Thursday's Three Astros Things

Bob Levey

Talking about a great concept for the HOF, a mea culpa on the baseball dinner and Clemens rejoining the Astros...

Some things to talk about while we wait for another horrible thing to happen to the Astros in this week of disatros...

1) Dave Cameron's idea for the HOF

Amid all the carping about how terrible the HOF voting was on Wednesday, when no one from the modern era was elected, there stood a beacon of hope. Dave Cameron, of USS Mariner and FanGraphs fame and who is also a BBWAA member, put forth a very nice proposal for what the Hall of Fame should look like.

The reason I like this so much is that it acknowledges the history of the game without shying away from the darker parts. Are there players who are in the Hall just because they were friends with the Veteran's Committee? Sure. Are there general scoundrels, rogues and cheaters already in the Hall? Sure. But, does that make them any less a part of the tapestry of baseball history?

Anyways, here's Cameron's concept, but go read the entire article to get the whole effect:

Babe Ruth and Jim Rice are not equals, but in Cooperstown, they both have a plaque of equal size. That’s nice for Jim Rice’s friends and family, but it isn’t a representation of their place in baseball history. And, first and foremost, the Hall of Fame is baseball’s museum. It’s where you should go to see baseball’s history come alive. And then, when it comes to the plaque room, history gives way to equality, but that equality doesn’t represent reality.

So, instead of a yes/no decision, I’d center my Hall of Fame around the concept of tiers. Instead of Simmons multi-level Egyptian architecture, I’d settle for a series of rooms, each slightly smaller than the previous one.

Biggio and Bagwell would make Cameron's All-Around Room, which is only one step away from the Inner Room with Ruth, Gehrig and (one day) Bonds and Clemens. Solid concept, but I'm not sure it'd ever get executed.

2) Houston baseball awards dinner officially cancelled

Yeah. So, once again, I have to sheepishly say I'm sorry. Brian T. Smith did a much better job of getting the "facts" right and doing actual "reporting" instead of just listening to third-hand information about this awards dinner fiasco. He has an excellent article up from yesterday about what happened, who runs the dinner and the whole shebang. Here's the main gist:

Last year, the Astros in Action foundation partnered with the Minute Maid company to organize the dinner, which featured involvement from Houston-area baseball writers and benefited the Grand Slam for Youth baseball scholarship program.

The Houston Athletic Committee previously organized the dinner. The committee disbanded in 2011, following the death of Sonny Sowell, who was a co-founder of the Touchdown Club of Houston and a lobbyist for Texans owner Bob McNair.

Check out the article for some quotes from Bill Hartman, who is the chairman of the Houston chapter of the BBWAA and was a big part of me getting a membership card this year (more on that later).

But, as I said above, I feel bad for bringing the issue up without getting the proper context first. I've had this happen three or four times now, and it just makes me feel terrible, because I'm not presenting things to you TCBers in a fair, reliable way.

The stuff I was able to get first-hand from attending games and being around the clubhouse, manager, etc. needs to be more of what I focus on going forward. I'll stop trying to make comments on rumors or innuendo that I hear without knowing more of the background.

Yes, it's a shame that this dinner is going away. No, it wasn't totally the Astros fault, but I think there was some culpability on their side. As Smith points out in his article, most cities who have these dinners have other groups organize them, not the actual baseball club.

Is it another blow to fan involvement? Yup. But, it probably won't be as big a blow to fans as not being able to watch CSN Houston next season, right?

3) Clemens joining Astros org...in some role

Missed this when it first came out, but Roger Clemens will join a long line of former Astros who are re-joining the organization in teaching/coaching roles. Clemens will not be the pitching coach, but will be more of a roving instructor that may drop by to help with the major league club from time to time.

Both Jim Crane and Doug Brocail are okay with the move, which is interesting for a number of reasons. The meeting to flesh out his involvement was supposed to have taken place on Monday with Jeff Luhnow, but we have gotten no updates on what happened. Which, for this front office, is pretty typical. Maybe Mike Fast can drop by in the comments to tell us more...(Hi Mike!)

Clemens is an excellent mentor for younger pitchers. Roy Oswalt used to rave about the lessons he learned from being around Clemens back in 2004 and 2005, and Clemens also helped some of the younger players those January elite pitching camps that happened a while back.

In fact, I think the Astros have really lacked that element to their player development since Nolan Ryan left for Texas and Clemens got bogged down in his legal mess. Having a player of his caliber, that enjoys working with younger guys, back in the organization is a fantastic idea. I also like the concept of having an extra pitching coach floating around and helping out here and there. You can't have enough support for those pitchers, right? Especially when they're getting thrown into the fire of the American League this year.

Do any of you have lingering bad feelings for all of Clemens supposed indiscretions? Will you enjoy seeing him back around the Houston club? Are there specific young guys you think could benefit most from his presence *cough*Cosart*cough*?

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