Spring Training: At Least the ‘Stros Aren’t the Rangers

I know I’ve been hard on the Astros so far. And truth is, they really suck. But I’ve got to thank the good people at Texas Monthly for giving me a little perspective. Because, you see, no matter how much the Astros suck, at least they’re not the Texas Rangers.

As the article reminds us, despite the Astros failure to ever win a World Series, they have actually gone to a World Series. The Astros, despite trying to rebuild without rebuilding, aren’t the Rangers who have seemingly spent their entire existence rebuilding. The Astros might just be dealing with the fallout from Rocket and Andy and Miguel Tejada, but at least they never gave a home to Jose Canseco. And at least the Astros never had a steroid-user write a tell-all in which the team played a prominent role.

(Okay, a portion of Jim Bouton’s Ball Four took place while Bouton was with the Astros – but he only wrote about greenies.)

Sure, the Rangers have only been to the playoffs three times when compared to the Astros nine times, but the Rangers do have more players in the Hall-of-the-Fame than the Astros (Nolan Ryan), they’ve been managed by some of the greatest managers ever (Billy Martin and Whitey Herzog) while the Astros have been managed by the likes of Jimy Williams and Phil Garner (and Leo Durocher for a few months). And sure, the Rangers have the far superior stadium.

But hey, the Astros went to the World Series in 2005, and the Astros have never given Alex Rodriguez a ten-year 250-million dollar contract.

And speaking of the Rangers, dudes, isn’t it a bit earlier to be having two-fifths of your proposed starting rotation dealing with soreness? They’ve only been in camp for about a week. How can their arms already be sore? God, at least Brandon Backe’s injury came in a legit fashion. So Texas Monthly is definitely right. The Rangers do suck.

So thanks for giving me a little perspective.

Speaking of injured pitchers, Tampa Bay ace Scott Kazmir felt discomfort in the elbow of his pitching arm yesterday and will be undergoing an MRI. This may be rough for the Rays as Kazmir, a Houston product, is one of the best young pitchers in baseball. This is roughly the equivalent of Roy Oswalt suffering an injury. But Tampa, unlike Houston, does have two other legit starters in their rotation, so it might not hurt them as much as an Oswalt injury would hurt the Astros.

But the Astros did have another pitcher come down with an injury as Fernando Nieve, a right-hander fighting for a spot on the staff suffered a hamstring injury that could keep him out for a couple of weeks. But, Oswalt aside, the Astros pitching staff sucks and Nieve’s injury is not really going to mean anything.

And while I’m on Astros pitching, I’ve got to agree with Brian McTaggart over at the Chron. There is no reason for Roger Clemens to be in the Astros minor league camp right now. It’s a circus over there, and instead of helping the minor leaguers, Rocket’s drawing all of the attention and detracting from what should be going on in minor league camp, which is helping the kids get ready for a possible major league career, not letting media surround the field while Rocket flings a few pitches and poses for cameras?

Go home, Rocket. Go home. Stop using the Houston Astro organization as your little plaything. And Rocket, no matter how often you shout at the photogs that this isn’t zoo, as long as you’re out there lying through your teeth every time you open your mouth, then it is a zoo. You wanted to prove your innocence, so face up to the bright lights and the loud noises and don’t whine that they won’t leave you alone.

You didn’t mind it when you were Mister Superstar jacking the Astros and the Yankees around while you spent several months of the season deciding who to play for, so don’t frigging bitch about it now, asshole. Just take your abscessed ass home and leave the damn team alone. Come back to Houston and fire Rusty Hardin’s ass. Let your kid fail in private. Just leave them all alone, you selfish bastard.

In fact, if you want to screw with someone, why don’t you head for Arizona and join up with the Texas Rangers? Their season might end up sucking so bad that you’ll be a welcome relief. Besides, it looks like they could use healthy arms in camp. – John Royal

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