This One's for You, Milo Hamilton

So I’m out doing my exercise thing and listening to the Astros on the radio. The game’s about to start and Milo Hamilton starts bitching about Cubs manager Lou Piniella

pulling a Tommy Lasorda

and changing his starting lineup at the very last minute.

Just to screw with Milo.

Well, Milo, I have something to tell you: Sometimes, when you think they’re out to get you, they really are.

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Way back in 2001, Carlos Hernandez was a hot young prospect the Astros were bringing up from the farm to start a key game on a Saturday afternoon. The Astros posted the lineups pretty early, as normal, and everyone did his job. About an hour before the game, we’re in the media dining room snacking on the month-old fried chicken when a representative from the Astros PR staff walks into announce that Larry Dierker’s making a change in the lineup. (I might get this wrong, but if I remember correctly, Brad Ausmus was supposed to be starting the game at catcher but Dierker decided to go with Tony Eusebio because of language matters.) We’ve all got our lineups and start marking the changes. The people working for Fox Sports start to walk out and head to the booth or to the broadcast truck to make the necessary changes.

I’m sitting with some friends and we’re chatting about things, when I notice that, a couple of tables over, Astros radio color commentator Alan Ashby’s bobbing his head and looking about the room. Then he asks the guy: “Have you told Milo?” The guy says no. And Ashby tells the guy to wait just before they go on air because Milo will blow up and it will spice things up a bit.

It should be noted that I’ve yet to meet any of Milo’s broadcasting partners who actually like the guy. The words they usually use to describe him, and that can be printed, include: ass, arrogant, bastard, prick, pompous, senile, and hack. And if you read Milo’s book, which I don’t advise, another word which spring readily to mind is vindictive.) I think Gene Elston would slug him if they were to ever be alone in the same room. Larry Dierker could barely tolerate him and hated being called Wrangler. I happened to hear Vince Cotroneo broadcast a Rangers game when the Rangers came to Houston. Nolan Ryan was a guest in the broadcast booths that day, and he was supposed to stop by all of them. He stayed longer than he was supposed to in the Rangers booth and Vince was talking about Milo banging on the wall and acting like a child. And don’t get me started on Milo’s relations with the Caray family (I had to listen to visiting team audio during my years with the Astros, and Skip Caray openly mocked Milo while on air during every game), the Ernie Johnson family, and I could go on and on.

Anyway, the point was that though sometimes the lineup changes are because of someone being a prick like Tommy Lasorda, but when it comes to Milo, it’s sometimes because his partners despise him and don’t tell him until the absolute last possible moment.

Now on with the baseball.

It wasn’t too long ago that interim manager Cecil Cooper told everyone that he was giving Chris Burke his chance to prove that he belonged on the major league roster. Well that chance has ended as it seems that Cooper has decided that the future of the Astros lies with a double play combo of Craig Biggio and Mark Loretta – both of whom will probably not be with the club next season (Biggio’s announced his retirement and Loretta’s a free agent). I’m guessing this mean’s Cooper’s made up his mind about Burke.

Well, that or Burke just pissed off Craig Biggio so much that Biggio won’t let him play.

The Astros lost last night. Yes, I know. Shocking. And while the Astros might be upset about the loss, I don’t think that anyone’s angrier than the Milwaukee Brewers who would’ve moved into sole possession of first base had the Astros won the game.

The Astros seem set on ending the season on a high. How else can one explain the 2 and 8 record for the month? And with the loss, the Astros move to 63-82 for the season. You know what that means, don’t you? Yep, the Astros loss last night clinched a losing record for the season. It also means the Astros remain in sole possession of last place in the NL Central.

YAY TEAM.

The Astros close out the season series with the Cubs tonight. Then the Pirates come in for three games over the weekend. And the Pirates series could be the final determination over which team finishes in last place for the season. – John Royal

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