Stories of interest from all over the Houston Astro landscape today.
Starting off with a familiar topic- Cecil Cooper and his imminent departure as manager from the Astros. At this point, I think we're all pretty much in agreement that:
1) Cecil Cooper is not going to manage the Astros for much longer
2) He has not performed well as manager in 2009
3) The reason he's getting fired is because of race
Wait. Scratch that last part. Nobody in their right mind should think that Cecil Cooper is getting fired because he's black. This is the ultimate last resort argument for any adult. When someone can't think of any rational, logical, objective reason for something bad happening- blame it on race!
Remember back in elementary school when you got into arguments with other kids and they felt like they were on the losing side of things? What was their go to remark? "You're fat!", or "You have a big nose!",or "My dad can beat up your dad!" Zaaaaa??? Makes you scrunch up your nose and furrow your brow.
It didn't sound intelligent when you were 8 and it definitely doesn't now that you're not. Race is a subject that is for the most part taboo, but probably shouldn't be. Frank, honest discussions about race and its interplay in America's past-time can be both interesting and productive. On the other hand, crying racism at times when its fairly obvious race has no bearing has the reverse effect. This is a LOSE argument.
Once you wade through discussion on race, RJ does opine with his predicted manager for 2010 (and it's not Jim Fergosi):
My guess is that he'll be fired and replaced by third-base coach Dave Clark. Players that played for Clark in the minors are effusive in their praise of him, and he's very popular in the big league clubhouse.
It's tough to have an opinion of a relatively young third base coach, but it would be a welcome change. A manager who is well liked in the clubhouse and has known the players for an extended period of time.
With all the discussion recently about 2010, and who's coming and who's going, there is one major piece of information that need be discussed- whether or not Lance Berkman is going to play beyond his current contract. His current deal runs through 2010, and the club has an option they pick up for 2011 which pays Lancey a cool $15 million. Berkman, who has a reputation as a player who doesn't pull any punches when it comes to speaking his mind, sounds as if he is serious about not playing all that much longer:
I don't want to hang around. I don't want to hamstring the organization, and I don't want to take away from my family and things like that. If I'm not as productive as I want to be, I'll take it to the house.
There are a couple factors at work here, as I see it. First off, Lance is a family man and a Christian first and foremost. While obviously an important part of his life, baseball is not his end all be all. The players who live and breathe baseball above all else are the ones who you assume would stick around the game as long as they can. It's their home, their shelter, their protectorate. Berkman most likely doesn't feel that way.
The other gorilla in the room is that the Astros have not been truly competitive for the fourth consecutive season. Could this be frustration leaking out in quote form? Maybe, maybe not. It does strike me as odd that both Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman would speak about their futures in so close a proximity to each other. It bears mentioning that both Roy and Lance are unfamiliar with not contending, and not playing meaningful games in September. Lance has known only three losings seasons (2000, 2007 and 2009) in his ten years as an Astro, and Roy has known only 2007 and 2009 as sub-.500 campaigns. Even steady as she goes players like these two get frustrated, and perhaps their recent comments about 2010 and beyond are evidence of that.