Saturday, October 31, 2009
He doesn't talk about it as a football decision, he talks about it in terms of a business decision. Then he justifies his thinking by stating that Drayton McLane and Les Alexander would have dictated that Young be drafted. Only he's wrong in his thinking. He knows he's wrong, but Justice likes playing his readers for fools.
But remember this.
Can anybody ever tell me a time when Les Alexander dictated personnel decisions to his basketball people? You can fault Alexander for lots of things -- he did an awful job with Toyota Center and turned that place into a lifeless building -- but not for interfering with the basketball side of the equation. He lets his basketball people make the decisions, and he signs the checks. Like a good owner should. So it makes no sense that he would overrule his basketball people because he knows it makes no sense sticking them with a player that they don't want.
But if Justice writes that, the so-called logic of his post makes no sense.
And speaking of making no sense is Justice writing that Drayton would have ordered that Young be signed. One of the reasons the Astros have the worst farm system in baseball has been that Drayton won't pay for draft choices, and he would have had to pay for Vince Young. Drayton only pays for draft choices what Bud Selig tells him to pay, and Vince Young would have cost way more than what Selig would have said. So there's no way that Drayton would pay that cash for Young.
And don't give me this nonsense about Young being a local product. The Astros didn't draft Carl Crawford, a local product, because he wanted too much money. Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens came at huge discounts, and Drayton really didn't want to sign them but he got tricked into it
So sure. Some people are going to be stupid enough to believe Justice's crap. But anybody who follows Houston sports should know better.
If they would start playing the Eric Cartman version on the radio, I think I would find myself becoming a big fan.
Friday, October 23, 2009
"1560TheGame Sports Radio will change forever soon. You heard it here first. We are thinking someone is dying."
These rumors have been going on forever. And the rumored Houston station for dying has been 790 The Sports Animal. Of course, this rumor has been around forever. So there's really no telling, however, if this is something that is going to happen soon, or is still far down the road.
Like I said, this was just an interesting note that I came across on Twitter, and I thought I would share.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
I'll try to get back this afternoon with something substantive -- which would probably be a first for me.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
If that's seriously the best you can do, then I say EPIC=FAIL.
You used to be a great blog. Then Will Leitch found something better to do. Now the crap you produce is just as bad as the crap ESPN produces. I'm sure you're patting yourself on the back tonight. But you should be hiding in shame from your failure.
I got to hit the media luncheon yesterday for the first time since before the Texas Tech game. And not suprisingly, most of the media failed to attend. The Tech luncheon was packed with media and cameras. This week, not so much. I sure didn't Richard Justice sitting around and acting important this time out. And I had forgotten how much I missed watching Cougar head Kevin Sumlin make Mark Berman look like a fool.
Before Sumlin spoke, the SIDs let the swim coach speak. He was an interesting guy, and one of his swimmers has a great backstory I might have to look into at a later date.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
My suggestion, how about waiting until the Texans win two or three games in a row before starting the corner-is-turned discussion?
Yes, the Texans looked good on Sunday -- I was really surprised. It looked like Kubiak pulled his head out of his ass and finally realized that when the best player on your team is Andre Johnson, then you get him the damn ball. And good work, as always, from Owen Daniels.
But one game does not a trend make.
Sure they put up 21 points in the second half on the Cardinals two weeks ago. But two weeks ago, the Cardinals did to the Texans what the Texans did to the Raiders: the Cardinals started playing it safe -- remember how ineffective that damn vaunted offense was in the second half of the Raiders game? And if the Raiders were a good team that hadn't quit in the first half, then maybe they could have done to the Texans in the second half what the Texans did to the Cardinals.
(Oh, and can one of the coaches have a talk with Matt Schaub and tell him that if he's going to keep insisting on throwing that ball in the flat that he at least put a little something on the football instead of a leaving a little floater just hanging there and waiting to be intercepted?)
So let's have the Texans break the pattern and actually win an even-numbered game before declaring the ship is righted. Or better yet, let's have them go out and beat a good team like the Colts (who should account for losses four and five on the team's schedule) and the Patriots (with the Tom Brady rules that are now applied, the Texans are already down about five touchdowns and the game's not even due to be played until December).
Monday, October 19, 2009
But that's not what's bugging me at the moment. What's bugging me is that they start going on about how, since the umpire at first has been watching Pettitte for years, he's not going to call the balk on Pettitte since he "knows" from experience that Pettitte is not balking. Yet they go on that if it were a rookie pitcher, a balk would be called every time Pettitte threw over to first.
So Pettitte is getting the reputation call on the balk. Just like Greg Maddux got the reputation strike zone, just like Derek Jeter doesn't have to get near stepping on second base to make the first part of the 4-6-3 double play, and just like if Albert Pujols doesn't swing at a pitch, it must be a ball.
The reputation call is one thing that has the made the NBA almost unwatchable. No superstar ever gets called for a key foul or fouls out, nor does a superstar ever travel. My god, Michael Jordan used to take five or six steps between dribbles, and if charging was called by the rule book then Kobe Bryan would foul out in the first period every game.
If it's a balk. It's a balk. It doesn't matter who it is. That's supposed to be the point of these rules, that they're enforced, and that they're enforced the same way for everybody. If the ump would call a rookie for the balk on the throw to first, then it's a balk when Pettitte does it. I don't blame Greg Maddux for pitching to his strike zone -- he knew what the umps were doing, and he took advantage of it -- I blame the umpires for not calling the strike zone.
All that I'm asking is for the umpire to call the rule book the same way for everybody. McCarver and Buck didn't say that Pettitte wasn't balking, they just said the ump wouldn't call him for it. And that's wrong. A balk, is a balk, is a balk. Whether or not you are a New York Yankee.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
The Texans refused to sign this guy in the offseason because of the so-called "character" issue. But he's been a perfect citizen in Cincinnati, and the so-called "character" guys on the Texans have been crap. Seriously, is Chris Brown really that much better of an option than Benson. Maybe Benson should have made a stop with the Broncos.
And I've got to confess, I've got Chris Palmer, Chad Ochocinco, and Andre Caldwell on my primary fantasy team, so the better they do, the better my chances of a win. But that's selfishness on my part, even though, if I win the league, I win money, and we all know that I need money. But otherwise, at this moment, I just don't give a damn (I do reserve the option to bitch about the Texans after the game, however).
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Thursday, October 15, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
While sitting in the Toyota Center press room last night, waiting to film this thing, I noticed that the Rockets have three cubicles set aside for writers from the Chron. And I've got to ask: does the Chron even have that many writers left?
Like I said, just a thought.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
1. What is with the love fest with Brian Moehler? The guy hasn't had a really good baseball season since the turn of the century. Yet despite a bloated payroll wasted on the bloated likes of Carlos Lee and Lance Berkman, the Astros wasted money by picking up Moehler's option for the 2010 season, an option which guaranteed him in a big increase.
Richard Justice, by way of Brian McTaggart on Twitter (who I usually like), defends this move by glorifying Moehler's ability to toss the occasional quality start, and he excuses Moehler's crappy 2009 stats (8-12, 5.47 ERA) by stating that if you toss out Moehler's first four starts where he was bombed like he was a battleship at Pearl Harbor then Moehler's record was actually 8-8 with a 4.25 ERA.
Now I don't know about you, but those still read like very crappy stats to me. That still looks like a guy who was getting his ass kicked every game. After all, you look at that ERA, and he was giving up over four runs a game, and when you have a crappy offense, four runs a game equates to a loss. Yet the Astros decided to waste over three million dollars in order to reward this guy for being utter crap.
Then again, Drayton seems to have this thing for signing crappy guys to excessive contracts, see, Matsui, Kaz; Lee, Carlos; Williams, Woody; Backe, Brandon; Hampton, Mike; Blum, Geoff; Villarreal, Oscar.
And good on Charlie Pallilo for calling this out as the monumentally stupid act that it is.
2. Jesus Ortiz had a piece on Phil Garner earlier in the week. And in it, he called Garner the guy who led the Astros out of mediocrity. I think Ortiz needs a new dictionary. The Astros were in the playoffs as division winners in 1997, 1998, 1999, and 2001. The team finished in second place in 2002 and 2003, falling out of wild card contention only at the very end of each season. Garner took over a team in 2004 that had a starting rotation of Andy Pettitte, Roger Clemens, and Roy Oswalt. Brad Lidge was still an effective closer. Jeff Kent was killing the ball at second. Craig Biggio was bitching about having to play in the outfield. Lance Berkman was around to slug the ball. Jeff Bagwell could no longer field, but he could still hit. Morgan Ensberg was still actually able to hit. Carlos Beltran had just joined the team in center field.
Where's the mediocrity? Disappointing maybe, since the team was supposed to be better than it's record. But mediocre? No. I understand that the guy has to fluff everybody he writes about -- except for Gerry Hunsicker -- but would a little accuracy hurt?
3. And Justice is back on the Jim Fregosi bandwagon, and he says about Fregosi much the same thing that he said when Cecil Cooper was hired as manager. Knowing the strategy of baseball is overrated. What's important is communication, getting the trust of the players, and getting effort from the players. And as support, he cites the likes of Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, and Mike Scioscia. Which leads me to wonder, once again, how Justice became known as somone who knows about baseball?
Justice wrote all of this about Cooper back when he was hired. And what did we learn? That knowing a little something about basic strategy is kind of important. It's kind of important to know what order your hitters are hitting in, and it's kind of important to have an idea on when to advance a runner, or to think it might not be a good idea to bat Miguel Tejada in a slot where he has the chance to ground into a lot of double plays. Yet Cooper did this time, and time again.
And Cooper was supposed to be a big instinct guy. And he was supposed to be able to communicate with his players. And none of that happened. But based on what was written about guys questioning his moves and strategy during the games, then maybe none of his communication issues would have mattered if the players would have trusted him to make the right moves during the game.
For instance, nowhere does Justice mention a manager like Tony La Russa. La Russa's only one of the best managers currently working, and the guy knows strategy. That's how he is always able to keep a roster that is racked by injuries competitive. I don't think he's all that liked in the clubhouse, but his moves can be trusted, especially when it comes to pitchers. And I don't think the ability of Bobby Cox or Mike Scioscia to communicate with players would be a big deal if they couldn't pull off the basic strategy of baseball. And these guys don't make stupid mistakes. They don't leave you questioning their moves.
And Joe Torre would be a disaster in Houston because he, like Cecil Cooper, is known for overusing and abusing his relief pitchers. But it's one thing to do that with clubs like the Yankees and Dodgers who have the money to spend on seventh-inning pitchers and set-up guys. Before getting to the Yankees, Torre was a rather mediocre manager. But give him ample resources, a stocked farm system, and lots of talent, and he wins.
So maybe the Astros, lacking in talent, should forget about guys who use their instincts and don't bother with strategy. Maybe they should actually get somebody who understands on-base percentage and knows that batting Miguel Tejada third is not a good idea for a guy who grounds into double plays on a lofty basis, or that batting the useless Kaz Matsui second is not a good idea.
The good news is that the temp attorney gig I've been working the past two weeks has been extended for about three more weeks. That's good because my banking account was really lacking in funds in a somewhat major way. It's also good because this hopefully means that I'm getting into the temp agency rotation -- they know I do good work and keep the law firms happy which means they'll start putting me up for more openings. And hopefully, once I'm in an agency rotation, I'll be in the rotation for all agencies. My immediate goal is to work through October and hopefully try to line up something in November.
The bad news? Well, I don't have permanent employment, and it's not looking like that's going to happen any time soon. And the light blogging will probably continue as well because I just haven't been in the mood open upon getting home lately. I'll try to do things over the weekend, like now, but who knows. I do hope that you'll stick around though.
Thanks for everything.
You can read some information on the Bulldogs and running back Anthony Dixon here at the mothership which should give you some idea of why Cougar fans should be worried. That said, I think the Coogs can score on Mississippi State, but I just don't think the defense will be able to stop Dixon. I hope I'm wrong, but this was the one game I was really worried about with the Cougars in their season hopes.
The Cougars got off to a really good start. And it was nice to see them ranked. But I think the team is 3-2 going into next weekend's game at Tulane. And it's my hope that the Coogs will be able to find a way to refocus and get through the Conference USA schedule in an easy matter -- in C-USA play, there problem games should be Tulsa, Southern Mississippi and UCF. So let's hope they don't have any more UTEP-type trip ups.
UPDATE at 2:49.
Boy was I wrong. The Cougars didn't completely stop Anthony Dixon. But they found a way to force four Mississippi State turnovers, and they converted two of those turnovers into TDs. Cougars got the 31-24 win despite Keenum throwing two INT, one of which was returned for a TD.
Monday, October 5, 2009
Anyway, here's a little something to wake everybody up and get the week off to a good start -- I hope. The Beatles and "Good Morning Good Morning."
Sunday, October 4, 2009
And let's give one more EPIC FAIL to the Miguel Tejada Project. Tommy Manzella was kept on the bench after he came up from the minors because Ed Wade thought that it was more important that Tejada try and get 200 hits and earn a free agent contract for next year than it was to see if Manzella might be worthy of being a starting shortstop in the majors next season. But the quest for the mythical 200 hits FAILED as Tejada choked in the clutch and finished with 199 hits.
It's over. It's finally over. And please let me never see Tejada in a Houston Astros again.
Damn. This game just gives me a bad feeling. Perhaps I'm remembering too much of last year's game in which the Texans should have easily been able to handle the Raiders and got their asses beat. I'm also remembering the first Monday night game of this season when the Raiders dominated the San Diego Chargers for most of the game only to lose it at the very end. Maybe it's also that the Raiders have a good running game -- and we all know how the Texans are a when they are faced with a good running team. Then again, JeMarcus Russell has to be one of the worst starting quarterbacks to ever play in pro football -- then again, he had a good game against the Texans last season.
The Texans should win this game. I think the Texans should win this game. But I'm worried.
This is the Texans we're talking about, after all. And Gary Kubiak is still the head coach. Which means never take any Texans game for granted.
I read this item from John McClain in your online sports section the other day. But I believe that is has been misplaced. Sure, McClain is supposed to be your Houston Texans/NFL football reporter, but I didn't find much football info in this post.
What I did find was a lot of self-serving information about this asshole taking time off, during football season when he should be working and covering the football team, to go film a fucking movie. And what I did find was a lot of worthless, self-serving information about meeting Diane Lane and about what a great actor Mr. McClain is supposed to be. So it seems obvious that this post should have been in your online entertainment section -- actually, since I haven't seen McClain write any legitimate football/Texans information in about 10 years, I've got to wonder why you post his stuff on the sports site anyway?
As a matter of fact, editors, I've got a question regarding Mr. McClain. Since you seem to be having budgetary problems, and since you dumped most of your writing staff earlier this year, I can't help but wonder: why in the hell did you let this prick keep his job in the first place? He seems to have other ways of making a living, so why didn't you keep somebody who actually wanted to work for the Chronicle and write about football?
Seriously, there wasn't anybody around the offices who actually wanted to write about the Texans and the NFL so the only option was to keep this fool? I just can't believe it. Does he have photos of you guys screwing people -- oh wait, you guys screw over people in public every day, so maybe that's not it. So, why? Why? Why did you keep this guy?
A Fed Reader Who Really Wants Some Legit Information On The Houston Texans.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
I thought the Cougars might struggle against UTEP. But did I see the team getting it's ass handed to it? No. I thought the team would struggle to score, and that UTEP would keep the score close. I thought the team might struggle in the first half, and then, like the Cougars have done the past couple of seasons, I thought the team would come out on fire in the second half. No way did I think that the score would be 17-17 at the half with a 58-41 final score, only to have the Cougars be the team with 41 points.
I thought the Cougars would struggle to go undefeated this season. But I thought the potential losses would be against Mississippi State next week. Or against Tulsa. Or against Southern Mississippi or UCF. But I didn't think the first loss would be to UTEP.
The Cougars can kiss a ranking in the Top 25 goodbye. But worse, the team is now 0-1 in Conference USA. And even worse, based on this game with UTEP, it appears that Gary Kubiak and Frank Bush took over the Cougars because some of the offensive calls made absolutely no sense, and the Cougar run defense looked mysteriously like the Texans run defense, i.e., non-existent.
Oh well. I've got some thinking to do because I've got a mothership post about this to write. I just wish that I was going to be able attend the media luncheon this week. I'm sure there's going to be some good stuff come out from there.
More importantly, though, I wasn't able to gauge the players and see how they were reacting after the win. The team had two weeks after Oklahoma State, and they also had the chance to watch the Texas Tech defense shut down UT for a half in order to get their minds properly set.
That said, I'm not too worried about tonight's game with UTEP. And that's because I just don't see head coach Kevin Sumlin let this team take tonight's game for granted. I wasn't around for Art Briles -- though I did try to get a press pass during his final year with the team -- but there was always this feeling that the team sometimes wasn't fully concentrating on this week's game and was looking ahead to the next opponent. Sumlin preaches at the media luncheon that the most opponent for the team is the team the Coogs are playing this week.If you want to set Sumlin off in a press conference, then asking about the rankings and the team's place in the national consciousness. He says that only the media and the fans care about this, and that he and the team don't. Come the end of the season I think that if Sumlin were to be truly candid, he would admit that he did care, but his point is still a good one. Sumlin wants his guys concentrating only on the things that they can control. They can control their play during the game. They can control what they do on the playing field. So he just wants the players focusing on this. And so far, it seems this is what they're doing. And if you think about it, what Sumlin does is genius: if the players make each game the most important game they play, if they do their best each game, if they take care of what they can control and win the games, then the rankings should handle itself.
If the Cougars keep winning, they stay in the rankings, and possibly move up. If they lose, none of that matters. So concentrate only on what matters, which is the game.
That said, I think the Cougars not only have to win the game tonight, the Cougars have to win pretty decisively. The Longhorns destroyed UTEP last week, and if the Cougars want to keep a good spot in the rankings, they're going to have to do the same thing. The Cougars can't let happen tonight what happened with UTEP last season. UTEP came out and took a big lead. The Cougars got the win, but they shouldn't have had to struggle. And this year, the Cougars can't afford to struggle. And truthfully, I don't think Sumlin will let that happen.
Well I have an answer. No.
Ortiz's conjecture is based upon Paulino throwing five good innings of baseball the other night. Five innings over which he held the Phillies to just one run. And he asks because Miguel Tejada makes the comparison, and says that Paulino is going to mature into a Verlander or a Greinke.
Now I happened to be at Justin Verlander's first start of the 2006 season -- he was just the number five guy in the Tigers rotation, and he was seen as a bit of an afterthought with the Tigers. I drove up to Arlington to watch the Rangers play the Detroit Tigers on the first Saturday of the 2006 season. And Verlander pitched a masterful game, going seven innings while giving up only two hits and striking out seven. And this was a Rangers team that featured Mark Teixeira at first base, Hank Blalock at third, Michael Young at short, and Ian Kinsler at second. This was a team that could hit as good as the Phillies can hit. And he dominated. Verlander was, in many ways, like Nolan Ryan that night. His fastball was a blur and his breaking pitches were wicked. And for most of his career, Verlander has been like this -- he had a disappointing 2008, but 2006, 2007, and 2009 were really good seasons. In other words, this guy has always lived up to his potential, and there's no reason to taint his name by associating it with Felipe Paulino.
Zack Greinke is a different, sadder case. With Greinke, it hasn't been a case of living up to his potential. With Greinke, it's been a case of diagnosing mental problems then learning how to treat and how to live with these problems -- social anxiety disorder and depression. When Greinke has been properly treated, he's been a great pitcher, one of the best in the game.
And interim Astros manager Dave Clark says that Paulino has the stuff to be a number two or three starter. If that's what the team thinks, then why in the hell is Ortiz saying he can bloom into Verlander and Greinke. These guys are staff aces. They always had the stuff to be a staff ace. They didn't have to mature into what they became because that's what they already were.
I guess that all in all, I'm just sick of the Chron trying to convince me that every mediocre Astro is the Second Coming.
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Anyway, speaking of the mothership, here's what I wrote for today. It's a little dig at the Astros for letting Miguel Tejada and Geoff Blum's efforts to get new contracts with different clubs next year being the primary factor in those guys playing nearly every day this past month instead of one of the young prospects called up from Round Rock.