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Monday's Three Astros Things

Talking about bankruptcy, Rookie of the Year voting and parody Twitter accounts...

Some things to talk about while I sabotage any chance I had at getting a job at the Chron later in this article...

1) CSN Houston bankruptcy mess

Not great news here, as this thing is going to get messier and messier and messier. Maury Brown writes about it today in language I'm not smart enough to totally get, but you can see for yourself here.

Even though the RSN just passed its one year anniversary on Oct 1st, and Matt Hutchings, CSN Houston's president and general manager resigned on Friday, the question is whether the Astros and Rockets would be willing to sell all or part of their equity in CSN Houston to NBC Universal/Comcast. While NBCU/Comcast has approached Astros owner Jim Crane about such a deal, to date he has declined.

This is not going to end well for the nascent network. It will end well for fans eventually, because it now looks like the end game here will be the Astros and Rockets selling their ownership percentages and folding the network. That means they'll then need to shop their wares elsewhere, probably settling back with Fox Sports for a worse deal than the Rangers have. (But, as I said, that's an uneducated opinion by me. A wild guess, really.)

That means Houston fans will be able to watch games soon, but who knows when this all will happen. It's a saga that keeps getting more and more depressing.

2) Should Cosart get ROY votes?

In case you missed it, Jarred Cosart was named Rookie of the Year by the Houston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. He had by far the best season out of any Astros rookie (yes, even Brandon Barnes), though Cosart only threw 60 innings over 10 starts.

I had no compunction voting for him there and I really wouldn't mind putting him third on an American League Rookie of the Year ballot, if I had one. My question is: do you think he deserves to be there?

I know at least one national writer doesn't think him worthy of a mention and I'm sure Keri is not alone. Cosart came up late in a third-straight losing season, when even the most ardent national media were ignoring the Astros. Who can blame them for missing what he did?

I guess what I'm asking is this: does Cosart deserve recognition, even one ROY vote this year? If he doesn't, will it be due to his stats or playing at the trail end of a 100-loss season?

3) Parody Twitter accounts

If you're on Twitter and not following JJO's Brown Nose, then you should be.

Why? Because it's funny (and not curated by me, so you KNOW it has a chance to be funny). And, because it does something that needs doing. It recognizes how terrible the Astros baseball beat became with JJO as its primary writer late in the season.

Now, many of you probably didn't read the Chronicle late in the season, because you were focused on other things, like avoiding any mention of the games that finished out the season. But, it was bad.

As in, the beat writer for a major newspaper advocates a pitching coach punching some of his players. That actually happened. It's not just a joke on the parody Twitter account. JJO deemed that important enough to tweet about. We worry about whether the MLB writers are too controlled by their parent company to cover the team objectively, and here we have an independent source completely in the bag for management.

This shouldn't upset me, but it does. Just like JJO calling out Jonathan Villar for voting for himself for the Astros' ROY. Needless and alienating. What that does is put JJO firmly on the side of management and the coaching staff, instead of simply being the impartial expert he's supposed to be.

Richard Justice, when he was a beat writer for the Baltimore Orioles, could  some of the same things, but he did it with much more subtlety. He would write something negative, but in an oblique way. He could still show up in the clubhouse, explain to a player why he wrote it, without very publicly calling out someone with big, flashing letters.

The Chronicle has made a hire to replace Brian Smith, who moved over to football when Tania Ganguli joined ESPN. It's reportedly Evan Drellich, a writer covering the Red Sox for the Springfield paper, but the hire won't be official until I'm guessing the Sox season is ended.

The reason I bring this up is the Red Sox and Astros media situations are completely different. It's because of competition, as the Red Sox have so many media outlets covering them, that the cream can rise to the top. You have to be good to be noticed in Boston. In Houston, there's only one real outlet for Astros news and they put someone who's terrible at covering baseball on that beat. Would that fly in Boston? Absolutely not. JJO would be taken off the beat after a few weeks, once he got hammered by the better writers.

Maybe not enough people care about the Astros for this to matter. Maybe people like JJO's false bravura and name-dropping act. I wish, though, that there could be enough interest in the Astros to create real competition and real, informative news.

As much as I want it to be different, TCB is not an alternative to the Chronicle's coverage. We don't have someone on the ground for every game. We do that for the minors, but our major league coverage is still lacking. What we provide is something different. Maybe that's where baseball writing is headed, but it's not there yet. Right now, we're still tied to the primary sources and right now, that primary source drives me absolutely crazy.