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Archive for April, 2013

I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about yesterday.  This time it was a marathon.

You just get plain numb when you hear about the latest act of violence or terror.  I’ll just wait until the investigators sort it out. 

Yesterday they said the JFK Library was bombed.  It wasn’t.

Yesterday some news outlets said 14 were killed.  As of this morning three are dead.

Yesterday they said they defused other devices.   They didn’t.

Sometimes you just want to take Paul Simon’s advice and just get all the news you need from the weather report.

Today I will skip the MLB quiz if you don’t mind.

According to Chron.com tomorrow the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation Board of Directors will vote on a Dome timeline.  Here is from Chron.com:

A spokesman for Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, noting that you never know what’s going to happen until it happens, said they are expecting a vote on a timetable that will  result in the Sports Corps. essentially shoving the ticking clock into the hands of the Harris County Commissioners Court this summer.

Joe Stinebaker said the timetable is June, when the county adopts its capital projects plan, meaning the Sports Corps. would gather and analyze proposals on what to do with the dome and present the best ones to commissioners court late that month.

The proposals will fall into three categories, he said:

1) Privately financed ideas for re-purposing the Astrodome (“There haven’t been any great signs of that happening”)

2) Publicly financed recommendations for re-purposing the Astrodome, i.e., projects that would require tax dollars, and more than likely require a bond referendum that could end up on a ballot this November (“The ideal arrangement would be for this not to cost taxpayers a penny and for some private investor with deep pockets to come up with a fun and beneficial idea”)

3) Tearing the Astrodome down, which also seems unlikely given the intense nostalgia and resistance to the idea.

Here is the entire piece.

Commentary went and visited the Ben Hall for Mayor web site this morning just to see if he has posted a list of supporters.  He has and it is heavy with African American leaders including Constable May Walker, Cong. Al Green, Constable Ruben Davis, former CM Carol Galloway, former CM Jarvis Johnson, former Cong. Craig Washington, former Supt. Rod Paige, and Sylvia Brooks just to name a few.  I can’t find a list of The Mayor’s supporters.

Last night the ‘Stros looked like the team they are supposed to look like this season.

 

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Commentary has been reading about changes the Texas Legislature is contemplating to the governance structure of the Port Commission.  Port Commissioner’s term limits are definitely going to happen.  As we all know, Port Chair Janiece Longoria is the only Latina/Latino on the Commission.  I hope The Dean and others that are leading the effort to alter the Port’s governance structure don’t end up adopting a measure that results in the possibility of Latinos not having representation on the Port Commission in a year or so.  There has been a Latino/Latina on the Port Commission since the 1980s.  I hope in their zeal to make changes they don’t end up with a Port Commission without Latino/Latina representation.  This is the Texas Legislature so you know it is a possibility.

It kind of says something that we finally get a Latina to Chair the Port Commission and now some are proposing that she gets shown the door.

Name the player to win the first ever MLB Rookie of the Year Award? 

Last week The Mayor and the Uptown Houston Management District announced they were going to spend a bunch of dough on a bus system with dedicated lanes that would run on Post Oak.  That’s not sitting well with Mattress Mac who authored an Op-Ed in yesterday’s Chron.  He took some shots at The Mayor, METRO, and the Management District and called them a bunch of “hacks.”  FYI:  Mattress Mac has a Gallery Furniture on Post Oak.  Here are bits of his Op-Ed:

Post Oak and the Galleria area are the greatest shopping destinations in Texas. But how many people do you know shop the Galleria by bus? Years ago, the Uptown District offered a bus service for area residents and shoppers for free – and they discontinued the program for lack of riders.

And:

Tell me another world-class city that tears up its most prominent commercial street to run dedicated bus lanes? I thought we were "Space City." Instead we have political hacks pushing the same lame "solutions."

Here is the entire Mattress Mac take.

Ouch!

This Wednesday the Harris County Sports and Convention Corporation Board of Directors will meet to act on the future of the Astrodome – finally.  I am betting all the local media will be at the meeting.  Whatever they come up with still has to be approved by Commissioners Court.

The freaking flagstick was Tiger’s undoing this past weekend.  If he misses the stick, he wins.

Jackie Robinson of course won the first ever MLB Rookie of the Year Award in 1947.

I stayed up Saturday night to watch Albert Pujols do it to us again with two outs in the bottom of the ninth – drats!  Brett Wallace is 1 for 24 and batting .042.  Heck, he can’t even see the Mendoza line.

Every player will be wearing numero 42 today.

 

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"Here I come to save the day!"
That means that Mighty Mayor is on her way.

Yes sir, when there is a wrong to right
, Mighty Mayor will join the fight.
On the sea or on the land,
she gets the situation well in hand.
This is from the tune for the Mighty Mouse toon back in the early days. 

The Mayor wants to settle the mess and get the ‘Stros back in all living rooms in the H-Town area.  Here is from Chron.com:

Mayor Annise Parker has asked officials of DirecTV, AT&T U-verse and Suddenlink Communications to meet in Houston with her and with officials with Comcast SportsNet Houston to discuss a solution to the unresolved carriage negotiations between providers and the Rockets- and Astros-owned network.

In Parker’s one page-letter, dated April 5, the mayor said she was requesting the meeting “on behalf of the millions that passionately root for our Houston teams.”

She also said this:

“The proud followers of our Houston teams – many of whom have paid for the venues where the Astros, Dynamo and Rockets compete – have been patient as your negotiations with Comcast SportsNet Houston have unfolded.  That said, as the Rockets push toward the NBA playoffs and the Astros and Dynamo seasons get underway, the situation is intolerable.”

If The Mayor thinks her involvement can get a deal done, then have at it.  Of course, the current non providers might be thinking that she has other motives since she works with the ‘Stros front office on that community partner deal.  If no deal gets done, she risks being called ineffective.  I wonder if Commentary can snag an invite to the meeting since I am a Comcast subscriber and I want to make sure the subscribers of U-verse and the others don’t get a better deal.

The Rockets only have four regular season games remaining.  Playoff games will be on network TV or cable outlets like ESPN and TBS.

Here is the entire story.

Everybody likes to talk about Jackie Robinson breaking the MLB color barrier back on April 15, 1947.  Who did the Dodgers play that day and what did Robinson do in his first ever at-bat?

Since The Mayor is so concerned about the fans getting the shaft, I wonder if she will get the ‘Stros front office and radio guys in for a meeting and get the games back on the blow torch 740 AM so everybody in H-Town can listen to the games in the evening.

While she is also in an “intolerable” mood, why doesn’t The Mayor bring in Hunker Down, Edgar Colon, the Texans, and the Rodeo and get them to agree on a plan on what to do with the Dome.  Watching the Dome just sit there and further deteriorate is also “intolerable.”

The Dodgers played the Boston Braves on April 15, 1947 and Jackie Robinson grounded out to third in his first at-bat of course.

Let’s see if our bats are for real as we go up against the Angels this weekend.  Let’s see if Brett Wallace can break out of his slump.

 

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My friend Edgar Colón is Chairman of the Board of the Harris County Sports and Convention Corp., the entity created by Harris County Commissioners Court to manage and develop Reliant Park.  He has an Op-Ed in today’s Chron explaining the hold-up on deciding what to do with the Dome.  Here are parts:

Back in 2012, we presented several options for repurposing this regional icon. These options were the result of preliminary feasibility workshop sessions with world-class architectural, engineering and attraction design and development consultants. This was not "just another study."

As a valuable asset of Harris County, the repurposing of the Astrodome has to take into consideration its impact on the overall Master Plan for Reliant Park. As a result, our study assesses our current and future needs at Reliant Park with particular focus on a comprehensive plan for future development at the complex.

The main guidelines we have considered in developing the options have centered on four core principles: public purpose (any proposed redevelopment must serve the interests of the taxpayers); flexibility (for both short-term and long-term use); compatibility (with current Reliant Park operations and our contractual obligations to our existing tenants, stakeholders and clients) and fiscal responsibility (considering both capital and operating costs).

In addition to these core principles, substantial consideration was given to implementing a "Green Initiative" at Reliant Park. The goal here is for Reliant Park – particularly the Dome – to serve as a showcase for emerging environmentally responsible energy efficient technologies.

I would think that tearing down the Dome would fall under the “public purpose”, “compatibility”, and “fiscal responsibility” core principles if you ask me.  Guess what?  They are not going to ask Commentary.

Edgar also says that the 2008 economic meltdown and economic climate since then has made financing difficult for “repurposing” the Dome.  Edgar is a Harris County appointee and the County will decide when to put the Dome’s future up for a vote and right now it doesn’t look like anyone at the County has the stomach to tear it down.  See what Edgar says:

The demolition of this fine structure not only destroys an icon but also forever takes away the possibility of future private development of the building.

Moreover, as the recent editorial in the Houston Chronicle points out, we should seize the moment to build something more worthwhile than more parking spots.

In other words, don’t expect a decision this year.  Stay tuned!

Here is the rest of the piece.

We have the day off today then go face our old nemesis Albert Pujols in Anaheim tomorrow.  How many career regular season dingers does Albert have against the ‘Stros?

Check out Kuffer’s piece on Dem members of Congress that still aren’t on the program on equality in marriage.

What’s the hold-up?

We won again last night for a series win.  I don’t know what to say!  Today our offense is kind of in the middle of the pack of all MLB clubs.  We’ve only played nine games though.

Albert Pujols has 42 dingers against ‘Stros pitching of course.

Brett Wallace was given the day off yesterday to clear his head.  That’s never a good thing to hear.  Here is what the Skipper told MLB:

"Sometimes you need to take a step back.  You can be trying so hard with extra work and video and reading game reports and over analyzing each and every at-bat to where you probably need to take a step back. We’re going to give him the day off, we have an off-day on Thursday, and Friday send him back in there. I think the results are going to be in a more positive light for Brett."

I don’t know about that.

 

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According to MLB.com, who has the highest career batting average among active players?

Check these Whereases from an ordinance that will be discussed at an H-Town City Council Committee meeting this afternoon on banning texting while driving:

WHEREAS, according to the first published work in the United States to examine texting while driving in an actual driving environment, researchers at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute have determined that a driver’s reaction time is doubled when distracted by reading or sending a text message; and

WHEREAS, according to the same study, drivers who faced a flashing light when texting were eleven times more likely to miss the flashing light; and

WHEREAS, according to the same study, drivers were less able to safely

maintain their position in the driving lane and/or maintain a constant speed when they were texting while driving, tending to slow down in an effort to reduce the demand of multiple tasks; and

WHEREAS, according to the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, drivers who text message while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a crash, near crash or a crash relevant conflict than those driving while not distracted; and.

WHEREAS, check this out:

It shall be unlawful for a person to use a wireless communication device to view, send, or create an electronic message while operating a motor vehicle upon a roadway within the city.

And:

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution of an offense under this section that the person was using a wireless communication device:

(1) In the course and scope of the user’s duties as the operator of an emergency vehicle;

(2) To communicate with an emergency response operator, fire department, law enforcement agency, hospital, physician’s office, or health clinic regarding a medical or other emergency situation;

(3) In a vehicle that was parked or stopped out of the traffic lanes of a roadway;

(4) That was attached to or installed in the vehicle as a global positioning or navigation system;

(5) Solely in a voice-activated or other hands-free mode; or

(6) Under a license issued by the Federal Communications Commission.

What if you are sitting on Houston Avenue at the railroad crossing waiting five minutes for the train to pass, can I get a citation for peeking at my gizmo?  

Albert Pujols of course leads all qualifying active big leaguers with a .324 career batting average.

The bats finally arrived last night as the ‘Stros scored 16 runs and smacked 5 dingers.   Brett Wallace missed out on the fun as he went 0 for 4 with 4 whiffs.  He’s batting .048 and battling the pressure. 

 

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FYI:  Commentary’s client is Graci Garces, candidate for H-Town City Council District I.

Graci will have her “Campaign Takeoff” at the 1940 Air Terminal Museum at Hobby Airport next Thursday, April 18 at 6:30 pm.  The Museum is located in District I.   It is a neat and real cool place to have a political “takeoff” announcement.  If you are a Houston history buff, the Air Museum is a place to visit.  They have a lot of interesting stuff on exhibit from the early days of commercial aviation in Houston.  You can spend a lot of time walking around checking out the display cases.  Here is from their website:

The 1940 Air Terminal Museum is housed in the original art-deco Houston Municipal Airport building at present-day William P. Hobby Airport. The Museum showcases the rich heritage of civil aviation, including the airlines, general aviation and business aviation. Exhibits include Houston’s fascinating aviation history.

We gave it a 6:30 pm start to give folks time to head over after work.  Think about dropping by next week.  You can do two things at once:  check out some of Houston’s aviation history and support Graci.

The 1940 Air Terminal Museum is located on the west side of William P. Hobby Airport, near Telephone Road.

Here is the Air Terminal website.

We suffered our third shutout loss of the season last night at Safeco.  What is the ‘Stros record for shutout losses in a season?

This is a part of the Seattle newspaper yesterday:

In Texas, where attempts to expand gay rights have run into strong opposition from Republican leaders, state lawmakers are considering new legal protections for sexually active gay teens.

Sexual contact with minors under the age of 17 is a crime of indecency under Texas law. But a "Romeo and Juliet" defense protects teen couples from prosecution as long as they are in a consensual relationship, both over 14 and within three years of age of each other.

And:

Sen. John Whitmire, a Houston Democrat and longtime chairman of the Senate Criminal Justice committee, said he filed his bill out of a "sense of fairness." If a couple meets the age and consent criteria, there should be no difference in the law based on their sexual orientation, he said.

Here is the entire story.

I wonder why the Chron doesn’t have the story on The Dean’s proposed legislation.

If you can’t make it out there next week to Graci’s takeoff try going to an event Democratic Precinct Judge Lisi Cocina is putting together to benefit the kids of HISD’s Austin High.  Here is what they put out:

Join us for the 2nd Annual Austin High School (AHS) (HISD) White Rose Dinner featuring, keynote speaker, Texas Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman, who is an Alumna of AHS. The event features an individual that has excelled and embodies an example students may emulate. 

Tickets are $50 per person. There are sponsorships available. All donations will be applied to programs which directly benefit AHS students.   It is at the UH Hilton on Thursday, April 18.

For additional information on the AHS White Rose Dinner, RSVP or make a donation, contact Dr. Lisi Cocina at 713 924-1664 or ECOCINA1@houstonisd.org.

I am sure some folks are going to get a little upset at Commentary for promoting an event that features one of Guv Dude’s appointees.  Lisi is the Dean of Instruction at Austin High and Lisi does a lot for her students.

District I candidate Ben Mendez originally listed my friend Edgar Colon as his campaign treasurer.  Edgar is no longer treasurer.  An invitation to an upcoming Mendez fundraiser lists Richard Farias as his treasurer.  Mendez’s website lists Issa Dadoush as his treasurer.  Oh, well!

Annette Funicello is no longer with us.  She was one of my favorites back in the old B&W days. 

Who’s the leader of the club that’s made for you and me?
M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E! Hey there! Hi there! Ho there!
You’re as welcome as can be, M-I-C-K-E-Y M-O-U-S-E!

In our second year in MLB in 1963, the team suffered 23 shutout losses of course.

There is a story on Chron.com about the ‘Stros rejecting an offer from one of the providers to carry the games.  At 1-6 I don’t see demand growing.

 

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Commentary has mentioned a time or two before the escalating congestion down the street at I-10 and Studemont/Studewood and I-10 at Heights/Yale.  It is a growing mess thanks to the development around the new Walmart and the new Kroger on Studewood/Studemont and the I-10 shoulder work.  It is very frustrating.  A lot of times I end up having to snake around and get across I-10 and Taylor. On a related note, Commentary got sent an email from a Heights resident to certain H-Town Council Members.  Check this:

I am a resident of the Heights and want to share a concern I have with traffic in the neighborhood.  Traffic on Heights and Yale close to I-10 intersection has become very congested and has begun to back up north to White Oak and South to the rail road tracks.   I realize the Shepherd/I-10 construction may be flowing over, but it has become ridiculous at times and is causing more traffic in the neighborhood with people cutting through for shorter routes.   Additionally, we use the trails in the neighborhood and take my child for bike rides and have to deal with vehicles speeding down Yale. 

Can you tell me what the city if doing about these issues as I am sure it is not the first time it has been raised?  I see a lot of neighborhood development and as result increased home values, but no further investment other than paved roads on Yale.  Much of this has also been a result of the development on Yale south of I-10, but I see no increased infrastructure to handle the traffic – why?  With regard to speeding vehicles on Yale – are any more lights planned for this street to slow the speeds down?

Ditto!  Of course I think it is only going to get worse. 

If you watch TV you probably know that “42” about Jackie Robinson will be at a local theater near you this Friday. Name a Hall of Fame great that also had his numero 42 retired?

The Mayor was on Khambrel’s show yesterday.  She did OK.

Foreign affairs experts are trying to figure out what the North Korean leader is up to.  Well we know he’s a big fan of the NBA.  I wonder if they have considered offering him courtside seats to Lakers games in exchange for his nukes.

They gave out commemorative baseballs at The Yard this past Saturday night after the game.  They don’t hand them out on the way in if you know what I mean.  The commemorative balls look a bit cheesy.

Commentary snagged foul balls numero 2 and 3 Saturday night.  I handed them off to a couple of kids – drats!

The team is on a nine game West Coast roadie.

San Luis retired Hall of Fame great Bruce Sutter’s numero 42 a few years ago of course.

The ‘Stros are not a good team today.  The weekend attendance stunk.    They strike out too many times.  Carter is hitting .091, Wallace is at .059, and Ankiel is at .083.  Wallace needs to find his game or he may be Oklahoma City bound.  We are 1-5 and so are the Fish, Brewers, Bucs, and Padres.  If we don’t become a more interesting team I don’t see attendance improving when we get home. 

 

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Grover Norquist is heading up an effort to support immigration reform.  Check this from Politico:

High-profile conservative groups are taking on an unexpected cause: passing immigration reform.

A diverse mix of the Washington consultant class is cutting TV ads, revving up the grassroots and advising lawmakers on messaging and strategy in hopes of getting a bill across the finish line this year.

The surprising effort is a new element to the immigration debate — and one that could influence Republican lawmakers reluctant to support the cause.

Here is the entire piece.

The article really doesn’t address pathway to citizenship.  Some Latinos are working to make sure pathway to citizenship doesn’t require impossible conditions.  Stay tuned!

The A’s are in town for three.  Name the top two all time career dinger hitters as A’s?

My pal H-Town CM Steve Costello has an Op-Ed in today’s Chron on pensions.

Check it out here.

My pal local activist/video photographer Carlos Calbillo is calling out a H-Town District I candidate because of her ties to the GOP.  Carlos is sending out copies of the emails.  It could be an issue because the last time I checked District I voted over 70% for The President last November.

One of the greatest local sports injustices was finally resolved yesterday when word got out that Guy V. Lewis will finally be going to the Hall of Fame.  It is about freaking time!

All I’m going to say about “Two and a Half Men” last night is that network TV isn’t what it used to be.  Oh, Lucy!

Mark McGwire with 363 dingers and Hall of Fame great Jimmie Foxx with 303 lead the A’s of course in the all time dinger department as A’s.

They are giving away t-shirts tonight and baseballs tomorrow.  I wonder how many fans will attend.

 

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Commentary makes it a point not to spend time talking about the drug cartels south of the border or gangs or organized crime.  Those guys don’t play fair so why get on their radar.  I did find it interesting that Guv Dude put on his Dick Tracy lid yesterday and pointed to border security as a possible culprit in the Kaufman County murders.  Check this from Politico:

When asked about the possible involvement of the Aryan Brotherhood in the killings, the Republican governor said it is too early to speculate about who was behind the killings, but added that it also wouldn’t be wise to overlook any angle.

“We know the drug cartels are very, very active in our country now. It goes back … to the whole issue of border security and the failure of the federal government to put the men and women, whether they are military or whether they’re border patrol or whether working with the local law enforcement, expend the dollars necessary to secure the border with Mexico,” Perry said on Fox News.

I wonder if Guv Dude knows something the Texas Rangers, FBI and other law enforcement agencies don’t.

As of this morning in the MLB three out of the top four batters with the most strikeouts are ‘Stros.  Name them? 

Kuffer has a good take today on the candidates running for H-Town City Council At-Large #3.

Here it is.

Let me add two cents or so.  If it ends up with three Latino candidates running they may end up splitting the Latino vote and none of them could get into a runoff.  Stay tuned!

At The Mayor’s press availability yesterday she defended the ugly signs out in left field over at The Yard.   The Mayor said they bring in funds for community baseball fields.  Maybe they do but the signs hide the train, block a view of the Downtown, and just totally whack the character of The Yard.

If you get the hard copy of the Chron like Commentary you saw that the front page of the sports section has 43 Ks in big arse font.  For those that don’t know, the K in baseball means a strike out.  Opposing pitchers have whiffed 43 ‘Stro batters in the first three games of the season.  That’s a new MLB record.    Way to go!  The sports section visual is certainly not what the front office want us to see since they are trying to get folks come out to see “a whole new ballgame.”  Only 15,000 showed up yesterday afternoon at The Yard and the A’s come in for three this weekend.

I know it is way too early but when your $25 million team payroll is the lowest in MLB you may set MLB records like the one that was set yesterday. 

Brett Wallace (8), Chris Carter (7), and Carlos Pena (6), of course are in the top 4 in the MLB this morning in the whiff department.

The last two games they looked like last season’s team.  We’re 1-2.

 

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The Chron E-Board today called out Commissioner’s Court on getting a vote on the Dome on the ballot for this November.  Here is a part:

It was created by a vote, and it should be saved or destroyed by a vote. Much like the bond elections that gave Harris County the capital to build the Dome, the future of 8400 Kirby Drive should be in the hands of the voters.

Right now, there are only five votes that count – the four powerful, and often unknown, county commissioners and the county judge. Those five have not been the visionary leaders we once had in men such as Roy Hofheinz. They seem either too fearful of going down in history as the men who destroyed the Dome, or too scared of the higher taxes necessary to fund any grand endeavor. So instead we wait, and the Dome decays until the once-wonder’s only redeemable feature is its ruin value.

Enough with men fearful of history. Harris County deserves better. It is time to let the people decide what we should do with the Astrodome and how we should spend our money. Come November, the voters who matter shouldn’t be at Commissioner’s Court, but at the ballot box.

I don’t think much more needs to be said.  The Chron E-Board wants a vote.  The Rodeo, Texans, NFL Commissioner and Commentary want it torn down.  What’s the hold-up?

Here is the entire E-Board take.

A lot folks know that last June Matt Cain of the Giants went perfecto on the ‘Stros.  Name the ‘Stros that played in that game last June that also got into the game last night?

The First Lady is recommending the movie “42”.  It is about Jackie Robinson getting  into the MLB back in 1947.  Here is from an article:

Michelle Obama said Tuesday that a new movie chronicling Jackie Robinson’s rise through Major League Baseball, including the racial discrimination he endured while breaking the sport’s color barrier in the 1940s, left her and the president "visibly, physically moved" after they saw it over the weekend. The film, "42," also left the couple wondering "how on Earth did (the Robinsons) live through that. How did they do it? How did they endure the taunts and the bigotry for all of that time?" she said.

And:

Mrs. Obama said everyone should see the movie, which opens nationwide April 12.

"I can say with all sincerity that it was truly powerful for us," she said. "We walked away from that just visibly, physically moved by the experience of the movie, of the story," and the "raw emotion" they felt afterward.

I wasn’t at The Yard last night but I watched the game and around the sixth inning I started to think it might be a perfect game and no hitter and I thought about missing history. Did I want to be there and watch the Rangers go perfect on us in our crib?  Did I want to have a ticket stub for the first no-no or perfect game ever tossed at The Yard?  My answer is a resounding NO!  In the end it turned out A-OK as Marwin Gonzalez with his base hit up middle saved us from getting perfected on two seasons in a row.

Jose Altuve, Brett Wallace, Jason Castro, Xavier Cedeno, and Rhiner Cruz of course saw action in the perfecto last June and in the near perfecto last night.

Our bats looked anemic last night, we’re not in first place, and we wrap up the series with the Rangers this afternoon.

 

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