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Archive for June, 2010

Not in my ‘hood.   A couple of days ago I put out the Chron piece on what Governor Perry’s Campaign Manager Rob Johnson said about the Governor’s past history with the Latino vote.  Here is part of the piece:  “Johnson noted that Perry drew 35 percent of the Latino vote in 2002 against a Latino opponent, Tony Sanchez. He said 30 percent of the Latino vote signals a likely win for Republicans; 35 percent should yield a comfortable victory; 40 percent, he said, ‘changes the dynamics of Texas politics for a generation.’"

In looking at hard core Latino precincts in Harris County for the 2002 general election, here is what I found:

Precinct 11 (Second Ward), 25.4% turnout, Sanchez 89.3%, Perry 9.8%.

Precinct 44, (Near Northside), 25.5% turnout, Sanchez 81.4%, Perry 16.2%.

Precinct 46 (Near Northside), 25% turnout, Sanchez 88.2%, Perry 10.1%.

Precinct 62 (Denver Harbor), 30.1% turnout, Sanchez 86.8%, Perry 12%.

Precinct 64 (Magnolia), 29.6% turnout, Sanchez 90.5%, Perry 8.7%.

Precinct 65 (Magnolia), 31.5% turnout, Sanchez 89.3%, Perry 9.9%.

FYI – the Harris County total turnout was 35%.

In inner city precincts in Harris County, Mr. Johnson’s claim for 2002 Perry/Sanchez and Latino voters doesn’t add up, at least not in Harris County.

In looking at the 2006 general election for Perry/Chris Bell in the same precincts, here’s is what I found:

Precinct 11 (Second Ward), 28.1% turnout, Bell 66%, Perry 23%.

Precinct 44, (Near Northside), 17.5% turnout, Bell 62.2%, Perry 17%.

Precinct 46 (Near Northside), 17.4% turnout, Bell 63%, Perry 21%.

Precinct 62 (Denver Harbor), 18.1% turnout, Bell 51.7%, Perry 23.3%.

Precinct 64 (Magnolia), 17.8% turnout, Bell 66.2%, Perry 15.8%.

Precinct 65 (Magnolia), 18.5% turnout, Bell 66.3%, Perry 19.9%.

FYI – the Harris County total turnout was 31.6%.

What I found interesting was that the Perry vote turned out in both elections.

In Pct. 11, in 2002, Perry received 56 votes and in 2006 he received 75 votes.

In Pct. 44, in 2002, 88 votes, in 2006, 59 votes.

In Pct. 46, in 2002, 74 votes, in 2006, 98 votes.

In Pct. 62, in 2002, 91 votes, in 2006, 97 votes.

In Pct. 64, in 2002, 64 votes, in 2006, 64 votes.

In Pct. 65, in 2002, 81 votes, in 2006, 83 votes.

I guess you can say that the Perry Latino voter is going to turn out so it is up to the local Democratic Party effort to turn out their Latino voter….to be continued!

As most knowledgeable baseball fans know, the Oakland Athletics used to be the Kansas City Athletics who used to be the Philadelphia Athletics.  Just before the 1960 season, the Yankees traded to the Kansas City Athletics four players including Hank Bauer, Don Larsen, and Marv Throneberry. KC sent over three players including a future two-time MVPer who ended up setting a record that stood for 37 years.  Who am I talking about?

Bring me the head of Osama Bin Laden.  I don’t know why they have to arrest that American fella in Pakistan who was on a mission to cut off the head of Osama Bin Laden.  Nobody else has done the job including the best intelligence agencies in the world. 

Roger Maris of course won the 1960 and 1961 AL MVP Awards and of course had 61 dingers in 1961, a record that stood until the Mark McGwire/Sammy Sosa dinger assault of 1998.

Commentary is going to have to say that ‘Stros Skipper Brad Mills should have pulled pitcher Felipe Paulino a couple of batters earlier.  Mills waited too long and we paid the price last night in the bottom of the fifth inning.  We led 6-3 going into the bottom of the fifth and ended up trailing 6-10.  We can’t afford to be making dumb moves if you ask me.

 

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Kuffer is getting into the action and talking about “Rick Perry and the Latino vote, Part 1.”  I’m OK with that. Check it out .

The more the merrier.    What usually happens is that we talk about and analyze the Latino vote AFTER an election.   Thanks to Commentary, it looks like we’ll have that discussion BEFORE the election.  Who knows!  Maybe this will make something happen.

As the whole world knows, when it comes to the Latino vote in the state, for the past dozen or so years, Commentary has pointed out the incompetence of the Texas Democratic Party leadership when it comes to an ongoing program of engaging and mobilizing Latino voters.  In all these years, the Democratic Party leadership has never directly responded.  They’ve just kind of rather keep their heads stuck in the sand instead of addressing this concern.   Let’s hope talking about this will changes some past thinking…..to be continued!

The ‘Stros open a three game series tonight in Kansas City.  The Royals first started playing as an expansion team in 1969.  Is anyone in the MLB Hall of Fame wearing the Royal Blue?

Bonus:  When was the last time the Royals made it to the playoffs?

Speaking of, Commentary and MariGirl will be attending a local Latino voter awareness project meeting today in Southwest Houston.  Stay tuned!

Today’s Chron has a piece on what to do with the Astrodome. Check it out.

My pal Edgar Colon, Chair of the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation, which runs Reliant Park for Harris County, sent me this note:  “If you are going to comment on the proposals we just unveiled, I need your help clarifying the dollars. Some media, like the Chronicle, is saying that our proposal to save the Astrodome will cost over $1 billion. That is not true. The proposal to save the Astrodome would cost $324. The other money has to do with other developments for Reliant Park, such as a replacement of the Arena, an extension of the Center, etc.”

There is obviously no cheap way out of this, but tearing it down is the cheapest.

George Brett of course was inducted into the Hall of Fame wearing the Royal Blue in 1999.

The Royals last made the playoffs in 1985 of course as they won the I-70 World Serious against San Luis in seven games.

The ‘Stros are 15-9 all time against the Royals.  We’ve swept them twice in their Yard -   3-0 in 1999 and 3-0 in 2001.  With Paulino, Roy O, and Myers taking the mound, a sweep is certainly possible.

 

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The Lone Star State GOP just wrapped up their state convention this weekend with a platform whack job on Latino voters.  Check out Gary Scharrer’s (from the SA Express News) story:  http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/7050170.html.

Here is the headline: Texas GOP gets tougher on immigration/Some say platform adopted at convention could deter Latino voters.

Here is some of the piece:  Texas Republicans adopted another get-tough policy on immigration and bilingual education Saturday that some say will make it hard for the party to attract Hispanic voters at a time when the Texas population is turning increasingly Latino.

The platform encourages state lawmakers to create a Class A misdemeanor criminal offense “for an illegal alien to intentionally or knowingly be within the State of Texas,” and to “oppose amnesty in any form leading to citizenship for illegal immigrants.”

Texas Republicans also want to limit citizenship by birth to those born to a U.S. citizen “with no exceptions.” The platform calls for the end of day-labor work centers and emphasizes border security, encouraging “all means … (to) immediately prevent illegal aliens.”

Of course, this was fully expected and it makes it tougher for Governor Rick Perry to garner Latino votes this November but more on that later.  Democrats can’t just sit on this and think the Latino votes are in their pockets just because they have been dissed in the GOP Platform.  It looks like both Perry and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett will be aggressively going after the Latino vote.

On chron.com this weekend was a take on Harris County Judge Ed Emmett’s appearance before the Lone Star State GOP Platform Committee meeting.  Here’s the piece.

County Judge Ed Emmett told a Republican Party of Texas platform committee this week that rounding up illegal immigrants and sending them back to their home countries is not a realistic or politically astute immigration policy.

"One of the things we have to do as a party is make sure that we don’t drive off Latino voters," Emmett said in a YouTube video recorded by Texas GOP Vote after his testimony and posted on its Web site.

Emmett campaign manager Ryan Walsh said Emmett favors a path to legalization for the millions of people living in the United States illegally, but that path begins with them returning to their home countries and going through legal U.S. immigration procedures.

"We need to have a long-term strategy for solving the immigration issue, and that long-term strategy includes those millions of people who are here and working and some of them have been here for generations, even though they were brought here illegally," Emmett said.

It looks like Judge Emmett wants to put some distance between his reelection campaign and his state party’s position on this issue that could potentially be a passionate factor within the Latino community in Harris County this November.   At some point in the near future, expect Judge Emmett to trot out an impressive list of local Latinos that are endorsing his candidacy.  His immigration reform position will make it easier for Latinos to stand with him.

Gilbert Garcia from the SA Express news penned this piece called “Perry’s Latino Strategy.”  Check it out: http://blogs.chron.com/texaspolitics/archives/2010/06/perrys_latino_s.html.

Here it is:

It’s always been hard to resist the obvious parallels between Gov. Rick Perry and the man he succeeded: George W. Bush.

Both of them have cultivated folksy images, stressed simple messages, and found themselves repeatedly underestimated by political pundits.

Another key connection between the two came to the fore Friday morning at the GOP state convention. Perry, like Bush, has committed himself to breaking the Democratic Party’s grip on the state’s Latino voters.

At Friday’s Hispanic Leadership breakfast, Perry campaign manager Rob Johnson trumpeted a Baselice & Associates poll of 411 Texas Hispanics, commissioned by the Perry campaign and conducted May 15-28. Johnson said the poll found that the number-one issue for Texas Hispanics is "strengthening our state’s economy and creating more jobs," two cornerstones of every Perry stump speech.

Johnson noted that Perry drew 35 percent of the Latino vote in 2002 against a Latino opponent, Tony Sanchez. He said 30 percent of the Latino vote signals a likely win for Republicans; 35 percent should yield a comfortable victory; 40 percent, he said, "changes the dynamics of Texas politics for a generation."

Alejandro Garcia, press secretary for the Perry campaign, said Perry’s organization would ramp up its Hispanic outreach efforts this year, using bilingual social media, Hispanic Perry supporters serving as "surrogate speakers" in their communities, and the marketing efforts of Austin-based advertising agency, Latin Works.

Manny Flores, the firm’s CEO, is essentially a new-generation Lionel Sosa, helping corporate giants – and Republican politicians – build a cultural bridge to the Latino community.
Garcia said Perry was not "tailoring his message" to Latinos, but simply trying to make sure they heard his message.

For his part, Perry told the breakfast audience that his party and the Latino community have "shared military backgrounds," and described Latinos as "people who understand the meaning of the church."

In a twist on a famous Ronald Reagan line that Hispanics are Republicans, but they don’t know it yet, Perry concluded: "This is the home of the Hispanic in America: The Republican Party."

Commentary is impressed with the Perry campaign move to bring in Latin Works.  I really don’t know much about their experience working in political campaigns but they certainly have a successful history of marketing and advertising in the state’s Latino community.   This signals that the Perry campaign is going to invest some serious dollars trying to get a significant share of the Latino vote.  This is substantiated by a Perry Latino staffer saying they were going to make sure that their message was heard by the Latino community.  In campaign speak – they have them a Latino budget.

It also means that in all likelihood Latin Works will have a creative and production budget to develop TV and radio ads as well as slick mailers.  It won’t be the same old deal of just translating the English speaking ads and doing a Spanish language voice over.  Perry’s campaign is deadly serious about getting a chunk of the state’s Latino vote.  They are going to take a sophisticated approach and it is going to be interesting to see how the Democrats counter.

You have to figure that when it comes to the Latino vote, Judge Emmett is certainly not going to hunker down.   Knowing Judge Emmett, he’s never been known as an immigrant basher and he’s smart enough to know that he has to have Latino votes if he wants to stick around.

You have to hand it to both Perry and Judge Emmett to being aggressive when it comes to the Latino vote.   Of course, they have to be aggressive to counter their own party’s anti-immigrant incendiary platform language.    

The Lone Star State Democrats better have more in store other than holding press conferences and handing out talking points  on the GOP immigrant bashing….to be continued!

‘Stros players Kevin Cash, Hunter Pence, and Numero 45 had dingers in New Yankee Stadium this past weekend joining three ‘Stros that had dingers in Old Yankee Stadium in 2003.  Who were the three in 2003?

If you tuned in to the World Cup this past weekend you learned about the existence of “vuvuzelas.”  Commentary watched a little of El Tri Friday and the U.S. of A. on Saturday and was wondering what that constant buzzing background noise was.  It turns out the buzz is generated by nonstop blowing by folks into some plastic horn gizmos called “vuvuzelas.”

The Texas House of Representatives’ Higher Education Committee is going to hold a hearing Wednesday to find out what is going on with UT, A&M, and Texas Tech football plans.  I don’t know why they have to have hearings if you ask me.  They just ought to go read the sports page.

B-G-O, Morgan Ensberg, and The Big Puma of course had dingers in Old Yankee Stadium in 2003.

The ‘Stros got overwhelmed at New Yankee Stadium this past weekend as most of our pitching collapsed.  They kicked our arse pretty good.   We looked intimidated.   We didn’t look like we belonged on the same field if you ask me.

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The Former H-Town Mayor came out slugging yesterday and accused Guv Dude of slash and burn politics.  What else is new!   That’s what Dude does best.

The Former Mayor also took aim at Dude for letting the Lone Star State face an $18 bil budget deficit.  He also accused Dude of living a lavish lifestyle.

The Former Mayor had to call a special press conference yesterday to deal with the incoming his campaign had to deal with on the BTEC-Hurricane Rita mess. 

My old buddy, Austin mega-lobbyist Bill Miller had this to say:  “I think Bill White is in serious troubled.  It’s early enough to recover, but so far in the campaign his direction has been backward, and that’s a disturbing trend."

Commentary doesn’t know if the Former Mayor is in serious trouble.  It is after all only June 11.  He did take a hit though and Commentary has said before – of course, nobody paid attention – it would be interesting to see how the Former Mayor and his campaign dealt with incoming.  You see when the Former Mayor first ran for mayor and during his six years in office, he never had to deal with an attack from an opponent as skilled and vicious as Guv Dude and his folks.  Right now I would opine that Dude’s campaign is out maneuvering the Former Mayor’s folks.  A GOP consultant that Commentary respects told me the other day that Dude might not be so great at running the Lone Star State but he excels at campaigning.  Just ask Whole Hog, John Sharp, Tony Sanchez, Lady Foghorn, The Kinkhole, Da Bell, and Hutch.

Dude’s a serial politico killer that has Dem serial poltico killer profilers in a state of flux.  It looks like the antidote for beating slash and burn politics is well – take a bitter dose – is slash and burn politics.  That may be out of character for the Former Mayor but it appears to be the only strategy that might give him hope.  Stay tuned!

The ‘Stros are 8-2 so far this season in the month of June.  What was our record in June of last year?

Bonus:  What is the “Stros best ever record for the month of June?

Double Bonus:  Seven years ago today the ‘Stros threw the six pitcher no-no against the Yankees in Old Yankee Stadium.  Who was wearing the brick red then that is still wearing the brick red today?

I wonder if Conference USA has room for Baylor.

Last year (2009) the ‘Stros were 16-11 in June of course and of course our best ever June was in1979 when we went 20-8.

The Big Puma, Roy O, and Geoff Blum of course are still wearing the brick red today as they get ready to take on the Yankees in New Yankee Stadium this weekend and I will continue to take them one game at a time. 

 

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The burkablog said yesterday that the Former H-Town Mayor didn’t do anything wrong with the WEDGE-BTEC-HURRICANERITA-COASTALWATERAUTHORITY- TUBINES-STERLINGGROUP-$1,000,000INVESTMENT-$500,000RETURN.  Burkablog does say that the Former Mayor and his campaign staff bungled the whole issue by waiting so long to release their tax returns, thus allowing Guv Dude and his folks to stir up the pot.  Check out burkablog.

Burkablog says the dots don’t connect.   Maybe so but there were enough dots there to get a couple of days of unflattering news stories throughout the state that have the Former H-Town Mayor on the defensive.  There were also enough dots there that have some folks assuming it is kind of guilt by association.  The dots will be the basis of negative ads for sure later on this summer during you guessed it – hurricane season.

We know it is coming.  The ad that has footage of folks trying to evacuate during Hurricane Rita and stuck on H-Town’s freeways superimposed with an unflattering photo of the Former H-Town Mayor with a cash register spewing out money and going KA-CHING, KA-CHING!  Those are the only dots that matter to Dude and his campaign team.

The Former Mayor’s handling of emergency situations during hurricanes is supposed to one of his strong points that he can showcase during this campaign.  It looks like Dude’s campaign just snatched and tarnished this a bit.

Numero 45 had a 10th inning grand salami last night.  He has the last three ‘Stros grand salamis going back to last year.  How many grand salamis does Numero 45 have as a ‘Stro?

Bonus:  Who has the most career grand salamis as a ‘Stro?

Commentary’s God Daughter and Niece, Rachel Campos, is getting married this weekend.  Rachel is Lucas’ mom.  Rachel is also Dante’s Mom.  She is marrying a real nice fella named Andy Estes.  Congrats go to Rachel and Andy.

The Chron has another story today on what to do with the Astrodome that includes Commentary’s preferred option of tearing it down for $100 mil – yikes!  Check out the story.   All of the options have a major league price tag.  I’m thinking the Dome is just going to continue to sit there for a while.

Numero 45 has six grand salamis of course as a ‘Stro.

Numero 45, Jeff Bagwell, and Bob Aspromonte of course lead the ‘Stros in career grand salamis with six apiece.

A couple of weeks ago or only B’More had a worse record than the ‘Stros.  Now we also have a better record than the Indians, Mariners, Pirates, and D-Backs, so you can say that we are making progress.   Let’s just take them one game at a time.

 

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The headline should read “Declining Numeros – Oh, No!”  I’m talking about a Chron.com piece yesterday about a Gallop poll that was released that show The President’s rating taking a hit among Latinos.  Check out the article.

Here is what is said:  “President Obama’s approval rating among Hispanics has dropped twelve percentage points since the start of the year, according to a Gallup poll released today.  In May, 57 percent of Hispanics approved of the President’s job performance, down from 69 percent in January. The drop is particularly striking because blacks’ and whites’ approval ratings of the President have stayed relatively constant through the first five months of 2010.”

Here’s what U.S. Rep. Charlie Gonzalez (D-San Antonio) said:  “The numbers reflect Hispanics’ growing frustration over Obama’s inaction on immigration reform.  You have large segments of the Latino population who have as their number one legislative priority immigration reform.  The bottom line is that they haven’t seen evidence of the legislation being moved in congress."

GOP Latino strategists are pouncing on this and here is what Leslie Sanchez said: "They’re (Latinos) saying, he’s (Obama) not a man true to his word and that has a lot of impact culturally.  They’re disillusioned by how the Obama administration had addressed this issue (immigration)."

Sanchez is certainly doing her job.  She knows that Latino voters don’t think much of the GOP, so by pouncing on these numbers she is probably hoping that Latino voters feel like they are being dissed on the immigration issue and will stay away from the polls this November.

The Sanchez strategy could actually work in Harris County where we already have chronic low Latino voter turnout with a large immigrant population.  Of course I don’t blame The President for not moving the immigration reform effort.  However, he’s been on TV a lot recently saying that the buck stops at his desk when it comes to fixing the BP mess. So I guess many in the Latino community think the buck stops at his desk when it comes to immigration reform.

Houston City Council Member James Rodriguez and the Houston Area Latino Summit will soon be announcing an immigration reform gathering that will be held in August.  The Latino Summit will be held at a location in Southwest Houston.  Local immigration reform activists will lay out strategies for moving forward with reform.  Recognizing that immigration reform is a priority in our community, Latino voter turnout strategies will also be addressed…..to be continued. 

Meanwhile, today’s Star Telegram has a piece about the State GOP Platform Committee meeting yesterday in Dallas.  H-Town GOPer Norm Adams, a co-founder of Texans for Sensible Immigration Policy, proposed a platform plank and said "the Republican Party needs to come together on a sensible immigration policy — one that is not amnesty, one that is not deportation.   If we get this passed, Texas will set the standard. I want this party to come together, folks.  I hope and pray you people give this serious consideration."

This is the response he got from Sara Legvold, a delegate from Keller:   "No compromises, no guest work, until we have our borders under control.  I want to deport everybody who is illegal — children, dogs, pets, birds.”

Hey lady, you’re mean!

At the GOP State Convention this Friday up in Dallas they are having a Latino Leadership Breakfast.  I’m betting that they’ll tone down the anti-immigrant rhetoric at the breakfast and not because of the Latinos that will be seated in the banquet hall.  They’ll be more worried about the Latinos that will be preparing their food back in the kitchen.

Name the former ‘Stros skipper that has the most team wins?

Bonus:  Name the former ‘Stros skipper that has the most team losses?

Welcome to the party BTEC!   Yesterday, the Former H-Town Mayor released his 2004–2008 tax returns.  They showed that he made some money on an investment in BTEC, an H-Town turbine maker.   AP reporter Jay Root can fill you in on the rest.    Check it out.

During Hurricane Rita in 2005, it looks like the Former Mayor got the Coastal Water Authority to hire BTEC to bring in turbines so folks could keep getting their drinking water.   A year or so later the Former Mayor invested in BTEC and made a nice piece of change off of the investment.  Fully expect Guv Dude’s campaign and the GOP to pound away on the BTEC deal.

You have to figure that Dude’s consultants were ready for this.  They didn’t waste any time getting this out.  You see, the Coastal Water Authority has seven board members.  Four board members are nominated by the H-Town Mayor and confirmed by City Council.  The other three board members are appointed by Guv Dude and confirmed by the Texas State Senate.  Dude’s folks are going to make sure we keep hearing about BTEC.

Former ‘Stro Skipper Bill Virdon of course has a team best 544 wins and a team worst 522 losses compiled from 1975-1982.  Virdon who also wears a World Serious ring as a member of the 1960 Pirates is celebrating his 79th BD today!

Commentary dropped by HISD Trustee Anna Eastman’s community meeting last night over at Hamilton Middle School.  She had a great turnout.  Parents, teachers, seniors, taxpayers, students, and administrators showed up.  Way to go Anna!

Afterwards I sat down to watch the ‘Stros and it looked like one of those nights when the Rockies scored three in the first.  But we battled back thanks to Keppinger, Manzella, Numero 45, and Bourn and we ended up winning 4-3  – whew! 

 

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Remember back in the 1980s when the proponents of gambling and horse racing convinced the Lone Star State Legislature and the voters that we needed racing here in the state because it would be great for the state’s economy and create thousands of jobs?   High powered lobbyists were hired.  The most well connected put together groups to apply for the rights to build and operate the tracks.  Well, it has all kind of fizzled.  Apparently there is not enough handle or action so to speak.  Check out today’s Chron.   It turns out we’re not much of a horse racing state after all.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett struck back sort of by penning an Op-Ed in today’s Chron on his proposal for an Elections Administrator for Harris County.  Check it out.  I don’t have a problem with what he is proposing.  In reading the piece I don’t see anything between the lines.

In baseball speak, “BP” means batting practice, which is a ritual conducted before games – except Sundays – in professional baseball.  Congrats go to the Brevard County Manatees of the Florida State League for doing away with BP in protest of BP’s oil spill mess.    They don’t want any association with BP.  From now on, it will be called “hitting rehearsal.”  The Manatees are the Single A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers.

One of the big sport stories in the Lone Star State these days is the possible demise of the Big 12 Conference.  The PAC 10 and Big Ten conferences are looking to gobble up a few of the Big 12 members like Nebraska and UT.   High powered Austin lobbyist Buddy Jones has been retained by someone associated with Baylor University to muster up legislative support to make sure Baylor catches a ride on Longhorn coattails.  I don’t have a problem with that just as long as it doesn’t take away from solving our state’s budget problems or doesn’t become an issue in this year’s race for governor.  Of course, I wonder if we’re going to have to call for a special prosecutor to make sure Baylor President Ken Starr isn’t cutting any special deals with members of the legislature.

The ‘Stros top draft pick in last night’s amateur draft was Delino DeShields, Jr., the son of 13-year MLB vet Delino DeShields..  In 1993, DeShields, then a member of the Expos, was traded by the Expos to the LA Dodgers.  Who did the Expos get in return?

Last year’s number one pick, Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals makes his highly anticipated MLB debut tonight in our nation’s capitol against the Pirates in front of an SRO crowd.  Good luck!

A pitcher named Pedro Martinez of course was traded to the Expos for DeShields in what many that wear the Dodger Blue rate as one of the lousiest trades in their history.

I’m sure MLB Commissioner Bud Selig is feeling a little upbeat this morning after watching The President tell Matt Lauer that Bud made the right call on the Galarraga imperfect game.

We have 104 games left and 11 games out.  The only good thing about last night’s game was ….. well, nobody got hurt.

 

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In the Lone Star State, I am sorry to say, Dems always come up short on the gun debate.   It is not our strong suit.  Heck, we don’t even spend that much time addressing it in our state platform.  AP reporter Jay Root had a piece this past weekend on guns and the race for governor.  Here’s part of it: 

“The biggest liability for White is his past membership in a New York-based gun control group. White says he resigned after finding its positions too restrictive, but his participation in Mayors Against Illegal Guns riled up those who live to preserve Texas’ pro-gun culture.”

"’Anywhere in the civilized world you would be able to make the argument that everybody should be able to be against illegal guns. But we’re not in the civilized world. We’re in Texas,’ said Southern Methodist University political scientist Cal Jillson.”

"’There is really no such thing as a moderate position on guns that’s going to help in Texas,’ said Jim Henson, director of the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas at Austin.

“As mayor of Houston, White joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group that supports individual gun rights but wants more controls on gun show sales, restrictions on the reach of conceal-and-carry laws and more oversight of federal gun purchase records.”

“He(White)  has a shotgun and a 9mm pistol, opposes any new laws on firearms and says he’d like to sign up someday for a concealed weapons permit.”

And: “White, who says he owns two guns but has only hunted once in the last 10 years, complained that he hasn’t yet been able to find the 10 hours he needs to train for a concealed weapons permit. He doesn’t need one to take his Springfield 9 mm to the shooting range — or, as far as he’s concerned, to be elected governor.”

And:  “’I haven’t had anybody tell me they only vote for permit holders,’ White said.”   

Here is the article.

Lone Star State Dems have always been uncomfortable taking on this issue.  We’ve let the NRA types set the agenda on this issue.   Until we get the courage to get serious and stand for something, we will always be playing defense when it comes to gun issues.

The ‘Stros start a ten game road trip tonight in Colorado that will also take them to New Yankee Stadium this weekend and KC next week.  The last no-no thrown by the ‘Stros was in Old Yankee Stadium in 2003 when we used six pitchers.  Who were they?

Bonus:  Who was the catcher and what was the score?

This is not what local countywide Dem candidates wanted to see from the Chron’s E-Board today:  “Playing politics can cut both ways. Houston and Harris County went for Obama two years ago, in the process boosting Democrats to victory in countywide races for the first time in more than a decade. If NASA’s Texas workforce continues to get the cold shoulder, the president’s party may get some payback at the polls come November.”

Ouch!

Roy O, Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel, and Billy Wagner of course in an 8-0 no-hit win with Brad Ausmus behind the plate.  Commentary was there.

We just won 5 of 7 at home including 2 of 3 from the Cubbies.  That is what happens when The Big Puma and Hunter Pence start hitting and Numero 45 comes through with some key RBIs.  I’m not going to get too excited but it looks like the Bret Myers signing was a good one if you ask me.

 

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Prior to Game 3 of the 2005 World Serious between the ‘Stros and the White Sox, the Commissioner of Major League Baseball Bud Selig decided that the roof would be open during Game 3 because the Commissioner felt that 42,000 ‘Stros screaming fans in an enclosed stadium would give the team an unfair advantage after Cardinal Skipper Tony LaRussa’s complaints during the NLCS against the ‘Stros.   Despite protestations from H-Town fans, Game 3 was played under the skies and it was cold and uncomfortable.  We ended up losing in extra innings and got swept the next night in Game 4 with the roof open.   Who knows what would have happened if the roof would have been closed?  I know it would have been a lot warmer and maybe louder fans would have help bring us a win.  Maybe the Serious would have gone to six or seven games and MLB would have made a few extra mil from their TV deal with Fox.  The point is the Commissioner had the only vote on this matter.  My pal Drayton didn’t have a vote, just an opinion.

In 2008, with the ‘Stros in the thick of the Wild Card hunt, Hurricane Ike blew in on a Friday evening forcing postponement of a key three game weekend series with the Cubbies at The Yard.  We all know what happened.  Commissioner Selig coldly ordered the ‘Stros to get on an airplane less than 36 hours after Ike blew in and fly to Milwaukee to play two against the Cubbies in what became known to ‘Stros fans as the Ike Games. Commissioner Selig probably could have shown a little compassion that weekend, postpone the series, and let the team deal with Ike related issues before boarding a plane to Florida the next Monday and resume the schedule and then figuring out how to make up the Cubbie series.  The Commissioner had the only vote on this matter.  The ‘Stros didn’t have a vote, just an opinion.

The past 36 hours the news from the sports world has been dominated by the perfect game that got away.  Baseball great Ken Griffey, Jr. just retired.  The World Cup starts in less than two weeks.  The two greatest NBA franchises – the Celtics and Lakers – are playing in the finals.  Tiger is back on the course and the ‘Stros just won three in a row but everyone is still talking about MLB umpire Jim Joyce blowing a two-out top of the ninth inning call that robbed Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga of a perfect game.  Yesterday, sports talk show hosts, sports columnists, sports talking heads, and others from throughout the country weighed in and called for Commissioner Selig to step in and use his powers to overturn the blown call and award Galarraga his perfect game and a place in baseball history.  The Commissioner announced that he would not be stepping in.  Commentary certainly understands and respects those that want the call overturned.  The point is once again is the Commissioner had the only vote on this matter.  Those for a call overturn didn’t have a vote, just an opinion.

How many folks have served as MLB Commissioner?

MLB first got a Commissioner after the Black Sox gambling scandal of the 1919 World Serious.  The first Commissioner told the owners that in order to do his job well he needed unlimited powers.  In other words, he wasn’t going to have to get permission from the owners on a lot of decisions that he thought were good for the game and the rest is history.

Nine of course have served as MLB Commissioner and they are Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1920–1944), A. B. "Happy" Chandler, Sr. (1945–1951), Ford Frick (1951–1965), William Eckert (1965–1968), Bowie Kuhn (1969–1984), Peter Ueberroth (1984–1989), Bart Giamatti (1989), Fay Vincent (1989–1992), and Bud Selig (1998–present).

Even though the Commissioner has pi__ed me off a few times, I think MLB’s structure has done OK.  For instance, I’d hate to see the owners convene for a special meeting to review umpire Jim Joyce’s call.   The current MLB power structure has been in place for 90 years.  It’s not perfect but for now a democracy of one is one that is working.  To those that say the Joyce call should be overturned to protect the integrity of the game, I think you are being too dramatic.  Tomorrow, the sun will come up, line-up cards will be filled out and exchanged, batting practice will take place, players will sign autographs, folks will keep score, and Commentary might snag his first foul ball of the season.  In future baseball conversations, on occasion, Jim Joyce and Armando Gallaraga will be hot topics.  Let’s play ball!

I’m certainly not going to make a big deal about taking three of four from the Nationals.  I just like that we are playing better baseball even though we are a paltry 20-34.  The Cubbies and their miserable fans are in for three so let’s see what happens.  The first 10,000 fans tomorrow (Saturday) get a Jimmy Wynn bobblehead. 

By the way, I think Galarraga already has his place in baseball history just like Pirate pitcher Harvey Haddix pitching 12 perfect innings in 1959 against the Braves but losing in the thirteenth inning thus getting denied a perfect game.

 

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Leave it up to Lone Star State lobbyists to figure out how to get by the new State Capitol security gizmos.  Plunk down around $250 for a concealed weapon permit then flash your permit to the trooper and get about the business of promoting your interest.  Check out the story in today’s Chron.   This is kind of kwazy if you ask me.   Come January when the legislative session begins, I wonder what folks are going to think about those lobbyists that are still standing in line waiting to get their briefcases and laptops checked?  Are they too cheap to get a permit?  Is it a thing about principles?  Is there something in their background that prevented them from getting a permit?   Stay tuned!

Of the MLBers on the top ten all time dinger list, how many have never played in a World Serious?

The baseball world is abuzz this morning about the ump’s blown call with two out in the top of the ninth last night that snatched a perfect game away from Tiger pitcher Armando Galarraga against the Indians – ouch!  The umpire admitted after the game that he blew the call – double ouch! 

Now a Foxsports.com baseball columnist wants MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to overrule the call and award Galarraga his perfect game.  Check out the column.  I don’t know about that.

Blown calls are part of the game and we don’t need to start a precedent of asking the Commissioner to overrule umpire mistakes.  Some folks will argue that the outcome of the game won’t be changed if Galarraga gets his perfect game but where do you draw the line?  A no-hitter?  A 57 game hitting streak?  A shutout?  You get the point.  I’m afraid that Armando Galarraga has just been added to the list of those that have been done wrong by the best game that has ever been invented.  That’s baseball!

Ken Griffey, Jr. and Sammy Sosa of course have never played in a World Serious.  Bonds, Aaron, Ruth, Mays, Rodriguez, Robinson, McGwire, and Killebrew have played in World Seriouses.

Things at The Yard looked like I want them to look last night.  They look like a team that isn’t giving up.  That’s all I want.

 

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