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Meanwhile, in major league baseball news…

The news isn’t getting any better from Minute Maid Park.

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Houston disAstros update

I don’t often write about baseball, but when I do, I write about my favorite team, the Houston Astros, which of course is also the team which, most games, I detest. These feelings of bitterness and despair generally begin near the middle of the 7th inning nightly, and for the entire rest of the season after the all-star break, give or take.

Today seems the perfect time to start picking on my beloved Astros this season, since last night they were the victims of a 10-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants, during which Giants pitcher Matt Cain threw a perfect game.

For you non-baseball fans, a perfect game is almost as rare as a progressive Republican, an electrifying Dewhurst speech, or a unicorn sighting. There have only been 22 perfect games in Major League Baseball history. A perfect game means that nobody from the other team ever got on base: 27 up, 27 down. A perfect game is different from a no-hitter, since in a no-hitter a batter can get on base without a hit – through a walk or a pitch that hits the batter, for example. In a perfect game, nobody from the other team ever gets on base.

So after the Astros were shut out last night by a perfect game, I started looking up stuff out of curiosity, mostly about no-hitters. Since it’s possible for a team pitching a no-hitter to actually lose a game, through any combination of walks and/or errors, I wondered what hapless pitchers have been inflicted with such a good-night-turned-bad.

Interestingly, there has only been one officially-recognized no-hitter in which a pitcher who pitched the complete game lost his no-hitter, and it was Ken Johnson of the Colt 45s, in 1964, against Cincinnati. Pete Rose was the winning run, getting around the bases via error, then groundout, then another error. That buzz-kill alone was probably enough to change the name of the team for next season, to – you guess it – the Houston Astros.

Here’s more no-hitter trivia: in total, there have been a total of two 9-inning no-hitters resulting in a losing effort for the team, which seems like a total bummer to the hapless pitchers who have certainly done their job, but there you have it. While Major League Baseball doesn’t recognize a game as a no-hitter if only 8 innings were pitched, in 1990 Andy Hawkins of the Yankees pitched an 8-inning no-hitter and his team still lost the game 4-0 to the Chicago White Sox, the highest score ever achieved by any team which had no hits. I’m guessing it was a tense Yankees locker room that night.

But no more tense than the Astros locker room many nights.

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Some call him “The Bailer”

I’m guessing others will soon be calling him “single.”

Meet this Astros fan who courageously moved out of the way of a foul ball at a Houston Astros game, instead letting the ball hit his girlfriend.

Come on dude, she deserved better than that! Who’d you think you were sitting next to, Debbie Riddle or something??!

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disAstros Update

It seems like just last week when I was excited about the opening of baseball season. That’s probably because the opening of baseball season was just last week. 

Readers may recall that my general thesis regarding the Astros is that they’re never worth a damn until after they’ve been left for dead.

Well, mission accomplished – we’re way ahead of schedule. Our Boys are 1-6 so far on the season, comfortably in last place in the division. Only the Washington Nats and the Cleveland Indians have a worse showing in all of major league baseball at the moment.

Clearly we’re going all the way this year!

What is lacking so far in the Houston Astros’ season?
The playing of any actual baseball
They were doing a bit better back when they were all on steroids
and before some of them were eligible for AARP membership
The pitching sucks
only surpassed by the uncanny and advanced ability to avoid making any runs
although it kind of makes you wonder if they have the runs
I may get the runs just from watching them
  
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Let’s Play Ball!

I always bet on the Houston Astros. All season long. Every year.

Not that I expect to win anything. In fact, I always end up with a net loss, even in 2005, when the Astros went to the World Series.
But, what the hell. I consider being a fan of the Astros to be, to take Molly Ivins out of context, a harmless perversion, discussed only in the presence of consenting adults. I also consider my friendly bets against friends, who are Cardinals fans who hate America, to be my cover charge for all the resulting arguments which insult the Astros, insult the Cardinals, insult each other, and call into question the parentage of all involved. Very little of this has anything to do with baseball, but it’s big fun.

And it’s a good thing it’s fun, because it’s not getting any easier to be an Astros fan. My fellow disAstro-ites have watched during the off-season as the team has taken in a ton of old washed-up MLB players who once upon a time showed talent, but whose best days have long past. As a result, this year I’m predicting that when the team’s disabled list begins to grow, the most prevalent condition represented on it will be Alzheimer’s.

The season opener was last night, and of course the disAstros lost to the Cubs 4-2. I expect no better from Our Home Team.

But that’s the point, and central to the mystique of the Astros. Nobody expects anything good out these misfits. In fact, nothing good ever comes of the Astros until after they’ve been left for dead. The Astros are like a loyal old East Texas hound dog, who doesn’t even bother to get up in the morning until after Buba proclaims it a useless tick magnet and, in utter disgust, gives it a swift kick in the ass.

So here’s my early-season overview. The roster is full of has-beens. With the possible exception of Oswalt, our pitchers are either unproven, or have been proven to suck. The team has a long and proud history of stranding runners on base, in the unlikely event any of them get on base in the first place. This is like the Bad News Bears at the old folks home.

So clearly, we’re going to have the best season ever! The Houston fans agree, and showed it with a all time record attendance last night of almost 44,000, in a tough economy.

Approximately 43,950 of those shelling out the ticket price arrived with the full knowledge that we’d get our butts kicked.

This is good…very good. The sooner they’re left for dead, the sooner they’ll start winning games. I hope to be writing their obituary all season long, on our way to the World Series.

Go ‘Stros!

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Dear Astros fans:

Some of you might not have thought much about former Astros closer Brad Lidge since he was traded away. You’ll be happy to know that, while he’s living under an assumed name in Chicago, he seems to be doing just fine.

(I’ve needed to get that off my chest for a while now. I didn’t have a blog back when Lidge was with the Astros, throwing softballs to Albert Pujols every chance he got.)

That said, I’m proud of Our Humble Astros, who have won 12 of the last 15 games and have finally clawed and scratched their way back to .500.

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