Ramblings From Covering A Houston Astros Weekend Series

May 19, 2012; Houston, TX, USA; Texas Rangers infielder Elvis Andrus (middle) is caught in a rundown in the ninth inning as Houston Astros pitcher Brett Myers (39) attempts to apply the tag at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

First time to cover an entire series, and I'm not going to attempt to break it down in one, coherent article. Instead, you get a rambling race through dozens of random thoughts I've had over the course of three days. Good for you!

Houston came into the series with just eight more home runs as a team than Josh Hamilton had a single person. They got that up to 11 by the end of the series. It's the little things that count. ... Four games in five days and not one open roof. Might as well be a dome at MMP. ... Justin Maxwell apparently throws mini-BP to his son (who appears to be around 4-5) after games. Whiffle balls, in the clubhouse or (I guess) in the cages. Since I've got a son close to that age who's quickly becoming crazy about baseball, I could both relate and give him major points. It was pretty funny hearing Chris Snyder's son, too, after Saturday's game tell him, "I saw you hit a home run, Daddy. You did good. It was the first home run, too." Okay, I'll stop, else my Mitch Albom streak is likely to rear its ugly head. ...

Friday was Longhorn Night and it was dominated by Rangers fans being obnoxious. Saturday was Aggie Night and the Astros fans fought back and overwhelmed all the bandwagoners. Coincidence? I think not. ... It was weird brushing past Jim Crane at various points on the weekend. One day, he turned the corner just as I was going downstairs to the press conference for Millsy wearing an outstanding plaid jacket. Didn't, you know, get to talk to him, but I'm still getting used to the idea that I work in a place where I can randomly brush past Jim Crane. ... Nickname update: seems that baseball has even found a way to tag Brett Myers with a "-ie" or "-ey" ending as his nickname. Talking to Chris Snyder after Saturday's game, he called him "Meerzie," like a meerkat. I have not, as yet, broached the Escorpion nickname with Altuve, but I'm picking my moment. ...

There may not be cheering in the press box, but there was plenty of cheering in the media dining room for the Preakness finish. ... Something I didn't get to talk much about on Saturday was the two-out hitting of both J.D. Martinez and Jose Altuve. With no one on, both came up with big hits to keep the inning alive and that eventually led to runs. Crucial plays from two young players. ... My wife is a bit of a video montage aficionado. She loved the videos before Aggie football games almost as much as the game itself. I think she'd like the videos Houston has this season. Pretty cool 50-year anniversary video before games, combined with a neat Myers intro video and she'd be sold. ... Interesting tidbit from Snyder on Harrell's start: their gameplan was for him to pitch to contact and generate ground balls. He set a career-high in strikeouts, but I'm not so sure that's how they drew it up. ... Baseball Reference is both an invaluable resource for finding stats, but it's used by a ton of press box people. I saw it on most every computer at one point or another during the games. ...

The other thing that's become more and more apparent about this team is that Brett Myers is the clubhouse leader. He sets the tone, sets the stereo and leads the "Regulators" in the bullpen. If he does get traded, the Astros will lose more than just a closer. Don't know if it'll affect their record, but I'm sure it'll have some impact if he does leave. ... Kinda glad I missed the opportunity to talk with Nolan Ryan before Friday's game. I try to be professional and such, since I'm working or something. I don't know if I could have avoided being a fanboy for Nolan, though. "Hey, Mr. Ryan...do-do-do you remember that time you had all those strikeouts?...That was awesome." If you think I'm exaggerating, just listen to how flustered I got when Jed Lowrie gave me crap for calling this second hit last Wednesday a "misplay." I'm a hair's breath from the Chris Farley Show right now. Talking to a legend like Nolan? I would have been done. ...

Looks like Astros.com is getting a new writer in Clark Goble. He used Pitch F/X data to talk about Lucas Harrell's swinging strikes, so I like him immediately. ... There is a note in every set of Astros Game Notes about the run differential. I'm pretty sure that hasn't been the case the past few seasons. God, I love this new front office. ...Rangers fans really are the worst. One guy hollered at Yorvit Torrealba before Saturday's game "This is our house, Torrealba. This is our house." He wasn't taunting him, he thought Rangers fans could legitimately take MMP. Ugh, the worst. ... Friday night, I was sitting next to a guy who told me how much I'd dislike Tim McClelland being behind the plate the next day. His reason? McClelland hides his strike call almost completely in front of his body. It was impossible to tell what he called from the press box. TV may not have had as much of a problem, but that's the worst at high school games. I hope it doesn't become a trend. ...The Rangers were running freely on Astros center fielders in this series. Anything hit in front of them, they tried to turn into a double. Don't know what that says about Jordan Schafer or Justin Maxwell out there, but it can't be good. ...

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