Damn, what do you know? I was actually right about something.
Astros beat writer Jose de Jesus Ortiz is reporting today that the Astros clubhouse is toxic, quoting an unnamed player on Tuesday as saying, "It's real bad in here... It's not going to get better." And it does appear to be a management/player divide, as opposed to player/player divide.
It appears to be more than just Roy Oswalt questioning the benching of Lance Berkman on the day he's pitching, or Roy Oswalt saying that Cecil Cooper ignored him when he said he was injured. And though it appears that Oswalt is the only one who will go on the record with his criticisms, Ortiz reports that players, even in the dugout, are questioning the moves of Cooper and his pitching coach Dewey Robinson -- I think we've all seen what Shawn Chacon thinks of Robinson. Ortiz also tells us that players openly questioned why Ty Wigginton wasn't pulled for a pinch runner when he opened the ninth inning on Friday night with a hit -- and was then thrown out trying to steal a base.
Ortiz doesn't point fingers or place blame on anybody. That's probably going to be up to Richard Justice who, it seems, has decided to throw in with Roy Oswalt. And since others have reported that Oswalt would be willing to waive his no-trade clause, it's quite possible that Oswalt feels he doesn't have to take crap from people he doesn't feel are qualified -- after all, it was just last week he was getting pitching tips from Lance Berkman instead of Robinson.
Now I don't have the clubhouse access these guys do, but I saw this coming, and I read between the lines and pointed it out yesterday, but it's really good to have the confirmation that this isn't just my imagination. As for what happens next, who knows? But I think it's going to get worse before it gets better, especially since Justice says that Cooper seems to be walking powder keg.
Oh, and one more thing, I didn't have the chance to listen to Richard Justice's show on 1560 The Game today, but it's my understanding that Pam Gardner, one of the Astros suits, was supposed to be a guest, and that they were supposed to be talking about the air-conditioning problems at Minute Maid Park, so, if anybody heard the show, please fill me in.
Thanks. -- John Royal
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