Everyone who followed the Astros in the olden days remembers Milo and his "Blue Star" plays during the broadcasts. Every time someone would make a spectacular play in the field, he would always mention how he was putting a blue star on that play. It became a staple of every game. In honor of that, I am giving out my own stars weekly to different people, plays or events that had a huge impact on the organization in the previous week. It may be good or bad. It may be a star player or an inanimate carbon rod. If it had a bearing on the week that was, it has a chance for the list. Without further ado...The inaugural TCB Blue Stars of the Week.
Third Star: The Corpus Christi Hooks
The biggest understatement I could probably make is how frustrating the last few seasons have been. Not only the losing, but the constant moving of players just as you were figuring out who they are (and if you liked them). Not that the wheeling and dealing is bad, because the front office was (and is) always looking for the next good deal to improve the team. Things started to turn around last season. The record looked better. Players like Jose Altuve and George Springer showed they have the talent to make an impact at the major league level. The fruits of all that terrible-ness are starting to show, and a reminder of that happened this week when our Third Star took the field. The Corpus Christi Hooks started out the season 4-0, outscoring their opposition 30-8. But more important than the wins or runs, is that fans of the Astros get to see all these prospects in the high minors together, and it seems to be another sign that the major league team has a chance to be really good soon. All these pieces that were our reward for being so bad are now together in the Texas League, and so far the results are pretty sweet.
Second Star: George Springer- Ruiner of Dreams
The Sunday game against the Rangers was frustrating. So many bad bullpen memories came rushing back as they let Texas tie the game in the eighth inning. Those memories intensified we moved into the tenth inning. Tony Sipp, who had pitched a wonderful 1-2-3 ninth inning, ran into trouble. After a single, a HBP, and a walk, the bases were loaded with 2 outs. Any hit would have won the game for the Rangers. Leonys Martin hit a fly ball to right field, that off the bat didn't look that dangerous. George Springer ran all the way to the wall, timed his jump, and robbed Martin of a game-winning, walk-off grand slam. He kept the game alive, allowing the bullpen to redeem itself, and Hank Conger to work his magic in the 14th inning to win the game (and win our first series of the season). Leonys will have Springer colored nightmares when he goes to sleep at night.
First Star: ROOT Sports
In this, the first week of the new baseball season, could there be any more worthy recipient of the First Star? For two full seasons, most sports fans in the Houston area were not able to watch the Astros due to Comcast/CSN Houston not reaching a carriage agreement with other carriers. They could only watch on special days, meaning, when they were playing Texas and were on Fox Sports SW. Now, maybe there wasn't a lot to see that first season of broadcasts, but no one even had a choice to watch it or not watch it. If you didn't have Comcast, you weren't watching the Astros. The second season was very much improved. The only problem with this improvement was...no one could see it, so no one cared. Now that the team is working toward even more improvement in 2015, a majority of the Greater Houston area can watch thanks to ROOT taking over the CSN channel, and expanding their reach into other carriers. The fans may not flock back to watch the team, but at least when they start making more noise (whether it is this season, or next), casual fans will be able to turn the dial and watch a game or two. Or a season.