The Adventures of Jim Crane, and Other Astros Spring Training Things to Know
It's all over tomorrow. The Astros' off-season is finally ending. It might only be a spring training game, but after a winter of trades and new coaches and just a general reshuffling of the team, the Astros are finally going to get to play a game against another team. And they'll finally get to wear their shiny new uniforms.
Are you ready for some baseball?
So of course you want to tune into the game tomorrow -- note, all Astros radio games will now be on 790 since Clear Channel doesn't consider the team worthy of being on 740. And as you listen to the game, here are a few things you might want to think about as you try to come to grips with just how bad the team is going to be this season.
5. The Jet-Setting Adventures of Jim Crane
Two weekends ago, it was the story of Jim Crane, the pro-am and the Astros losing money for the past five seasons. Last weekend it was the story of Jim Crane, his helicopter, a golf foursome including President Barack Obama and Tiger Woods, and the Astros losing money for the past five seasons. What will happen in the high-flying life of rich playboy baseball team owner Jim Crane this weekend? Will he play golf with another famous person? Will he have his helicopter once again land on one of the practice fields? Will he continue to whine about the Astros having lost money for the last five seasons?
If you follow the breathless twittering tweets of the Houston Chronicle's new Astros beat writer, Brian T. Smith, then you'll more than likely be made intimately aware of every breath that Crane takes this weekend. Smith's reporting regarding Crane makes those sycophantic Entertainment Tonight reporters breathlessly swallowing every statement by Tom Cruise about how his latest soon-to-be box-office bomb is the greatest movie ever made seem like Pulitzer finalists.
4. Who Is On First?
Just one of the many options for first base
Seriously, who is playing for first base for the Astros this season? Is it free-agent signing Carlos Pena? Is it the centerpiece of the Roy Oswalt/Phillies trade, Brett Wallace? Is it Chris Carter, who just arrived from the Oakland A's as part of the Jed Lowrie trade? What about Nate Freiman, selected in the Rule V draft from the San Diego Padres? And what happens when Jonathan Singleton, one of the team's top prospects, has finished serving his drug suspension?
There's been some talk of Carter moving to left field, but he hasn't seemed to be too enthused by that prospect. There's been some talk of the Astros continuing with the Brett Wallace-as-a-third-baseman experiment. And with the Astros now in the American League, the odds are that Carlos Pena, who has a lot of DH experience with Tampa Bay, will split time between there and DH.