Astros Media Day Kicks Off 2012 Season -- 5 Early Storylines
In sandlot football growing up, we always had a saying after touchdowns that "losers walk," meaning the team that scored stays at that end of he field to kick off and the "losers" on defense have to march to the other end of the field to receive.
Milo: He's baaaack
So it's probably appropriate that, due to the NBA calling a presser to announce the 2013 NBA All-Star Game's coming to Houston, the Astros had their scheduled lunchtime news conference today moved at the last second to a 10 a.m. brunch instead.
While the Rockets have been no great shakes lately, they haven't come close to the recent futility of the Astros. So in the battle of dueling pressers, the Astros had to move things to 10 a.m. Losers walk.
So the Astros kicked off the 2012 season today with a little brunch, and I can't decide whether to get excited for the upcoming baseball season or brace myself for another summer of trying to book `80's movie stars for my radio show. (Truth be told, I could and probably will do both. There's NEVER a bad time to talk to `80's movie stars.) But how does one go about getting excited for a team that went 56-106 last season? Well, I'm guessing spring training will uncover a few methods along the way, but for now here are the first few off the top of my head:
Carlos Lee and Brett Wallace take the field
5. Will Millsy and Luhny become best friends?
Okay, maybe it's a little bit of a reach to think that manager Brad Mills and new general manager Jeff Luhnow will become best friends. Mills, who I think is a good manager and who may not get a chance to show that until he is somewhere else (likely after getting sacrificed at some point), has the rank stench of Ed Wade on him, and I frankly envision the Mills and Luhnow meetings going a lot like the meetings with Michael Scott and Charles Miner on The Office after Ryan was fired. Michael and Ryan wallowed somewhat unknowingly in a sea of underachievement and dysfunction, and when Charles came in it was a complete culture shock for Michael that eventually led to him quitting and starting the Michael Scott Paper Company. I like Mills, but if the upshot of the Luhnow Era is Mills leaving and starting the Brad Mills Baseball Team, then bring it on.
4. So Brett Wallace (and his pants) at third base, huh?
Apparently, Brett Wallace was originally drafted (by Luhnow, of all people) as a third baseman by the Cardinals, so with Carlos Lee
no longer able to run to left field now a full-time first baseman, Wallace's best chance at sticking with the big club is to get some time in at the hot corner. Of course, if he hits like he did in the Dominican League, where he was cut in November after batting .173, he could be the second coming of Brooks Robinson and it won't matter. But there is a big part of me that would love to see a Wallace/Lee combo on the corners, if only so we could see the two of them riding onto the field on tiny mopeds like those 800-pound twins in the Guinness Book of World Records.
3. Will Jose Altuve reach double digits in walks?
The diminutive Altuve (or "Toovey," as the kids call him) was about as selective at the plate as a shitfaced college student hitting on coeds at the bar at 2:30 a.m. He had five walks in 234 plate appearances. FIVE. To analytical nerd types like Luhnow, if the sport of baseball were a computer, players like Altuve are the Storm Worm virus.