The Chronicle is reporting that the Astros have announced that Larry Dierker will not be returning to his role as one of the club's TV analysts for 2006.
Dierk, who of course spent most of last year doing home games while JD did the road games, makes it sound as if he asked for a raise, didn't get it, and now won't mind playing the extra golf.
Or finishing his book.
And good for him.
Without knowing what he asked for, though, it definitely seems to me the Astros should have paid anything reasonable Dierker requested. Not only is he eminently knowledgeable, not only does he love and respect the game, not only is he entertaining and opinionated, but he also just happens to have spent more time with the Houston Astros than anyone in their slowly lengthening history.
He's a walking history book of baseball in southeast Texas, and a good deal of it outside the Lone Star state, as well. I don't wanna be morbid or anything, but look at the sportspages today. Examine all the tributes being written to the sadly departed Kirby Puckett, and see if you can measure the amount of importance Puckett had to the Twins organization.
OK. Got it? 'Coz Dierker has meant much more to the Houston National League baseball franchise.
Much more, and I don't think it's even arguable.
Why would you want anyone else to represent your organization?
I dunno, it just seems like you might want someone who's been your star pitcher AND your number one radio guy AND your TV analyst AND your manager, for Pete's sake, to hang around for as long as he felt like it.
Good baseball brains aren't plentiful, and you shouldn't toss them out the door without a good reason.
Perhaps it's because I don't live in Houston that the dismissal of Alan Ashby earlier this offseason didn't quite outrage me the same way it did some others around the Astros worldwide web. I mean, Ashby wasn't on my car radio when I drive to the store for a pint of ice cream or whatever. Maybe that's unfair a little on my part to Ash, who by all accounts was entertaining and insightful, and has more than a few years himself within the organization.
But I watched plenty of baseball last year that was accompanied by Dierk's accomplished commentary, and even if he doesn't appear to be upset, I don't mind saying that I am.
What's going on around here? The Astros win the pennant, and suddenly it's goodbye to everybody. Goodbye to Ashby, goodbye to Bagwell, goodbye to Clemens, goodbye to Dierker.
Houston is playing the Mets at St. Lucie this afternoon, but I have no idea who's pitching, or anything else about the game.
Hope we win though . . . .