Some things to talk about while you feel glad Jim Crane doesn't answer customer complaints...
1) All-Star Astros hat
Thanks to the hat tip from Ryan on this one. The Astros (and every other MLB team) will have some pretty cool All-Star hats this season. Here's a look at them from MLB.com.
While the Astros hat looks nice, it also isn't much different than what Houston normally wears. As I told Ryan, I'm more of a navy back, orange bill guy, so I don't love this one. But, Paul Lukas over at UniWatch brings up some great points.
But leaving aside the merits of the individual designs, I think forcing all the game caps into the same template is a huge mistake. In recent years, MLB has used the host team as inspiration for the Home Run Derby jerseys and caps, and that's fine - a nice nod to the home club. But templating the game caps is different. For one thing, it makes everything feel too generic, too undifferentiated. For another, it creates contextual problems - for example, why would you want to impose a 1970s template on teams like the Marlins, D-backs, Rockies, and Rays, which didn't even exist in the 1970s?
While the Rays faux-backs worked, I can see what Lukas is saying. One of the cool parts of the All-Star Game is seeing all the different uniforms and hats on the field together. Forcing hats into set templates is what got us into the July 4th hat mess in the first place.
2) Home run derby snubs Springer...for now
Sad news, you guys. No George Springer in the All-Star Game home run derby. Yet.... From ESPN:
Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki and Toronto's Jose Bautista, the respective team captains, named three players each to their squads Tuesday. Tulowitzki added Yasiel Puig, Giancarlo Stanton and Todd Frazier to the National League contingent, while Bautista selected Yoenis Cespedes, Adam Jones and hometown favorite Brian Dozier of the Minnesota Twins.
There's still a chance that Springer gets added, especially since Edwin Encarnacion is hurt and cannot participate. But, it appears likely that Bautista will go another way.
Still, this could be my favorite Derby lineup in ages. Puig? Stanton? Cespedes? Bautista? Check, check, check, check. Don't even care who else is in it. Those battles could be epic. Yes, I do love the Derby more than the actual All-Star Game. No, I'm not ashamed of that.
3) Atlantic League All-Star Game
Next week, the Sugar Land Skeeters will host the Atlantic League All-Star Game at Constellation Field. That means more All-Stars will be near Houston than actually play for the Astros.
But, seriously, folks, there's something worth pointing out here. First, the Atlantic League came up with a cool idea for its All-Star Game, pitting Texas vs. the East Coast, just like in all that fanfic Chris has been writing. Here are some of the All-Stars named to the game:
Atlantic League infielders who are announced for the All-Star Game are catchers J.R. Towles of Bridgeport and Adam Donachie of Somerset; first baseman Johan Limonta of York; second baseman Eric Patterson of York; shortstop Wilson Valdez of York; third baseman Corey Smith; utility players Amadeo Zazueta of Southern Maryland and Lance Zawadzki of Lancaster; outfielders Lew Ford of Long Island, Cole Garner of Lancaster, James Simmons of Bridgeport and Adam Bailey of Long Island; and designated hitter Alex Hudak of Camden.
Yes, that's former Astros prospect and Nebraska alum Adam Bailey playing for Long Island. Yes, that's former Port Neches-Groves player and feel-good story Lew Ford playing for Long Island as well.
But, it's that first name which probably stuck out to you.
J.R. Towles is finally an All-Star.
Now, watch Anthony weep all the way in California because prospects will break your heart.