Houston, We Have a Problem: Not On Craig’s Watch

by KC Baker | Posted on Sunday, April 24th, 2016
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Altuve and Biggio

I dig me some Jose Altuve.  A hitting machine.  A spark plug.  He spins up maximum performance from a tiny frame to the point of the supernatural.  But tonight against Boston, when Houston was down one in a three game series and my mighty mighty Stros were sucking like a Kirby vacuum cleaner, he failed.

And it’s not about win or lose; it’s about team culture.  The home team was ahead thanks to a Colby Rasmus granny. But insurance runs were needed.  Jose ripped one through center field and two Red Sox dives allowing the pill to roll out to center without an available Boston player to retrieve it.  It was a sure triple and potential inside the parker.  But Jose, he jogged to first and then on the way to third he slowed to a jog at the end and got nailed by a fabulous throw.

Sure, lousy third base coach Gary Pettis failed to signal Altuve to dive to the bag.  But that’s neither here nor there. Why the hell are you jogging Jose?  What’s with the amble down to first?  That ain’t baseball, man.

Anyone recall what Craig Biggio did on his last at bat?  It was identical to his first at bat.  He beat a hellfire path to first and tried to stretch it into a double.  Biggio ran out every pop up, every weak grounder, every “sure out” and why?  Because it might not be as useless on first impression; it could be the difference in the game.  In addition, show respect.  You are being paid millions to play a glorious, historic game.  Run the son of a bitch out.

And Biggio, toting the torch handed to him by Bill Doran, Nolan Ryan, and Jose Cruz to name a few would not allow others to give an ounce less than their best.  Word around the campfire was that in the day, Biggio chewed ass and Jeff Bagwell stared at those that fell short.  The message was the same: “you play Astros baseball here or you don’t play.”

Altuve embarrassed himself and the team.  Have I given up on him?  Do I think he’s a loser?  Hell no.  He briefly lost his way.  He’s good stock.  He may become the clubhouse leader. It would be truly groovy if Biggio called Jose and asked him to meet on an empty JuiceBox field on a day off.  Hand him a talisman like a baseball from the 1990’s or one of his old batting gloves, whatever. And leaned into his face.

“You jogged the bases.  Don’t ever embarrass my team like that again.  And never let anyone else on this team do it.  You are a Houston Astro.  Play like one.”

I have no doubt that Craig would be as intense as a retired Hall of Famer as he was as a young veteran Houston Astro.  Equally, I am confident that Jose Altuve will accept blame and then step up.

“What the hell was that, boy?” Altuve will scream into the young player’s face who dogged it to the bases.

“You are a Houston Astro; you will play Astros baseball!”

And the torch will be passed.

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KC Baker
About the Author

K.C. Baker is an old school Astros fan, spending many a hot summer day in the cool confines of the Dome. He just finished his 28th year as a practicing attorney and likes to spend all of his spare time in New Braunfels, Texas with his wife of 29 years and their three children. Follow him on Twitter @KenCBake

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