20 Things the Astros Can Do Now to Save the Season
When you're the worst team in the major leagues, and when attendance is falling off, and when the only thing people want to talk about is you switching leagues so they can see the Yankees and Red Sox more often, then you're a team that has problems. Serious problems. And the Houston Astros are such a team.
And today's scapegoat is...
So yesterday they did what all mediocre and poorly run ball clubs do when that time arises. They found a scapegoat and sacrificed him to the baseball gods. This time, the scapegoat for the Astros was pitching coach Brad Arnsberg, who Ed Wade dumped, not because Arnsberg is a bad coach or had lost the staff, but because Wade and Arnsberg had philosophical differences, the primary philosophical difference being that Wade is an incompetent ass who saddled Arnsberg with a pitching staff so crappy that not even Dave Duncan could make it look good.
Arnsberg took the high road yesterday -- in other words, he didn't call Wade a fool who shouldn't be allowed on a continent containing even a little league team -- and said that he had seen this move coming and that it just wasn't any fun coming out to the ballpark anymore. A statement with which just about every sane Astros fan undoubtedly agrees.
That said, something needs to be done to make it more fun for the fans to come out to the game, so inspired by stuff I saw on my Twitter feed yesterday, here's a few things that can possibly enhance the fan experience:
1. Celebrity pitching coach. Andy Pettitte's not doing anything, so let him do the job for a week. Let Roger Clemens come in for a week between court prep. What's Mike Hampton up to? Or Shane Reynolds? Billy Wagner's supposedly retired, so let's see what he can do with Brandon Lyon. Maybe Larry Dierker might have some interest.
2. One lucky fan gets to pitch the eighth inning instead of Brandon Lyon. Don't worry, as Lyon has proven, no skill is required for this job.
3. Or better yet, one lucky fan gets to take batting practice against Lyon so he/she can discover what it's like to homer off a (near) major league pitcher.
4. The 5,000th fan through the turnstile each night gets to have Dave Clark's job as the third base coach. The only requirements are to always stop Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence at third base while always sending Carlos Lee home from second base on a single to right field.
Forget Faith and Family Night, it's time the Astros prayed to Jobu
5. Here's a good one. One lucky fan, with a camera crew attached, gets to tell notorious hothead Brett Myers that he's been traded to Japan. Let's see if he can take it as well as he can dish out.
6. Have you ever wanted to be a catcher? Well, the Astros are kind of desperate for a catcher at the moment -- ability to hit the baseball not required -- so one lucky fan gets to put on the tools of ignorance one night and catch Brandon Lyon. Hopefully not every pitch will land in the outfield stands so that the fan gets the chance to catch at least one ball.
7. Hey, let's have another Craig Biggio appreciation day.
8. Or maybe it's time to retire another number. What's Geoff Blum up to?
9. Maybe it's time to do away with the Faith and Family Nights and instead sell some souls to the Devil. Or maybe make a few sacrifices to Jobu.
10. Every week another lucky fan gets to do Ed Wade's job. Whoever gives out the most bizarre contracts to a reliever will be the person who gets the actual job once Wade is finally fired.
11. Here's a good one. Give one fan a three-year $15 million contract. The fan doesn't have to do anything, which means the Astros automatically get a better performance on the contract than what they're getting from Brandon Lyon.