Enough of that. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.
A few news and notes from camp today:
*J.R. Towles is out for a game or two with a torn nail after apparently hitting his hand on a ceiling fan while taking off his shirt.
*Hunter Pence missed his third game in a row Friday while nursing a slight strain of his left calf. “I’m ready to play today,” he said. “I’m strong, good, healthy and happy. It feels like your body does on a normal everyday basis, when you’re playing every day. You’ve got got to loosen up, that’s all.”
*Cecil Cooper received a call from his predecessor, Phil Garner, who, after noting the Astros’ dismal spring record, offered up some encouraging words. “He just said, ‘Hang in there,” Cooper said. “It’s always good to talk to him.”
*Pudge Rodriguez will wear No. 12 this year, but for the first couple of games, he’ll wear No. 14. At that time, he and hitting coach Sean Berry plan to swap, with Berry taking No. 14.
I’m glad you all enjoyed the first set of pictures I posted. Here is round two…
Television announcers Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies, during a Talkin’ Baseball session at FanFest a number of years ago. You’ll notice JD still has some hair.
Chris Burke was always a fun guy to have around. Here he is providing some comic relief during batting practice.
I took this shot at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago in 2007 not realizing this was the exact moment Phil Garner was giving Lidge his closer’s job back. Garner had given it to Wheeler two months earlier.
This AP photo and reminded me of one of my favorite storylines from the 2002 World Series. Anyone remember this? That’s J.T. Snow, grabbing Dusty Baker’s son, Darren, seconds before the little guy was about to be pummeled by whoever was about to score. Darren was a bit overzealous with his batboying that night.
Clubhouse manager Dennis Liborio. I like this picture because it shows the painting that hangs in his officethat was given to him by Ken Caminiti in 2000. That’s Dennis at his desk, on the phone, with Bagwell, Biggio and Caminiti peering into the window to his office. It was painted by sports artist Opie Otterstad.
I took this the day the Astros retired Larry Dierker’s uniform No. 49 in May of 2002.
This was taken during batting practice before one of the Astros’ many exhibition games with the Royals the weekend before Opening Day. Here we have the two most popular second basemen in Astros history, Bill Doran and Craig Biggio. Doran was a coach with the Royals for several years.
Brian McTaggart’s daughter, Erin, made Biggio a little sign to congratulate him on 3,000 hits and on his retirement. Brian promised Erin he would give it to Craig, and when he did, Craig immediately hung it up in his locker. I thought that was just so nice. So I took a picture.
This one I just love. When a player is on the disabled list, he pretty much loses his mind with a) boredom and b) frustration that he cannot play. Here we have Adam Everett, on a Sunday morning around 10, fielding grounders from coach Doug Mansolino, from his knees. Adam’s leg was still broken from that collision with Carlos Lee, and as you can see, those are his crutches laying on the ground behind him. Adam was just happy to be doing something, anything; hence, the ear-to-ear grin.
This was taken when the Astros clinched the division in St. Louis in 2001. Bet you forgot Scott Servais played for this team. This one is funny because this was actually staged — I asked Everett and Servais to act like they were about to pour champagne on each other, but they went ahead and did the real thing. I believe if you look closely, there’s a Tony Eusebio
sighting in this picture.
ace car driver took the proverbial backseat to the movie star, who as you can see here was a big hit with your Astros. Phil Garner was an especially happy man.
Holy uncomfortable: Spring Training, 2003. I took this as Jeff Kent and Craig Biggio were meeting for the first time as teammates. Actually, it wasn’t as awkward as I thought it would be.
This is a Stephen O’Brien picture, taken at the baseball dinner a few years back. Brad Lidge is obviously the focus of this shot, but I like it because of Pettitte’s expression. He has a tremendous sense of humor, and that’s something the fans didn’t see often enough. One time, I was leafing through the Astros media guide and I saw his middle name was Eugene. I said
to him, “please tell me that’s a family name.” He turned red and said, “please don’t ever call me that.” Of course, from then on, I called him nothing but Andrew Eugene.