I grew up during the “space age” and always had a passing interest in it. Propaganda comes in many forms and I had all the space toys that mined one’s imagination.
To me the Astros team name always conjures up the late 60’s, the Astrodome and mission control.
Did you know the Astros original name “The Colt 45’s” was contested from the first day they announced it? Not in the same way the Washington Bullets was contested (for its “violent” nature) but contested by the Colt Firearms Company who didn’t want the name used in marketing outside of their business.
Once the world’s largest indoor stadium’s was finished, the team conveniently changed their name to the “Astros” in honor of their new home. The list of things that place brought to the game would fill up pages and pages. Instead I’ll just remember its incredible park effects and the men it made good, if not better than they were.
Dave Smith, JR Richard, Joe Sambito, Mike Scott, Nolan Ryan, Larry Dierker, Don Wilson, Mike Hampton, Daryl Kile, those rainbow jerseys, the Killer Bees and on and on and on. I always had it for the Astros. Sure the Dodgers were the biggest rivals but now I’d have to say the Astros, especially after the Dodgers were placed in a division outside of the Reds. It wasn’t as though you bumped into many of their fans in everyday life but the team was always pesky in the past with their Terry Puhl’s, Art Howe’s and Enos Cabell’s to go along with their stars in those horrible jerseys.
Lately though, they own the Reds like the Reds owned the Padres in the 70’s. They seem mighty big compared to the Reds. They have several HOF players on the tail end of their careers. One is a 7 game CY Young winner…. The Reds have ZERO. Their next best pitcher is a skinny guy who would be the Reds best pitcher in 15 years and a endless supply of guys that can pitch. Their team ERA the past 3 seasons is 3.98 and the Red’s 4.86. In short they always seem find arms and the Reds don’t.
A couple of years ago they wangled a Jimmy Haynes career out of current Riverbat Jeriome Robertson, who they flipped to Cleveland last year for Willy Tavares and Lane Scott, the two guys that provided the offense Friday when the Reds lost 3-2 to Clemens. When was the last time the Red’s made a player grab like that?
The Reds looked poorly at the plate all weekend finishing .243/. 316/. 379/. 694. An offense that depends on slugging and BB can look awfully inept whilst they are being schooled. Big hooks, like Franco’s on Friday night, make the best of us get a little riled and strikeouts make folks who grew up looking at the fast carpet game of the 70’s think that that approach should be taken. Easier said then done I say, however pretty much top to bottom the Red’s order didn’t get it done. Freel ran into two outs and lots of opportunities were met with weak come backers and swinging strikes.
This team gives me what I call the “1947 Giants Syndrome”.
NATIONAL LEAGUE SEASON 1947 AVERAGE vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria OBA vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria SLG vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria GIDP vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria RUNS vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria HOMERUNS HR AVG OBA SLG GIDP R 1 Giants 221 -.003 -.014 .047 5 80 2 Pirates 156 -.013 -.010 .000 -16 -13 3 Cardinals 115 -.004 -.003 -.006 -15 16 4 Reds 95 -.015 -.020 -.032 23 -74 5 Braves 85 .001 -.003 -.017 -12 -45 6 Dodgers 83 -.002 .015 -.022 31 28 7 Cubs 71 -.015 -.028 -.046 7 -186 8 Phillies 60 -.016 -.028 -.055 0 -164 --- NATIONAL LEAGUE SEASON 2004 AVERAGE vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria OBA vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria SLG vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria GIDP vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria RUNS vs. the league average displayed only--not a sorting criteria HOMERUNS HR AVG OBA SLG GIDP R 1 Cubs 235 -.002 -.013 .021 12 -7 2 Phillies 215 -.003 .004 .006 9 44 3 Cardinals 214 .008 .003 .023 9 73 4 Dodgers 203 -.008 -.010 -.014 10 -28 5 Rockies 202 .005 .004 .018 -1 46 6 Reds 194 -.019 -.010 -.019 6 -41 7 Astros 187 -.003 .000 -.001 2 21 8 Mets 185 -.021 -.024 -.028 4 -115 9 Giants 183 .001 .016 .001 -11 62 10 Braves 178 .000 .002 -.003 8 16
In 1947 the Giants had 221 HR’s as a team. That was 50 more than the prior record held by the 1930 Phillies in an 1890’s era bandbox. Up and down the lineup the Giants had the same type of players, slugging slow guys with gap power but no ability to play the large OF of the Polo Grounds. They smacked the ball around and the post-war crowds in NYC ate it up with a spoon, all the way to a 3rd place finish and 83 wins. I believe the Reds brass would eat that sort of reaction up with a spoon.
Anyway back to the current Reds. They have a lot of those same problems. How they plan to fix that I don’t know…….. but some more speed up the middle would be nice. A player with both a healthy walk rate and a .300 average would be heaven in front of some of the power this team has. But in the mean time I don’t see any change like that coming down the pike, so settle in and watch the station to station games in some contests, it’s so very Boston Red Sox 1972.
What numbers would it take to make this teams offense acceptable in a series?
.305/.376/.516/.892 is what the Astros did against the Reds over the weekend in 95 Ab’s. Can you believe they only scored 12 runs? It could have been worse the way the ball was flying in that slightly Disnified version of the 21st century ballpark.
I’d take that sort of line against the Cardinals, that’s a little better than the Reds did against the Mets at home earlier in the week. Hopefully the team leaves their lack of offense in Houston and make up for it on a Cardinal team that gave up 28 runs over the weekend.
Brian first met the greatest game in Detroit in 1968, that team played in a league called the “American League”…. but I digress.
Later after a family move he started a dalliance with the Cincinnati Reds, who perchance were in the midst of their greatest era. It was a romance that was greater than many could hope to be.
After barely stomaching the strike of 1981 Brian headed West but never forgot the Reds, and even despite being surrounded by Giants and A’s fans who tried to entice him with things both Green and Orange he found himself wondering what was up with Kal Daniels and was that kid from Moeller ever going to make us forget Davey.
A long time member of SABR and a baseball history junkie he currently lives in Portland and can be followed at @baseballminutia