A’s on the Move: Bad for Oakland, Great for Baseball
With the news last week that Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig essentially decided not to decide on the Oakland A’s potentially moving to San Jose, and the San Francisco Giants (not wanting to cede territorial rights) protesting, it has set the stage for a potential move by the Athletics to an altogether new location. The A’s are currently in an untenable situation. They play in what’s arguably the worst baseball stadium in all of the Major League baseball, they don’t make enough revenue, and the city of Oakland either doesn’t want to (or can’t afford to) pay for a new stadium.
A few ideas have been floated about the A’s moving to another city on the west coast. Portland and Vancouver are a few names that have been mentioned, but each of these scenarious come with their own separate problems. Portland, for instance, has a metropolitan of roughly 2.26 million and, while this is good enough for 23rd in the entire United States, it’s a far cry from the San Franciso-Oakland metro area which is 4th, at nearly 4.4 million. Vancouver’s metro population is quite similar to Portland’s with 2.25 million. It’s a beautiful, international city that would also fill the spot of a second MLB team in Canada (left vacant with the move of the Expos), but it’s also a city that lost the Grizzlies of the NBA in 2001. Las Vegas has tried hard for years to get a major league sports team, but it’s quite clear that will never happen. The city’s connection to legalized gambling, and MLB’s strong stance against it (see exhibit A and B), make this an improbable fit.
I think back to all the Astros players I’ve seen over the many decades I’ve been a fan. There have been a few that were great, some who were good, and many more that just were average. But In all that time there was only one Jose Lima.
Jose Lima was a personal favorite of mine on the those late 1990s Astros teams. He was very good some seasons (and also very bad), but he played the game with so much heart. The passion just oozed out of his skin. You’d see Jose walking through the Astros dugout with his hat perched so cockeyed on his head it resembled a shark’s fin. Eyes bulged. Yelling. A man possessed.
The next inning Jose might be dancing in the dugout with teammates.
You never really knew what version of “Lima Time” you were getting from one evening to the next, but the fans absolutely loved ever minute of it.
I’ll always remember Jose as this friendly alien from another planet who inhabited the Houston Astrodome for a few years and then flew off to his next destination. Jose Lima died two years ago today, but the fans in every city he pitched will never forget the joy and passion he brought to the game of baseball. He truly was one of a kind.
This came in the mail on Friday. I posted a quick shot on twitter, but I wanted to talk about this cap in a little more depth.
First off, this is not a joke. The Moultrie Colt .22s was a real baseball team. They were a low-level farm club in Georgia for the Houston Colt .45s during their short time in existence (1962-64). I don’t really know much more about the team other than that (and neither does anyone other rabid Astros fan I’ve ever talked to). Did any of their players even make it to the majors?
Anyway, you can thank Ebbets Field Flannels for rescuing this team from total obscurity. They’re a small company in Seattle that specializes in reproducing old and obscure baseball caps from minor league/foreign teams of days gone past. This .22s cap is one of their more recent recreations and, seeing that everyone’s been talking about the retro uniforms the Astros have been wearing for their 50th anniversary celebration, I decided to get in to the spirit myself.
I should note that I’ve never ordered anything from Ebbets before, but decided to jump on this since I’ve been told their stock is constantly changing. I ordered two caps early last week and received the Colts cap on Friday. (The other one is currently on back order.) The construction of this cap is absolutely first rate. It’s 100% wool construction with a cloth inner band and green satin undervisor. The only thing that will take a little bit of getting used to is the unstructured crown.
For around $30-35 per cap, I think this was an absolute deal.
(This is a response to an article by Fox Sports reporter Greg Lucas. I would highly suggest you read his article before reading mine. I would also recommend you read this piece by Astros County outlining the lead up to, and eventual signing of, Carlos Lee by the Houston Astros.)
photo: Aerys Sports
It’s 2012—A year that many Astros fans thought would never get here. The big story is that the team is on its farewell tour of the National League, but 2012 also marks the final year of Carlos Lee’s 6 year $100 million contract signed during the 2006 offseason. Both the player—and the contract—have been much derided over the course of the contract, but is the criticism really valid?
The Topps 10 - The Greatest Astros Facial Hair in Baseball Card History
One of the first things I do every morning is scan the pages of the Astros blog www.crawfishboxes.com. It’s a fine blog, and very informative, but I was shocked—SHOCKED!—to see a weaksauce post created by Mr. David Coleman, titled “Breaking Down the Best Facial Hair in Astros History.” As amazing as this article could’ve been, it simply takes the easy-road by mentioning Jeff Bagwell’s late-era, Tutankhamun-meets-“Anthrax” goatee (as seen below) as the pinnacle of facial hair while mentioning very little else. Ahem…David. Have you ever heard of the 1970s or 1980s?
Anyway, that got me thinking. What is the greatest facial hair in Astros history, using Topps baseball cards as my argument?
April State of the Astros Union (Station) - Pt. II
Here are the “Black Holes” of the April…
Fielder: Carlos Lee
Above: Carlos Lee during his peak playing days—the 1930s.
There have been some players, like Chris Johnson and Brian Bogusevic, who’ve haven’t had the greatest of months. Of course, neither of those players is making $18.5 million this year. Carlos Lee is playing like crap and has added injury to insult, sitting out the last few games with a sprained ankle.
So what has Carlos Lee done—or not done—this April you ask? His slash line: .273/.349/.390.
The batting average is more or less where it’s been in recent years, but he’s not hitting for much power and has had trouble coming through with big at-bats when they team has really needed him most. His fielding is also not that great, but that’s not news to anyone.
Whatever trade value Carlos Lee had before this year is probably non-existant at this time. Unfortunately, it’s not exactly like any player has been knocking the door down at OKC that looks like a legitimate power threat, so we’ll just have to sit and watch what happens.
Well folks, that’s one month down. Anyone surprised by this 2012 Astros team yet? The team has generally played well, but they haven’t been rewarded in the win column yet. There has been some rather fantastic individual play (and some not so great), too.
As of April 30th, the Astros are sitting at 9-14 which is good for 5th in the NL Central. This may seem like drastic improvement over last year but you might be surprised the 2011 team, with Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence included, was 10-17 at the end of the month.
What’s ahead for May? A somewhat easier schedule—we hope. The Mets, Cardinals, and Marlins are in Houston on a long home stand. The Pirates and Phillies will be following on road trips. Luckily, only the Mets and Cardinals have winning records in this group and the Astros have already taken the first game in a three game series with the Mets.