The Year In Astros Baseball: 25 Things, Including Thank God For Jennie Finch

Jennie Finch.jpg
Mrs. Casey Daigle actually made some Astros games watchable
Let's face it. The Houston Astros suck. They sucked last season. They're going to suck this season. As long as Drayton McLane and Ed Wade are involved with this team, they're going to suck. But it's the end of the year, so let's take a look back at some specifics from the season.

1. The good news was that Drayton McLane finally, officially, put the team up for sale. The bad news is that there aren't any takers at Drayton's inflated asking price.

2. Drayton, just because the fans that go to the games have to pay the overly-inflated prices to get a hotdog and a beer doesn't mean that some guy/group trying to buy the team from you has to pay your overly-inflated asking price.

3. Chris Johnson finally got his chance to prove himself in the majors, and prove Ed Wade wrong in the process, but only after the Pedro Feliz experiment was officially declared a failure.

4. In a bid to improve the team for next season, the Astros traded for Colorado utility infielder Clint Barmes and signed Milwaukee Brewer/Boston Red Sox failure Bill Hall as a free agent.

5. For those unfamiliar with Barmes, he's probably best seen as the Caucasian version of Kaz Matsui -- a mediocre infielder subject to bizarre injuries. And while his numbers at Coors Field aren't exceptional, they're a ton better than the numbers he's put up when playing on the road

6. Bill Hall comes to the Astros with the recommendation of Red Sox manager Terry Francona. The recommendation would have meant more if the Red Sox had actually made an effort to re-sign Hall. As it is, Hall will be a perfect fit for the Astros. He's a strikeout machine with a lousy on-base percentage and who doesn't believe in drawing a walk. And he's an error machine at second base.

7. The puzzling thing about the Barmes and Hall deals, besides the fact that the Astros made deals for these guys, is that neither of them has ever been associated with the Philadelphia Phillies.

8. The good news is that the Astros solidified the rotation by signing an Australian named Ryan Rowland-Smith. Sure, he was only 1-10 for the Seattle Mariners last season, with an ERA of 6.75, but hey, he came cheap. And people love that Australian accent.

9. I think we all owe Roy Oswalt a huge thank you for issuing a trade demand and forcing Drayton to finally start with the rebuilding.

10. I'm still trying to figure out the Rowland-Smith signing. He has no connection to the Phillies, and you just know that Ed Wade is dying to add another Phillies reject to the starting rotation. As it is, only two-fifths of the rotation previously failed in Philadelphia, so it's almost like Wade's not really trying.

11. The Astros traded franchise icon Lance Berkman to the New York Yankees the day after they traded Oswalt. Berkman, a free agent, wanted to return to the Astros, but the Astros said no. Berkman, in response, signed a contract with the St. Louis Cardinals.

12. And for some reason I'm trying to understand, people are upset with Berkman for signing with the Cards. I didn't understand he was under an obligation to turn down a contract because the fans of a team that didn't want him would be upset.

13. Speaking of stupid fans, now that Berkman's gone, is there any chance we can trade the Little Pumas to St. Louis in exchange for some fans who care more about watching the baseball game than they do coming in costumes?

14. I also don't understand why the fans were upset about Geoff Blum not returning to the team. He couldn't hit and he couldn't field. He gave good quote, but that's about it. Hell, Bill Hall's an upgrade on Blum, and it's hard to call Bill Hall an upgrade on anybody.

15. The Astros might be hell to watch, but Bill Brown and Jim Deshaies can make just about any game bearable. However, if you're stuck in your car, just forget about it because Milo Hamilton does everything possible to get on a fan's nerves. The next time he gives the score of the game will be the first time he's ever given the score to the game.

16. Speaking of which, the person who thinks it's a good idea to play Carlos Lee at first base should be put out of our misery. Believe it or not, a first baseman actually has to exert some effort from time to time, and we all know that Lee's not much for exerting effort.

17. After the Oswalt/Berkman trades, the Astros were supposedly going into a youth movement/rebuilding mode. If Lee starts at first base and Jason Michaels in LF, as has been discussed, then half of the starting players will be in their 30s, as will two-fifths of the starting rotation. Michael Bourn, Hunter Pence, Rowland-Smith, and JA Happ are in their late-20s.

18. Yeah, that's not a very young team. And it's not really very talented.

19. It barely lasted half a season, but I liked the Jeff Bagwell as hitting coach experiment. It wasn't so much Bagwell's work as hitting coach that I liked, as it was that Bagwell tried to make the guys take a few pitches and run the bases correctly.

20. That said, I wish that Bagwell could have gotten Pence to lay off the breaking pitches in the dirt.

21. On the plus side, the Astros are still not as bad as the Pittsburgh Pirates. Or the Kansas City Royals.

22. I'm amazed that the Astros are still trying to sell Wandy Rodriguez as a top of the rotation pitcher. Then again, when the rest of the rotation consists of the likes of Brett Myers and JA Happ, it doesn't take much to be seen as a top of the rotation starter.

23. The best thing about Astros baseball in 2010 came when Casey Daigle pitched. Not that Casey Daigle was any good, but because Fox Sports Houston loved putting their cameras on Mrs. Casey Daigle. Unfortunately, Mrs. Daigle's not going to be around this season because Mr. Daigle isn't going to be around this season. .

24. I hope that whoever ends up buying the Astros will bring in some people who understand the importance of on-base percentage.

25. Hey, at least there will continue to be plenty of great seats available at Minute Maid Park.

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John Royal is a native Houstonian who graduated from the University of Houston and South Texas College of Law. In his day job he is a complex litigation attorney. In his night job he writes about Houston sports for the Houston Press.
Contact: John Royal