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Astros Off Day Discussion Thread: Texas Rangers Pitching, Celebration in Baseball, and a Poll

I know it's only five straight series won. I know the teams we've beaten haven't exactly been world beaters themselves (although take a look at Colorado!). I know fools gold is plentiful in an 162 game baseball season. I also know that with this team, a sliver of hope is sometimes enough. I also know that there are only four games separating "HOU" and "MIL" in the standings. All of this makes being a fan, watching games, and writing posts much more enjoyable. A now "solid" 2008 draft was followed by a smart 2009 performance by our front office. There's a lot to be down about with the Astros, but of late, the returns are mostly positive. Now then, on to some links..

Our next opponent are the Texas Rangers. Defense and pitching, the age old combination, have helped propel this perpetual doormat into AL West contenders. Combine those factors with their always spectacular offense, and the otherwise average Western Division may be theirs for the taking. One soft spot that the Rangers will probably have to address before it's all said and done is their league worst K/9. Power pitching tends to rule the day in October, and if the Rangers make it that far, their pitchers' inability to miss bats may be their downfall. Their ballpark also lends itself to allowing a lot of home runs, a big reason why their team FIP is more than half a run higher than their team ERA. So pay attention this series to the K rates of Kevin Millwood and Co., and well as if balls are flying out of the park off the Astros' bats.

What do y'all make of the incident/war of words recently between relievers Brian Bruney and Francisco Rodriguez? Is it much ado about nothing, or does Burney have a point? What role (if any) does celebration play in baseball? It's a tricky call, in my opinion. On one hand, celebration and exuberance is more a part of our culture today than it was in years past. I think it's more acceptable based solely on that premise. On the other hand, baseball is more about one on one matchups than any other team sport. When a wide receiver celebrates after a long touchdown catch, he usually doesn't do anything to show up the cornerback who allowed the score. More than anything it's spontaneous joy, an expression of happiness that often involves teammates. In baseball though, a converted save or home run hit may benefit the team, but the act of hitting and pitching is an act performed in tandem with just one other person. All the eyes on are you, and if you celebrate after succeeding on the diamond, I can see how it can be construed that you are "showing" someone up.

Finally, here's some food for thought. LITERALLY! What is your opinion on the no outside food at Minute Maid Park policy?