OK, so 2017 is the year. According to Sports Illustrated, this is the year the Houston Astros win it all. SI made that prediction two years ago, and by golly, we’re going to hold their feet to the fire. SI’s feet, not the Astros.
I am not sure Houston has the arms to win it all in 2017, but they certainly have the bats to beat past everyone in their division and make the playoffs.
The Astros paid big for Yuli Gurriel ($47.5 million for someone who, at 32, is still considered a rookie this year) and $53 million for Josh Reddick (repeat after me: the hardball equivalent of Brock Osweiler). And the added Carlos Beltran (BOOOO – he left once already, for Christsake, and I have never forgiven him). The jury is still out on Brian McCann. Although McCann is the only Big Leaguer to hit at least 20 homers in each of the last nine seasons, he is 33. Here’s hoping that catching hasn’t given his knees the arthritis that comes with some old-age catchers.
That means the ownership was listening to SI, I assume, or they would have stayed the course that got them the best middle infield in baseball with Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve. That got them the best starting pitcher who had a bad year last year in Dallas Keuchel (the ONLY Dallas we like in Houston). And the always fun to watch George Springer (I want 50 Springer dingers this year, George, you hear me?).
I am ready to see what they can do, especially in the great field the Astros have with the short right-field fence. And the Crawford boxes have seen their fair share of see-ya-later-taters, as well. And it probably is best that there is no more Tal’s Hill, but I loved the idea of having train wrecks in baseball with that flag pole in play. (Despite this, I’m really not a bad person).
The key to the season will be the left-handed pitchers — all two of them. Both had below-average years in 2016. Keuchel was un-Keuchel-like, but I like that last year could have woken him up. And Tony Sipp is it in the bullpen. I repeat, that’s it for LHP in the BP. Sipp will have to be on hand all season long in order for the bullpen to be effective, and pitchr better than last year.
It’s hard to win on the pro level in any sports. Houston has four championships with the defunct Comets, two with the Rockets and two with the Dynamo. I think it would be great to have another this year, even though the Astros have been jinxed by SI. I just wish Astros management had not listened because they were doing great at their rebuilding without the magazine curse.
ONE MISSISSIPPI, TWO MISSISSIPPI – If you didn’t pay attention to Mississippi State women’s basketball last weekend, turn in your sports card. Morgan William hit the game-winning shot in overtime that snapped UConn’s 111-game win streak in a semifinal game. The play was shoot –ball in the air — buzzer — swish — and then a madhouse. The crowd at that finish — and I’m guessing in every bar in America — was among the loudest I have ever heard. And then, William breaks down in the post-game interview in tears because that day was the three-year anniversary of her father’s death. Top that off by adding that William stands 5-foot-2.5 inches. I think the Southeastern Conference has organized cheating en masse. But I was a Mississippi State fan for 24 hours after that play.
NCAAS — The NCAA women’s tournament had all-female crews this year, which I applaud. And I’ll say this: those crews needed Lasik surgery like the men did on the men’s side of the NCAA tournament…Remember last week when I said that the men’s basketball championship would just be a Final One? How North Carolina had the experience and the other three teams were just happy to be there? How UNC would win their game by double figures each time out? Never mind. That was a typo.
CLASSICS –– We are going for the hard stuff this week. This is what make classic hard-liners swing and sway. Try listening to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony in C minor, fourth movement. You can thank me later.
GOING PRO — This guy put a Go Pro on a Hot Wheels car, and won the Internet today.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“I like men who have a future and women who have a past.”
— Oscar Wilde
HOTTIE OF THE DAY