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November 23 - This Date in Astros History
November 23 - This Date in Astros History
November 23

2001 - Bo Belinsky dies in Las Vegas, NV at age 64 of a heart attack. The colorful southpaw has a 3-9 record in Houston in 1967 while finding Houston's nightlife not up to former stops in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. In later years, the noted playboy who romanced starlets in L.A., found sobriety and religion.
1994 - Montreal Expos president Claude Brochu blasts Jeff Bagwell's new seven-year $47 million dollar contract, calling the move "a mistake" by owner Drayton McLane. The players strike is still ongoing and the move is seen as counterproductive to labor talks while McLane announces that, in spite of Bagwell's new deal, he will be forced to cut payroll for the ballclub next season.
1976 - Pitcher Larry Dierker and infielder Jerry DaVanon are traded to St.Louis for catcher Joe Ferguson. For Dierker, it's the beginning of the end of a stellar career. For Ferguson, it means another chance to be a starting catcher instead of an oufielder. He argues with manager Bill Virdon about blocking the plate but hits .243 with 23 homers and 83 RBIs in 1-1/2 seasons before being traded again.
1975 - Colin Porter is born in Tucson, AZ. A mid-season call-up, the outfielder posts a .188 average during limited duty in 2003.

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Date      Opp      Result
9/01      TEX      L 6-5
9/02      TEX      W 2-1
9/03      TEX*     W 8-4
9/04     @ANA      L 6-5
9/05     @ANA     L 10-9
9/05     @ANA      L 7-6
9/06     @ANA*     L 9-5
9/07     @OAK      L 6-0
9/08     @OAK*     L 4-2
9/08     @OAK      W 5-4
9/09     @OAK      L 3-2
9/10     @OAK*     L 3-1
9/11      off        --
9/12     @LA       W 7-5
9/13     @LA       L 8-1
9/14      off        --
9/15      TEX      W 4-1
9/16      TEX      L 1-0
9/17      TEX      W 2-1
9/18      ARI      L 6-3
9/19      ARI      W 3-2
9/20      ARI*     W 3-2
9/21     @SEA      L 6-1
9/22     @SEA      W 6-1
9/23     @SEA      L 3-2
9/24     @TEX     W 12-4
9/25     @TEX      L 5-4
9/26     @TEX      L 6-1
9/27     @TEX*     L 8-4
---- first round     --
9/29     @MIN*     W 4-1
9/30     @MIN*     w 3-1
---- ALDS            --
10/5     @OAK*    W 10-5
10/6     @OAK*     W 5-2
10/7     @OAK*     L 9-7
10/8     @OAK*    W 11-6
---- ALCS            --
10/11    @TAM      L 2-1
10/12    @TAM*     L 4-2
10/13    @TAM      L 5-2
10/14    @TAM      W 4-3
10/15    @TAM*     W 4-3
10/16    @TAM      W 7-4
10/17    @TAM      L 4-2

* - day game.

Jul/Aug record:  19 - 14
Sept record:     10 - 17
Playoffs:         8 -  5
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Houston Astros recap - 11/17/20 - Will There be baseball in 2021?
Will There be baseball in 2021?
Sugar Land Becomes Astros' New AAA Club

Fake fans returning in 2021?
(c) F. Carter Smith
If I were an investor, I would be selling short on the U.S. economy in 2021, especially Major League Baseball. While there are several months to go before spring training starts again in Florida and Arizona, some of the talk about nationwide lockdowns for weeks or months as an attempt to control the Coronavirus does not bode well for the upcoming season, nor does it create enthusiasm for free agent signings in the new baseball economy.

Presuming an incoming Biden Administration, the leaders of his COVID response team have been floating an idea of a nationwide lockdown lasting 4-6 weeks while we await mass production of a vaccine to prevent infection. Within the past 24 hours, other advisors have rejected such an idea, preferring local, "targeted" lockdowns to halt the spread.

Meanwhile, states like neighboring New Mexico aren't waiting, beginning a two-week statewide lockdown Monday. There's been talk of major cities "cancelling" Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations.

All this despite at least one member from the World Health Organization, Dr. David Nabarro, claiming lockdowns do more harm than good (scroll down the story for an update on the baseball seasons in South Korea and Taiwan).

A beleaguered Dr. Anthony Fauci recently turned authoritarian, instructing Americans to "do what you're told" regarding lockdowns and mask mandates.

All of this leads me to be very pessimistic about spring training and the MLB season itself starting on time. Can baseball survive a second year of empty stands and shortened seasons? It's becoming a stronger possibility.

The Astros (I'm sure you were wondering when I was going to get to them) are likely to lose a big chunk of money again in that scenario which means they would be smart NOT to be buyers at all this offseason. They're committed to a payroll over $100 million already and would suffer major financial losses unless they get significant relief.

They should probably tender offers to their three remaining arbitration cases (infielders Carlos Correa and Aledmys Diaz as well as pitcher Lance McCullers), sign their international free agents, pick up a few players at the minimum salary and that's it. Nothing further until the lockdown idea has vanished, which might not be until next summer.

I apologize to those who want to see the Astros sign George Springer, Michael Brantley or Jackie Bradley, Jr. Ditto for any pitching help. It's simply not a wise business plan. Even if the Astros cut back this coming season, they'll no longer be paying aging starters Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke after this season, providing room to open up the checkbook for 2022 if warranted.

Something the 2020 season should have taught Houston fans is to not be afraid of playing the kids they have on the farm. Cristian Javier, Enoli Paredes, Blake Taylor and Framber Valdez all had breakthrough campaigns with only Valdez having any big league experience prior to last season. Still, the Astros rallied to get within one win of returning to the World Series as the most improbable American League champion of all time.

Last spring, nobody could have planned for the double-downer of a cheating scandal and a deadly virus altering the landscape. A labor war is also in the offing. This year, the Astros shouldn't be caught flat-footed. They should step back and hunker down, minimize their losses and be in a better position to strike once the financial winds have cleared.

In somewhat related news, the Astros have ended their relationship with the Round Rock Express and have named Sugar Land as their new AAA affiliate. The Skeeters, who play at Constellation Field just southwest of Houston, have been an independent league club since they began in 2012. The Astros will buy the team and will run it as well as the Corpus Christi Hooks (AA) and the Fayetteville (NC) Woodpeckers (Advanced-A).

While giving up (at least for now) the Central Texas market, there is one distinct advantage to having their top minor league affiliate mere minutes away. Should there be a return to the season-long training camp plan of last year, team transactions can be done almost instantly when the parent club is at home.

There's another major advantage, namely that the stadium is in Fort Bend County, outside the reach of any lockdowns called by Houston's mayor or Harris County judge. Should Minute Maid Park be subjected to city or county whims to halt commerce, the Astros can make do in their 7500-seat backup. Now if only they could situate a retractable roof over it.

-Bob Hulsey

Houston Baseball: The Early Years 1861-1961
(click to order)


RSS Feed | News Archives
Why Bassitt blames himself for A's ALDS loss to Astros - CSN Bay Area
After the Rangers, which MLB team is most likely to join the Round Rock Express? - KXAN-TV
Houston sports need a vaccine to keep 2020 from infecting us again - Houston Chronicle
Skeeters get called up as Astros AAA affiliate - Sealy News
From the start, Skeeters created a buzz on and off the field - Houston Chronicle
Whitley makes Astros’ 40-man roster - Houston Chronicle
Astros add five players to 40-man roster - MLB.com
Houston Astros officially announce Sugar Land as new Triple-A team - Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Reds acquire Brandon Bailey from Astros - MLB Trade Rumors
Astros lose a pair on waivers - Houston Chronicle
Braves claim Jack Mayfield, select Kyle Muller - MLB Trade Rumors
Round Rock Express no longer Houston Astros Triple-A affiliate - Fox 7 Austin
Astros move Triple A club to Sugar Land - MLB.com
Astros officially make Sugar Land Skeeters the Triple-A affiliate - Houston Chronicle
Astros protect 5, complete 2 Reds trades - Astros.com
Houston Astros star and Fabergé team up for sparkling soirée - CultureMap
Experts say Springer signs with ... - Astros.com
Watson made history with MLB's millionth run - Astros.com
We may never see another Justin Verlander - Off the Bench
Three landing spots for George Springer - Call to the Pen
Houston Astros drop Round Rock Express as club’s Triple-A affiliate - Austin American-Statesman
Round Rock Express to lose Houston Astros affiliation - Austin Business Journal
Sugar Land Skeeters to become Astros' AAA team - Houston Chronicle
Correa raises $100K for pediatric cancer at Memorial dinner party - Houston Chronicle
Orioles receive Miguel Padilla to complete Hector Velázquez trade - MLB Trade Rumors
Astros’ best players not in Cooperstown - Astros.com
Sugar Land to be Astros affiliate (source) - Astros.com
Clemens, Pettitte, Wagner on HOF ballot - Astros.com
Astros to make Sugar Land Skeeters their Class AAA affiliate - Houston Chronicle
Will There be baseball in 2021?
- Astros Daily

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- Bob Hulsey