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Topics - Ron Brand

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Talk Zone / It Makes A Fellow Proud To Be An Astro
« on: July 10, 2019, 08:42:51 pm »

Beer and Queso / Mott the Hoople US Tour
« on: January 22, 2019, 11:05:10 pm »
I know there are still a few here who hold great affection for Mott the Hoople. Despite the deaths of Overend Watts and Buffin, and the ill health of Mick Ralphs, Ian Hunter is joining with Verden Allen and Luther Grosvenor - Arial Bender - to reform the 1974 version of Mott for eight US dates and eight UK dates in April. The rest of the band will be filled out with Ian's magnificent Rant Band.

This will be the first US tour for Mott in 45 years, and very likely the last.

I don't know if I'll be successful, but I'm going to try for at least the Detroit and Cleveland shows. Maybe I'll be lucky enough to score photo credentials, I don't know. For those of you who are interested, general sales begin on Friday, January 25 at these links:

April 1 – Milwaukee, WI – Miller High Life Theatre (
April 2 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue (
April 3 –Chicago, IL – Chicago Theatre (
April 5 – Detroit, MI – The Fillmore (
April 6 – Cleveland, OH – Masonic (
April 8 – Glenside, PA – Keswick Theatre (
April 9 – Boston, MA – Orpheum Theatre (
April 10 – New York, NY – Beacon Theatre (

Talk Zone / Astroman Lives!
« on: October 19, 2018, 08:30:49 am »
Recently in The Athletic.

It was a baseball​ story that​ sounded too​ weird​ to​ be true.  Supposedly happened​ 40 years​ ago, yet​​ the evidence was scant. The tale included a 25-year-old man living in a tent for 10 days on top of one of the most famous sports venues in the world.

read more here:

Talk Zone / Pure gold.
« on: February 01, 2018, 09:41:55 pm »

Talk Zone / Opening Day 2017
« on: October 06, 2016, 05:56:06 pm »
I haven't heard from the Astros yet but it probably won't be long. I've run this thing about as long as I care to. Who'd like to take over for a while?

Beer and Queso / What did you do for summer vacation?
« on: July 21, 2016, 07:08:12 pm »
Well, there was this.


So far in the last month I’ve had two stage invasions, once in Bryan, Texas and again in Austin the following night:

In Bryan it was a random twerp who’d left a few bits behind from an open mic night and decided to stride across the stage in the middle of my set to pack up and ship out. I caught him on the stop in Semaphore Signals, grabbed him by his hippie t-shirt, asked him what the fuck he thought he was doing. Whatever it was he won’t be doing it again. I slapped his face - not hard but enough to make the point. I told him he was being disrepectful, pulled his glasses off his face and stuffed them down the front of his shirt. I poked him in the stomach and told him to fuck off. I thought I’d gone too far but it seems he’s universally loathed at the Revolution Cafe and I wasn’t the only one who thought he was being rude and intrusive. People have to learn.

At the Hole In The Wall in Austin a guy took it upon himself to jump on the stage and sing Whole Wide World. He wasn’t doing a bad job but Amy was about to come on and sing it with me so I got out of the way and Ron Brand (my right-hand man in Texas) escorted him off.

Joining Eric for a few songs every night – This is Eric’s tour and he asked me to come up and sing and play a few songs which is really sweet because since we’ve been together, a big part of our relationship has been playing music and even though it’s great to go out and do our own things again, performing together is special and romantic. The first night in Austin I’m waiting by the stage for my entrance in Whole Wide World and – wait, that very enthusiastic guy who’s been bopping and nodding his head intensely for the whole show is actually climbing onto the stage and striding straight up to the mic to sing the song as if he’s the special guest. Eric kindly deflects him and then our friend Ron Brand helps him off pretty quickly. At least I have my guitar so people don’t think I’m just one more in the queue to sing Whole Wide World.

Talk Zone / Two Opening Day Tickets Available
« on: April 11, 2016, 01:53:43 pm »
We've got two available, no charge. Who wants them?

Talk Zone / Opening Day 2016
« on: November 02, 2015, 09:42:27 pm »
I got the email from the Astros. Opening Day tickets are on sale to us.

On Monday, we begin selling Group Tickets for the 2016 season. As a renewal group, you have priority during the week of (November 2 – November 6). This is a great opportunity to secure the best seats at the lowest price possible. In the past, our early group buyers have saved up to 31% over traditional ticket buyers.

I'm sure we'll need at least 20 to qualify. Opening Day is Monday, April 11 vs. the Royals. Who's in?

Talk Zone / FTC
« on: October 13, 2015, 06:41:50 pm »
Sitting here in the Dart Bowl cafeteria, and the fucking Cubs are about to close out the Jakes. I have a few FTC fans in my life, and I'm not looking forward to their immature bullshit. It sucks to be counting on the Stem to slap them down.

Talk Zone / New skipper for Astros' arch rival
« on: October 09, 2015, 10:31:34 am »
Bogar expected to replace McClendon.

Beer and Queso / HBD, NT
« on: September 25, 2015, 10:50:27 am »
Happy birthday to NeilT!

Talk Zone / Astros Fan Forum 9/21
« on: September 14, 2015, 11:27:10 am »
I just got an invitation to participate in a small (10-15 fans) forum at Minute Maid where the discussion will center on how to improve the fan experience, and more specifically the experience acquiring tickets to sporting events and how we use our mobile devices. Assuming this isn't somehow bogus, and I actually do get to attend, I'd be interested in relating some comments from people here on the board. If you had this opportunity, what would you like to tell and ask the Front Office?

Talk Zone / Minnie Minoso gone
« on: March 01, 2015, 09:19:17 am »
One of my favorite players, the great Minnie Minoso, has died.

Beer and Queso / Jon Dee Graham
« on: March 01, 2015, 08:56:44 am »
Where the hell was I last night? At Jon Dee's birthday, dammit, and you shoulda been there too.

Some video.

Beer and Queso / Live Long and Prosper, Leonard Nimoy
« on: February 27, 2015, 12:02:26 pm »
I shall do neither.

As much a part of my childhood as anything else. I've had a triple whammy today, and this one has brought me down low.

Beer and Queso / Dec. 8
« on: December 08, 2014, 10:13:59 am »
Love is the answer, and you know that for sure.
Love is the flower, you gotta let it grow.

I'd been working the evening shift at the restaurant, got off around 11 or so and drove home. I'm sure I was listening to a tape in the car. Just a few days before, there had been news reports that he'd be touring to support the new album. Since I now had the means I had resolved that I'd do whatever it took to see one of those shows.

My wife woke me up in the morning and told me that I wouldn't be going to any of those concerts. I'd never been more numb, never been knocked down onto the floor into gray and black like that before. I didn't feel that way again until my father died. I still can't play that album. I never speak the name of that piece of shit responsible for it.

A few years ago, a much younger coworker told me that Michael Jackson's death was felt by more people than John Lennon's.

Beer and Queso / R.I.P. Ian McLagan
« on: December 03, 2014, 05:52:12 pm »
Face, Small Face and sometime Rolling Stone, we were fortunate to have him here in Austin for several years.

Beer and Queso / Looking in both directions
« on: December 02, 2014, 09:27:12 pm »
I've got a friend who is folding her tent, but before she puts it away she is leaving us this. It made me smile while I read it, and maybe you'll smile too.

Game Zone 2014 Archive / Good Guys in Flushing, 9/27/14
« on: September 27, 2014, 08:25:33 pm »
What? No one cares?

Game Zone 2014 Archive / Houston Astros @ sTem, 9/26/14
« on: September 27, 2014, 10:54:56 am »
Not interesting enough for a PBP, but NeilT has all the interesting developments.

Beer and Queso / Happy WFBD, Coach
« on: September 26, 2014, 08:48:46 am »
Happy birthday!

To NeilT, the Scourge of Seattle.

Talk Zone / Opening Day 2015
« on: September 16, 2014, 07:54:53 pm »
I just got the email and they're selling group tix for next season. The first game is Monday, April 6 against Cleveland. We'll need 20 at least. Who's in? Where do you want to sit and what's the price point that makes you drop out?

Beer and Queso / 13 Years Ago Today
« on: September 11, 2014, 05:32:22 pm »
In the wake of the terrorist attacks in 2001, the New Yorker's next issue published a special section of Talk of the Town featuring remembrances from John Updike, Jonathan Franzen, Denis Johnson, Roger Angell, Aharon Appelfeld, Rebecca Mead, Susan Sontag, Amitav Ghosh, and Donald Antrim. It's free for reading online.

Talk Zone / Astros @ A's Series Preview
« on: September 05, 2014, 08:56:52 pm »

Talk Zone / stRangers @ Astros Series Preview
« on: August 29, 2014, 12:13:25 pm »

Game Zone 2014 Archive / Rangers at Astros, 8/28/14
« on: August 28, 2014, 08:34:09 pm »
Wow. Marisnick looks like Richard Cera if he was a vampire kid in The Lost Boys.

Beer and Queso / Anybody notice some guy in Oregon got hitched?
« on: August 19, 2014, 09:08:16 pm »
Congratulations, OSF!

Talk Zone / Astros @ Red Sox Preview
« on: August 14, 2014, 11:11:21 pm »

Talk Zone / That's like, your opinion, man
« on: August 03, 2014, 12:21:09 pm »

Beer and Queso / let us all celebrate
« on: July 28, 2014, 08:18:27 pm »
Happy birthday, HH!

Talk Zone / The Battered Bastards of Baseball
« on: July 19, 2014, 04:12:10 pm »
Now on Netflix and it is the ridiculously enjoyable story of the independent Class A Portland Mavericks, owned by Bing Russell, Kurt Russell's dad. Jim Bouton played for them and it's great, you've got to see it.

Talk Zone / Moves
« on: June 30, 2014, 11:12:40 pm »
Villar to OKC, Bass activated, Williams DFA'd.

Talk Zone / Sea Turds @ Astros Preview
« on: June 30, 2014, 03:25:34 pm »

Talk Zone / Dodgers-Rockies
« on: June 18, 2014, 11:20:25 pm »
Pretty interesting game through six.

Talk Zone / Joe 'Shoes' Pittman, R.I.P.
« on: June 15, 2014, 11:39:59 am »
One of my favorite baseball nicknames, he's passed away at the age of 60.

Talk Zone / What You Can Do With Your Old Baseball Cards
« on: June 13, 2014, 08:43:59 am »
I don't know why this didn't occur to someone sooner, but it is a great idea that could grow in a lot of different ways.

We have worked with over 40 charities and agencies. We started out with children’s homes and they told us that they brought all the kids together and let them go through the cards. Many of these kids had been abused or had really rough lives, so something as normal as trading cards really helped them feel like kids again.

We have worked with Ronald McDonald House—we were told that they put the bags out so the kids who have to stay there can grab a bag and maybe take their mind off of their situation for a little while. We’ve worked with Big Brothers/Big Sisters—they gave the bags to the “bigs” and it helped them connect with the “littles.” We have given cards to little leagues, kids at conventions and worked with smaller agencies like Rainbows for Kids in St. Louis that takes kids with cancer out once a month for a party, Cardinals games, fishing, etc.

We recently received a story from a lady about how the cards we donated to her son helped him with being bullied at school. He was really shy and quiet and he took his cards to school to go through during recess. One of the kids that had been bullying him noticed the cards and actually started talking to him about them, he was a big card collector. They realized that had a lot in common and actually became friends.

This is not behind the paywall, so everyone can read it.

Talk Zone / Astros @ Twins Series Preview
« on: June 05, 2014, 06:11:38 pm »

Talk Zone / Hey, There's A New Baseball Book Out
« on: May 06, 2014, 01:46:16 pm »
Here's a brief conversation with the author about his latest, "The Fight of their Lives: How Juan Marichal and John Roseboro Turned Baseball’s Ugliest Brawl into a Story of Forgiveness and Redemption."

Beer and Queso / What did you do today?
« on: May 03, 2014, 09:03:17 pm »
I played an accordion that Joe Strummer played.

Talk Zone / Nats @ Astros Series Preview
« on: April 29, 2014, 07:42:11 pm »

Talk Zone / Harrell traded
« on: April 28, 2014, 05:38:21 pm »
To the D-Backs for cash or a PTBNL, per Tags.

Talk Zone / The Shift
« on: April 14, 2014, 03:34:20 pm »
Interesting article, unfortunately bereft of hard evidence, about the Astros' use of defensive shifts.

"I think it's natural and human nature when you turn around and you see a ball go through a spot where all your life you've seen an infielder there, you're going to feel like something's wrong," Luhnow said. "When you turn around and you see an infielder catch a ball where in the past it wouldn't have been a catch, you're happy, but you don't really give it the same amount of credit as you deduct credit for the one that goes through.

"It's human nature. We all do it. I just think it's part of it. We're going to have some players that are going to resist it, and we're just going to have work through it."

Game Zone 2014 Archive / Disneyland Angels vs Houston Astros, 4/6/14
« on: April 06, 2014, 02:36:23 pm »
2-run homer by Castro, plus solo shots by Dominguez and Guzman have put the Good Guys in front of Mickey's Boys by a 4-0 count in the top of the fifth.

Beer and Queso / Peter Matthiessen, dead at 86
« on: April 06, 2014, 11:32:03 am »
We've discussed him before, but truly another titan has fallen.

Talk Zone / LAAAAAAAAngels vs Astros
« on: April 04, 2014, 07:05:57 pm »

Game Zone 2014 Archive / Astros @Rainjuzz, 3/29/14
« on: March 29, 2014, 01:30:18 pm »
Guzman with a San Antonio HR in the first and Springer with another. 3-1 Astros early on.

Talk Zone / OPENING DAY 2014 - tickets, food, etc.
« on: March 27, 2014, 02:28:35 pm »
Our tickets will be waiting for me at Will Call, so you'll have to find me to get yours. I will not be able to mail your tickets to you.

The game is at 6:10pm. With the Fan Fest Whatever that will be going on, and the 70's Music Extravaganza Fireworks Phantasmagoria, I plan on standing around in front of the Union Station entrance at 4:30. Don't make me miss that exciting 'Carry On My Wayward Son' or 'Afternoon Delight' presentation, get there before 5:15, dammit. When 'Stayin' Alive' starts up I'm going in and you're on your own.

I'll probably have my Astros cap on, and my Jackie Robinson Day RedAss jersey on, so that should narrow me down to less than 100 possible dorks for you to sift through in your hunt. I still don't have a working model of antennae, so you'll have to imagine they're retracted.

For the more traditional members of the gang, the ones who will be meeting at Spanish Flower, let's be there by 1pm. Anyone brave enough to come to Alice's Tall Texan at noon, or am I savoring frosty goblets of Shiner Bock on my own?

I expect that many of the SF crew will decamp to the Flying Saucer for pregaming festivities, so if you miss the lunch that'll be the next stop on the tour.

Game Zone 2014 Archive / Jakes vs. Astros 3/23
« on: March 23, 2014, 01:04:31 pm »
Williams getting hammered today, six runs through three on nine hits, three home runs. 6-0 Cardinals through 3.

Beer and Queso / Happy Birthday, BudGirl!
« on: March 20, 2014, 10:38:41 am »
...and wishes for many more.

Beer and Queso / The Oscars
« on: March 02, 2014, 09:07:32 pm »
The Oscars are a big deal in my house. I've watched them without fail for almost 50 years.

Good lord, this is a horrible broadcast.

Talk Zone / Astros Individual Ticket Pre-Sale
« on: February 28, 2014, 08:02:19 am »
...goes live today at 10 a.m. CT. The pw is QUALLS.

Beer and Queso / Learn me something
« on: February 12, 2014, 04:59:58 pm »
This May, Mrs. Brand and I are celebrating 25 years of her putting up with my insanity. I am no Travel Maven, and we won't have the benefit of membership in some Magic Club that gets us Upgrades to the Pleasure Domes, but we will be flying the new BA service to London for a week or so. I've got a friend playing a show there and we'll go see him, and we plan on going to Liverpool to wander in some Beatle-y footsteps. I floated getting our picture taken walking across That Crosswalk but didn't get the enthusiasm I'd expected. The British Museum is someplace that we'll visit. Also in the works are a day trip to Paris, perhaps one to Edinburgh or Bruges. We'll be staying at what appears to be a cool pub/inn in Ealing.

We had a layover a few years ago and took one of those sightseeing bus tours, so we've whizzed by the Tower of London, been to Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square, etc. She and I favor getting to know what the locals do in their everyday lives, which is part of why we're basing ourselves in Ealing. I want the chip shop, curry takeaway, walk down the street and see what basic pieces of life in Blighty are different from our experiences type of thing but I am sure there are other ways of looking at this.

So - what should we absolutely not miss? What struck you world travellers as momentous?

Beer and Queso / All About The a Groove: a film about Doug Sahm
« on: January 20, 2014, 08:50:17 pm »
A friend of mine is involved in the production of this film about Doug Sahm. I got this email today and thought I'd open it up to everyone here, someone might be able to help out somewhere along the line. If you can, thanks a lot. If you can't, maybe you'll be interested enough to watch the movie when it gets released.

"To all friends of Doug Sahm

In case you haven’t heard, we’re putting together a film documentary
on Doug with the working title “All About The Groove.” Details are at

It’s a collaborative labor of love that will hopefully shine a light
on the Texas Tornado and stir up interest in the greatest individual
musician whose sounds tell the musical story of Texas, San Antonio,
San Francisco, and Austin. So we’ve formed a non-profit, the Society
for the Preservation of Texas Music, and started filming while
scouring archives for film and video footage, audio of Doug talking
and performing, and historic photographs that will help tell the

But in order to do Doug right and righteously, we need to secure
underwriting. One significant patron has come forward to make this
film happen. We need at least two more patrons, as well smaller
donations from friends and fans.

If you’re the groover we think you are, please pass along this email
to fellow DougHeads.

Please let them know we’re looking for archival audio and visuals, As
well as for underwriters who will help get this film to the screen.

And ask them to please spread the word about this project, it needs to
happen so we can honor Doug and preserve his memory!

(Feel free to contact me but the official contact person for the
project is Dawn Johnson at Arts and Labor: Dawn Johnson
<[email protected]>)"

Talk Zone / Vintage Media Guides
« on: January 19, 2014, 10:46:27 am »
The Detroit Tigers have placed several of their media guides online.

The Orioles, for their 60th Anniversary, have put all of theirs online. Pretty cool.

Talk Zone / Craig Biggio for HOF 2014
« on: January 02, 2014, 11:41:30 pm »

Talk Zone / SABR National Convention in Houston
« on: December 26, 2013, 12:19:14 pm »
44th annual convention at the Royal Sonesta July 30 - August 3.

Talk Zone / Q&A with Brent Strom
« on: December 05, 2013, 12:40:42 am »

Talk Zone / Fake Teams checks in
« on: November 18, 2013, 10:21:08 am »

Talk Zone / Astrodome auction
« on: October 25, 2013, 07:07:05 pm »
November 2 at Hall E of Reliant Center. Seats, AstroTurf, furnishings, concessions equipment and other Astrodome memorabilia will be offered.

Seats will be sold in pairs of two for $200 and sections of AstroTurf will be sold for $20. Customers will be limited to four pairs of seats and four sections of AstroTurf with special orders taken based on availability.

Everything will be sold as is and all sales will be final.

Doors at 8 am, auction at 9:30.

Beer and Queso / Philip Chevron is dead
« on: October 08, 2013, 09:46:33 am »
Of the Pogues and Radiators From Space, at 56 from cancer.

More here and here.

Talk Zone / Opening Day 2014
« on: September 20, 2013, 11:05:28 am »
I got a letter from the Astros about group tickets for 2014. There is a presale window through Thursday, October 3, and presale ticket prices are subject to change on the first of each following month starting November 1. They included a note that the presale window we're in now saved participants 17% over prices available during the season.

They did not include prices for Opening Day, they want us to call so I sent an email. They did include prices for the rest of the season, which will no doubt be cheaper than Opening Day. Just to give us a guess until I hear back, for the premium series (which includes the Yankees), the prices are:

Budweiser Patio, $70
Field Box I-III, $48
Field Box IV, $31
Bullpen Box, $29
Club Box I, $65
Club Box II, $49
Power Club, $45
Mezzanine, $22
All You Can Eat, $37
Terrace Deck, $24
View Deck I, $17
View Deck II, $14

The minimum order is 20 tickets. We have 12 days to make a decision. Who's in, and where would you like to sit?


Talk Zone / Sunday September 15 game
« on: September 05, 2013, 12:12:50 pm »
I'll be attending the game with Mike Tauser (Farmstros) and we have one extra ticket. The seats are in the front row of the Crawford Boxes. Would anyone like to go with us? The game is at 1:10, and the opponent is the Angels.

Talk Zone / Dave Parker
« on: August 06, 2013, 09:00:03 am »

Talk Zone / Astros @ Twins Series Preview
« on: August 02, 2013, 03:45:41 pm »

Beer and Queso / Happy Birthday Wishes
« on: July 28, 2013, 01:24:32 pm »
To that Gentleman About Town, HH!

Beer and Queso / Settle in and give this one a good read
« on: July 26, 2013, 07:09:38 am »

Talk Zone / For your next gifting occasion
« on: July 23, 2013, 08:58:11 pm »
If you're an old fucker like I am, or maybe you just know one, you could do much worse than this.

Talk Zone / A's @ Astros Series Preview
« on: July 22, 2013, 09:08:28 am »

Talk Zone / wheels turning
« on: July 21, 2013, 05:09:00 pm »
Pena and Cedeno DFA, Villar up.

Talk Zone / Seattle @ Houston preview posted
« on: July 19, 2013, 12:14:13 pm »

Talk Zone / Home Run Derby
« on: July 15, 2013, 07:21:51 pm »
I didn't know Chris Berman would be calling this one. Sigh.

Talk Zone / Astros @ Rays Series Preview Posted
« on: July 12, 2013, 05:12:32 pm »

Talk Zone / Very cool.
« on: July 11, 2013, 08:21:46 pm »
This is really cool, and it shows some of the power of social media. Not to mention how cool the Giants' front office seems to be.

Talk Zone / Farmstros is putting together a game group
« on: July 01, 2013, 08:49:02 am »

Talk Zone / Interesting alternate reality series
« on: July 01, 2013, 08:36:57 am »

Talk Zone / Astros legends gather for book signing Saturday
« on: June 27, 2013, 12:26:12 pm »
If you're in the neighborhood this Saturday, you might want to stop by the park and pick up Brownie's book. He'll be signing from 2-3pm, along with a few other folks - Bob Aspromonte, Art Howe, Alan Ashby, Enos Cabell and JR Richard. I really wish I could be there for that.

Talk Zone / Moving Day
« on: June 24, 2013, 05:48:35 pm »
Marwin to OKC, LeBlanc DFA'D.

Beer and Queso / RIP Bobby 'Blue' Bland
« on: June 23, 2013, 08:37:41 pm »
Dead at 83.

Beer and Queso / Paul Qui's interview in Texas Monthly
« on: June 20, 2013, 01:53:01 pm »
Pretty good stuff there.

JS: You’ve lived in both Houston and Austin. What’s the best food city in Texas?

PQ: Best food city in Texas. That’s a tough one man. But just because of the diversity, Houston. A couple of the most forward restaurants in Texas right now are in Houston. The Pass & Provisions, Oxheart, and Underbelly. It’s great what they’re doing with the food scene. And Houston has the best ethnic food. Indian, Middle Eastern, Korean, Vietnamese, Chinese, you name it. There are some okay Chinese restaurants in Austin, but there’s nothing great. When it comes down to it, Austin’s still a growing city and we don’t have that kind of food here yet. But as far as the restaurant scene goes, I like the vibe in Austin better.

Beer and Queso / RIP James Gandolfini
« on: June 19, 2013, 07:01:29 pm »

Beer and Queso / R.I.P., Deacon Jones
« on: June 04, 2013, 05:42:56 am »
One of my favorite players, and one of the most dominant players of all time. He was the last of the Fearsome Foursome.

Beer and Queso / Concert Vault
« on: June 03, 2013, 09:35:44 am »
I've used this thing for years - it's a pay service, although I think they have some type of limited free option - but as of today they've made a huge expansion. They've added something called 'Uncut' which is a massive dump of live shows with little information, from 1952 to 2000. I think it's about $40 a year or $4 a month if you want to pay, but just take a gander at what they added today. There's jazz, old blues, rock, folk, etc. I don't want to come off as an ad for this site, but it's a whole bunch of content that some folks here might enjoy.

Game Zone 2013 Archive / Athletics at Astros, May 26,, 2013.
« on: May 26, 2013, 01:52:45 pm »
Colon strikes out the first five batters and retires the first six. No score after two. I'm on the road, so no pbp from me.

Talk Zone / A's @ Astros Series Preview
« on: May 24, 2013, 01:33:23 pm »
It's up. Not much to make Eagle Scouts envious.

Beer and Queso / R.I.P. Ray Manzarek
« on: May 20, 2013, 06:23:09 pm »

Talk Zone / Astros @ Pirates Series Preview
« on: May 15, 2013, 11:33:35 pm »

Talk Zone / Humber DFA'd
« on: May 12, 2013, 10:38:41 am »
Finally. Edgar Gonzalez coming up.

Beer and Queso / Happy Mother's Day
« on: May 12, 2013, 09:31:30 am »
For all you mothers out there...

We're taking Mrs. Brand to see Iron Man 3 at the Drafthouse, possibly car-shopping, and then to Uchiko tonight. I hope everyone's plans turn out to be as good as I hope mine to be.

Talk Zone / BP Day at the ballpark
« on: May 04, 2013, 06:46:49 am »
I don't know who else is going, but I'll be at the Baseball Prospectus thingy at MMPUS Saturday the 11th. I'm not all that happy about seeing the Rangers again, but we're supposed to have a meet and greet with Jeff Luhnow as well as some of the stat guys, BP guys, and a 'special guest' or two.

I don't have any great questions prepared for this thing, but if you had a chance to ask something of these folks, what would you ask them? I'm not going to be a total jerk at this function, but I might slip and be a half-jerk, so please feel free and don't hold back in what questions you'd want answered.

Talk Zone / Informative Q&A with Lucas Harrell
« on: May 03, 2013, 10:50:41 am »

Talk Zone / Astros @ Boston series preview
« on: April 25, 2013, 02:52:17 pm »

Beer and Queso / Bob Mould at the Mohawk
« on: April 21, 2013, 12:48:52 am »
As referenced in the GameZone, that's where I was this evening. Damn, what a show. Pretty sure this was the setlist:

The Act We Act
A Good Idea
Hoover Dam
Star Machine
The Descent
Round the City Square
Steam of Hercules
Come Around
Your Favorite Thing
Could You Be The One?
I Apologize
Chartered Trips
Keep Believing

If I Can't Change Your Mind
Celebrated Summer

Encore 2:
Flip Your Wig
Hate Paper Doll
Makes No Sense At All

Started out hot and loud and just got hotter and louder. Bob was very happy and having a lot of fun on stage, prowling around in very much the same way he used to do and that was great to see. I'm so glad his setlists are full of songs that for the most part are more optimistic - for years his shows were songs of anger and pain and it's really nice to see him having a good time.

Beer and Queso / Jonathan Winters passes
« on: April 12, 2013, 12:37:33 pm »
Dead at 87.

I let out a "oh, no" when I read the news and told my officemate. His reply: "Should I know him?"

Talk Zone / A Blast From The Past
« on: April 05, 2013, 11:02:30 pm »

Talk Zone / 2012 OWA Awards
« on: April 02, 2013, 06:40:13 pm »
A few awards were bestowed at Spanish Flowers last Sunday, in celebration of Opening Day and the hard work of many here at SnS/OWA.

First off, just because she's BudGirl, we gave her an autographed Michael Bourn card.

In the spirit of the famed Derek Bell card that moves around as part of the RFTL winnings, we've started two new traditional awards.

The first, given to the Game Zone All-Star for the season, is an autographed J.A. Happ card. The only poster we could have possibly given it to was, of course, Mr. Happy.

The second, given to the All-Star Recapper, is an autographed Bill Hall card. Hopefully he doesn't have this one locked up for life, but it's possible because it went to the esteemed NeilT.

Congratulations to everyone, and if you didn't get yours at the restaurant it'll be finding its way to you via mail soon!

Talk Zone / Opening Day
« on: March 31, 2013, 11:54:36 am »
I made it to the Tall Texan. Woo-hoo!

Talk Zone / Opening Series Preview
« on: March 30, 2013, 11:19:21 am »

Beer and Queso / The Only Band That Matters
« on: March 29, 2013, 09:09:09 pm »
I'm sure you're interested in hearing the separate elements of several Clash songs, isolated - vocals, guitar, bass and drums for Safe European Home, Rock the Casbah, Train in Vain, I Fought The Law, Complete Control and London Calling. If only there were such a place to find those breakdowns.

If only.

Beer and Queso / BG!
« on: March 20, 2013, 07:34:20 am »
Happy birthday, BudGirl!

Talk Zone / How a $5 seat became a $16 seat
« on: March 05, 2013, 12:13:31 pm »
Farmstros has the tale.

Talk Zone / Early stab at the roster
« on: March 04, 2013, 08:36:22 am »
Bailey at the Chron took a stab at the roster and he's probably pretty close:

March 4 roster projection. Of course, this could change before the end of the day and certainly before the end of this week:

Catcher: Jason Castro, Carlos Corporan.
Infield: Wallace, Jose Altuve, Greene, Gonzalez, Dominguez, Nate Freiman.
Outfield: Ankiel, Carter, Maxwell, Fernando Martinez, Grossman/Barnes.
Rotation: Norris, Harrell, Humber, Bedard, White.
Bullpen: Veras, Wright, Cedeno, Rhiner Cruz, Josh Fields, Chuckie Fick, Paul Clemens.

Grossman is definitely turning some heads. He's 6 for 13 so far.
Porter added: ““He’’s just a baseball player. It doesn’’t matter where you put him in the lineup, he just finds a way to make things happen.”

Talk Zone / The Sad Tale of Daddy Wags
« on: March 02, 2013, 09:41:22 am »
Man, I wondered what happened to him.

Talk Zone / BP Day at MMPUS
« on: February 22, 2013, 08:50:56 am »
Saturday, May 11. For $41, you get:

    Admittance to a private "meet and greet" with special guests and Baseball Prospectus personalities 90 minutes prior to game time
    A question and answer session with members of the Houston Astros front office including former BP managing partner Kevin Goldstein
    Field Box II ticket to watch the Astros take on the rival Texas Rangers with Baseball Prospectus fans and staff
    A $15 coupon to be used toward a new Baseball Prospectus Premium subscription or your next Premium renewal

Anybody interested in this?

Talk Zone / Baseball Wallpaper
« on: February 13, 2013, 07:33:37 pm »
There's some fine wallpaper here but I'm especially impressed with this one.

Talk Zone / 2013 Games now on KBME 790 AM
« on: February 05, 2013, 12:20:50 pm »
From what I saw, this is a 5000 watt channel, 1/10th of KTRH's signal strength.

I guess that makes a lot of sense.

Beer and Queso / That's Real Talk
« on: February 05, 2013, 09:34:21 am »
Fuck you, you cocksucking piece of shit. That's real talk.

"The game is a safe game, the equipment is better," Sanders said on the NFL Network set. "I don't buy all these guys coming back with these concussions. I'm not buying all that. Half these guys are trying to make money off the deal. That's real talk. That's really how it is. I wish they'd be honest and tell the truth because it's keeping kids away from our game."

News flash, I know, but Deion Sanders is a goddamned idiot. And no, he wouldn't have any concussion-related issues because he never tackled anyone that I saw.

Beer and Queso / Finally.
« on: February 04, 2013, 08:10:38 pm »
New season of Top Gear starts tonight.

Beer and Queso / Joe Strummer Radio
« on: February 01, 2013, 11:29:16 am »
Eight episodes from the BBC from 1998.

The Only Radio That Matters.

Talk Zone / Two weeks
« on: January 28, 2013, 08:45:51 am »
...until pitchers and catchers report.

Beer and Queso / Happy birthday, Sphinx!
« on: January 26, 2013, 04:07:43 pm »
Eternal salvation or triple your money back.

Talk Zone / Gloves 4 Troops
« on: January 21, 2013, 10:53:35 am »
A Cardinals minor leaguer is trying to get 1000 gloves donated to US troops around the world. Go here and help out.

Talk Zone / Stan the Man
« on: January 19, 2013, 06:50:46 pm »
Footer just tweeted that Stan Musial has died. He was 92.

Talk Zone / John Bateman 1967/68 in Austin Tuesday
« on: January 12, 2013, 06:49:06 pm »
Those who follow "John Bateman" on Twitter might be interested to know that he'll be doing a bit at the Hyde Park Theatre Tuesday night.

Beer and Queso / Happy new year!
« on: December 31, 2012, 10:28:06 pm »
We're sitting here, watching concert videos and snacking away. U2's 360 tour will be taking us to 2013. I hope it's a great year for all of you.

Beer and Queso / 2013 Music Thread
« on: December 26, 2012, 08:22:03 pm »
Hell yeah I'll kick it off. Jack Oblivian and the Tennessee Tearjerkers at Hotel Vegas in Austin, January 18. Be there or be L-fuckin-7, dammit.

Talk Zone / So.
« on: December 21, 2012, 11:00:19 am »
Just ducked around the corner to see if it was raining. Did I miss anything?

Talk Zone / Race For The Lid Scavenger Hunt
« on: October 28, 2012, 08:29:56 pm »
Remember, the deadline to get your entry in is 10 PM Tuesday night, October 30. More here.

Talk Zone / Hunter Pence in a Chanel No. 5 Ad
« on: October 26, 2012, 09:25:08 am »

Talk Zone / RACE FOR THE LID XIV isn't over yet!
« on: October 23, 2012, 09:34:12 am »
As you know, BudGirl is the Keeper of the Rules regarding the Race For The Lid.

From the original post:


Contest Rules:

1. Whatever the rules are, BudGirl (your RFTL judge and jury for 2012) can change them any time for any reason, including whim. The purpose of this rule is not to promote chaos, but to preempt wailing, moaning, whining, and griping. Particularly griping.

9. If there is no correct pick BudGirl and Ron Brand will find a winner by a method of their choosing.

This season, she has decided to factor in a Scavenger Hunt that will help her award the prize. We're posting 25 questions, culled from the Series Previews and Recaps, and the entrant with the most correct answers will be the winner of this phase of the competition, and maybe the RFTL overall.

The deadline for submitting your answers to these questions is 10pm Central time on Tuesday, October 30. Submit your answers by PM to either BudGirl or Ron Brand. The earliest entry with the most correct answers by the deadline wins this phase of the competition. Time stamps will be used to break ties.


Beer and Queso / Happy birthday, ETA!
« on: October 19, 2012, 05:43:07 am »
Hope it's a great one!

Talk Zone / Our Long Nightmare Is Over!
« on: October 04, 2012, 07:17:26 pm »
Tags tweet: "The Astros announced contracts of radio broadcasters Brett Dolan and Dave Raymond will not be renewed."

Talk Zone / Thank You
« on: October 04, 2012, 10:01:04 am »
I just wanted to take a moment and say thank you to the incredible group of talented diehards who pitched in, picked up the slack, and started us all on a new path this season. The hardy gang who fished around in the murky toilet day after day, snatching the wriggling mud shark and holding it aloft for all of us to marvel at - the Recappers: Andyzipp, Noe, BudGirl, Reuben, Sphinx Drummond, Mr. Happy and NeilT.

Well-deserved thanks to those special artisans who guided us through the last National League season with their bold and wondrous teases for the future, some by great SnS All-Stars and Hall of Famers who will not be with us as one curtain falls and another rises - the Previewers: Craig, Jane Doe, GreatBagwellsBeard, Ebby Calvin, Dark Star, NoeInAustin, MRaup, Foghorn, Limey and JimR.

Thank you so much to each and every one of you. It has been an honor to read your work and follow your viewpoints during 2012.

Talk Zone / JD expected to return in 2013
« on: October 03, 2012, 11:58:45 am »
As per this article in the Chron.

CSN Houston officials have not commented on Astros plans for 2013, but game analyst Jim Deshaies is expected to return, and studio analyst Steve Sparks could join the network. Play-by-play voice Bill Brown said he is uncertain of his plans for 2013.

Beer and Queso / On writing
« on: October 03, 2012, 10:39:13 am »
I'm often fascinated with the peek behind the curtain. Here is a recounting of Theodore Sturgeon's writer's block in 1955, about which he wrote a letter to Robert Heinlein. The reply he received is amazing.

Talk Zone / A Stroll Down Astros Memory Lane
« on: October 01, 2012, 06:29:24 pm »
I saw this on Hardball Times today. Not bad.

Game Zone 2012 Archive / Astros @ Brewers 9/30/12
« on: September 30, 2012, 02:43:51 pm »
Adios, mofos, after today. Just got here from feline transport and its 5-0 Good Guys in the top of the sixth. Lowrie and Dominguez both hit homers.

Talk Zone / Astros at Brewers Series Preview posted
« on: September 27, 2012, 04:11:53 pm »

Beer and Queso / Thinking of HH
« on: September 25, 2012, 06:31:16 pm »
I'm a grown man, and this is a nice, sit-down restaurant. I don't need a goddamn straw for my iced tea.

Beer and Queso / Happy birthday, NeilT
« on: September 25, 2012, 12:29:15 pm »
Hope there are many, many more!

Jed Lowrie SS
Scott Moore RF
Brett Wallace 1B
Justin Maxwell CF
Fernando Martinez LF
Matt Dominguez 3B
Jason Castro C
Marwin Gonzalez 2B
Fernando Abad P

Jon Jay CF
Carlos Beltran RF
Matt Holliday LF
Allen Craig 1B
Yadier Molina C
David Freese 3B
Daniel Descalso 2B
Pete Kozma SS
Lance Lynn P

Talk Zone / Shock Waves. All Trembly Up In Here.
« on: September 20, 2012, 04:05:29 pm »
Astros Announcer Bill Brown celebrates 65th birthday, contemplates 2013 uncertainties

Comcast officials – and team officials, for that matter — have had limited conversation or contact, if that, with the current Astros TV crew of Brown, Jim Deshaies, Greg Lucas, Bart Enis and Patti Smith as the season has progressed toward its end, and Brown said he is at least contemplating the possibility that his role may change next season.

“I need some time to think after the season,” he said. “It’s hard to say right now. People are telling me ‘you would not be happy’ (without calling games), and I get that. I think there’s a lot of truth to that."

Looks like the matinee lineup gets to face Halladay today.

Jimmy Rollins SS
Juan Pierre CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Carlos Ruiz C
John Mayberry CF
Domonic Brown RF
Michael Martinez 3B
Roy Halladay P

Jose Altuve 2B
Scott Moore 1B
Fernando Martinez RF
Justin Maxwell CF
Matt Dominguez 3B
Carlos Corporan C
J.D. Martinez LF
Tyler Greene SS
Jordan Lyles P

Game Zone 2012 Archive / Phillies @ Astros 9/14/12
« on: September 14, 2012, 07:31:41 pm »
Bad top of the first, Gonzalez gives up a home run to lead off, then walks, hits, stolen bases, etc. make it 4-0. Astros batting now.

Talk Zone / Say Goodnight, Gracie; Phillies at Astros Series Preview
« on: September 13, 2012, 11:39:20 am »

Talk Zone / An Ode to the Astros' Jerseys
« on: September 10, 2012, 05:04:49 am »

Game Zone 2012 Archive / Astros @ Reds, 9/9/12; Adiós, Ciudad de las Reinas
« on: September 09, 2012, 11:17:04 am »
Houston at Cincinnati
12:10 PM CT

2B Jimmy Paredes
RF Brian Bogusevic
1B Brett Wallace
LF Fernando Martinez
3B Matt Dominguez
C Carlos Corporan
CF Jordan Schafer
SS Tyler Greene
P Edgar Gonzalez  (1-0, 1.69)

2B Brandon Phillips 
SS Didi Gregorius 
1B Joey Votto 
RF Jay Bruce 
3B Todd Frazier 
LF Xavier Paul 
CF Drew Stubbs 
C Ryan Hanigan 
P Johnny Cueto  (17-7, 2.58)

Running out the Top Lineup today for sure.

Game Zone 2012 Archive / Astros @Pirates, 9/5/12
« on: September 05, 2012, 06:36:36 pm »
1. J. Altuve, 2B
2. J. Paredes, RF
3. B. Wallace, 1B
4. J. Martinez, LF
5. B. Bogusevic, CF
6. S. Moore, 3B   
7. C. Corporan, C
8. T. Greene, SS   
9. F. Abad, P

1. B. Holt, 2B
2. C. Barmes, SS
3. A. McCutchen, CF
4. G. Jones, RF
5. G. Sanchez, 1B
6. P. Alvarez, 3B   
7. R. Barajas, C
8. A. Presley, LF   
9. K. Correia, P

Beer and Queso / Glorious Mack Sennett tribute on TCM Thursdays in September
« on: September 04, 2012, 06:54:57 pm »
First, the promo on YouTube

Then, Leonard Maltin's excellent introduction, and why you should watch this stuff.

My TiVos are going to be full.

Beer and Queso / Texas vs Wyoming
« on: September 01, 2012, 07:55:45 pm »
When they invent a time machine, I'm not going back to kill Hitler or watch Babe Ruth play, or get back with an old girlfriend. I'm going to shoot that fucker who invented diving at the ball carrier with your arms crossed, trying to knock him down instead of tackling him.

Then I'm taking an old girlfriend to watch Babe Ruth play.

Talk Zone / Francisco traded
« on: August 31, 2012, 08:25:38 pm »
Sent to the Rays for a PTBNL.

Game Zone 2012 Archive / Astros @ steM, 8/26/12
« on: August 26, 2012, 10:48:17 am »
For the last time in Shitti Citi Field as an NL team. Your lineups for today's game:

Astros @ steM, 8/26/12

Good Guys

B. Barnes cf   
M. Gonzalez 2b   
B. Wallace 1b
B. Francisco rf
S. Moore 3b   
T. Greene ss   
C. Snyder c   
F. Martinez lf   
L. Harrell p

Godless Preening Jackals

A. Torres cf
D. Murphy 2b
D. Wright 3b
I. Davis 1b
L. Duda lf   
R. Tejada ss
M. Baxter rf
K. Shoppach c
J. Hefner p

Beer and Queso / August 16
« on: August 16, 2012, 10:00:42 pm »
It's a memorable day for me. Not only did I get married to the initial Mrs. Brand on that day, but it was also the day Elvis died. It made it that much easier to remember my anniversary, for the short time that lasted.

I was fortunate enough to see Elvis' last show in Austin a few months before he died. Even shook the King's hand.

Beer and Queso / Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Red Rocks, 8/6/12
« on: August 10, 2012, 05:11:45 pm »
I'd never been to Red Rocks, but I'd heard that it was the most beautiful and perfect place to see a show in the US. We flew in earlier that day, moseyed around Boulder in the rented Mustang with no particular direction or aim, and then got to Red Rocks early enough to be in the Upper North parking lot. This was a good thing, I learned, because a) it's a tad more elevated than Austin is and I'd only had a few hours to acclimate my markedly out-of-shape self and b) there are a lot of steps.

A lot. Of steps. Which is. What my breathing. Was like. By the. Time. We. Got. To. The.





Once in, however, it really was spectacular. Beautiful mountain setting, Denver in the distance, a cool breeze coming off the mountain behind us. Extraordinary, a perfect natural ampitheater. My thought after we took our seats was that it was like the old Austin Backyard on steroids, roughly three times larger but supremely pretty and probably a joy to play in.

I discussed Alabama Shakes briefly in the GZ. I really don't care for their weak repetitive blech, thank you very much. They had quite a few fans in the audience though. Philistines starved for what passes as good R&B these days, I guess.

The set wasn't dressed in the usual Crazy Horse weirdness. No candles, banners, etc., just a large cigar store Indian by Neil's amps and a pirate flag on top of Ralph Molina's drum kit. They strolled on stage a little after 9 and fired off with Love and Only Love, telling us that only love can conquer the hatred in the world. Following this with Powderfinger sent a distinct message about the oppression of hate and the only lasting antidote.

Shelter me from the powder and the finger
Cover me with the thought that pulled the trigger

Strong stuff, what you'd expect from Neil Young. Truly a remarkable artist, and they were absolutely kicking ass, no easing into it or misfires along the way. I can't believe he's 66, and part of why I really wanted to be at this show was because I don't know how much longer he can bring it like this. He was spry, leaping around, playing that unmistakable style exactly how you'd want to see and hear it being done. It could've been 1976, 1986, 2002, didn't matter, the Horse was in full gallop.

A new song followed, Born in Ontario. As poppy as CH will ever get, this was a nice little departure that was the first hint of what this show and tour was going to be about.

I still like to sing a happy song
But once in a while, when things go wrong
I pick up a pen, Scribble on a page
Try to make sense of my inner rage

It's reflective, not only of his current state of mind, not only of his beginnings in Canada, but also of his career, dreams and accomplishments. It's not all happy though, not by a long shot and that is part of what the next new song, Walk Like A Giant brought us.

I used to walk like a giant on the land
Now I feel like a leaf floating in a stream

Me and some of my friends
We were gonna save the world
We were trying to make it better
We were ready to save the world
But then the weather changed
And the white guards came (?)
And it fell apart
It breaks my heart
to think how close we came
I used to walk like a giant on the land
I used to walk like a giant on the land

This is a lot more personal than I'm used to hearing him be, and the fact that he's looking back on his deeds with some sort of finality left me thinking that he was feeling his mortality. The chorus of "I want to walk like a giant once again" made me sad for his feeling that he is somehow less than he was even as he was ripping off cataclysmic lead runs on Old Black. This was an epic song, definitely a new classic, and it's over 20 minutes long - the last eight or so minutes done in that classic Crazy Horse weird mix of feedback, rough jamming, and the approximation of giant footsteps. This was tedious after the first four minutes or so but it's Neil Young. He really follows his own path and he's happy you're following it too, but he's leading you and forgetting that might leave you disappointed or confused.

Continuing the theme, Crazy Horse took a break and Neil strapped on the acoustic for The Needle and The Damage Done. Three more new songs followed. Twisted Road reflected on the first time he heard Like A Rolling Stone and how some of the music of the past affected him. For The Love Of Man brought everyone back on stage for a tender revelation about youth and growth, which segued thematically into another stellar new song, Ramada Inn.

This is a somber exploration of a marriage that has lost its way through time, alcohol and haze. It's beautiful and haunting. Truly a great, great song.

Seems like lately things are changing
Seems like lately things are going south
A few drinks now and she hardly knows him
He just looks around, shuts down
And when she says it's time to do something
Maybe talk to his old friends, who gave it up
He just pours himself another tall one
Closes his eyes, says, "That's enough"

After these incredible songs, this fantastic emotional ride they've taken us on, there was a brief pause for everyone to gather themselves a little bit before continuing. Billy, Ponch and Neil stood center stage, ruffling a bit, and then the raw tidal wave of Cinnamon Girl blew us all back in our seats. This was a real stomper, to be followed up by Fuckin' Up like a cannonball in the stomach, the finest power and grunge that Crazy Horse can muster all in one big fireball. Neil was clearly enjoying himself, lurching around the way he does, with a big smile on his face. This was a needed breath after the seriousness of the first part of the show.

Another new one, Psychedelic Pill followed, and then the surprise of Mr. Soul, then the grinding gears of My My, Hey Hey (Into the Black) to end the set. After a short break they came back and played the only number from Americana, Jesus' Chariot. This was as great as I'd hoped it would be, a real freight train carrying the folk tune along into the 21st century. The last encore was Roll Another Number, a great way to send the crowd off into the night.

This was a fantastic show, certainly one of the best I've ever been to and not only did it hit the notes I wanted, it gave us what must surely be the new CH album, probably in its entirety. It's due in October and I can't wait, it's going to be an instant classic.

1. Love And Only Love
2. Powderfinger
3. Born In Ontario
4. Walk Like A Giant
5. The Needle And The Damage Done
6. Twisted Road
7. For The Love Of Man
8. Ramada Inn
9. Cinnamon Girl
10. Fuckin' Up
11. Psychedelic Pill
12. Mr. Soul
13. Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)
14. Jesus' Chariot
15. Roll Another Number

YouTube links for almost every song:

Love and Only Love (part) / Powderfinger (part)

Born in Ontario (new)

Walk Like a Giant (partial) (new) (also part of Ontario)

The Needle and the Damage Done

Twisted Road (new)

For The Love Of Man (new)

Ramada Inn (new)

Cinnamon Girl

Fuckin' Up

Psychedelic Pill (new) (also Mr. Soul)

Mr. Soul

My My, Hey Hey (Into the Black)

Jesus' Chariot

Roll Another Number For The Road

You can also download the audio here:

Talk Zone / Carlos Lee - More Than A Rental?
« on: August 10, 2012, 08:55:55 am »
According to the Miami Herald.

"There’s an outside chance Carlos Lee could turn out to be more than just a second-half “rental” for the Marlins. Lee is not only happy with the Marlins, but a source said his agent has spoken to the team about a possible return. “I like this team,” Lee said. “I don’t know what their plans are, but I like it here.”

The 36-year-old first baseman is set to become a free agent after the season, and the Marlins are giving strong consideration to moving Logan Morrison to first base. But Lee has produced exactly as the Marlins envisioned when they acquired him in a July 4 trade with Houston. Since joining the Marlins, Lee has hit .469 (15 for 32) with runners in scoring position. His 22 RBI since the All-Star break is the fourth-highest total in the National League. “It’s a lot more fun when you’ve got opportunities like you’ve got here,” Lee said. “It’s exciting to have guys in front of you, getting on base, stealing bases and creating opportunities.”

Beer and Queso / Happy birthday, Zipp
« on: August 07, 2012, 10:54:38 am »

No sharing necessary.

Talk Zone / The Mythical Front Page
« on: August 04, 2012, 08:04:41 am »
You really should make it a point to stop by the Mythical Front Page, the recaps have been sparkling every day.

Talk Zone / Two Tickets Available for August 10
« on: August 02, 2012, 09:03:32 am »
I've got two tickets to the Friday, August 10 game against the Brewers. I can't go to the game, so my loss is...well, I don't know if it is a gain really, but sometimes you have to make your own way in the world. The seats are in Section 152, Row 5, Seats 16 - 17. That's right field, sorta by the corner.

It's a Flashback Friday, and they'll be giving away the 1990's Blue and Gold jerseys as well as wearing them on the field. Baggy will also throw out the first pitch.

If anyone wants these tickets, shoot me a PM.

Beer and Queso / 46 years ago today
« on: August 01, 2012, 02:57:45 pm »
August 1, 1966.

I was at my dad's gas station playing around when the reports came on the radio. I remember everyone crowding around and listening to what was going on twelve blocks away. I don't think anyone had ever experienced anything quite like that in civil life before, and we had no idea how it was going to change history.

My uncle was in Wooten Barber Shop when a bullet came through the door. I think the Life Magazine cover was taken through that door.

The South Mall and Guadalupe were crowded with people who had gone home and brought back rifles to try and stop him. He could accurately shoot at least as far south as where Dobie Mall is today.

The Tower was closed a few years after that due to the number of suicides. In 1997, before it was reopened with the canopy, I got to go up to the observation deck. You can see how impossible it would have been to get to him from the air or the ground. The walkway is narrow, with a steep concrete wall more than a foot thick. The drain holes he fired from are maybe 3" wide and a foot high.

Walking around up there is extraordinarily creepy. The patching of the clock tower wall doesn't match the weathering of the surface, even after all these years. The covered bullet holes are easy to see on the south face.

The Austin American-Statesman has some PDFs and photos that are interesting.

This was the headline the next day.

The nightly news.

This blog has a lot of video that hadn't been seen in decades.

14 dead while on the Tower, 32 wounded. Two more killed the night before the rampage.

Talk Zone / I guess the wind is blowing out
« on: July 27, 2012, 02:53:06 pm »
It's the top of the fifth in Chicago, and the Cards have hit home runs in every inning. It's 8-6 St. Louis now.

Fuck the Cubs.

Talk Zone / Here's your chance
« on: July 27, 2012, 01:08:28 pm »
Friday, the team will announce plans for a promotion titled “It’s Your Call,” by which fans can audition for a full-time job as roving reporter for the Astros’ radio network.

“We want to convince people to enjoy the journey with us,” Postolos said. “We’re taking steps each day to move this forward, and we appreciate the support we have.”

Talk Zone / Trade w/Jays
« on: July 20, 2012, 09:55:40 am »
Houston sends Lyon, Happ and Carpenter to Toronto for Francisco Cordero, Ben Francisco, Asher Wojciechowski, Joe Musgrove, David Rollins and Carlos Perez, per Levine tweet.

Beer and Queso / Rest in peace, Jon Lord
« on: July 16, 2012, 03:38:38 pm »
Dead at 71 from complications related to pancreatic cancer.

I loved Deep Purple. They were one of the most brilliant and technically proficient bands of that golden era of music, and Jon Lord was truly gifted with the ability to bridge classical music and rock.

BBC article

also from the Guardian

Talk Zone / Corporan up
« on: July 15, 2012, 12:08:08 pm »
From AAA and in the lineup today, per Levine.

Beer and Queso / Rest in peace, Perry
« on: July 12, 2012, 02:51:21 pm »
Perry Baggs has died.

I last saw him at the Scorchers reunion in 2007. I've never been to anything else like that show, a full shower of love for him and a celebration beyond what any of us had expected. He was expected to play only a few songs that night, but despite his crippling illness he burned hard for the whole show, refusing to submit to illness or fatigue or any other corporeal trick.

I know there had been hope for years of a transplant, but I guess that just wasn't to be.

Talk Zone / Astros @ Giants Preview
« on: July 12, 2012, 12:27:48 pm »

Beer and Queso / Nora Ephron, RIP.
« on: June 26, 2012, 09:27:24 pm »

Talk Zone / Wilton Lopez to DL, Abad called up
« on: June 15, 2012, 04:21:11 pm »
per McTaggart

Beer and Queso / 1978 Music Thread
« on: June 12, 2012, 07:26:33 pm »

Talk Zone / Schafer's futility
« on: June 09, 2012, 10:55:09 am »

Beer and Queso / 68th Anniversary of D-Day
« on: June 06, 2012, 01:52:32 pm »
Color pictures from Life Magazine.

Beer and Queso / Ray Bradbury, RIP
« on: June 06, 2012, 10:18:46 am »
A true giant. He was 91.

Talk Zone / RIP, Pedro Borbon
« on: June 04, 2012, 11:46:40 pm »

Almost completely out of the limelight, this is really cool if you're a space geek like me.

I'm trying. Really, I'm trying very hard to recognize that I tend to view every breath DoRay draws as another bullet in the Arsenal of Evil, and as such I may be a little more kneejerk that I'd like to be. Regardless, DoRay has now crossed over and has started a blog, flogged by Footer. I won't post the link, but you can find it easily enough.

In the first post, DoRay (it is just one head of the Hydra, but it's still DoRay to me) attempts to draw a comparison between Dickens' Great Expectations and Your Local Nine. A little while in, he fires off this yes-I'll-take-it-all-the-way-in-my-throat-is-this-deep-enough-for-you passage:

Coming off a calamitous season in which they dropped a franchise-record 106 games, the Astros had lost their way.  They needed help.  They needed someone who could see the good lurking underneath all the bad.

Enter Jim Crane, Jeff Luhnow and whole lot of new leadership at Union Station.  Crane gives Astros fans a voice; he listens instead of spinning.  Luhnow brings thoughtfulness and creativity to the baseball side.  The message from every source of leadership is clear: success follows attitude.  Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise that this young team “…has great expectations.”

Look at the boys now: young, promising and getting better by the day.  Off a sweep of the Chicago Cubs, the Astros are 21-23 as they hit the road for Los Angeles — where the Dodgers are the only National League team with more home wins than the local nine.

I've been guilty of cheerleading a bit more than I'm normally comfortable with this season, for a variety of reasons. Despite that discomfort, I am enjoying watching this team and I do think they're better than they were last year, and that the team is headed in a better direction.

Grosse Pointe, I need your help. I support this team and never waver in my distrust of ownership and The Lords, sort of grumbling while I enjoy the crumbs of bread at the circus because I love the Big Top so. I rationalize the dichotomy by cementing the ownership, etc. as something that is a constant and will never change, so it is removed as a reason for a Larger Scorn because there is no such thing as a Truly Benevolent Owner. This frees me to enjoy the product, as it were, which leads me cheerleading, if there is some disturbance going on. Like losing 106 games, changing leagues and half the roster of SnS running for the greener pastures of the rest of their lives.

So, then. Am I wrong to ridicule this ghastly foray from DoRay? How dark are the clouds, really? Is that rain, or is it the reflection of the sun through the moisture in the air?

I'm so damn deep in the forest all I see are trees.

Talk Zone / FTC @ Astros preview posted.
« on: May 21, 2012, 05:42:37 pm »

Talk Zone / Swan Song for Big Puma?
« on: May 20, 2012, 11:09:22 pm »
Docs think he tore his ACL.

Berkman’s season appears increasingly in doubt as he seeks a magnetic resonance imaging today. Saturday night’s initial diagnosis suggested he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, which would effectively end his season if confirmed today.

Talk Zone / They've found our Thunder Pants
« on: May 13, 2012, 10:56:57 am »
Manuel uncertain as to what will help Pence

"Hunter chases bad balls at times. He's different from any hitter I've ever had. We don't want to confuse him. We don't want him to get out of synch with his thinking. The way he approaches hitting, he will always swing at some balls out of the strike zone.

"Now, what we do about it, I don't know. You wouldn't call him a disciplined hitter. He's unorthodox. He's the kind of guy who, if he sees it and thinks he can hit it, he swings at it. Right now you've got to kind of accept that and hope he gets good balls to hit."

Pence leads the Phillies in homers (seven) but is also hitting 42 points under his career .292 average at the beginning of the season. In his last five games he's 2-for-21 (.095), but Manuel is inclined to let him find his own way, pointing out that some of the best hitters in history had less-than-classic swings.

"The old saying is, if it's not broke, don't fix it. That's kind of how I look at Hunter," he added. "My job is to get the most out of him and the best thing we can do, I don't know. I've never had a hitter like him. I don't know how to talk about him, to tell you the truth. He's different from any hitter I've ever talked to. I don't want to send him a bad message, that we don't like the way he hits."

I think they should find a really good trainer of Cocker Spaniels, for starters.

Talk Zone / Astros @Pirates preview posted
« on: May 12, 2012, 06:25:47 pm »

Game Zone 2012 Archive / Astros @ Queen City 'Chili' Gobblers
« on: April 29, 2012, 11:55:30 am »
Astros (8-13)

J. Schafer cf
J. Altuve 2b
J. Lowrie ss
J.D. Martinez lf
T. Buck rf
M. Downs 1b
C. Johnson 3b
J. Castro c
J. Lyles p

Queen City 'Chili' Gobblers (10-11)

D. Stubbs cf
Z. Cozart ss
J. Votto 1b
B. Phillips 2b
J. Bruce rf
R. Ludwick lf
T. Frazier 3b
R. Hanigan c
M. Latos p

Beer and Queso / Good night, Sam Wo's
« on: April 20, 2012, 04:10:15 pm »

Talk Zone / Astros at Nats preview posted
« on: April 16, 2012, 11:11:32 am »

Talk Zone / Marlins Stadium
« on: April 14, 2012, 08:57:45 am »
There's a good article in last week's New Yorker about the Marlins, their new manager and their new stadium. It's well worth the read and gives a little illumination behind some of their choices.

“You walk into that ballpark and see it, you’re going to say, ‘Oh, my goodness,’ ” he said, and began describing a towering mechanized sculpture by the Pop-art all-star Red Grooms that had been built to enliven the outfield backdrop. “It’s only going to be activated when somebody hits a home run on our team. There are two marlins that spin around. One dives into the water while the other’s exiting the water—a great splash of water. Another marlin goes straight up to the top of the sculpture and spins. There are flamingos that flap their wings. There’s an L.E.D. light show. There’s music. There’s a pair of doves that fly in opposite directions. There’s—what’s the word?—a cacophony of things going on.” He didn’t mention the tropical aquariums that have been installed behind home plate, or the outpost of a South Beach hotel lounge, the Clevelander, under construction next to the bullpen in left field. Who could have predicted that the man often blamed for killing the Expos would prove to be the second coming of Bill Veeck?
“I think it’s important for people to use their eyes and to be entertained,” Loria went on, describing the unlikely convergence of his two great loves. “Baseball is an entertainment business in many ways.” He was wearing a black cap with the team’s new logo—a rainbow-colored “M,” with a flourish resembling a marlin’s dorsal fin and bill—and explained that the uniform redesign, in which he played an active role, had been two years in the making. “The colors did not just come arbitrarily,” he said. “The red-orange is for those incredible sunsets. The yellow is the sunlight that you see during the day. The blue is the water that surrounds the community.” Goodbye, teal. The colorscape at the new Marlins Park, meanwhile, was “sort of an homage to Miró’s palette,” Loria explained. “The outfield is all green—Miró’s green.”

I'd never heard of Red Grooms but he's got some pretty interesting work in his history.

Talk Zone / Pitcher's duel today
« on: April 05, 2012, 02:25:26 pm »
Verlander vs. Lester - 1-0 through 7, Tigers just scored to go ahead. Both pitchers looking fantastic.

I love baseball.

Beer and Queso / Batman is a real hero
« on: March 29, 2012, 12:45:58 pm »

Beer and Queso / Austin restaurant week
« on: March 26, 2012, 08:32:48 pm »
Restaurant week is a great thing. I was able to get reservations for us and Mrs. Brand, youngest daughter and I went to Uchiko tonight - the hottest place in town. Three courses each, so nine total, all easily large enough for the three of us at $36 per person. An insane deal.

I'm not sure if it's the best meal I've ever had, but it is certainly right there in the mix. Amazing complexity and quality along with outstanding service. I'm in some kind of vibrating state of food bliss right now. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Talk Zone / Card collector? Got a couple nickels laying around?
« on: March 26, 2012, 03:53:00 pm »
Then this auction is for you. An entire T206 set, broken into singles. There are some beautiful cards in here - Plank, several Cobbs, Lajoie, Brown, Collins on down to lesser stars like Donlin, Jennings, Crawford, etc. The Walter Johnson cards are spectacular. Of course, the big one in the box is the Wagner, supposedly the fifth or sixth best available card, expected to go for more than $1.2 million.

Talk Zone / The DH can't get here fast enough
« on: March 24, 2012, 09:59:48 am »
Sergio Escalona to have TJS, per team reports. Out for 2012.

Beer and Queso / If you're in the Bay Area...
« on: March 14, 2012, 01:14:54 pm »
I saw Coppola's restored version in 1981 with his father conducting a full orchestra and the Polyvision three-screen process. It was breathtaking and there really isn't a cinematic experience I've had that compares. This will surpass that in almost every way. You lucky bastards.

Talk Zone / 'Tis a fine bus.
« on: March 10, 2012, 02:33:53 pm »
Really nice banner. Thanks to whomever it was who created that.

Beer and Queso / Son of a bitch. Peter Bergman is dead.
« on: March 09, 2012, 11:49:09 pm »
This one fucking stings, dammit.

"Take heart, dear friends. We are passing through the darkening of the light. We're gonna make it and we're going to make it together. Don't get ground down by cynicism. Don't let depression darken the glass through which you look. This is a garden we live in. A garden seeded with unconditional love. And the tears of the oppressed, and the tears of the frustrated, and the tears of the good will spring those seeds. The flag has been waived. It says occupy. Occupy Wall Street. Occupy the banks. Occupy the nursing homes. Occupy Congress. Occupy the big law offices. Occupy the lobbyists. Occupy...yourself. Because that's where it all comes together. I pledge to you, from this moment on, whatever it means, I'm going to occupy myself.

I love you. See ya tomorrow."

Memorial page at the Firesign Theater.

Beer and Queso / Bugs Henderson, RIP
« on: March 09, 2012, 05:14:13 pm »
Another Texas great goes down. Countless shows at the Armadillo, Soap Creek Saloon, etc.

Talk Zone / Harry Wendelstedt, RIP
« on: March 09, 2012, 03:45:43 pm »

Talk Zone / Footer's Touching Tribute To The Kid
« on: February 24, 2012, 04:44:45 pm »

Beer and Queso / Greg Davis finds employment
« on: February 23, 2012, 12:36:06 pm »

Talk Zone / Astros' PR machine finally sputters to life
« on: February 19, 2012, 08:55:17 am »
Solomon has a rah-rah piece in the Chron. Finally.

“The fans want to be engaged and they want to see a winner,” Crane said. “You’ve got to make it personal and get out in front of the fans and the people that are buying the tickets.”

“His instincts are incredible,” team president George Postolos said. “He does what’s necessary to be successful. He’s very competitive. He is driven to succeed in everything that he does, so once he is in there he is going to do what he needs to do.

“And right now he feels that he needs to be involved heavily while we strengthen the organization. He is very involved with customers.”

When he bought the team, Crane said the fans would come first. While the more vocal ones don’t seem to feel that way, especially after Crane dropped the news that a team name change would be studied, Crane has worked to deliver on that edict.

From a reduction in ticket prices to increased sales and customer service staffing, Crane wants fans to believe their concerns will be heard.

After an outcry, it took just less than a week for him to announce that there would be no change of the team’s name. Those who think that whole thing was a publicity stunt don’t know Crane, a friend of his says.

He isn’t prone to playing the PR game. His business history suggests that he studies an organization from top to bottom and will do whatever it takes to improve it. If he thought dropping the name Astros would be the best thing, he wouldn’t hesitate to do it.

“I think you’ll see we’ll make very good decisions as we move along,” Crane said. “Not everybody will agree with the decisions, but they’ll be well thought-out and we’ll do what’s best for the team and the fans and the city.

“We’re going to make this work. We’re very focused on building the team for the long run and really running a first-class organization top to bottom and treating our people right.”

Talk Zone / Wakefield Hangs 'Em Up
« on: February 18, 2012, 03:37:07 pm »
Announced his retirement, prompting a nice column from Joe Posnanski.

Beer and Queso / I really love this.
« on: February 11, 2012, 11:26:33 pm »
Yeah, it's probably a little too artsy-fartsy, but I don't care. This is the work of a Scottish artist named Robert Montgomery, who covers ads with posters of his poetry.

Like this.

And this.

And this.

Q&A with the artist.

Gallery of images.

Beer and Queso / RIP Angelo Dundee
« on: February 02, 2012, 06:19:53 am »
One of boxing's greatest ambassadors. "I just put the reflexes in the proper direction."

Talk Zone / '86 Astros had a reunion this weekend
« on: January 22, 2012, 06:58:31 pm »
At the Tristar Collectors Show. Footer's got pix.

Beer and Queso / Not 2012 Music, Not Even 2011 Music...
« on: January 21, 2012, 02:27:25 pm »
I don't know what rock I've been under, but I just heard Salt of the Earth done by Bettye Lavette and was completely blown away. Her Letterman performance of it from 2010 is here, and it's from her album done that year, "Interpretations-The British Rock Songbook." I'm sitting here listening to it and this run of 'Isn't It A Pity' - 'Wish You Were Here' - 'It Don't Come Easy' - 'Maybe I'm Amazed' - 'Salt of the Earth' - 'Nights In White Satin' is astonishing.

I don't know where I've been, but missing out on this has been criminal. I hope you'll give it a listen because it's truly revelatory.

Talk Zone / Gary Carter at his annual charity event
« on: January 16, 2012, 08:01:47 am »
I realize I might be the only Gary Carter fan here but he was a hell of a catcher and I enjoyed watching him play...when he wasn't a Met. Footer posted this link and I thought I'd share it, since he's having a tough time right now but he's carrying on despite the adversity.

Beer and Queso / Classic Rock album covers with dead artists removed
« on: January 15, 2012, 09:56:03 am »

Beer and Queso / Even worse than moving to the American League
« on: January 11, 2012, 05:53:58 pm »
Dublin Dr. Pepper is no more.

I can be downright colorful in my language, but I don't have nearly enough expletives available to express how I feel about this.

Beer and Queso / Let's not forget about the creepy hand doc
« on: January 10, 2012, 05:38:00 pm »
$60k/month on stripper upkeep...and is that a wolf shirt?

Talk Zone / Some of the finest words in the human lexicon
« on: January 09, 2012, 08:49:22 am »
Pitchers and catchers report February 20.

Talk Zone / Joe Torre quits to join group trying to buy the Dodgers
« on: January 04, 2012, 02:48:29 pm »
So if McLane had held out for another six months, would the Dodgers have gone to the AL?

Beer and Queso / 2012 Music Thread
« on: January 03, 2012, 09:34:38 am »
Any of you NYC types, be on the lookout. This sounds great.

JG Thirlwell will appear at a concert at a performance recreating Brian Eno's seminal album "Here Come The Warm Jets" at Joe's Pub in NYC on Jan 8, 2012. The album will be lovingly performed by such luminaries as Joan Wasser (Joan as Policewoman) and Jim Sclavunos (Bad Seeds, Grinderman) with support from Vernon Reid (Living Color) and Travis Morrison (The Dismemberment Plan),Sohrab Habibion (Obits), Paul Duncan (Warm Ghost) and many more TBA. The already sold-out evening will be hosted by John Schaeffer from WNYC. The evening is produced by Rob Christiansen, who transcribed the album and will also perform. JGT will provide a small electronic link at the end of the song Dead Finks Don't Talk.

Talk Zone / Z. Levine's end of year column
« on: December 31, 2011, 03:47:45 pm »
It's good, especially the headline.

...2011 sucked beyond description for Astros fans. The Astros could lose 170 games next year, but it’s almost impossible to envision a way in which it can get worse.

Talk Zone / Fucking Twitter
« on: December 19, 2011, 10:46:40 am »
It's annoying enough that Tags and Footer retweet each other, so if you're subscribed to both you get everything duplicated, but now they retweet Pinwheel. Damn.

Beer and Queso / AA Holiday Meet at the Saucer 12/26
« on: December 19, 2011, 09:41:17 am »
Ty will be back in town, and plenty thirsty. Let's all get together and speak well of the last season in the NL.

The Flying Saucer, 815 West 47th in The Triangle around 5pm. See you all there!

Talk Zone / Castro out for three months
« on: December 12, 2011, 04:42:30 pm »
Tags just tweeted that Jason Castro had surgery on his left foot and will be out for three months.

Talk Zone / Another cruel trick on Ron Santo
« on: December 05, 2011, 03:02:57 pm »
He's in, got 15 of 16 votes just one year after dying.

All he said (was) I hope I get in in my lifetime, that's certainly a reasonable request for anybody who gets an honor as special as this one. Unfortunately, it wasn't meant to be," she said. "With his lifetime every disappointment that came along, he was very disappointed.

Talk Zone / Roast of Larry Dierker
« on: November 30, 2011, 08:21:41 am »
Footer was tweeting from last night's roast of Larry Dierker. She said that Worrell absolutely killed but she couldn't post any of it. Marc Vandermeer had this one: "Watching Lance Berkman win a World Series is like watching your ex-wife win the lottery."

Beer and Queso / My little town
« on: November 23, 2011, 11:41:25 am »
In 1973, I was a linebacker on my high school's freshman team. Dinky town, A ball, only a couple of years removed from glory years as a B power. Now, facing larger schools, our JV was playing some team that doubled our enrollment and we freshmen got to combine with the JV and travel for a game. I even got to play half of the contest, which was pretty cool.

On the bus back word spread that we were actually going to stop and eat somewhere. Paid for. This was unheard of. I'd moved to that town the year before and in eighth grade we used hand-me-down uniforms and equipment that was 10-15 years old. I had shoulder pads with leather underneath the outer pads. Everything was small and old and worn in this tiny school and the sports equipment was no exception. We practiced on a half-acre field behind the school that was next to the parking lot. There was only dirt, the grass had been destroyed long ago by cleats and wear. The dirt was sculpted into sharp ruts from drying after rains, so every practice you knew if you hit the ground you were going to get cut up. Survival was putting the other guy on the ground first.

The following year was a different story. Brand new high school, the bond secured by a philanthropic farmer. We had brand new uniforms, new pads, a practice field, a new football field with concrete stands built into berms. It was a new world of respectability for us and apparently, dinner was part of this as well. Cool.

We pulled into the parking lot of the only restaurant in town. The owner stayed open late just for us, and we all piled in to find that they'd set up tables in rows for us to sit. We had a choice of chicken-fried steak with gravy, or chicken-fried steak without gravy. I'd only had CFS at home, never in a restaurant and it was very different from my mom's.

I learned to love that little restaurant. It probably seats fifty if you count standing at the bar and wedging people in with a shoehorn. Other than the night my team was there, I never saw it full to capacity but it has stayed open for almost forty years.

They make the best chicken-fried steak I've ever had. It's different from others in that it's hand-breaded, light and crisp and not some frozen patty mired in a thick envelope of bread. The gravy is always perfect, creamy white and peppery but never mealy or runny or bland. Until just a couple of years ago most of the waitresses had been there since the 70s. Eating there was like dining with friends.

It's run now by two guys who were two years behind me in high school, one a son of the owner and the other the son of the original cook. They provide a continuity to my past and the past of this little town that is special. A continuity that is hard to come by as it disappears all over.

Over the last few years business has fallen off dramatically. A year ago they put the place up for sale but there have been no takers.

Last week I found out that they're closing at the end of the month. A victim of the sour economy just short of celebrating their 40th anniversary. As word spread, more customers are coming back to say goodbye and to have one last meal with friends at this local icon. I've been going back as often as I can.

Last night I stopped by for dinner and I've never seen it completely jammed full of people. Both dining areas were full, people were standing around waiting for tables to open up, more were outside waiting to get in to wait some more, and still they kept coming. Almost all of them were old-time customers who had been there many times before, all wishing the staff well and saying goodbye.

They were completely balls to the wall busy with no letup. Despite their nervous focus on the rush I was grinning ear to ear with the display of affection from their neighbors. I know they couldn't take time to reflect on this display, but I hope it registers on them how much they meant to so many people and how many lives they've touched just by making food for people in a small town.

I was parked by the register waiting for my food when one older man walked up and asked the owner, "Where were all these people before? If they'd come in twice a week you'd still be in business."

"Hell, if they'd come in once a week we'd still be in business."

I'm very sad that they're shutting down. I don't know what will open up in its place, maybe nothing at all. The void they'll leave will close with the passing of the regular customers and the memory will fade into the sameness of suburbia that my little town is dissolving into. Another piece of what makes small towns unique will be gone forever.

Buy local. Buy local every time you can. You just might be keeping memories alive for more people than you can imagine.

Beer and Queso / Happy Birthday, Waldo!
« on: November 22, 2011, 11:08:24 am »
Hope it's a great one!

Talk Zone / Wallace continues to struggle, released from winter ball team
« on: November 19, 2011, 04:41:04 pm »
By Moises Alou, no less. Batting .173 in 20 games.

Beer and Queso / The Ballad of Mott the Hoople
« on: November 10, 2011, 06:49:22 pm »
Just got the DVD. Tons of archival photos, little- or never-seen film of them live, wonderful interviews with everyone but Overend. It's beautiful, wrapping up with Saturday Gigs and the Ballad of Mott that pulls hard at the heart. There's a fair amount of reunion footage in the extras as well.

All in all, tremendous. Must-see. Can't recommend it highly enough.

Beer and Queso / Rest in peace, Smokin' Joe
« on: November 07, 2011, 10:42:46 pm »
What a great warrior. I was a huge Ali fan, but Joe Frazier was one of the all-time greats.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Astro Minor Leaguers file for free agency
« on: November 04, 2011, 07:04:03 pm »
I'll miss Gervacio's wild windup. More from McTaggart, but here's the list:

RHP: Erick Abreu (AA), Sammy Gervacio (AAA), Brad James (AA), Ross Wolf (AAA)
LHP: Kristian Bueno (SS), Ryan Rowland-Smith (AAA), Andy Van Hekken (AAA)
C: J.R. Towles (AAA)
1B: Koby Clemens (AAA)
2B: Jose Vallejo (AAA)
3B: Jhonny Medrano (Lo A), Oswaldo Navarro (AAA)
SS: Anderson Hernandez (AAA), Wladimir Sutil (AA)
OF: Luis Durango (AAA), Drew Locke (AAA)

Talk Zone / Update on that online petition
« on: October 26, 2011, 03:11:10 pm »
Just got an email from the guy who created that online petition at

ETA: After news has come to light, I've edited the quote. The main concept is unchanged.

Now on to the bad news, it appears as though MLB does in fact intend to move the Astros, and I heard via twitter that part of the reason why the talks have progressed as far as they have is because they have heard no backlash from fans.

I had no idea it was a serious reality. But, because it was mentioned (in passing) in articles, we should've come out then.

Well, we missed that opportunity, but let's not miss our last. I figure we have a week or a week and a half to dial up the volume. As I write this, the petition is ridiculously short of it's goal. We're not even to the average attendance at an Astros game last year. So, I am asking you to please get everyone you know involved. If we don't get at least 20-50,000 signatures, then we are proving their point.

Talk Zone / Rock 'n Punk Baseball Cards
« on: October 26, 2011, 02:55:46 pm »
Oh, they're cheesy but I do especially like the Jim Osterberg cards.

Beer and Queso / R.I.P. Mike's Pub
« on: October 21, 2011, 03:08:40 pm »
Dunno if any of you care, but Mike's Pub closed today after more than 50 years of business. Rumor is they couldn't renew the lease but no real info yet.

Game Zone 2011 Archive / Jakes @ Astros 9/26/11, The Happy Meal Gone Amok
« on: September 26, 2011, 07:14:22 pm »
R. Furcal SS
D. Freese 3B
A. Pujols 1B    
M. Holliday LF
L. Berkman RF
Y. Molina C    
R. Theriot 2B
J. Jay CF
J. Garcia P

J. Bourgeois CF
A. Sanchez 2B
J.D. Martinez LF
C. Lee 1B
M. Downs RF
C. Johnson 3B
C. Barmes SS
J.R. Towles C
W. Rodriguez P

Inexplicable tie-in. The MLB Happy Meal.

Game Zone 2011 Archive / Rox @ Astros, 9/25/11: Say Goodnight, Gracie
« on: September 25, 2011, 01:10:48 pm »
Last Sunday game, last game vs. Colorado for 2011. Fan Appreciation Day!

E Young CF
M Ellis 2B
S Smith RF
K Kouzmanoff 3B
J Pacheco 1B
T Wigginton LF
C Iannetta C
T Field SS
K Millwood P

J Schafer CF
J Altuve 2B
J Martinez LF
C Lee 1B
B Bogusevic RF
C Johnson 3B
C Barmes SS
J Towles C
L Harrell P

Talk Zone / Sergio Escalona With Leather
« on: September 10, 2011, 08:48:47 am »

Talk Zone / It's a Big Day in Tampa
« on: September 06, 2011, 06:46:23 am »
Happy Birthday, Ty!

Game Zone 2011 Archive / Astros @ Jints, 8/27
« on: August 27, 2011, 08:46:21 pm »
Astros down 1-0, top of the third. SF seems to have found themselves yet another damn fine pitcher, Eric Surkamp. 22-year-old lefty up from AA.

Talk Zone / Mike Flanagan's death ruled a suicide
« on: August 25, 2011, 11:48:31 pm »
Former Cy Young award winner, reportedly distraught about finances.

I've been around more than my share of this sort of thing and they all too often seem like something that could've been prevented with some interaction. It's quite possible that the truth isn't nearly so simple, and it's easy to say this when all the walls aren't closing in, but please - if you see yourself heading down that road, find someone to talk to. Few things are worth that, and the ripple effects leave a lot of victims behind.

Game Zone 2011 Archive / Jints vs. Astros, 8/20/11
« on: August 20, 2011, 06:22:37 pm »
Inside the park HR by Altuve! Long fly to the wall in LCF, bounced away from the fielders and Altuve never slowed down. Fun to watch for sure, first inside-the-park homer by an Astro since Everett, I think.

Beer and Queso / MetaMaus, October 4
« on: August 18, 2011, 07:18:46 pm »
I've already got this preordered, because I'm that kind of geek. I was fortunate enough to see Mr. Spiegelman in a discussion with R. Crumb and Francoise Mouly last year and it was very enjoyable indeed.

In the pages of MetaMaus, Art Spiegelman re-enters the Pulitzer prize–winning Maus, the modern classic that has altered how we see literature, comics, and the Holocaust ever since it was first published twenty-five years ago.
He probes the questions that Maus most often evokes—Why the Holocaust? Why mice? Why comics?—and gives us a new and essential work about the creative process.
MetaMaus includes a bonus DVD that provides a digitized reference copy of The Complete Maus linked to a deep archive of audio interviews with his survivor father, historical documents, and a wealth of Spiegelman’s private notebooks and sketches.

Talk Zone / Rainbow Unis at auction
« on: August 15, 2011, 07:16:23 pm »
A weird selection to be sure, but for these prices you can't be too choosey. Game-worn rainbow unis from a throwback game worn by some of your favorites, including WW, Coop, Mark Bailey, Chris Sampson and Dewey Robinson. All from MLB Auctions.

Talk Zone / Sosa gets the start tonight; WW sent down
« on: August 10, 2011, 06:18:23 am »

Game Zone 2011 Archive / Astros vs. Brewers, 8/7/11
« on: August 07, 2011, 01:25:46 pm »
Down 2-0 already on, you guessed it, a home run by Fielder in the first.

Game Zone 2011 Archive / Astros vs. Brewers, 8/6/11
« on: August 06, 2011, 06:14:14 pm »
Hart RF
Morgan CF
Braun LF
Fielder 1B
McGehee 3B
Betancourt SS
Lopez 2B
Lucroy C
Narveson P

Bourgeois CF
Altuve 2B
Martinez LF
Lee 1B
Michaels RF
Paredes 3B
Barmes SS
Quintero C
Myers P

Talk Zone / Wallace, CJ get a month in OKC
« on: August 02, 2011, 10:19:19 am »
From Campbell of the Chron:

Astros manager Brad Mills indicated he anticipates first baseman Brett Wallace and third baseman Chris Johnson spending the rest of the minor league season — about a month — at Class AAA Oklahoma City. Mills said he passed along a checklist of things the team has been working on with Wallace and Johnson to Oklahoma City manager Tony DeFrancesco.

“I hope they go down there for the last month and get some things back that they need to get back to be the players they can be,” Mills said. “We hope those two guys are cornerstones of our infield for a long time.”

Game Zone 2011 Archive / Astros @ Brewers, 7/30/11
« on: July 30, 2011, 06:26:58 pm »
1-0 bottom 1 on a Corey Hart bomb to right. Carlos just lost a popup in the sun for a single. Despite the BRIGHT SUN IN THE FIELD Carlos does not have his glasses on. Smooth.

Talk Zone / Brain-frying vid
« on: July 26, 2011, 10:13:34 am »

Game Zone 2011 Archive / Astros @ FTC, 7-24-11
« on: July 24, 2011, 12:36:13 pm »
Bourn, CF
Barmes, SS
Pence, RF
Lee, LF
Johnson, 3B
Wallace, 1B
Downs, 2B
Quintero, C
Lyles, P

Fukudome, RF
Castro, SS
Ramirez, 3B
Pena, 1B
Byrd, CF
Soto, C
Soriano, LF
Barney, 2B
Garza, P

Mills rests Altuve and his three-game hit streak.

Talk Zone / The Curious Case of Curt Flood
« on: July 23, 2011, 09:04:19 am »
Another home run by HBO Sports, I've just started watching it and I'm enjoying it very much. Tons of old footage and it's really great to see new interviews, lengthy comments from Mudcat Grant and Bob Gibson. Really cool. If you get a chance, check it out.

Beer and Queso / It's that time of year
« on: July 21, 2011, 07:22:22 am »
No, not that. It's Jane Doe's birthday! Happy birthday, Jane!

Game Zone 2011 Archive / Astros vs. Nats, 7-18-11
« on: July 18, 2011, 07:01:35 pm »
Bernadina, CF
Espinosa, 2B
Zimmerman, 3B
Morse, 1B
Werth, RF
Nix, LF
Ramos, C
Desmond, SS   
Marquis, P

Bourn, CF
Sanchez, SS
Keppinger, 2B
Pence, RF
Lee, 1B   
Michaels, LF
Johnson, 3B
Corporan, C
Lyles, P

Game Zone 2011 Archive / Astros vs. Pirates, 7-17-11
« on: July 17, 2011, 01:12:46 pm »
Presley LF
D'Arnaud SS
Walker 2B
McCutchen CF
Diaz RF
Overbay 1B
Wood 3B
Fryer C
Maholm P

Bourn Cf
Barmes SS
Keppinger 2B
Pence RF
Lee LF
Johnson 3B
Wallace 1B
Corporan C
Rodriguez P

Talk Zone / Dead Calm
« on: July 06, 2011, 08:49:39 am »
Nice recap, StrosRays. Does 'Dead Calm' refer to the smooth water of acceptance, or the fact that there'll be no HOA troubles on your end?

M. Bourn, CF
J. Keppinger, 2B
H. Pence, RF
C. Lee, 1B
J. Michaels, LF
M. Downs, 3B
C. Barmes, SS
C. Corporan, C
B. Myers, P

A. Presley, LF
C. d'Arnaud, SS
G. Jones, RF
A. McCutchen, CF
N. Walker, 2B
L. Overbay, 1B    
J. Harrison, 3B
M. McKenry, C
P. Maholm, P

Beer and Queso / HOA Discussion
« on: July 03, 2011, 11:18:55 am »
HOAs have got way, way too much power. I can't live in a Stepford Village. It's probably just as well, because they wouldn't let my kind in there anyway.

Happy Father's Day.

M. Bourn, CF
J. Bourgeois, RF
J. Keppinger, 2B
C. Lee, LF
B. Wallace, 1B
C. Johnson, 3B
C. Barmes, SS
C. Corporan, C
B. Norris, P

D. Gordon, SS
J. Uribe, 2B
A. Ethier, RF
M. Kemp, CF
J. Loney, 1B
C. Blake, 3B
M. Thames, LF
D. Navarro, C
H. Kuroda, P

Game Zone 2011 Archive / Pagan Red Devils at Astros, 6/13/11
« on: June 13, 2011, 07:35:10 pm »
Schafer CF
Uggla 2B
McCann C
Jones 3B
Freeman 1B
Mather RF
Hicks SS
Young LF
Lowe P

Bourn CF
Barmes SS
Pence RF
Lee LF   
Keppinger 2B
Wallace 1B
Johnson 3B
Towles C
Rodriguez P

Talk Zone / Jason Castro has resumed baseball drills
« on: June 07, 2011, 04:46:45 pm »
per McTaggart tweet (pic)

Beer and Queso / Ian Hunter is 72
« on: June 05, 2011, 10:22:05 pm »
...and still going strong. Really nice article and interview in the Independent.

"I was in Hull a few years ago," I tell the singer, "working on a story which involved regular visits to the main police station. If I was early, I'd sit in the park. There was this run-down shack there, always locked and bolted. At first I thought it was a public toilet, but it appeared to be a store for fertiliser and gardening equipment. It had a plaque screwed to the wall that read: 'Mick Ronson Memorial'. [An adjacent stage is the city's official tribute to the musician.] I can remember looking at this battered shed and thinking: you can work all your life, applying all that talent, and that's what you get for it..."

"I heard about that. The way I see it is: Mick's gone. Why should he care? He's not here any more. I mean... don't get me wrong. I've heard it's pretty bad up there."

"In heaven?"

"In Hull," Hunter replies.

Talk Zone / Kepp's back today
« on: May 27, 2011, 07:56:04 am »
Keppinger comes back and Hall's playing time will suffer, although he may pick up some time in LF with Bogey gone.

Anyone know any more about this?
The Astros tried to trade Keppinger in the offseason to save salary and actually had a tentative deal in place before his foot became a concern.

Game Zone 2011 Archive / 05/22/11, Astros in Tranna
« on: May 22, 2011, 11:05:43 am »
Bourn, M, CF
Sanchez, A, SS
Pence, H, RF
Lee, C, DH
Wallace, B, 1B
Johnson, C, 3B
Barmes, C, SS
Bogusevic, B, LF
Towles, J, C

P - Wandy Rodriguez

Escobar, Y, SS
Patterson, C, LF
Bautista, J, RF
Hill, A, 2B
Rivera, J, 1B
Arencibia, J, C
Davis, R, CF
Encarnacion, E, DH
Nix, J, 3B

P - Kyle Drabek

Game Zone 2011 Archive / Astros @ Pagan Redmen, May 16
« on: May 16, 2011, 06:20:25 pm »
Atlanta must be a hoppin' town on Monday night, because there are less than 500 folks in the Edifice for this titanic tilt.

Bourn fans, way out in front on a nice curveball. Barmes walks. He-Who-Must-Be-Traded rolls over on a breaking ball down and away but it's slow enough that Prado went to first for the second out, Barmes to second. Kabong batting, PB sends Barmes to third. Lee smacks a hard shot to third that Prado dives for and snares on the line, then throws a rainbow from his butt and nips Caballo at first. Hell of a play.

Talk Zone / Figgy DFA'd; Escalona up
« on: May 09, 2011, 10:33:47 pm »
From the postgame.

Beer and Queso / Mother's Day
« on: May 08, 2011, 09:16:01 am »
Happy day to all you mothers out there.

Game Zone 2011 Archive / 4/10/11, Fishmen @ Good Guys
« on: April 10, 2011, 12:57:12 pm »
C. Coghlan cf
O. Infante 2b    
L. Morrison lf    
M. Stanton rf    
G. Sanchez 1b
J. Buck c
W. Helms 3b
D. Murphy ss
A. Sanchez p

M. Bourn cf    
A. Sanchez ss
H. Pence rf
C. Lee lf
B. Wallace 1b
B. Hall 2b
M. Downs 3b
H. Quintero c
J.A. Happ p

Talk Zone / Norm Miller sees what we see
« on: April 07, 2011, 11:10:26 am »
Posted on his Facebook page this morning: "Does anyone hit the cutoff man anymore?!?!"

Bourn CF
Sanchez SS
Pence RF
Lee LF
Hall 2B
Wallace 1B
Johnson 3B
Quintero C
Norris P

Martinez CF
Polanco 3B
Rollins SS
Howard 1B
Ibanez LF
Francisco RF
Ruiz C
Valdez 2B
Oswalt P

Talk Zone / Astros pick up Inglett
« on: March 27, 2011, 01:24:51 pm »
LG INF from the Rays for cash or PTBNL.

Talk Zone / Cuts, Part II
« on: March 24, 2011, 09:19:52 am »

Game Zone 2011 Archive / Astros vs. Fishmen, 3/3/11
« on: March 03, 2011, 12:17:12 pm »
Figueroa gets through the first scoreless, giving up a hit and a walk. Bourn leads off the bottom of the first with a single. Q catching today.

Talk Zone / Castro torn meniscus
« on: March 03, 2011, 09:12:03 am »
Updating now, surgery likely as per Tags

Beer and Queso / Yard Dog Spring Training at SXSW
« on: March 02, 2011, 10:43:06 pm »
This looks very interesting indeed:

Saturday, March 19 · 12:00pm - 7:00pm
Yard Dog Art Gallery
1510 S Congress Ave
Austin, TX

Curated by Steve Wynn

Steve Wynn & The Miracle 3
The Baseball Project
The Minus 5
Jon Langford & Skull Orchard
The Autumn Defense
Eleventh Dream Day
Mark Eitzel
The Slummers
Calibro 35 (from Italy)


Talk Zone / Greg Goossen, R.I.P.
« on: February 27, 2011, 04:16:09 pm »
Dead at 65, famous not only for being in Ball Four or for standing in for Gene Hackman, but for Casey Stengel's immortal quote: "This is Greg Goossen. He's 19 years old, and in 10 years he's got a chance to be 29."

Talk Zone / Duke Snider, R.I.P.
« on: February 27, 2011, 04:05:36 pm »
Dead at 84.

Damn. Only Willie is left of the great New York centerfielders of that era.

ETA: AP's obit.

Beer and Queso / MLB At-Bat 11 now available
« on: February 26, 2011, 03:28:38 pm »

Talk Zone / Fuck You, Baseball Prospectus
« on: February 24, 2011, 12:08:20 pm »
Another episode in the continuing saga of hate from the boys at BP. Their 'Playoff Odds Report' has the Astros coming in with the worst record in baseball in 2011. As Michael O'Donoghue once wrote, "I'd like to come over there and kick you all in the cunt, but I'm afraid it would ruin my shine."

Talk Zone / Lovely Parting Gift for Dusty Baker
« on: February 22, 2011, 03:21:18 pm »
From Rob Neyer, who got it from Jon Paul Morosi at Fox Sports:

"At the very end, somebody took a dump right where I stood in the dugout every day," Baker said Monday morning. "That was the low point. The grounds crew guy cleaned it up. He said, ‘Oh, I think it’s dog crap.’ I said, ‘No it ain’t. That’s human crap.’"

Baker said Monday’s interview was the first time he had discussed the incident publicly. He doesn’t know who the perpetrator was.

Talk Zone / Mixed feelings for Keith Moreland
« on: February 16, 2011, 01:04:58 pm »
As a great UT player I'm happy for him to enjoy success, but replacing Ron Santo in the FTC booth is somewhat bittersweet.

Aw heck. Congratulations to him anyway.

Talk Zone / It's Official: FoTF
« on: February 13, 2011, 10:20:44 am »
In today's Chron, ThunderPants assumes the mantle and now picks the tunes for the workout room.

Cognizant of the pecking order in a big league clubhouse, Pence has made it a policy to be seen more than heard. Before last season, though, Pence told Astros general manager Ed Wade, "I know my time is coming." Wade's response: "Have at it. Why not right now?"

Beer and Queso / Johnny Walker on UT recruiting
« on: February 01, 2011, 02:34:37 pm »
There is a Q & A with Johnny Walker, former UT wide receiver on where he discusses the changes in recruiting between the late 80s and now.

So what made the difference with Texas that led you to choose them over Arizona State?
JW: I made my trip to Texas and it was the weekend they had the alumni game. They take me on the field to the pitchers mound before the game and there's Roger Clemens. I was blown away – he knew me, where I was from, what position I played, my stats – he knew everything about me. He told me, “Johnny, we'd really like for you to come to Texas. I think this is the place for you.” I said, “yes, Mr. Clemens. I will be coming to the University of Texas.” I made up my mind that's where I was going, but a reporter was standing right behind me the whole time and the story got out, so I didn't announce it like I wanted to. Had Barry Bonds and Reggie Jackson known more about me, I would have ended up at Arizona State. Roger Clemens sealed the deal for me to end up at Texas.

What was the most shocking thing(s) you saw during your recruitment?
JW: I think the thing that shocked me the most was seeing just what coaches were willing to do to get you to go there. I had a coach from the University of Houston offer me $30,000 cash. Bam, just like that. There were deals with Texas A&M and at that time they had a system going. For example, if my dad was an engineer he wouldn't have a problem getting a job. That's just the way it was. I was offered cars, trips, you name it I could have taken it. It was ridiculous. I got offered so many things that there were people who couldn't believe I didn't cheat and take something.

One of those entities that didn't believe you was the NCAA. What was that situation like?
JW: The day after I moved in at Texas there was a knock on my door at 8 a.m. I went downstairs and there were three lawyers from the NCAA telling me basically that they were going to take away my scholarship if I didn't tell them the truth. Being 19 years old and sitting in a room with three sets of lawyers and you're future hanging in the balance, it's pretty frightening. The thing that got me was they knew about every school who had offered me gifts without me even telling them. They couldn't believe that since these other schools offered me things that I didn't take anything from Texas or that Texas didn't offer me anything. I missed two days of practice and then I was allowed back with the team. The NCAA just couldn't believe that I didn't take anything.

Talk Zone / Cashman to Pettitte: "Don't Brett Favre us"
« on: January 19, 2011, 05:58:25 pm »

I told him don't 'Brett Favre' us. You got to be all in and fully dedicated to play. Do I need him? I need him, but I don't want him to play if his heart's not in it."

Talk Zone / New Tag's Lines posted
« on: January 17, 2011, 08:26:21 am »
Some good notes in there, including:

Right-hander Sammy Gervacio had surgery on his right shoulder on Friday to remove debris from his rotator cuff and biceps. The Astros say the surgery isn't serious and Gervacio will be out of action for about two months...

and this one, guaranteed to widen your eyes and quicken your pulse:

When the Astros announced last week they were inviting 11 more players to Major League camp, including pitcher Jordan Lyles, outfielder J.D. Martinez and former first-round pick Jio Mier, right-fielder Hunter Pence spoke with Wade and asked him for the phone numbers of each of the players. Pence, who's slowly evolving into the role as one of the team leaders on the young team, wanted to touch base with each of the guys before they hit Kissimmee.

Talk Zone / Delino DeShields busted for DUI, MIP, etc.
« on: January 16, 2011, 11:24:28 am »

Beer and Queso / Robb Walsh is offering cooking classes at his house
« on: January 13, 2011, 09:46:44 am »
Limited to twelve participants. Early schedule is on his web site at .

Beer and Queso / RIP, Cookie Gilchrist
« on: January 10, 2011, 10:01:03 pm »
The great AFL fullback, dead at 75.

Talk Zone / SABR Day, January 29
« on: January 08, 2011, 06:00:47 pm »
SABR Day 2011 takes place on Saturday, January 29. All of the chapters are encouraged to have some sort of event on that day, kind of a coordinated effort to promote SABR and enjoy some baseball talk in the time just before Spring Training starts. There's an event scheduled in Houston that day:

Houston, TX
Larry Dierker Chapter

    * Where: Houston Sports Museum, 4001 Gulf Freeway Houston, TX
    * When: 2:00-4:00 p.m.
    * What: Former Astros players (and SABR members) Jimmy Wynn and Larry Dierker; authors Scott Barzilla and Bill McCurdy
    * Contact: Bob Dorrill ([email protected])

At least they didn't say noted author.

Beer and Queso / Power Balance bracelets a crock of shit? No way!
« on: January 04, 2011, 06:51:14 pm »
Maybe now Thunderpants will ditch his, along with the rest of the team.
A Wisconsin professor ran similar tests comparing the performance of 42 athletes wearing Power Balance wristbands and silicon versions from Wal-Mart and said he found no difference.
Athletes were more likely to perform better wearing the second bracelet they put on, largely because they knew what to expect from the trial, said John Porcari, professor of exercise and sport science at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

"I think it is a scam," he said. "It has absolutely nothing to do with the bracelets. It is all in people's heads."

Beer and Queso / Blake Edwards passes on
« on: December 16, 2010, 12:07:16 pm »
Directed some of my favorite movies, some of the greatest comedies ever.

Talk Zone / Interactive Hall of Fame Ballot
« on: December 16, 2010, 09:08:18 am »

Talk Zone / RIP Bob Feller
« on: December 15, 2010, 10:44:55 pm »

Beer and Queso / Will Muschamp is the new head coach at Florida
« on: December 11, 2010, 07:21:52 pm »

Talk Zone / RIP Gil McDougald
« on: November 30, 2010, 11:17:47 am »
Herb Score's nemesis, dead at 82.

The Bus Ride Discussion Forum / Astros release 12 minor leaguers
« on: November 28, 2010, 08:39:29 am »
From Farmstros:

The Astros released the following 12 players from the organization:

Frank Almonte, OF
Aaron Bray, 1B
David Duncan, LHP
Rafael Feliz, RHP
John Frawley, RHP
Ricardo Garcia, IF
Justin Harper, RHP
Ricardo Heredia, OF
Ashton Mowdy, RHP
Mark Ori, 1B
Daniel Sarisky, RHP
Mike Schurz, RHP

Talk Zone / Bud Black and Ron Gardenhire Managers of the Year
« on: November 17, 2010, 02:17:05 pm »

Beer and Queso / Ladies and Gentlemen, the Rolling Stones
« on: October 19, 2010, 06:36:28 pm »
When this came out in 1974 I saw it at maybe the Varsity in Austin. It was billed as the closest you'd ever get to seeing the Rolling Stones live without going to one of their concerts. A special sound system was advertised, which turned out to be one Sunn 900w stack in each corner of the theater and I remember it being loud as a bastard. Sat threw it twice, it was so great.

Shot in Ft. Worth ("I'm sorry we're late. The band was up all night fucking.") and Houston during their stops there in 1972, it's the best document of the Mick Taylor years, the time when they were absolutely the best rock and roll band in the world. I've had bootlegs of varying quality throughout the years, and audio of all four concerts, but now...they've put it out on DVD and Blu-Ray. All remastered and in terrific quality.

I am enjoying the hell out of this on Blu-Ray. The Rolling Stones, when they were at their peak. Mick and Keith singing on the same mic for Brown Sugar and Dead Flowers. The grinding chug of Tumbling Dice, two beautiful guitars in rumbling harmony. The full-bore bottom end stop-and-start of Midnight Rambler. Mick Taylor's slippery slide work on Love in Vain. Bobby Keys' blasting sax on Sweet Virginia. The Bolero-style mounting drive of You Can't Always Get What You Want. It's so, so perfect. This is why the Rolling Stones were the Rolling Fucking Stones, dammit.

Tumbling Dice


Track list: 1) Brown Sugar 2) Bitch 3) Gimme Shelter 4) Dead Flowers 5) Happy 6) Tumbling Dice 7) Love In Vain 8) Sweet Virginia 9) You Can't Always Get What You Want 10) All Down the Line 11) Midnight Rambler 12) Bye Bye Johnny 13) Rip This Joint 14) Jumpin' Jack Flash 15) Street Fighting Man

Talk Zone / FA market for Puma
« on: October 18, 2010, 04:34:47 pm »
At least according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe in Sunday's edition.

...there appears to be a market developing for him. Berkman, a career .296 hitter, wanted to return to Houston, but that ship has sailed. The Rockies, Orioles, Mets, Blue Jays, and Diamondbacks  (to name a few) may be interested. Berkman, 34, got off to a slow start with the Yankees, but his stroke — especially from the left side — has come back.

I'm glad he's got suitors, but that dark side of me can't see 'stroke' and 'left side' without thinking of Larry Fine's 'Stroke of Luck.'

Game Zone 2010 Playoffs / NLCS Game Two, Jints @ Phils
« on: October 17, 2010, 07:52:17 pm »
Sanchez with a tough first inning, able to get out of bases loaded one out by only giving up one run.

The Flyin' Hawaiian just made a GREAT circus catch in CF on a drive that carried to the wall. Fun game so far.

Talk Zone / Expanded Playoffs?
« on: October 10, 2010, 03:01:40 pm »
I don't know anything about this writer, but I hope he's just pulling this out of his ass and that it isn't really expected to happen:
MLB is considering ways to expand the playoff format from eight teams to 10, adding a second wild card in both leagues.

If it follows through on the idea — and Commissioner Bud Selig seems intrigued by the possibility of cutting the MLB Network in on playoff action — it will choose between one of two scenarios: A best-of-three series between the wild-card teams, or a one-game showdown between them, essentially guaranteeing a Game 163, like the ones that were so dramatic in 2007, '08 and '09.

Imagine how quickly life would flash before a team's eyes then.

The guess here is that a best-of-three is going to happen, most likely in 2011. MLB already has announced it is starting the regular season on March 31, a Thursday, rather than the traditional Monday opener.

Talk Zone / Astros won't pursue Loux
« on: October 08, 2010, 02:32:32 pm »
"We've had further internal conversations and we're probably not going to pursue it," Wade said. "We talked long and hard about it and we wanted to make sure we did our advance work and tried to get an arm around the entire situation. At this point in time, it's something we're not going to pursue."

B DeWitt 2B    
D Barney SS    
M Byrd CF    
A Ramirez 3B    
X Nady 1B    
A Soriano LF
B Snyder RF
K Hill C    
R Dempster P

B Bogusevic CF
J Keppinger 2B
H Pence RF    
C Lee LF    
C Johnson 3B    
B Wallace 1B
H Quintero C    
T Manzella SS
N Figueroa P

Beer and Queso / RIP George Blanda
« on: September 27, 2010, 04:36:12 pm »

Beer and Queso / The Wall
« on: September 24, 2010, 10:52:12 pm »
Is anyone else going to the Houston show, November 20? The tour just started, they've done three shows in Chicago and it looks spectacular. I'm very, very excited about this one.


Comfortably Numb

Run Like Hell

Talk Zone / Astros' AAA club to OKC
« on: September 20, 2010, 02:02:24 pm »
Per Footer: "The Astros Triple-A affiliate will play in Oklahoma City. Agreement complete, press release on its way in two minutes. Deal done."

Game Zone 2010 Archive / Left Coast Deadenders @ Good Guys, 9/12/10
« on: September 12, 2010, 01:26:36 pm »
Bourn with a single and stolen base, then plated by a two-run rocket to LF b Pence. Lee follows with a single, then Downs gets a two-base error moving Caballo to third. 2-0 so far, bottom of the first.

Beer and Queso / Infrared Nerf Autocannon
« on: September 03, 2010, 11:25:14 pm »

Beer and Queso / Leave a lasting memory
« on: September 03, 2010, 12:05:49 pm »
You might want to line up a confederate who will put an annoying scratch in some of them.

Company presses your ashes into vinyl records

Talk Zone / 29 games left
« on: September 02, 2010, 11:30:35 pm »
I'm not ready for this to end. Not nearly ready.

Game Zone 2010 Archive / Hair Club of St. Louis @ Astros, 8-31-10
« on: August 31, 2010, 07:51:41 pm »
J. Jay, RF
C. Rasmus, CF
A. Pujols, 1B
M. Holliday, LF
Y. Molina, C
P. Feliz, 3B
S. Schumaker, 2B
B. Ryan, SS
C. Carpenter, P

M. Bourn, CF
A. Sanchez, 2B
H. Pence, RF
C. Lee, LF
C. Johnson, 3B
B. Wallace, 1B
T. Manzella, SS
J. Castro, C
W. Rodriguez, P

Talk Zone / Manny wears Pale Hose
« on: August 30, 2010, 08:50:54 pm »
Moves as a waiver claim.

Guillen feels Ramirez is misunderstood. He doesn't anticipate having any trouble with him, and he's confident the enigmatic superstar will be easily accepted in Chicago's clubhouse.

I remember reading the same things about Dick Allen.

Beer and Queso / Pearland's season ends today
« on: August 29, 2010, 07:44:16 am »
They lost to Hawaii and will play Taiwan at 10 a.m. today. They had a magical season and there is a very nice article about them by Ken Hoffman in today's Chron.

Talk Zone / Moehler makes his choice
« on: August 25, 2010, 01:33:30 pm »
Per Footer: Brian Moehler has elected to have surgery to repair the muscle in his lower abdomen. It will take place in Philadelphia on Sept 1.

M. Bourn, CF
A. Sanchez, 2B    
H. Pence, RF
C. Lee, LF    
C. Johnson, 3B
B. Wallace, 1B
T. Manzella, SS    
H. Quintero, C
N. Figueroa, P

H. Ramirez, SS
L. Morrison, LF
G. Sanchez, 1B
D. Uggla, 2B
C. Ross, CF
C. Tracy, 3B
E. Bonifacio, RF
B. Davis, C
A. Miller, P

Talk Zone / Blum and Feliz on the block
« on: August 19, 2010, 11:50:35 am »
According to McTaggart, Cards talking Blum and Braves talking Feliz.

Game Zone 2010 Archive / Native Pagans @ Astros, 8/9/10
« on: August 09, 2010, 07:14:45 pm »
M. Bourn, CF    
A. Sanchez, SS    
J. Keppinger, 2B
H. Pence, RF    
C. Lee, LF    
C. Johnson, 3B    
B. Wallace, 1B    
J. Castro, C    
B. Norris, P

O. Infante, 2B
J. Heyward, RF
C. Jones, 3B    
B. McCann, C    
E. Hinske, LF    
T. Glaus, 1B    
R. Ankiel, CF    
A. Gonzalez, SS
M. Minor, P

Talk Zone / staff changes
« on: August 09, 2010, 04:27:48 pm »
WW down, Melancon up, Figgy takes WW's spot in the rotation.

September 11, at the Seaholm Power Plant with Golden Hornet Project providing the score.

This is the newly constructed print that is the most complete version available, including 25 minutes of previously lost footage.

Talk Zone / Moehler reinjured
« on: August 06, 2010, 05:48:09 pm »
As per Taggart:
Astros pitcher Brian Moehler said Thursday he torn the tendon off the bone in his left groin area during Wednesday's simulated game in St. Louis and is seeking more input from doctors about what course of action he should take.

Also, Paulino due soon for a second opinion on his shoulder. Crap.

Talk Zone / BudGirl, one door closes and another one opens
« on: July 25, 2010, 10:28:34 am »
McTaggart tweets:
Brad Ausmus, who returned to action last night after stint on DL with a back injury, told reporters last night he will retire at year's end.

Talk Zone / Austin SnS gathering 7/26
« on: July 22, 2010, 04:32:04 pm »
It's time for another Austin SnS gathering! Come out to Third Base on Monday night, July 26 to see which team will shit the bed on FSN-HD!

It'll be great to see everyone there and hopefully see some members who haven't met yet. Will JackAstro make it? Will Taras come back into the fold? No doubt we'll be making remote postings to the GZ for those Central-Texas-challenged folks.

We have an area reserved for us as the 'Astro Watch Group' and we'll even have audio for this one, so clearly Third Base is impressed with our ability to float their electric bill for July.

Come one, come all!

Monday night, 7/26 vs FTC, 7:05 start

Third Base
1717 West 6th Street
Building 2, Suite 210R
Austin, TX 78703

Google Maps link

Beer and Queso / It's Past the All-Star Break in Austin Too
« on: July 18, 2010, 11:39:38 am »
Any interest in a get-together where we can watch a game? I think we were at Third Base last time, but I'm not sure what venues are available.

Looking at mid-week series, the Rat Bastard Cubs are the opponent the 19th through the 21st and are in Houston the 26th through the 28th. August 9-11 is the Braves and the 16th-19th is the steM.

Any ideas?

Talk Zone / Interview with Bob Bruce
« on: July 18, 2010, 11:32:25 am »
Nice interview with Bob Bruce here. Includes a funny story about Mickey Mantle, and some stories about the Astros and the Dome. He loved his time in Houston.

Beer and Queso / RIP American Splendor
« on: July 12, 2010, 11:48:19 am »

Talk Zone / Thome ties, passes Killebrew
« on: July 04, 2010, 09:02:45 am »
Nice article on a special day for Jim Thome, including a video message from Harmon Killebrew that played on the big screen at the game after his 574th home run.

Thome moved into a tie for 10th place with Killebrew on his first home run of the day, a solo shot off Rays starter Wade Davis with two outs in the second inning. On a 1-0 fastball, Thome hit a low-line shot that snuck just inside the left-field foul pole and over the wall for his ninth home run of the season to give the Twins a 1-0 lead.

After a message flashed on the Target Field scoreboard announcing Thome's accomplishment of tying the legendary Twins slugger, a total of 40,852 fans -- the largest crowd in the new ballpark's brief history -- stood on their feet cheering. It drew Thome out for a curtain call as he headed up the dugout steps, doffing his batting helmet for the fans.

And it didn't take long for Thome to hit his next home run.

On his very next swing -- during his at-bat in the fourth inning -- Thome blasted a first-pitch fastball from Davis an estimated 424 feet into the bullpens in left-center field that gave the Twins a 4-1 lead and earned Thome his second curtain call of the day.

As he walked back into the dugout after that home run, Thome was greeted by hugs from many of his teammates before getting a chance to watch Killebrew's video. The emotions of the day got to Thome a little bit, admitting he had to go back to the clubhouse and compose himself.

"It kind of took me off guard," Thome said. "I had to come up here and get back into game mode."

Killebrew has long applauded Thome for doing things "the right way," in reference to the fact that Thome has never been linked to steroids or other performance-enhancing substances which have marred the accomplishments of other long ball hitters from Thome's era.

"He's someone who is a credit to the game and to himself and his teammates and the teams that he's played for," Killebrew said on Saturday. "You're happy for him. Like everybody else, I'm delighted that he was able to do it."

Talk Zone / Breakfast with Thunder Pants
« on: July 02, 2010, 09:39:52 am »
Footer tagged along with the Face of the Franchise for breakfast in San Diego and posted video.

I'm sure he's a great guy. He seems very nice, easygoing, there's no doubt he's one of the hardest workers on the team, but the FooterCam takes us to some extended closeups and it's like spending a few minutes in the Fun House...with a guy who never blinks...never...

Talk Zone / Move over, Robin
« on: June 27, 2010, 09:26:40 pm »
He died with the record still in his grip but now that he's gone, so is the mark.

Moyer yields record-breaking 506th HR, still wins

Talk Zone / Another critical blown call
« on: June 27, 2010, 09:22:20 pm »
Leyland: Umpire admitted missing game-ending third strike call

It's still early, but when you're a half game out of first it's a shitty time to be on the business end of another bad call, one that potentially costs you a game. The ump admits he knew he blew it right away, but why didn't he correct himself? How long until this shit comes to a boil?

Talk Zone / Manzella out for six weeks
« on: June 23, 2010, 03:41:22 pm »
Footer just tweeted that Manzella has a fractured left index finger and is out for six weeks.

Game Zone 2010 Archive / Astros vs. Rangers, 6/20/10
« on: June 20, 2010, 01:18:15 pm »

Borbon, CF
Young, 3B
Kinsler, 2B
Guerrero, RF
Hamilton, LF
Smoak, 1B
Ramirez, C
Blanco, SS
Wilson, P

Good Guys

Keppinger, 2B
Berkman, 1B
Pence, RF
Lee, LF
Michaels, CF
Feliz, 3B
Manzella, SS
Quintero, C
Paulino, P

Beer and Queso / New song about Lima Time!
« on: June 19, 2010, 10:41:47 am »
Let me preface this by telling you up front - this is not an ad so you can buy something. The Baseball Project, which is Steve Wilkie. Scott McCaughey, Steve Wynn, Peter Buck and Linda Pitmon, formed a group and they released a CD a couple of years ago that is all baseball-related songs. Terrific album, but you knew that, right?

Anyway, for the 2010 season they're making songs throughout the season and releasing them as free singles, you can listen to them or download them but they're all free. The latest one is in honor of Jose Lima, called Lima Time! You can read about it, listen to it and download it here and read a little more about it here.

Game Zone 2010 Archive / Astros @ Jankees, 6/12/10
« on: June 12, 2010, 12:50:43 pm »
Toppada thoid, an YCTTWASTJK,B just doubled in the go-ahead run and the Good Guys lead, 2-1.

Talk Zone / Free Tix to tonight's game - UPDATE, tix now gone
« on: June 05, 2010, 09:29:58 am »
I've got four tickets, front row of Section 255 that I can't use and don't seem to be able to get rid of - they're a printable PDF with the ticket codes and currently are listed on StubHub. If you would like to go to tonight's game and score a Jimmy Wynn bobblehead, PM me and I'll pull them down from StubHub and send you the PDF.

Section 255, Row 1, seats 21-24. Cheer SBB from the front row!

UPDATED - tix are now gone. Thanks for playing!

Beer and Queso / Hey Now
« on: June 04, 2010, 12:50:04 pm »
The Larry Sanders Show: The Complete Series due to be released September 28. Mix a few Salty Dogs in anticipation.

Game Zone 2010 Archive / Nats @ Astros, Memorial Day 2010
« on: May 31, 2010, 11:23:00 am »
1:05 start

Astros lineup:

1. Bourn CF
2. Keppinger 2B
3. Berkman 1B
4. Lee LF
5. Pence RF
6. Feliz 3B
7. Manzella SS
8. Quintero C
9. Oswalt P

Nats lineup:

1. Guzman 2B
2. Morgan CF
3. Zimmerman 3B
4. Dunn 1B
5. Willingham LF
6. Harris RF
7. Desmond SS
8. Maldonado C
9. Atilano P

Game Zone 2010 Archive / Astros at Reds, 5/30/10
« on: May 30, 2010, 01:57:41 pm »
Nuts. I thought this was a night game - tuned in to see that in the 7th inning it's 0-0. Q is on first, one out, Bourn up.

Talk Zone / Tough pitching ahead
« on: May 19, 2010, 12:27:25 pm »
It's probably going to be a rough stretch at home for the Good Guys, but we'll get the opportunity to watch some of the Major League's best pitchers working their magic at the MMPUS over the next week. Tags has the lowdown.

Thursday -- RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (7-1, 1.12 ERA)
Friday -- RHP Matt Garza (5-1, 2.38 ERA)
Saturday -- RHP Jeff Niemann (3-0, 2.54 ERA)
Sunday -- LHP David Price (6-1, 1.81)

Beer and Queso / Rest in peace, Ronnie James Dio
« on: May 16, 2010, 05:54:17 pm »
Of stomach cancer. He'd been undergoing treatment at M.D. Anderson. I was fortunate enough to see Rainbow in '78. Blackmore and Dio were terrific together.

Talk Zone / Byrdak update
« on: May 12, 2010, 06:05:38 pm »
As tweeted by Footer, Byrdak has an irritation of the L5 disc in his back. He'll stay in Houston until Friday and then get an injection, presumably of cortisone.

Talk Zone / 4 tix available vs. FTC, Jimmy Wynn Bobblehead Night
« on: May 11, 2010, 10:21:06 pm »
I was really looking forward to this game and to the Jimmy Wynn bobblehead, but I've had something come up and I can't make it. I have four front row tickets in Section 255 of the Mezzanine, good seats to see Bourn and Spaz up close and personal. With fees, they cost me $25 each but I'll let them go for face, or $20 each. PM me if interested.

ETA: It's Saturday, June 5.

Talk Zone / Towles sent down
« on: May 04, 2010, 09:57:53 pm »
Didn't see that one coming. Tags tweets that Towles was sent down and Cash brought up.

You really need to click on the link to see the pictures too.

Local boy with cancer turns into a superhero for a day

Beer and Queso / Roky Erickson's new album
« on: April 12, 2010, 09:14:03 am »
It's due out April 20 and, just like this review says, it's very, very good. Chilling, and maybe the best work he's ever done. Will Sheff and Okkervil River have made a great album.

Talk Zone / Nice video from yesterday's 1965 reunion
« on: April 11, 2010, 11:34:05 am »
Footer posted some video from the reunion, nice bits with former players and Gene Elston:

Beer and Queso / For all the Buckaroo Banzai lovers out there
« on: March 31, 2010, 08:59:51 pm »
The New Beverly Cinema had a screening of the film March 29 and had a Q&A with Peter Weller before the movie. A recap of the event is here and video of the very entertaining Q&A is here. Enjoy.

Talk Zone / Here's a little something to brighten your day
« on: March 28, 2010, 09:43:02 am »
It's been a while since I've seen this, but Robin Ventura's six hits off of Nolan Ryan in one inning never, ever gets old.

Talk Zone / Puma to have knee surgery
« on: March 12, 2010, 12:16:33 pm »
As per Tags, out 2-4 weeks, might miss opening day.

Beer and Queso / Shepherd Book speaks!
« on: March 05, 2010, 09:21:21 am »
It's a phone interview about the upcoming comic, A Shepherd's Tale. Heavy geeking from the interviewer but it's nice to hear anything from Ron Glass.

Talk Zone / 45th season commemoratives and promos
« on: February 15, 2010, 05:39:55 pm »
F_House just posted an article on the swag the Good Guys will be flinging at us this season, including bobbleheads of Mike Scott, Jose Cruz, Nolan Ryan and Jim Wynn. April 10 will be a commemorative 1965 jersey to the first 10,000 fans.

Talk Zone / one month
« on: January 20, 2010, 08:27:42 am »
...until pitchers and catchers report.

Talk Zone / More Ex-Astro News
« on: December 28, 2009, 04:35:41 pm »
The Crimson Chin has signed a minor league deal with the Nats.

Beer and Queso / Catching up with Don Meredith
« on: November 26, 2009, 10:57:18 am »
You don't have to be a Cowboys fan to enjoy Dandy Don. I took great delight in the Cowboys losing when I was a kid but I always enjoyed Don Meredith and the DMN has a nice article about him.

Beer and Queso / Ricky Jay in L.A. 12/29 - 1/10
« on: November 04, 2009, 10:12:21 am »
If you're in the Los Angeles area from late December through January 10, I strongly recommend seeing Ricky Jay's new show at the Geffen Playhouse. It'll be an all-new show put together with David Mamet and it'll feature some items from his collection as well as his incredible performances. Mrs. Brand and I saw his 52 Assistants show there in 2008 and it was a privilege.

After this run he'll take the show to New York, but I don't know when or for how long that will run. Chances to see Ricky Jay perform on stage are pretty rare and I can't recommend his performances enough.

Talk Zone / Hey, what has Shawn Chacon been up to?
« on: October 02, 2009, 11:05:14 am »
Walking the check, it seems. As linked from Ms. Footer's tweet:

Warrant issued for ballplayer Shawn Chacon over gambling markers - Onetime All-Star accused of failing to pay Caesars Palace $150,000

Authorities now have an arrest warrant for former major league pitcher Shawn Chacon as a result of his alleged failure to pay Caesars Palace $150,000 in gambling markers.

The 31-year-old Chacon — a onetime All-Star whose up-and-down career as a big league pitcher ended abruptly last year following a physical confrontation with the general manager of the Houston Astros — is facing a felony charge of passing three bad $50,000 checks in March, according to a copy of a criminal complaint obtained by the Sun.

The district attorney’s bad check unit is seeking a total of $165,125 in bail on the charge. That covers the $150,000 Chacon allegedly owes Caesars Palace, as well as additional processing fees he now owes the bad check unit for the cost of prosecuting the case.

Gambling debts are prosecuted as bad checks in Nevada.

Chacon, who could not be reached for comment, has played with several major league teams since 2001, including the Colorado Rockies, where, as a starting pitcher, he was an All-Star in 2003. He also played for the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Pirates.

On June 26, 2008, Chacon was released by the Astros after he allegedly grabbed General Manager Ed Wade by the neck and threw him down in the team’s dining room. Chacon played this year in the Oakland Athletics’ minor league organization.

Chacon lists his home as Greeley, Colo., where he starred playing high school baseball.

Gary Thompson, a spokesman for Harrah’s Entertainment, which owns Caesars Palace, said the company does not comment on pending litigation.

Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Tony Abbatangelo has been assigned the case.

Talk Zone / Dear Santa
« on: September 29, 2009, 07:48:02 pm »
Please send the Astros a decent radio crew, one that talks about the game and not everything but. In English. Thank you.

Game Zone 2009 Archive / DAS' STREAK IS BROKEN, 9/28
« on: September 28, 2009, 07:27:39 pm »
Ok, I got here late - in the fifth, with a nod to Allan Shivers - but so far Bazardo has held the Phils to one hit through five and somehow the Good Guys have scraped out four hits against a damn good team. 1-1 is the score.

Talk Zone / Oswalt to get second opinion on back
« on: September 22, 2009, 05:54:35 pm » per McTaggart's tweet, but with no other explanation. The only reason to get a second opinion is because you didn't like the first opinion, right? Anybody heard anything else?

Talk Zone / Roy shut down
« on: September 16, 2009, 04:57:24 pm »
By Wade for back issues, as per McTaggart's tweet

Beer and Queso / Anybody else grilling or smoking?
« on: September 07, 2009, 12:29:52 pm »
At the last minute I decided to smoke some meat and had to settle for a toy brisket - I'm doing a 5 lb. flat, two chickens, coupla pounds of Meyer's and some pork chops. I've never smoked a flat in the WSM, let alone at high heat, so this could be a mess.

Talk Zone / Two tix for Sunday's Game
« on: September 05, 2009, 07:00:30 pm »
I've got two tickets available for Sunday's game vs. Your World Champion Philadelphia Phillies, Section 107, Row 6.

SEE Bud Norris attempt to revitalize our faith in late season callups

SEE Michael Bourn in his quest to begin another run at BudGirl's heart

SEE if Geoff Blum can use his Jedi Mind Tricks to successfully manage another game out from under The Ol' Wiz...

Of course, the downside is that you'll have to sit in somewhat close proximity to me. Hopefully balanced by the presence of Mrs. Brand.

Please PM me if you're interested...

Talk Zone / Tejada welcomes a move to 3B
« on: August 16, 2009, 01:49:25 am »
...if he can sign for next year. Sounds like he's open to a deal and that could be great.

Talk Zone / More Jackassery from a FTC "fan"
« on: August 13, 2009, 11:36:35 am »
As reported in The Sporting News. I haven't found video of it, because I've been too busy to look but maybe it's out there somewhere.

Talk Zone / Scully expecting to work one more season
« on: August 11, 2009, 07:59:01 pm »
In the LA Times.

Game Zone 2009 Archive / Astros v. Brewers and Hernia Hell, 8/9
« on: August 09, 2009, 01:15:22 pm »
Lopez, 2b
Cameron, CF
Penis Nose, LF
Fat Vegan, 1b
McGehee, 3b
Hall, RF
Hardy, SS
Kendall, C
Gallardo, P

Bourn, CF
Matsui, 2b
Tejada, SS
Lee, LF
Blum, 3b
Michaels, RF
Erstad, 1b
Quintero, C
Rodriguez, P

Beer and Queso / I'm posting from Alcatraz...because I can
« on: July 27, 2009, 01:55:29 pm »
We've been in SF five days and it's overrun by Germans. Did Germany shut down? I will never give up, never surrender.

Talk Zone / Stan the Man
« on: July 14, 2009, 09:11:14 am »
Nice little AP article on a great, great player.

Talk Zone / I got a nice present
« on: July 10, 2009, 07:52:57 pm »
Mrs. Brand and I are going to San Francisco later this month to celebrate me somehow convincing her to stay married to me for 20 years. She just surprised me with box seats behind home plate to a game there Monday night. Sure, it's against the Pirates, but I appreciate it anyway and I'm looking forward to it!

Talk Zone / WW down to make room for Hampton
« on: June 30, 2009, 01:28:55 pm »
As per the Chron. He had options, so he's the one who went down.

EDIT - Fixed link

Also from McTaggart on, including this from Coop:

"It's a numbers game sometimes, and when you're the guy on the totem pole that has options, that's what happens. But Wesley is going to pitch a lot for us later on this year. Things have a way of working themselves out."

Talk Zone / Coop apologizes for not congratulating Pudge
« on: June 18, 2009, 11:45:39 pm »
...and other ephemera. Yes, it was in the GZ.

When I was in 8th grade, I was joining a school (a tiny, tiny school) that had a fairly rich football history and we were expected to be the next generation and continue. The year before I got there I think the varsity was in the State finals, so this was felt all the way down to us punks in 8th grade.

The football coach lived across the street from me, and he was wildly popular with the players he had coached in the past and the ones who were, like me, going to play for him the first time this year. Except that he was a bit of a hothead, popped off to some administrators, and they decided they didn't need a loose cannon coaching their kids so they canned him.

The replacement was a man who had never coached football before. In fact, I'm not sure if he'd ever played the sport. He did know how to yell at us though. He was very, very good at yelling at us.

One of his special gifts was the remarkable ability to play people out of position.  I was a very fast lineman, big for my age, and had begun to play middle linebacker in the standard 4-3 defenses of the time. Maybe because I was tall, he decided to put me at outside linebacker, where I was consistently outrun on sweeps. Consistently, like all the time. I have some very bad memories of chasing after guys, play after play after play, when I used to be the guy who blasted through lines and destroyed quarterbacks and fullbacks.

Anyway, this coach was awful. Totally, completely clueless about the whole sport and the team but was able to yell at us early and often because we really couldn't do what he wanted us to do, we were all out of position and poorly led.

Enter the coach who had been fired.  A few players would drift by his house just to visit. After a while, a few more would find out about it and stop by too. Pretty soon, we were having team meetings there, going over plays, game plans, etc.  Now, this guy was a long way from blameless. He had a big axe to grind, and we were the perfect tools for him to use and this was the perfect situation for it all to come together.

The next game, we ignored everything the new coach said. We ran out on the field to the positions we were used to playing, and used the plays we had worked on and not the ones he sent in. This game was against our arch-rivals, a team who had beaten us earlier in the season 48-0. Playing our game though, we won 14-6. I sacked the quarterback six times and was in the backfield all night long, blowing up their triple option offense. The rest of the team pulled together and played the way we knew we could play. It was a great night, and the icing on that cake was that the new coach was so clueless he had no idea what we had done. None at all. In fact, when we walked off the field and into the clubhouse, he was so overjoyed that he patted me on the shoulder pads and said, "I guess all that yelling finally paid off, eh?"

No. No, it really didn't.

Beer and Queso / I hate these corksoakers more than I hate the FTC
« on: June 18, 2009, 07:06:52 pm »
Cocksucking sorry shit-eating fuckwit bastard sons of bitches.

*Note: If you don't live in the Austin area, you probably don't care.

Game Zone 2009 Archive / Rockettes at ASTROS, 6/1/09
« on: June 01, 2009, 07:19:46 pm »

Bourn, CF
Tejada, SS
Pence!!!, RF
Lee, LF
Berkman, 1B
Rodriguez, I, C
Keppinger, 3B
Maysonet, 2B
Oswalt, P


Spilborghs, CF
Barmes, 2B
Helton, 1B
Atkins, 3B
Hawpe, RF
Smith, S., LF
Tulowitzki, SS
Torrealba, C
Cook, P

Beer and Queso / Quake Live on your browser
« on: May 18, 2009, 11:10:49 am »

Talk Zone / Hey, all you advertising and media folks out there
« on: May 14, 2009, 04:15:41 pm »
You know that Coca-Cola commercial, the one with the guy who is searching for the coldest Coke, the one in the bottom of the cooler? Then after he gets it his arm is all frozen and he yells, and it's really an amusing take on how great a cold Coke would be? Yeah, that one.

When I hear that commercial come on, I TURN MY RADIO OFF. Not down, not to another channel. I turn it off.

So please think about that the next time you soulless bastards are at "work" just before you do what Bill Hicks begged you to do. I can't be alone in this behavior.

Think about it, you cocksuckers. You media buyers, you creative jackasses, you managers. Stop being so insipid and so repetitive.

Talk Zone / July 25 ticket
« on: May 08, 2009, 02:47:44 pm »
I was forced to take one for the team and I'll be unable to use my ticket for the SnS extravaganza July 25. First PM or ear from a Puma costume gets it.

Talk Zone / Ellsbury steals home on Pettitte
« on: April 27, 2009, 03:18:57 pm »
Anybody see this last night? Ellsbury was almost home by the time Pettitte released the ball.

Talk Zone / Glimmer of hope for the Dome?
« on: April 26, 2009, 01:58:04 pm »
Ed Emmett, in the Chron.

I've gotten good feedback recently on a television interview I did last week with KPRC-TV (Channel2), in which I told reporter Robert Arnold that I was actively soliciting public input on a variety of proposals for the Harris County Domed Stadium -- best known as the Astrodome, the area's iconic and beloved former sports stadium.

I said in the interview that I was hoping to reserve the Dome for public use, including the possibility of converting it into an indoor venue for the area's many cultural festivals. Houston and Harris County are famous for the Astrodome and for our many cultural festivals.

Talk Zone / In light of today's exhibition
« on: April 11, 2009, 06:25:43 pm »
I bring you the text of the immortal "It Makes a Fellow Proud to Be an Astro" from Ball Four.

Now, the Astros are a team that likes to go out on the town,
We like to drink and fight and fuck till curfew comes around
Then it's time to make the trek,
We better be back to buddy's check,
It makes a fellow proud to be an Astro.

Now, Edwards is our catcher and he's really No. 1,
Dave Bristol said he drinks too much and calls some long home runs,
But we think John will be all right,
If we keep him in his room at night,
It makes a fellow proud to be an Astro.

Now, our pitching staff's composed of guys who think they're 'pretty cool,'
With a case of Scotch, a greenie and an old beat-up whirlpool,
We'll make the other hitters laugh,
Then calmly break their bats in half,
It makes a fellow proud to be an Astro.

Now, Harry Walker is the one that manages this crew,
He doesn't like it when we drink and fight and smoke and screw,
But when we win our game each day,
Then what the fuck can Harry say?
It makes a fellow proud to be an Astro.

Now let's go pound some Budweiser.

Beer and Queso / Another little piece of old Austin moves on
« on: April 01, 2009, 01:57:38 pm »
R.I.P. Ralph Moreland, founder of the Holiday House restaurants.

Beer and Queso / Playboy archive online
« on: March 25, 2009, 08:22:41 pm »
Due to some weird alliance between Playboy and Microsoft, the two have joined up with Bondi to tout Silverlight by putting 53 back issues of Playboy online, from 1954 through 2006. Aside from the obvious, the ads are a lot of fun. I looked at an issue from 1976 (the Jimmy Carter interview) and the ads, for a leisure suit with sansabelt slacks, the awful cars (Cordoba, TR7, Fiat), some of the old stereo equipment I owned, waterbeds and CB radios were pretty cool to see again. There was even a short Q&A with Hunter Thompson.

Beer and Queso / Ron Asheton, RIP
« on: January 06, 2009, 03:03:42 pm »
Just heard on the radio he was found dead this morning. At least they got three years back together.

Beer and Queso / Forrest Ackerman
« on: November 05, 2008, 07:10:33 pm »
I might be veering toward an ugly turn on this board, but what the hell. Anybody here a Forry Ackerman fan or read Famous Monsters of Filmland as a kid? I couldn't wait to get my hands on each new issue and read them cover to cover while my grandmother kept telling me they'd give me nightmares.  Anyway, Forry is ailing and not expected to last much longer. I might be the only one here who's interested, but on the off chance that I'm not, there is a small article at and his address if anyone would like to send him a note before he's gone.

Beer and Queso / New SnS main page?
« on: October 10, 2008, 06:57:45 am »
The blog format really threw me this morning, and I couldn't find the forums. Fortunately I could dial back through my cache to get here.  Will the entry to the forums be placed on the new main page?

Talk Zone / Pads Open to Offers for Peavy
« on: October 02, 2008, 04:43:15 pm »
from SI

Can the Good Guys put together a deal for him?

Talk Zone / Astros decline option on Brocail
« on: October 01, 2008, 11:57:01 am »
in the Chron but hope to work something out for next year

Talk Zone / A tearful good bye for Pedro Martinez
« on: September 29, 2008, 11:53:11 pm »
Boo Fucking Hoo from the NY Post

Martinez's teammates certainly sensed the end of his Mets career yesterday. At least a dozen of them stopped by his locker after the season-ending 4-2 loss to the Marlins, with a distraught Carlos Beltran even collapsing in tears on Martinez's shoulder for several minutes.

Talk Zone / We Are Officially Doomed
« on: May 22, 2008, 08:18:12 am »
Thursday, May 22.  It took this long to cross the line, courtesy of JDJO, in reference to Carlos Lee:

"He displayed the stroke that has the Astros primed to make a championship run of their own as they beat the Chicago Cubs 5-3 on Wednesday night to take two of three in the series at Minute Maid Park."

Talk Zone / Is it too early to get excited about this team?
« on: April 08, 2008, 09:08:50 pm »
It's really the first time I've been able to watch the good guys this season but I'm impressed so far.  Tejada is a real surprise and Bourn, Towles, Chacon and Wright look great, even if WW looks like he's 14.  Is it too early?  Can I get excited now?

Talk Zone / The Rumor That Won't Die
« on: June 21, 2007, 07:55:40 pm »
Gee, the Astros could start the bidding at Gomez and Milledge if they'd part with The Man From Weir.  It's getting so I can't read anything anymore.


and the hometown funnies:

(bottom of the page)

Talk Zone / Clem Labine RIP (no Astro content)
« on: March 02, 2007, 03:52:15 pm »

Talk Zone / Clown to Bucs?
« on: January 01, 2006, 05:38:55 pm »
You know there's a chill on the hot stove when something like this pops up.  The same "sources" that gave you the hot item of Taveras for Contreras ( The Link has dug up some Dominican news service item that says the Pirates want Sammy the Clown and they postulate that would make Craig Wilson expendable.

No way to tell if this has any basis in reality at all, but Wilson wouldn't be a bad pickup if he's cheap.  I don't know what his contract status is but it seems that he'd make a decent corner outfield option.

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