Some things to talk about while you read this interview with C.J. Nitkowski...
1) Biggio for the Hall of Fame
If you only have seven minutes to watch a video on YouTube today, please make it this one. It may be the most important video of this young year.
Lloyd Richey, wherever you are, know that you will always have a place here on TCB. This video is that awesome. Thank you for reminding us of that time Craig Biggio fought off zombies. #NeverForget
2) Astros want MMP roof open more
The Texans catch a lot of flak for having a retractable roof and never retracting it. But, the same can be said of Minute Maid Park. As Brian McTaggart writes, the Astros only had their roof open for 14 of 81 games last season. The Astros want to change that.
"In a nutshell, what I would personally like to see is us to be able to open the roof late in the game when the weather is appealing or was comfortable enough that fans would enjoy it," Ryan said. "The one thing we know from our research -- and we surveyed fans extensively this year -- is people want to see the roof open more. They like the feel of outdoor baseball. So what is that [optimum] temperature? What is the [right] wind condition? What are the chances of rain? We're still digging into all that -- and once we get it, then we'll put it out there."
In McTaggart's story, he says that MLB pushed for Houston to leave the roof open during the 2005 World Series. The way I remember it is that Selig declared the roof had to stay open or stay closed based on how it started the game. So, no mid-game roof movement.
But, I could be wrong. According to Tags, the roof can only be moved between innings, which means it effectively can't be opened. The reason is time. The roof takes 13 minutes to open and there's only three minutes between half innings.
When the Astros used to open the roof a lot more, pre-2005, the argument for away teams was that as the roof opened, the air currents changed to blow in from the outfield fences. By the time the roof finished opening and the Astros were up to bat, that current had shifted to flow the opposite direction, helping Houston hitters where it had hurt the opposing batters.
I'm not sure if this is true or not. As Ryan says in Tags' article, opposing managers can always protest if they feel there's a clear disadvantage. But, I do remember how great it was to have the roof open late in games. My favorite memory of that came around July 4th, 2000. The Astros were playing the Dodgers, I think, and Bagwell hit this moon shot to right field just after the roof opened. I was in the upper deck on the first base line and got to see that ball fly into the night sky.
It was beautiful.
I'd like to see that sort of thing again, so I'm for this. It's also good to see Ryan reacting to what fans want out of their stadium experience. Dare I say, things are looking up for the business side?
3) Happy New Year, everyone
As Ryan's awesome graphic showed you in the wee hours of Wednesday, we here at TCB hope everyone has a great 2014. Because of the holidays, we'll still be sort of light on content, but that will change when we get back into the swing of things next week.
Look for more positional depth chart discussion, some new features looking at TCB writers on social media and, as always, some of our great analysis on all things Astros.
If there's anything you want to see more of on TCB, please let us know. We're always hoping to improve the site and your feedback helps us do that. For now, enjoy the rest of the week as we post silly stuff and hope for more free agent signings to break up the holiday doldrums.