Houston We Have a Problem …….

Houston We Have a Problem

by tophatal ….. 07/21/2012

MLB pieces within this site

It never ceases to amaze me as to the disingenuous motives that surrounds baseball ( MLB) and the day-to-day maneuvers and ploys of Commissioner Bud Selig and the league hierarchy ! In approving the sale of the Houston Astros from former owner Drayton McClane to Houston entrepreneur and industrialist , James “Jim “ Crane for what was then a record purchase price of $ 680 million . Lost in all of this was the mere fact that Crane and his partners > were in receipt of a $65 million “ inducement “ that will see the organization be moved from the NL Central to the AL West as part of baseball’s divisional realignment , and the suggestion that this would bring some parity and a legitimacy as to the makeup of the divisions and the two leagues (AL & NL).


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Slideshow .

This season , the Houston Astros (34-60) have not been competitive and from an attendance standpoint , the organization’s struggles continue unabated . Brad Mills and his coaching staff have struggled to get this team playing with any great resolve as they look from the basement of the NL Central at the likes of the divisional leading Cincinnati Reds (53-40) and the now surprisingly resilient Pittsburgh Pirates (52-40) . There have been few bright spots , let alone moments for the fans in attendance at Minute Maid Park , in Houston , Texas , to get really excited about . Beyond the play , of Carlos Lee , Jose Altuve , Jed Lowrie , Wandy Rodriguez , J. A . Happ and Brad Norris . It easy to understand why the Astros have continued to struggle in recent years . The ball-club’s last winning season came in 2008 and their last postseason appearance was in 2005 . That year the Astros would make the World Series where they would be swept in four games (4-0) by the Chicago White Sox , in an uneventful and totally lopsided series . In the subsequent years , managerial and player personnel turnover have been a blight to the organization .

The Astros’ front office now led by GM Jeff Luhnow , looks to rebound from those years of ineptitude and abject complacency . And this season during the 2012 MLB Draft , the organization sought to remedy their ills by making a number of judicious draft choices . Those choices along what Luhnow and the managerial staff feels is an exceptional farm system littered with top-flight prospects places the future of the Astros as they view it , in very good standing . From my point of view , I am not so sure because upon their move to the AL West in 2013 the franchise will have to deal with the likes of the monumentally talented Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers . Need one be reminded of the fact that within the AL , teams there are primarily driven by the power of their offense , more than anything else ? That “$65 million sweetener provide by Bud Selig to Jim Crane and the Houston Astros, may well be benevolent but I do not believe that it will serve them well in making up for what will be initially , a great deal of disappointment as they seek to acclimatize themselves with the nuances of the American League (AL) .

Some may well feel that the induction of Barry Larkin and Ron Santo into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown , New York , is long overdue . Both are thoroughly deserving of the honor , and the esteem with which both are held , speaks volumes as to the impact they had on the game . Both players had multiple appearances as representatives at the MLB All Star Game , as well as Larkin having won the NL MVP in 1995 . The list of accomplishments attained by Larkin and Santo over the course of their respective careers is a tribute to the longevity as well as the brilliance of both of these self-assured and accomplished players.

Courtesy of USA Today

‘Ron Santo, Barry Larkin take place among greats’

By Jorge L Ortiz , USA Today

Barry Larkin was elected to the Hall of Fame in his third chance. Ron Santo did not get chosen until 37 years after he played his last game. With their inductions scheduled for Sunday, USA TODAY Sports’ Jorge L. Ortiz takes a look at where both players rank among Hall of Famers at their respective positions.

Larkin long on numbers, short on games compared to peers

• PHOTOS: Hall of Fame inductees
Defensive prowess was the leading qualification for stardom at shortstop when Barry Larkin arrived in the majors in 1986 with the Cincinnati Reds.
Along with contemporaries such as Cal Ripken Jr. and Alan Trammell, Larkin helped redefine the offensive expectations for his position, ushering in the era of power-hitting shortstops that included Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra and Miguel Tejada.
There had been slugging shortstops before Larkin, most notably Chicago Cubs icon Ernie Banks, who hit 512 home runs but spent the second half of his career at first base and played more games there than at short.
Few have exhibited Larkin’s combination of defensive skill — he was a Gold Glove winner from 1994 to 1996 — and offensive capability at the plate and on the bases. Larkin ranks fourth among Hall of Fame shortstops in both on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.815) and stolen bases (379). Only Honus Wagner tops him in both categories.

Click on the link to read inset article in full.

It now begs the question in the upcoming years as the eligibility status is , and will be raised , concerning the players in embroiled image tainted era of steroids within the game , and that knowingly in some areas of the press a number of journalists investigative and otherwise chose to ignore the revelations . What must or will be done with players such as Rafael Palmeiro , Mark McGwire , Roger Clemens , Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa . There is a legitimate claim to be made , that all of the players mentioned have a right to be inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame , in Cooperstown , New York . However , their names are integrally and indelibly linked to the most “ corrupt era “ of the sport and knowingly so . Certainly, it has not helped that many of the journalists who covet the game of baseball as well as many of the television analysts and on-air personalities chose to turn a blind eye to the revelations as they came to the fore . Never-mind the fact that so many of the imbecilic fans with their often immature offerings came up with suggestions as to why these players had done nothing wrong and that there were no apparent dangers by their misdeeds . Clearly, when these statements are being made, then it becomes obvious that not a great deal of thought has been put in the uttering in question . For the adjudicators who make the decision as to which nominees , having met the criteria are inducted into baseball’s most hallowed fraternity . The writers of the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) will either show a great deal of favoritism , common sense or quite possibly that they simply do not care who should be enshrined within that institution . Granted, within the Hall of Fame , enshrined within that fraternity , are racists , child molesters , bigots , rapists and dare one allude to the fact characters who if they were playing in the modern era of the game would be thought of as being the “most despicable “ of characters , of questionable moral turpitude ? The Hall of Fame is meant to be about those enshrined , as being of the best of their generation to have played the game and nowhere is it written that the enshrines have to be upstanding citizens .

Baseball on the other hand , has passed itself off as the game that led the nation with its social awareness and the fact it was the nation’s pastime . Racial integration of the baseball simply does not mean , that overnight the sport should or can be looked upon as being a bastion of social awareness or the very fact Jackie Robinson’s or Hank Aaron’s name can be continually and repeatedly used as way to cure the game’s ills . Especially in light of the fact that Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy remained oblivious as to what was happening in front of their very eyes . And even now , the commissioner remains something of an idiot concerning the issue of steroids ! Should one need to be reminded , it was primarily Selig’s intransigence that led to baseball and softball no longer being events in the Summer Olympics . That was in light of the commissioner and the union (MLBPA) not wishing to acquiesce to the rules of Board the IOC Executive Committee and their call for mandatory testing of the players . Bud Selig’s intransigence led to the fracture between MLB and the game’s international governing body the IFAB ( International Baseball Federation) . And as both now look to heal that relationship , they are jointly petitioning the IOC for reinstatement of both baseball and softball for either the 2016 or 2020 Summer Games . For those under the misnomer that the reason behind the baseball’s exclusion from the Olympics had to do with the lack of competitiveness of the teams and the sport’s popularity , that was solely a lie . It all boiled down to MLB’s grandstanding and wishes to usurp the IFAB’s authority . But then again what else should we have come to expect from an oaf like Bud Selig !

As passionate as I am about the game of baseball , I see no real reason not to include the likes of Bonds , Clemens and Sosa into the Hall of Fame , just as long as it is done under the proviso that a statement is carried denoting that the players in question were embroiled in the steroid era and not just simply a plaque denoting their achievements and nothing beyond that . I mean it is not as if the BBWAA has shown a clear predilection to show that they have even thought of doing that . And were it left to left to the mind numbing stupidity of such on-air personalities as Tim Kurkjian , Buster Olney , Rick Reilly or , Tim McCarver and Joe Buck . I would dare say that their lack of vocal outrage as to how much these players have tarnished the game would not be even raised for discussion ! The BBWAA , like MLB’s hierarchy would like to appear to be , all things , to all of the fans without actually contributing much to the diaspora as it relates to the game . The appropriate line from the movie “ Forrest Gump “ pretty much sums up what both bodies are .. about …. “ stupid is as stupid does” !



Picture gallery , for your perusal .

What thoughts if any do you have on the inclusion of Barry Larkin and Ron Santo’s inclusion into Baseball’s Hall of Fame ? And do you believe that the Houston Astros move to the AL West in 2013 will be of benefit to the AL ? By all means do leave a comment with regard to the points raised within this piece .


Picture and slide show details below .


(1) Arizona Diamondbacks’ Josh Collmenter , left, kicks the pitcher’s mound after giving up a home run to Houston Astros’ ‘ Justin Maxwell , right, in the second inning during a baseball game on Sunday, July 22, 2012, in Phoenix. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin …

(2) Houston Astros’ Jordan Lyles (41) tosses the ball in the air and teammate Marwin Gonzalez (9) takes his cap off to wipe sweat away during a seven-run sixth inning for the Arizona Diamondbacks in a baseball game on Sunday, July 22, 2012, in Phoenix. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin ….

(3) Houston Astros’ Chris Johnson (23) gets caught in a rundown between Arizona Diamondbacks’ Lyle Overbay (37) and Stephen Drew , who would eventually tag Johnson out, in the sixth inning during a baseball game, Sunday, July 22, 2012, in Phoenix. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin …

(4) Former Cincinnati Reds star Barry Larkin wipes his eye as he gives his acceptance speech during his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Sunday, July 22, 2012, in Cooperstown, N.Y. AP Photo/Tim Roske …

(5) Former Cincinnati Reds star Barry Larkin, right, is welcomed by Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar , left, at the conclusion of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum induction ceremony, Sunday, July 22, 2012, in Cooperstown, N.Y. AP Photo/Tim Roske ….

(6) COOPERSTOWN, NY – JULY 22: Barry Larkin poses for a photograph with his plaque at Clark Sports Center during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 22, 2012 in Cooperstown, New York. Larkin played his entire 19 year major league career with the Cincinnati Reds, compiling a .295 average , 2,340 hits, 1,329 runs, 198 home runs, 960 runs batted in and stole 379 bases. He was named to 12 All-Star games and was the 1995 National League MVP. Larkin was also a member of the 1990 World Series championship team . Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images ….

(7) COOPERSTOWN, NY – JULY 22: Barry Larkin and Vicki Santo , widow of inductee Ron Santo, pose for a photo with their plaques at Clark Sports Center during the Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony on July 22, 2012 in Cooperstown, New York. Larkin played his entire 19 year major league career with the Cincinnati Reds, compiling a .295 average, 2,340 hits, 1,329 runs, 198 home runs, 960 runs batted in and stole 379 bases. He was named to 12 All-Star games and was the 1995 National League MVP. Larkin was also a member of the 1990 World Series championship team. Santo was named to nine All-Star games in his 15 major league seasons, 14 of which he played for the Chicago Cubs. He finished his career with 2,254 hits, 1,331 runs batted in, 342 home runs and won 5 consecutive gold gloves at third base from 1964-1968. Santo passed away on December 2, 2010. Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images ….

(8) Cubs’ great Ron Santo seen here at Wrigley Field , the player was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame via the Veterans’ Committee . Santos died in December 2010 from the complications of diabetes . His plaque was presented to his widow , Vicki Santo who was joined on the day family and close friends for the induction . Courtesy of ESPN / Matt Armstrong …….



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Houston Astros’ news

Baseball Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame members bios (alphabetically)

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Author: tophatal ...........

Brit ex-pat living C Florida . Now working with a consultancy firm in the field of corporate governance on the international front , concerning economic policies . Also covering the area of finance , banking, international banking. An MBA graduate from the (LSE) and UCL (London) , M&A (mergers & acquisitions), economics , risk management & assessment . Martial artist (tae-kwondo, karate, savate , muy-thai) & an vowed sports ' fan , sports' junkie. Served in armed forces British ... Royal Marines . Taught unarmed combat to members of the military and also competed in tournaments prior to joining the Royal Marines . Also an avid motorcycle junkie & free running enthusiast . Tech geek and computer repair technician. Entertainment: Musical tastes _ reggae, r&b, soul, hip-hop, rap , jazz, classical. Film genres , Preferably thrillers , crime dramas Hobbies ..... reading biographies & anything by John Grisham Just a lil' something to make me feel comfortable ! Tophatal

17 thoughts on “Houston We Have a Problem …….”

  1. Great to see both Barry Larkin and Santo (posthumously) enshrined in Cooperstown ! Unfortunately , 2013 will bring a slew of ” steroid cheats ” who’ll be eligible . Hopefully , the dumb morons who make up the BBWAA fraternity will do what’s ethically and morally right by denying the players in question enshrinement .

    How good was Barry Larkin as a SS ? Take look at the following and you can see how good he really was amongst his peers at the position over the years .

    Sad that Ron Santo was not in Cooperstown to celebrate his enshrinement but his passing in 2010 from diabetes and the very fact that he had both legs amputated below both knees showed how susceptible he’d become to the illness and the ongoing issues he and and his family had in dealing with that specific malady . He had done so much for the JRDF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) as well as several other charitable organizations that deals with diabetes and the education of those who suffer with that ailment .

    Children of Ron Santo, (L-R) Ron Santo Jr, Linda Santo and Jeff Santo listen as Vicki Santo, wife of the former Chicago Cubs third baseman, delivers his acceptance speech after he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York, July 22, 2012. REUTERS/Adam Fenster (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

    The Astros , Royals and Twins have to be the three worst franchises in baseball , bar none !


    The procession and cavalcade on the day of Santo’s funeral passes Wrigley Field on the day of his funeral in December 2010 .

    Rachel Aldana , the only boob I want to see are her’s and not the Astros , Royals and Twins claiming they’re Major League Baseball teams !

    tophatal …….


  2. “Jim when we move to the AL West in 2013 we’re going to kick some Angels , Mariners , A’s and Rangers’ a#s . We’re that good I’m telling you ” ! Astros’ GM Jeff Luhnow (right) and team owner Jim Crane (left) .

    tophatal …..


  3. Houston’s proposed move to the A.L. will be disastrous. Making wise draft choices, especially in MLB, USUALLY proves to be much ado about nothing. Very seldom do draftees in baseball amount to much. It’s probably the only major sport that produces the least amount of future All Stars and top tier players than any other.

    Larkin & Santo? Excellent choices for the Hall! Period!

    Nice article.


    1. chappy 81

      Hence the reason that $65 million ” sweetener ” came into being in the $680 million sale of the Astros by Drayton McClane to Jim Crane and that was overseen and approved by Bud Selig and the MLB hierarchy . So you tell me how the game can’t be viewed as corrupt ?

      The Astros are abysmally inept in every aspect of the game and their move to the AL West will prove to be disastrous for the organization .

      No doubt with regard to the enshrinement of Barry Larkin and Ron Santo ( posthumously) . The real issue comes in 2013 and the guys eligible then , and the decisions that will be made by the adjudicators of the BBWAA (Baseball Writers Association of America) .

      Players eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2013 and 2014

      tophatal ……


    2. fantasyfurnace

      This proposed move does nothing to make the AL West more competitive . The Astros as you say are a woefully inept team and will remain so for the foreseeable future .

      Brad Mills and his managerial staff have no idea in what is needed to resurrect the fortunes of this team and their schedule over the remainder of the season will dictate that they will be one of the teams with one of the worse records in baseball at season’s end .

      ” For my next trick I’ll use this jersey to wipe my a#s because I had no idea that the team would be this bad “ ! Astros’ manager Brad Mills

      tophatal …….


  4. It’s about time Larkin and Santo made to the hall of fame. This should be called the writers hallm of fame not the players, The writers have a hard on for some players. Baseball is like life. It takes place slowly- its full of characters worthy and not worthy-bad and good. so lets not hold these guys up as icons they are not- to quote john kruk hey lady I’m just a basebal;l player that’s all folks.


    1. Bobby Gee

      The Baseball Writers Association of America is filled with a room full of as#holes ! They favor some over others but what might be even more unbelievable , is that these are the very same fu#king morons that sat idly by and remained quiet when the stories came out concerning the abuse of steroids within the game . And many of those very same writers questioned the in-depth investigation Mark-Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams’ book and their claims . And that was even in light of Jose Canseco’s book and his stating that much of what the two investigative journalists > stated ” was dead on correct “ . So let the BBWAA , go fu#k themselves, as they possess no real integrity whatsoever !

      Larkin and Santo are deserving of their plaques and places within Baseball’s Hall of Fame !

      tophatal ……..


    1. Chris Humpherys (@SportsChump)

      The adjudicators of the BBWAA are a bunch of blithering idiots to begin with ! And in terms of the players eligible (2013) for the Hall of Fame . I am not so sure that anyone can actually say what would be the right thing to do . As I stated , I don’t mind these players associated with the steroid era being inducted just as alongside their plagues and any annotation it is clearly shown that their stats and feats are part of that era .

      tophatal ……


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