Welcome back to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly! The time to focus in on real meaningful baseball is upon us, as opening day of the MLB season is less than a week away. With that in mind I wanted to break out the calendar and circle some dates of significance (or projected significance) for the AL West. We will get back to a familiar format breaking down each team next week, but for now let’s take a look ahead.
April 2: Opening day! Meaningful baseball is back, but the AL West will have to wait another day.
April 3: Opening day again! This day features 12 games, with the AL West wrapping up the festivities. The Texas Rangers welcome the defending AL Champion Cleveland Indians to Arlington, while the Houston Astros welcome the Seattle Mariners and the Oakland Athletics host the Los Angeles Angels in divisional matchups.
April 5: Dollar Dog Night, as the Astros look to complete a season opening sweep of the Mariners and take early command of the AL West. This is my personal favorite when it comes to recurring promotionals, so I’m just going to leave this here as a friendly reminder.
May 1: The first series between the Rangers and Astros. The Rangers have won the past two AL West titles in large part because of an annoying dominance of their cross state rivals…let’s just say I think we are all hoping for a reversal of fortunes this year.
May 3: Jeff Bagwell hit 449 career homeruns, a number that Miguel Cabrera and Adrian Beltre look destined to pass early in the 2017 season. Right now the MLB milestone tracker has Beltre projected to surpass Bagwell at Minute Maid Park, so bring on the tension…
May 13th: It’s not quite Astros related, but JJ Watt’s fifth-annual Charity Classic will be headed to Minute Maid Park. The event features a home run derby followed by a softball game that pits the offensive and defensive units against each other. All proceeds benefit the JJ Watt foundation, so go get your tickets and enjoy some entertaining softball.
May 14: Mother's Day. You should probably circle this day on the calendar regardless of baseball events that may or may not be occurring.
Now that we have the date circled though, the Astros will be looking to ruin Derek Jeter Night at Yankee Stadium as the Astros play the Yankees on ESPN. The shortstop will have his No. 2 jersey retired and a Monument Park plaque dedication. Sounds like a great trip to take your mother on, so why don’t we just go ahead and plan on all meeting up at Yankee Stadium in our Astros gear.
May 20: Projected date when Albert Pujols joins the esteemed 600 club, becoming only the ninth player in MLB history to launch 600 home runs.
May 26: I’m just going to leave this here to remind you why the Rangers and Blue Jays aren’t really on the best of terms. Oh and to brighten everyone’s day, here is the Jose Bautista bat flip heard round the world that started all of this wonderful excitement.
June 3: Projected date of Adrian Beltre's 3,000th career hit. Another milestone for Beltre and once again against the Astros. At least this time Beltre is projected to do the damage at Globe Life Park in front of the home crowd.
June 12: First day of the MLB draft. Thank you St. Louis Cardinals for your contribution to the Astros war chest! With some added ammunition, the draft takes on a higher importance, as the Astros look to keep the reinforcements coming for years to come.
July 5: Pujols projects to launch his 609th home run to move to 8th all time, in a tie with Sammy Sosa.
Jun 18: Father’s day – be one of the first 10,000 fans to the ballpark and knock out two birds with one stone by getting a pair of Astros socks. Nothing like the Astros doing your Father’s day shopping for you.
July 9: Futures Game in Miami. Kyle Tucker hits the go ahead homerun, so you’ll definitely want to tune in for that.
July 10: Home Run Derby in Miami. George Springer plans on winning this thing, so make that 2-2 for the Astros.
July 11: All-Star Game in Miami. Jose Altuve opens the scoring with a first inning home run, while Ken Giles locks things down in the ninth for the AL shutout. Let’s just say it looks like the Astros are in for a fun All-Star weekend.
July 28: Assuming he stays healthy, Pujols is planning to tie Jim Thome for 7th on the all time home run list at 612. This will mark the last major step up the home run leaderboard that Pujols most likely can make in 2017. He could catch Ken Griffey Jr. at 630 potentially, but this would require 39 home runs from the 37 year old. We will project Pujols to fall just short, hitting only 34 homeruns. Pujols did rack up 40 home runs as recently as 2015, though, so you never know.
July 30: Jeff Bagwell officially joins Craig Biggio in the Hall of Fame. Joining Bagwell will be Bug Selig, Tim Raines and Ivan Rodriguez.
July 31: Non-waiver trade deadline. Don’t expect anything crazy on deadline day for the Astros. They should already have Chris Archer by then and Francis Martes will be getting ready to join the big league club as well to fill out a suddenly scary rotation.
August 4-6: Jeff Bagwell Hall of Fame Weekend
4th – Bagwell 1997 Replica Jersey (10,000 fans)
5th – Hall of Fame Pregame Ceremony and Bagwell ‘Batting Stance’ HOF Bobblehead (10,000 fans)
6th – Wrapping up Hall of Fame weekend, no giveaway, but what better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than watching the hometown Astros knock of our friends from Canada, the Toronto Blue Jays. They will remain our "friends" in my book as long as they hate the Rangers…the enemy of my enemy is my friend or something like that.
Sept. 20: Astros clinch their first AL West title! Sadly this is a road game, as the Astros head over to Chicago to face off with the White Sox.
Sept. 29: The final weekend of the regular season begins. The Mariners could be fighting for a wild card in a series against the Angels, but the big series will be when Houston heads to Boston for four games looking to decide the top seed.
Oct. 1: The final day of the regular season. Here is to a calm day in Houston, as chaos reigns in the rest of the league.
Nov. 3: World Series parade shuts down downtown Houston.
With that we wrap up the 2017 baseball calendar. Here is to a great season and hopefully at least these last couple of points coming true!