Random thoughts on the eve of Opening Day.

Happy Opening Day everyone. I can honestly say that during this marathon Spring Training, I was starting to doubt this day would ever get here. Now that it’s here, I thought I’d mark down some random thoughts and ramblings that have run through my mind in the last day or so as I try to simultaneously unpack from Spring Training, gear up for Opening Day and repack for St. Louis…

* I like this team. This is notable only because a year ago, days before Opening Day, my thought was “Uh oh. This is a disaster.” Nothing was going right. The players were virtual strangers after Ed Wade’s offseason of housecleaning. The pitching wasn’t good. I don’t remember much about the hitting, but considering how many games they lost coming out of Spring Training, I’m guessing that wasn’t good, either. This year, I’m seeing something much different. The chemistry among players is great. Optimism is high. When Cecil Cooper said, “We can win 90 games,” the players didn’t respond with eye rolls. Instead, they said, “Sure, why not?”

Yes, the starting pitching worries me, because of its age and injury history. The rotation showed no signs of wear, tear and fatigue through the spring season, but it’s early. Really, really early. Still, I like what Russ Ortiz showed us, I like how Mike Hampton progressed with each outing and, of course, I like seeing Roy Oswalt atop of the rotation.

The bullpen could be the best in the division. The offense is right up there as well. I’d say the Astros had a perfect spring — they lost games early, when their hitters were still working on their timing and the pitchers expected to not make the team gave up the lion’s share of the runs. As time wore on, cuts were made, hitters came to life, and they started winning.

No one wants to peak on March 8.

* I cannot, for the life of me, understand why fans get so riled up when the ESPNs of the world don’t give their team any love while making their season predictions. Who cares? I mean, really, truly, who cares?

* The first homestand is going to be a doozy, if you’re into pregame pomp and circumstance. Tuesday is going to be pretty neat, considering the Astros have invited back some of the most colorful characters from the last nine years at their downtown ballpark. Among the guests: Shane Reynolds, Lance Berkman, Larry Dierker, Jeff Bagwell, Jeff Kent, Phil Garner, Roy Oswalt, Carlos Lee, Jose Valverde and Cecil Cooper.

On Wednesday, which also happens to be the 35th anniversary of Milo Hamilton’s famous call of Henry Aaron’s 715th home run, Hamilton will have a street named in his honor.  A stretch of Hamilton Street that runs along the East side of Minute Maid Park is being renamed, Milo Hamilton Way. Fans are invited to attend the dedication ceremony at 3:00 p.m. at the corner of Hamilton Street and Texas Avenue.

See you at the ballpark!

14 Comments

And a Happy Opening Day to you as well, Miss Footer. I can not wait for that first pitch Monday night. Another blog post said OD should be a national holiday – and I completely agree! Another blog post some time ago was from one of our country’s esteemed military personnel who is stationed in the Middle East and like Miss Footer I thank you for your service. When you get back stateside and can get to a game, you can have my tickets – 8 rows behind the dugout. I am sure we can connect thru the best MLB beat writer and blog poster.

Just to offer a thought about the ESPN thing…

I suppose it might be the sheer bias of it. Calling ESPN and the like an unbiased news outlet would be like calling Obama a staunch conservative. ESPN thinks itself the world leader in sports news and information, but in all honesty they really only have eyes for the “big market” clubs like the Yankees and Red Sox. It just gets tiring to hear the same rehashed stories about those few select teams, and then barley a blurb at the end of the show about the Astros; usually a negative one about how they can’t go anywhere or something about Tejada’s legal troubles.

You know what they say; ESPN stands for East-coast Sports Network. There’s no time to cover news about the plebeian Astros or Royals when you can have six know-it-alls sitting at a table discussing A-Rod’s dirty laundry for fifteen minutes.

You should keep your blog throughout the regular season!

Ms Footer,
I have a comment about the 5-7 Grille, why don’t the Astros do a classy guesture and put a big DK jersey up. You know the real #57 RIP. I think Daryl is a big enough part of Houston Astros history that it belongs there. Even though he soldout and signed with the red birds. JK. The grille is not just about Biggio and Bagwell, the astros are more than them. He is not my favorite player, I am not biased. I just keep hearing about the grille and it just seems right to do for his family and keep him remembered in Houston. Biggio and Bagwell I know dont mind sharing a spot on the wall to remember their friend. I will get back with you when I come up with another great idea.

the wbc was such a horrid tease of baseball! i cant wait for the first pitch by oswalt tomorrow!

i was watching mlb networks prediction show, and all of them had the astros finishing 4th or 5th in the division this season. i just kind of laughed. i dont think they will finish less than 3rd. it will be an interesting season, to say the least. im prepared for the worst, but hoping for the best.

chris.a – yea, I had to laugh at MLB’s predictions – actually showing the Reds finishing above the Astros – no way! Those guys (and also, especially ESPN) are idi*ts. I doubt they spend more than a few minutes anaylyzing teams like the ‘stros, and devote the rest of their time to the usual beloved media darlings of baseball. I don’t listen to them and rarely tune in except for a laugh.

I notice, at least in Florida, that ESP2 is broadcasting the Astros/cubs game tonight – I can already hear the heavy bias coming from that broadcast. I’m sure glad I can tune into the Astros broadcast instead. Go Astros!

It would be nice, just for one season, not to hear the national media denigrate the Astros. We wouldn’t have to listen and read about where the Astros are trading Oswalt, or Berkman at the trading deadline. We wouldn’t have to read or listen to comments about how the team has no hope and why is anyone even paying attention? Yet every year the Astros compete. The rhetoric from ESPN etc. never fits the reality. As a fan it would be nice to feel good about your team. The only real for an Astro fan to do that is not listen to any sports radio or any national coverage. Is that possible for a baseball fan? I dont want sugar coated, I want the truth. And the truth is the Astros have proven these commentators wrong year after year after year.

i just dont see how they can say the brewers have a better rotation/bullpen than the astros. ok, so they have a bit more bats, but that cant carry them to second in the division (same for the reds for that matter).

i just dont see how they can say the brewers have a better rotation/bullpen than the astros. ok, so they have a bit more bats, but that cant carry them to second in the division (same for the reds for that matter).

1. Why did Chris A. Harding type the same exact comment twice?

2. Why did Chris A. Harding type the same exact comment twice?

3. I have been known to peak on March 8. What of it?

4. I think it’s nice that Milo Hamilton is getting a street named after him, although I think Hank Aaron should get more of the credit. Mighty appropriate, too, when you realize that the Astros next division title is a “Milo Way.”

5. That was a pun for those of you unfamiliar with wordplay.

6. I wonder if Zambrano will no hit us again? Admit it. It would be kind of cool.

7. I wish we’d have gotten Rich Hill during the offseason. He’d have been a great addition.

1. Why did Chris A. Harding type the same exact comment twice?

2. Why did Chris A. Harding type the same exact comment twice?

3. I have been known to peak on March 8. What of it?

4. I think it’s nice that Milo Hamilton is getting a street named after him, although I think Hank Aaron should get more of the credit. Mighty appropriate, too, when you realize that the Astros next division title is a “Milo Way.”

5. That was a pun for those of you unfamiliar with wordplay.

6. I wonder if Zambrano will no hit us again? Admit it. It would be kind of cool.

7. I wish we’d have gotten Rich Hill during the offseason. He’d have been a great addition.

Ah, I wish you were doing an active blog during the game. That’s ok, though. I’m glad the Stros are opening up on the national circuit. BUT, why on earth does a broadcaster have to just toss out the negative the first time Tejada comes up to bat? I mean, an MVP, AllStar, dings a hit his first AB, but let’s just focus on the negative. Seriously? Doom and gloom sells.

Roy letting up those 2 solo shots is gloomy, but keeping his poise is rosy! Come on Stros!

bestestfanever: i didnt mean to double post. weird things were happening with my browser earlier.

I don’t know about the double posting thing, but maybe we do need Rich Hill. What are we going to do? Are there any trades out there that can make us a competitive team? I can’t stand losing to the CUBS of all teams. Please tell me it will get better. Why won’t Jake Peavey come to Houston? It’s not that muggy (yet) and did you see the picture at the top of this Blog? the Blogger? I mean come on Jake what more could you ask for?
I suppose it could be worse, did you see what the Cardinals coughed up in the 9th, I thought only cats could make that big of a furball.
Please Jake, come to Houston, and Rich Hill too.

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