Sunday, August 27, 2006

Mediocre times

Well, the Astros have gone 3-3 since my last entry and currently have a record of 62-68. They are in fourth place in the division, 7 games out, and 5 games back in the Wild Card standings. Hmm. Maybe I should have been a little more specific about that staying-in-contention thing.

On second thought, nah. I'll just go ahead and make that charitable donation anyway.

I've thought some more about the "why's" of this year (an exercise in futility if there ever was one). There have been a lot of rumblings on message boards about the players being too easy going, not having that "killer instinct." I'd have to say in my opinion those rumblings are pretty valid. You look at the team overall, and certain players stand out as fierce competitors. Roger Clemens, for one--his start against Pittsburgh on Friday was a portrait of unrelenting determination, on all sides of the ball--from his 6 hits allowed (1 R) in six innings, to his two sac bunts, to his four fielding assists, including a 3-6-1 DP and what practically amounted to an open-field tackle of Jose Castillo in a run-down between third and home. Roy Oswalt also comes to mind--the mental and physical aspects of his pitching just astound me. In his start in Cincinnati on Wednesday, after giving up 2 runs, he simply made up his mind that the Reds were done. He extended his personal win streak against that team to 16. Andy Pettitte and Dan Wheeler are also strong competitors, although in a less flashy way. Everybody else on the team. . . hmm. Obviously, Berkman has been a very consistent performer this year, and without him, we're in Pirates' territory in the standings, or worse. But as much as I enjoy his sense of humor (after homering to put the 'Stros up 1-0 against the Bucs on Friday, he yelled to Clemens, "There's your one run! Make it stand up!"), he is well-known as being a low-key, easy-going kind of guy. Definitely the kind of guy you want on your team, but the kind of guy that gets you fired up to win? Maybe not. Maybe it's a role he can grow into, who knows.

So, yeah, I'd say that overall the team is lacking something mentally. And how do you teach that? If the attitudes of Roger and Roy haven't been contagious, where in the world is it going to come from? I think this issue, more than personnel questions or anything else, concerns me for next year's team. I suspect that the team taking the field in 2007 (with the exception of Clemens--I think he'll retire for good this time) will be little changed from this year's squad--I don't see Purpura making any earth-shaking deals, nor getting rid of any of his precious prospects. No wonder Oswalt has hinted that he wants to go elsewhere--it's like a friend of mine said, "I don't mind working hard as long as I'm not the only one. That gets a little unfair." I'm sure Roy sometimes feels like he's the only one working hard.

So what to do? Uh, I dunno. I do have one suggestion, though--the video that is shown at MMP before the Astros' lineup is announced has got to go. Last year's video had great clips of fabulous plays, stirring moments, drama, you name it, all set to a heavy metal soundtrack and interspersed with images of splashing red (evoking blood, I suppose). Talk about killer! This year's video starts with some feeble crap about a baseball being launched into space and taking orbit, and shows more pics of players from the rainbow jersey days than it does of this year's team. While I appreciate history as much as the next person, the overall feeling left by this year's video is one of mystifying (what-the-hell-was-that-crap?), boring (*yawn*) LAMENESS. No wonder the players don't have a killer instinct--they're lulled to sleep before every home game!

Oh, speaking of lameness--er, I mean, people who like the word "lame," (tee-hee!) redbirdbrain is coming to visit me! She has embarked upon a project that I aspire to--visiting all the MLB ballparks. I had extra tickets to the Cardinals' series in September, so now she will be adding MMP to her list of visited venues. Yippee! Not only will she get to see the stupid, lame line-up video in person, but maybe--just maybe--Larry Biggio will hit a HR to the Biggio boxes. While we're sitting there!

Good times!

4 Comments:

At 6:31 PM, Blogger Leah said...

Jealous!!! I want to come to the fun party! You guys should come to Chicago.

 
At 3:32 AM, Blogger danyah said...

Okay! We'll work on that for next year!

 
At 4:31 PM, Blogger J said...

Yes! Let's all go to Chicago and drink all Leah's beer. But the question is, should it be cards/cubs or astros/cubs? Hmm... !

julia/redbirdbrain (I don't know why it says J as the login. Not terribly specific, is it?)

 
At 6:20 PM, Blogger danyah said...

For me it will depend quite a bit on what next year's schedule looks like, but I would be happy to go to Cards/Cubs. I just want to visit Wrigley. . .aaand drink all of Leah's beer.

 

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