On our TV broadcasters, Astroline and Michael Bourn.


While I realize there are still a lot of unanswered questions floating around regarding last week’s announcement that the Astros will partner with Comcast beginning in 2012, I do want to clear up one thing: Astros broadcasters, both for radio and television, are employed by the Astros, not the stations that broadcast the games.

I’ve read and heard a lot of concern about Jim Deshaies and Bill Brown, our lovable TV announcers, as to how the new TV deal affects them. Rest assured, it doesn’t. They’re Astros employees and therefore, they go where the Astros go. Same goes for Milo Hamilton, Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond on the radio side.

Regarding your other questions surrounding what the new TV deal means for you and your current cable carrier, please be patient. Most of your questions do not have answers yet. There are a lot of moving parts and eventually, everything will be clear. For now, it’s not, so giving half-baked answers that may or may not accurately apply in ’12 would be irresponsible on my part. Thank you for your patience.




Speaking of broadcasting, the Astros’ wildly popular offseason radio show, Astroline, will begin its weekly run beginning Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. CT. Aired on 740 KTRH, streamed live on Astros.com and hosted by Hamilton, Astroline will take place at a new location — Buffalo Wild Wings in Midtown (510 Gray St.)

We’re still waiting for confirmation on the first guest, but we can tell you that the Houston portion of Astroline will include 13 dates: Nov. 17; Dec. 1, 8, 15 and 29; Jan. 5, 12, 19 and 26; Feb. 2, 9, 16 and 23. The show will then relocate to Florida for Spring Training.

As was the case last year, Twitter will have an active role during Astroline. Fans will be encouraged to tweet their questions to me (twitter.com/alysonfooter) and we’ll read them, and answer them, over the air.



Next Wednesday, we’ll find out if Michael Bourn won his second National League Gold Glove award. I’m guessing the odds are in his favor, for two reasons: he’s clearly one of the best defensive outfielders in the game, and, it’s a lot easier to win it the second, third and fourth times around. The toughest part is getting the player enough national publicity for voters from far-away teams to take notice, but once his name is out there as a top defender, the ensuing awards come at a much more rapid pace.

In the meantime, Bourn was recognized for his defense last week by another pretty reputable entity. The Fielding Bible doesn’t carry the same glitz and glamour as the Gold Glove, but I like it because of how technical it gets when evaluating the candidates.

The Fielding Bible is a book compiled by John Dewan, who has recruited some of the most respected people in the game to analyze every play (literally) a player makes during the season. Detailed information is recorded on each play, such as the location of each batted ball, the speed and the type of hit and determining how each player compares to his peers in making those plays. An example Dewan uses is: How often does Derek Jeter field a softly batted ball located 20 feet to the right of the normal shortstop position, compared to all other Major League shortstops?

Dewan uses the plus/minus system for plays made and missed, as compared to how often they were made and missed by others at the same position. (For the record, Adam Everett turned in the highest score ever, turning in a +43 at shortstop in ’06. That means he made 43 more plays than the average MLB shortstop would make.)

Anyhoo, in layman’s terms, Bourn being recognized as the best center fielder in baseball by the Fielding Bible doesn’t just mean he made a bunch of plays that drew oohs and ahs by spectators, cable stations and web sites. It means he’s taking good routes to balls, getting good jumps and reading the ball well off the bat. It means he has great instincts, which is something that can improve over time but cannot be taught. He’s making a lot of things look easy that simply are not. All good news for Astros fans.


And finally, a dip into the photo vault…here we have a very young, fresh-faced Hunter Pence attending batting practice after he was drafted and signed by the Astros in 2004. Other than utilizing a wide array of hair styles over the years, he really hasn’t changed much…


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I am relieved that J.D. and Brownie are not effected by the t.v. deal. I’m meeting with some of the staff of the Nats tomorrow and they would have loved to rub that one in my face. I have mentioned to them on a couple of times that J.D. and Brownie are the best announcers in baseball.

I’m glad to hear about J.D. being Astros, not Fox. That’s a big relief. However, I know my wish to still have Patti as part of the broadcast team is much less likely. That will be a drag.

Alyson……look at that sweet face!! I remember when he
FINALLY came up, and he hasn’t disappointed any of us
yet!!!!!! I may be one of a very few, but I LOVE Brett and
Dave!! They make me laugh, and they BOTH call a very good
game!! Tell ’em I said so!! Becky:)🙂🙂🙂

Thanks so much for the clarification, Alyson! Glad that J. D. and Brownie’s status is one less thing to be concerned about. Appreciate your always forthright analysis.

Since someone already broached the subject, I’d like to add that I really like the Brett & Dave team. I’m a native Houstonian, so I’m well aware of the royalty that is Milo. However, it was time to bring in a new radio team and they have done a fantastic job.

Hey Alyson,
And happy postseason to you!🙂
First comment is that I’m always proud of my Nimitz HS alum Michael Bourn. More proud that you pointed out the stats book info. Awesome. Bourn is the man. If his bat were a little more consistent he’d be the ultimate threat. But that’s neither here nor there. I’m very happy with him in CF.

As for the broadcasters, chiming in with my thumbs up as well of the Brett & Dave team. I think they do a great job…and I’m still glad that the decision was made to drop Ashby. I loved him as a player and thought he did an adequate job as a broadcaster, but he was lacking something behind the mic. And I could pick up on some strain between him & Milo, or perhaps it was my imagination…but I wasn’t surprised at all when they let Ash go. Milo by comparison shows every year why he’s a HOF broadcaster. Smooth, paints pictures with words, and makes it sound easy. Compared to Ash, it was like night & day.

Brett and Dave do a superb job of broadcasting. I hope they continue to call Astros games for a long time to come!

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