Only 11 Games of Pain Left for Astros Fans. Until Next Season, Of Course.

Because it’s not happening here in Houston, I thought I’d give all of you a little update on the pennant races.

Thanks to the Astros failing to arrive at the ballpark last night, the Brewers and Cubs are tied for first place in the NL Central. The Mets have lost five straight, and now are only 1.5 games up on the Phillies. The Diamondbacks are a game up on the Padres in the NL West. And the Padres currently lead the Phillies for the NL Wild Card. The Dodgers and Rockies however, are also closing in on the Wild Card.

The Yankees have pulled to within 2.5 of the Red Sox – I wonder if the Chowderheads are having flashbacks to Bucky Fucking Dent. The Indians and the Angels have just about put away their divisions. And the Yankees currently have a nice lead over the Tigers in the Wild Card battle.

The Astros lost last night. And it wasn’t close. Yeah, what else is new? Well, how about this? Brewers’ starter Ben Sheets didn’t make it through the second inning because of an injury. The Astros scored one run last night. And it was off of Sheets. The Milwaukee bullpen then completely shut down the team.

The Astros pitching staff wasn’t as good, surrendering nine runs, including four home runs, one of which was a grand slam. There’s nothing positive to say about this game.

Nothing.

And I’m sick of trying to think of something.

I will note that the Astros have started what they call the Houston Baseball Media Wall of Honor. And the first inductee is the late Anita Martini. For those of you who aren’t natives, or who haven’t been in the city for years, you might not know who Martini is. She’s one of the most famous women in sports journalism. She was the first woman allowed into a major league locker room to conduct post-game interviews. She was a sports director at several of Houston’s TV and radio stations, and the first sports talk show that I can remember listening to on a consistent basis was one that she hosted.

Greg Lucas noted on the Astros broadcast last night that, when he came to Houston to work play-by-play on the Rocket’s cable telecasts for then HSE, the original plan was for Martini to be his color analyst. He did not say why this plan never came to fruition.

She died of cancer several years ago.

I don’t know who all else they have in mind for the Wall, but I do have some suggestions. I’d like to see Mike Edmunds, Gene Elston, Ron Franklin, John Wilson, and J. Fred Duckett go up on that wall in coming years. And there’s one thing I fear about this Media Wall of Honor. I just know that in 25 years somebody’s going to think it’s a good idea to stick Jesus Ortiz up on that wall. And if they’re not sticking his face up there as part of a dartboard, then they’re really messing things up.

Yesterday I noted that Cecil Cooper seemed to have forgotten about his whole “integrity of the game” argument this week. And I’m not the only one who noticed. Roy Oswalt was supposed to pitch last night, and Woody Williams was originally scheduled for tonight. Oswalt was scratched because his wife was due with their second child. And Williams was scratched to give one of the rookies a shot. This seems kind of strange in that all of the team’s “best” players were playing last week against the Cubs, but for the Brewers, manager Cecil Cooper’s old club, he’s been throwing out rookies and changing his rotation. For some reason, the Cubs aren’t pleased.

And Astro fan, in case you’re wondering, the Astros are still neck-in-neck with the Marlins and the Pirates for the worst record in the National League. Also, despite what Jesus Ortiz was telling us all yesterday, the Astros still haven’t hired a GM.

The Astros close out the home stand tonight, then head off for a four-game series in St. Louis with the Cardinals.

It’s almost over. Just 11 more games to go. – John Royal

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