’t blame him at all for not wanting to play first base, a position he’s never played for as long as he’s been in the big leagues, but I’m sure to some outsiders it made him look a bit selfish. Now that it has been established that he’ll play a little shortstop, a little third base and also DH here and there, this appears to be a win-win situation for both sides.
Seeing Aaron Boone reminds me of a funny incident that happened during the 2003 World Series. As you probably remember, Boone hit the pennant-clinching walk-off home run in Game 7 of the ALCS that year, and instantly, it was the “in” thing for fans to yell “Booooooooooooone” every time he stepped into view.
So it’s either Game 1 or 2 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium, and my pregame assignment was to write about the anthem singer. On this particular night, the featured performer was “American Idol” runner-up clay Aiken. After the PA announcer introduced him, I heard a small chorus of boos, and I included that little nugget in my story.
Aiken had a strong, strong fan base at the time. What I did not know is that this group had a name — the “Claymates.” When I woke up the next morning and checked my email, I had about 50 messages, sent in the middle of the night, from these “Claymates,” who were furious — FURIOUS — that I had suggested Aiken had been booed prior to singing the anthem. According to the Mates, the fans weren’t saying “boo.” they were saying “Boone.” As in Aaron Booooooooone.
So let me get this straight. The PA announcer says, “and now, to honor America with the singing of the national anthem is American Idol’s Clay Aiken” and everyone responds with “Booooooooone?” Riiiiight.
For those of you wondering if the Astros are interested in the recently-released Adam Eaton: no. We didn’t even have to ask; Ed Wade volunteered the information unprovoked. “We have no interest in Adam Eaton.” So, there we have it.
Here and there:
Proud papa Cecil Cooper was brimming with pride Saturday morning as he talked about his 15-year-old daughter, Tori, singing the national anthem prior to the Rice-Texas A&M game at the College Classic at Minute Maid Park that night. Although Cooper couldn’t be there, the Astros set up a live stream on his computer so that he could get the in-house feed from Minute Maid Park. If all goes well, Tori will have an opportunity to sing prior to an Astros game this summer.
Continuing an Astros tradition, Wesley Wright threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Kissimmee Little League Opening Day ceremonies Saturday morning at Oak Field.
From the Inbox:
Drayton McLane has shown willingness to spend money if the team is in contention around June. With Ben Sheets saying he might not pitch until June, what are the chances that if we are in contention that Drayton pulls out the check book, providing Sheets proves he is healthy? — Taylor, Blackwell
It depends on what Sheets will command on the open market at that time, given he’s healthy and ready to contribute on a Major League level. I have my doubts that Sheets would be back to form before the season is over. But if he is, I’m sure he’ll be expensive. Knowing what we know about the economy and the hard line the Astros have taken with their now $107 million payroll, I wouldn’t count on seeing Sheets here mid-season.