I found it interesting that while the Astros have won seven division championships and three wild card berths, it looked like they only have two banners on display – their 2005 National League pennant and the 2017 World Series one. I think I like the “keeping to essentials” approach.
The Astros are a fun team to watch. Charlie Morton may be the best number five starter in baseball, but as good as their pitching is their hitters are better. At this stage, everyone knows about Jose Altuve… but George Springer is every bit as exciting. Alex Bregman impressed me with his hitting and defense and Marwin Gonzalez impressed with his versatility.
I could easily see the Astros successfully defending their World Series title.
Congratulations to Matt Harvey, who capped off a successful comeback from Tommy John surgery by pitching for the National League Champion Mets in the World Series. (Never mind that Terry Collins will probably be answering questions about leaving Harvey in for the ninth inning of Game 7 longer than he’s been asked about letting Johan Santana throw 134 pitches in his 2012 no-hitter.)
The American League award is generating some controversy, mainly because there’s no publicly available criteria for determining who should win it. Alex Rodriguez had an amazing year, especially considering his age and that he’d missed better than a year and a half due to injury and a PED suspension. But I don’t see why a player should be able to win an award for coming back from a PED suspension, no matter how great his season was (or how unjust the PED suspension was.)
Earlier this month, I sent out autograph requests to about 40 major league and minor league players in care of their team’s spring training camps.
Today, I got my first two signed cards back in the mail.
Eddie Butler is one of the top five prospects in the Colorado Rockies’ minor league system. The soon-to-be 24-year-old right-hander made his major league debut last season with mixed results. With luck, he will overcome the difficulty of pitching more than half of his games in hitters’ parks and have a good career.
Nick Tepesch is a 26-year-old right-handed pitcher for the Texas Rangers. He’s struggled over the past two seasons, but has shown promise at times.
I finally managed to find Topps Update cards today, including this pair of Michael Choice cards.
Choice, a former Oakland Athletics prospect, played in 86 games for the Texas Rangers this year after being acquired in an offseason trade for outfielder Craig Gentry and pitcher Josh Lindblom.
He didn’t really have an impressive rookie year – Choice hit .182 with nine home runs, 36 RBI and one stolen base. It’s unclear if he’ll ever be more than a supporting player in the major leagues.
Nevertheless, Topps decided to make him one of the multitude of players with a short-printed photo variation card in this year’s Update set. I don’t think I would have paid any attention to it except for finding both versions in the same pack.
If there’s a Rangers fan out there who wants the short print (or the pair), please let me know – I’ll be happy to trade for anything off of my wantlists or any 2014 New York Mets card.
See, I watched the first inning. I saw Shin-Soo Choo hit a lead-off home run and Alex Rios hit Jonathon Niese with a line drive that forced him out of the game. I saw Niese throw a temper tantrum in the Mets’ dugout (and while I admire Niese’s desire to compete, I think Terry Collins, Dan Warthen and Ray Ramirez made the right call. There’s no reason to risk Niese when the team is still 10 games under .500 and 10 games out even after the victory.)
I saw Curtis Granderson hit his first-inning double to ensure Darvish wouldn’t have a chance at a no-hitter, and I saw Bobby Abreu drive him in to erase the Rangers’ early lead. I saw Lucas Duda hit a two-run homer that momentarily confused the umpires… and with the score 3-1 in the Mets’ favor, I left to go watch my town’s 4th of July fireworks. Afterwards, we watched the rebroadcast of the Macy’s fireworks in New York. (At this point, I think I’ve had my fill of fireworks until next July, but I had fun.)