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Archive for May, 2013

A number of folks are downright gushing about the new hire over at The Yard that will be announced today.  I’m talking about Reid Ryan of baseball royalty – the son of Hall of Fame great and former ‘Stro Nolan Rayn.   Here is what MLB.com’s Richard Justice gushes:

Reid Ryan’s hiring as team president is a stroke of genius by Astros owner Jim Crane. It makes sense on so many levels that it’s difficult to know where to start.

Woah now!  I don’t know about that!  I would only go as far as to say it is the best move out of The Yard this week.

Here is the entire Justice gush.

Former ‘Stro CEO George Postolos who unceremoniously resigned this past Monday is the ultimate fall guy and he is being made to be a local sports villain and that’s too bad.  He is getting blamed for the ugly signage in left field.   He is being blamed for not getting the TV deal done.  We don’t know if he had any involvement in pulling the plug on the Wives Gala but some folks probably think he had a hand in it.  He took the hit for hiking the ticket prices when the good teams visit.  You get the picture.

The fact is the owner signed off on all of the above.  In fact the owner is the only one that has been quoted on the TV deal mess.  He has taken a hard ball stance on the TV deal which is interesting in where is the demand to watch a team with a 11-30 record.  The owner was the one who communicated to the Wives Gala folks that the team would handle it. 

When you factor in mounting losses on the field, the front office finally started to sense that their fan base was restless and somebody had to go and Postolos was the fall guy, after all, you can’t fire the owner.

In comes Reid Ryan to save the day, errr the franchise.  I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt but the owner is going to have to kind of admit that his actions have contributed to the negative perception fans have today.   It wasn’t all the fault of Postolos just like Reid Ryan by himself isn’t going to turns things around.  The owner has to step up.

The TV deal, left field signage, ticket prices, Wives Gala are issues that need to be addressed.  Telling the fans and season ticket holders to kiss our arses isn’t going to cut it.  Get your heads out of the sand!  Got it!

If they don’t get it, Reid Ryan is the next fall guy in waiting and I don’t care who his daddy is.

The ‘Stros visit PNC Park this weekend.  How many World Serious titles do the Pirates own?

Burkablog decided to slap around the House Dems up in the state legislature on the budget deal.   I really don’t know what is going on but here is Burkablog’s partial take:

As for the Democrats, I hate to say this, but they have lost so many times that they have forgotten how to win. The latest example is the battle over restoring the education cuts. After a hard day of negotiations, Speaker Straus put an offer on the table: $3.5 billion in additional public education spending. The deal, Straus told the Democrats, will be "dead in the morning, " as reported by Mike Hailey, if they haven’t accepted it and promised to support funding for the water plan. Oblivious to their own infirmities as the minority party, Democrats griped that the Republicans were moving the goal posts. This was truly stupid. As I have written earlier on this topic, Straus has bent over backward to give the D’s what they wanted, jeopardizing his standing with conservative Republicans in the process. This is the textbook case of why the Democrats don’t win: they think they’re entitled, because they represent all that is true and good and right in politics. Until that attitude changes, they’ll never win.

Here is the entire Burkablog.

The Pirates own five World Serious titles of course:  1909, 1925, 1960, 1971, and 1979.

Only 40% of us have the opportunity to watch the Reid Ryan announcement live this afternoon on CSNH. 

Since our pitchers can’t pitch, I wonder if they can bat as we go interleague this evening minus the DH.

 

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Commentary heard that the H-Town City Council Ethics, Elections and Council Governance Committee met yesterday to discuss the issue of holding City Election run-offs on Saturdays like they do now or holding them on a Tuesday.  I wasn’t there but I’m betting it has something to do with saving money. 

Holding the runoff elections on Tuesday means you don’t have to pay as much rent if the voting locations are held at public schools or other places that are normally open on weekdays.  Holding the election on a Saturday means you do have to pay rental fees if the place isn’t open on Saturdays.

Here in H-Town we don’t have a lot to brag on when it comes to voter turnout.  It seems like holding the runoff on a Saturday when more folks are not at work would get us a better turnout and more campaign volunteers.  Keep the runoff on Saturday at least until we reach the 50% voter turnout level in a runoff.

Who is the last Hall of Fame great to throw a no-no?

Graci Garces had around 50 or so folks last night at a very nice Downtown venue on their outdoor patio.

I’m not going to say a whole lot about the Astros Wives Gala PR mess but you can check out what the Houston Press says here.

You can also read the Jerome Solomon of the Chron piece on “Blame Crane.”  He must have looked at yesterday’s Commentary when he says:

It is simply bad PR. And bad baseball.

Here is all of his column.

The word is the ‘Stros will name a new CEO/President and Nolan Ryan’s son is seriously being considered so stay tuned.  Well at least he knows baseball business.

I have to give The Mayor and the City props.  Here is from the Chron for subscribers only for now:

In downtown Houston, there are about 3,200 parking spaces on the street – and a whopping 5,800 signs drivers must decipher to use them without getting towed or ticketed.

Aiming to fix this "confusing mishmash of signs," as Mayor Annise Parker put it, City Council on Wednesday approved a $1.3 million contract with a Houston firm that will spend the next year removing signs and replacing them with a standardized set.

The types of parking signs posted downtown will drop from 120 to as few as 16.

When I park on a street Downtown sometimes I have to walk the entire street block to read the myriad of signage to make sure I don’t get towed.  Way to go!

In 1991 Nolan Ryan pitched a no-no over the Jays of course.

We have the day off then begin interleague play tomorrow against Pittsburgh.  Now that sounds weird. We have played 25% of the season and we have 11 wins. 

 

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Don’t forget to join the Graci Garces Campaign “Tapas on the Patio – A District I Women’s Event”, this evening, 5:30 – 7 p.m., Batanga Houston (908 Congress @ Travis)!

It wasn’t a good day for the front office at The Yard yesterday.  Local media ran stories of the ‘Stros no longer supporting the Astros Wives Gala that benefits the Houston Area Women’s Center (HAWC).   The ‘Stros attempted to ‘splain they were focusing their philanthropic efforts on at-risk youth.    I get that they want to go elsewhere but they didn’t take into account the popularity of the Gala among ‘Stros fans.  They didn’t because all the experienced front office hands have been run off.

The blunders also included having the ‘Stros Senior VP for Marketing talk to Culture Map but dodging Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Chron.  Jesus Ortiz is a freaking member of the Baseball Writers of America, a former ‘Stros full time beat writer, and he wrote a freaking book on the 2005 World Serious season! 

Here is the Jesus Ortiz story.

Here is part of what the team put out yesterday after 5 pm from the Chron:

• This was not an Astros Event or Astros Foundation event and the former wives charity that hosted it is now essentially no longer in operation as no current Astros Wives belong.

• The event was managed by a paid consultant who received a % of funds from the charitable proceeds. It was not managed by the Astros or the Astros charity.

• The % of funds raised by the gala that were spent on expenses and fees were very high – ranging from 40% to over 59% of gross proceeds spent on party expenses and fees over the past 3 years. That means in recent years, the Women’s Center actually received only a little more than half, or in one year less than half, of what was raised for the Center.

• Best charitable practice assumes donors can expect 70% or more to go to the charity – this is not in keeping with that standard. With such high fees and expenses, the gala was not in keeping with best charitable practices, nor was it aligned with our team charity’s new strategic focus on at risk youth.

Here is all of the response.

The ‘Stros said the Gala donation ratio wasn’t good.  Last year they raised $450,000.  It had expenses of $200,000 and $250,000 went to HAWC.  Well then cut costs or come up with a less expensive event.    Did they even consider fixing it?

Check this from the Jesus Ortiz:

“While we were in the process of deciding on our new strategic focus, the Astros Foundation also reviewed details of the Wives Gala and its budgeting, culled from recent publicly available tax returns,” said Meg Vaillancourt, the team’s senior VP of Community Relations. “We learned that in recent years, in our opinion, it appeared far too much of the funds raised by the gala seemed to go towards expenses, rather than to the charity.

“As a best charitable practice, it is common to expect some 70 percent — or more whenever possible — of funds raised should go towards the charitable purpose people intended in supporting the event. In the case of the Gala, in recent years, it appears that a little more than half — and at least in one recent year, less than half – of the funds raised actually went to the Women’s Center.”

In the last available IRS filings, the Astros Wives Organization had $432,000 in contributions in 2011 and distributed $220,000 to the Houston Area Women’s Center. That’s 50.9 percent to charity. Most of the other money was used to fund the banquet and silent auction, which were held at Minute Maid Park and included fees paid to the Astros.

Vaillancourt came to the Astros this year from the Red Sox Foundation. By comparison, the Red Sox Foundation had $9.2 million in contributions in 2011 and distributed $4.4 million in grants. That’s 47.9 percent to charity.

Ouch!  Maybe they should have been more cooperative with Jesus Ortiz.

Heck, they’ve been moving players in and out of The Yard at warp speed that it is kind of hard to grab a player and ask him if he has a wife.  Heck most of them are probably afraid to unpack their suitcase for fear of getting released, sent to Triple A, or traded.  Oh, well.

The Chron’s Randy Harvey says this:

Two fan blogs, The Crawfish Boxes and Astros County, announced they were going dark for a day, maybe longer in the case of Crawfish Boxes, in protest.

Timothy de Block of The Crawfish Boxes said the site might return with fewer writers.

"… several of our writers have expressed a disinterest in covering this team for the moment," he said.

The Astros have a general manager. They have a manager. They need a crisis manager.

What they need to do is start winning.  That cures a lot of stuff in baseball.

Who is the last Hall of Fame great to catch a no-no?

The Graci Garces Campaign didn’t invent the photo that was sent to us.  Some of our supporters saw it and didn’t like it.  Now the Mendez campaign is denying putting it out there but folks aren’t buying the denial.  They could have denied it last week but they didn’t.  Here is the Houston Press piece on it:

Houston City Council District I candidate Graci Garces is calling for opponent Ben Mendez’s apology after Mendez — or someone with his campaign — allegedly e-mail blasted a photo of….um, Garces enjoying a meal at a restaurant.

"I was appalled that Ben Mendez and his campaign would distribute a photo of me that is intended to bully, harass, and discriminate," Garces explained in her statement.

She continued: "The Mendez campaign crossed the line of decency and should be held accountable."

Hair Balls has to admit: we’re a little confused by the whole thing. We’re not sure what the Mendez hoped to gain by distributing the photo, or if it was just someone’s idea of a joke. What’s the message of this photo? That Garces is not a size 2, and therefore is a freak of nature whose very existence must be documented and shared with the rest of the world?

We think Garces and her supporters — some of whom have written their own open letter demanding an apology — are raising too much of a stink over this, but that’s politics. What bothers us most of all is the way Mendez’s campaign is(n’t) dealing with this.

We asked Mendez’s campaign manager, Joaquin Martinez, about the photo Monday, and he claimed that this was the first he’s heard of it. Strike one, dude. If it really was the first he’s heard of something that one of his opponents is now turning into a campaign issue, then he needs to be let go and replaced by a more effective manager, like perhaps an orangutan, or a block of wood. There is no reason Martinez shouldn’t have had some canned statement at the ready.

Martinez said he’d get back to us, and of course he did not. Nor has Mendez returned our calls. But sometime between our brief conversation Monday afternoon and this morning, the contact number on the campaign’s website changed. Strike two, dude. That’s just freakin’ stupid.

And here’s strike three: the new number’s voicemail doesn’t identify the campaign, or name any associated individual. It doesn’t even state the actual phone number — what it does is state the phone number as if it’s an actual number, as in, "You have reached two-billion-eight-hundred nineteen million…"

We’re guessing this is what happened at Team Mendez Monday night.

Martinez: Hey, Ben, some jack-off reporter asked about that photo. What should I tell him?

Mendez: (thinking long and hard before a luminescent bulb clicks on over his head) By Jove, I’ve got it! Don’t call him back — just change the number on our campaign site. And make sure it has a really fucking stupid outgoing message!

Martinez: Sir, how did you get to be so smart?

Mendez: By never eating, my son. By never eating.

Update: Martinez just sent us a response, which states, "Ben Mendez is running a positive, energized, grass-roots campaign based on the needs and concerns of the citizens of District I, and at no time indulges in or condones negative campaign tactics. In the face of competition, we’re aware that campaigns sometimes present items in attempts to get traction in the news….[Mendez’s] campaign staff and volunteers will continue to work hard to energize and engage the citizens [of] District I in discussions about ways to improve the overall quality of life in the community."

The late Hall of Fame great Gary Carter was behind the plate when Charlie Lea of the Expos put a no-no on the Giants in 1981 of course.

We suffered another loss last night.  Maybe the new owner should have considered having the team as the designated charity. Heck, he probably would have gotten a better response if he had decided to cancel the season instead of the Gala. 

 

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You have to wonder what was the point of Ben Mendez and his campaign for H-Town City Council District I sending out that photo of Graci Garces (Commentary’s client).  I am still scratching my head about that move.  I guess they know they can’t attack Graci on her record of service – but this?  The Mendez campaign invited this response:

From Jason Cisneroz, Nick Hellyar, Erik Ibarra, Mary Ruth Rodriguez and Lillian Villarreal to Ben Mendez:

The photo below that you and your campaign distributed of Graci Garces is of a bullying nature and shows intolerance on your part that has no place in our society. We find this sort of thing misogynistic and deeply offensive.  We demand that you immediately apologize to Graci Garces and the people of Houston City Council District I.

While we certainly understand that campaigns sometimes take a negative tone due to past documented “policy actions” by individuals, personal attacks on one’s ethnicity, physique, sexual orientation or religion are disturbing and demonstrate an ignorance and prejudice that is harmful to the entire community.  As a husband, father and leader, I am sure you would find it very offensive should a similar picture be distributed of your wife, your children or a friend and member of one of the organizations in which you are affiliated. Your recent actions are no different than a bully in school targeting a student that may look different.  As a former educator, you should know better.

Major League Soccer (MLS) has initiated their Don’t Cross the Line program that “promotes unity, respect, fair play, equality and acceptance throughout the soccer community.”  You may want to visit their website http://www.mlssoccer.com/mlsworks/dontcrosstheline  to take the Don’t Cross the Line Pledge: "I pledge to treat others with dignity and respect and will not tolerate discrimination, bias, prejudice or harassment of any kind."

There are a number of websites and articles on intolerance that we hope you will visit to help you understand the damage that your actions could cause to a person.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/disturbed/201212/making-fun-fat-people

http://www.tolerance.org/

“Leadership is a process by which a person influences others to accomplish an objective.”

Sadly, the leadership you are offering with your campaign tactics says discrimination and harassment is acceptable.

We await your apology.

And this from Graci:

I was appalled that Ben Mendez and his campaign would distribute a photo of me that is intended to bully, harass, and discriminate.  The Mendez campaign crossed the line of decency and should be held accountable.

I have been involved in politics for over ten years and have experienced the rough and tumble of political campaigns.  I also take pride in being a strong woman and mother and will not be deterred by Mr. Mendez’s disturbing and prejudicial missive.   Many are not as fortunate and succumb to bullying and harassment tactics.

Mr. Mendez is obviously unaware that bullying is a serious problem or else he would not have distributed the photo – even in jest.   I join those that have asked Mr. Mendez for a public apology and go even further by publicly asking him to reassess his campaign for City Council District I.  He has demonstrated intolerant behavior and discriminating attitude that has no place on the Houston City Council.

He asked for it.

Nolan Ryan’s name is getting some run now that there is an opening in the front office at The Yard.  Everybody knows Nolan has seven no-nos.  Name the teams he pitched no-nos against?

The news from The Yard yesterday was George Postolos resigning.  That means he was shown the door.  A lot of fans were not happy with some of the stuff off of the field.  Like the lack of a TV deal for 60% of H-Town homes.  The ugly signage in left field messed up the look of The Yard.  The fella that put the fake flash on us last week didn’t help.  They just disbanded the Astros Wives Gala and left HAWC holding the bag.  Now that’s tacky.  They got rid of a lot of so called institutional knowledge that the front office badly needs just so George could have his team in place.  Postolos dissed Dierk and that didn’t sit well with a bunch of fans including Commentary.  Letting JD go to the Cubbies was a dumb move.  Having the games go from the blowtorch 740 to 790 was also not good.  Maybe it wasn’t all George’s fault but this is what happens when you play in the bigs.

It will be interesting to see who they bring in.

Nolan Ryan threw no-nos against the Royals, Tigers, Twins, B’More, Dodgers, A’s, and Jays of course.

We lost again last night and Altuve got dinged up pretty good.  What else can go wrong?

 

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The Mayor kicked off her campaign this past Saturday and there was a story in the Chron about her kickoff.  This is what Rice political scientist Mark Jones had to say:

“Bill White left her with a lot of messes to clean up. That, combined with a very tight budget as a result of the recession, led to a difficult first two years.  The second term has been much smoother sailing. The voter mood is going to be much more positive as people go to the polls this fall, and there’s going to be less of a tendency to want to cast a protest vote against the mayor than there was in 2011.”

Here is from a piece on the kickoff and mentions District I candidate Robert Gallegos:

Robert Gallegos said Parker is the first mayor he worked with as a civic organizer that actually got things done, from conducting feasibility studies of overpasses and saving a century old school building from being sold.

Bill White was a very popular Mayor and easily won reelection.  I’d like for both fellas to go stand in the middle of Discovery Green and diss on Mayor White. 

The Big Puma was in town this past weekend.  How many post season dingers does he have?

When the Graci Garces for City Council District I Campaign decided on holding the takeoff at the 1940 Air Terminal Museum we knew getting a crowd would be a challenge since the Museum is located on the other side of Hobby Airport literally on the outskirts of H-Town.  We figured a 6:30 pm start would allow folks time to get out there.  We also knew that if folks made the drive to the Air Museum they were pretty much hard core Graci supporters so we were happy when 150 show up.

Here is a Saturday Chron.com post of The Mayor’s kickoff.

An earlier post Saturday afternoon said over 100 supporters showed up at The Mayor’s kickoff.  A crowd number isn’t mentioned in this posting.   Having over 100 doesn’t speak well for enthusiasm.   I wonder how many folks showed up.

If you are going to get in a smack-off with Tiger, you better bring your game with you.  Sergio Garcia took his dislike of Tiger public and Tiger got the best of him.  Tied with Tiger with two holes to play, Sergio put three shots into the water in a very public meltdown.

Here is what Garcia said after the meltdown: “It sounds like I’m the bad guy here.

I was the victim.”

Is this Weinergate?  Turn this over to the FCC.  This is by the Chron’s Jose de Jesus Ortiz:

The Astros said that the fan who stood up and pretended to expose himself while inside Minute Maid Park’s exclusive Diamond Club is not a season ticket holder and that the team would work with “the proper authorities” to investigate.

Sitting in the section that became famous as the seats for former President George H.W. Bush and first lady Barbara Bush, a fan appearing to hold either a cigar or a hot dog weiner stood up and dangled it while Philip Humber pitched to Albert Pujols.

The fan appears to be right behind the prime two seats former Astros owner Drayton McLane and his wife Elizabeth used. Fans in those seats get plenty of air time on television, and the fan clearly timed his prank to appear on the telecast.

The Astros have monitored that section closely under new owner Jim Crane, but at this point the Astros say they don’t know the fan in question.

“The Houston Astros have no affiliation with the individual involved in the incident in the Diamond Club seating area last night,” Astros Vice President and General Manager of Building Operations Marcel Braithwaite said in a statement. “The individual is not a season ticket holder. The Astros are currently investigating the matter with the proper authorities.”

Earlier in the homestand, a fan was shown on the Minute Maid Park big screen flicking his middle finger.

What are they going to nail him on – impersonating a flasher?  If they are the seats right behind where Drayton used to sit then they belong to the new owner.  I’m betting the front office knows the identity of the fake flasher.

The Big Puma has nine post season dingers of course – six with the ‘Stros, one with the Yankees and two with San Luis.

About the only thing good that happened at The Yard this weekend was getting my fourth foul ball of the season that went to a kid.  I don’t know what else to say other than 14 ½ back.

 

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It looks like the upscale restaurant Reef in Midtown stepped into a mess for their role in the cancellation of a local Planned Parenthood reception that was to be held on their roof.   Why?  They cratered to the zealots.   I kind of have news for them.  Those zealots don’t eat at Reef.  The only time they visit Midtown is too protest.

Here is a Houston Press story on the Reef deal.

The Chron’s Lisa Falkenberg has a more detailed piece that for now you can only check out if you are a subscriber or have a hard copy of the Chron.  Here is a bit:

Tempers flared and jaws dropped Tuesday when Reef canceled a small Planned Parenthood donor reception two and half hours before it was scheduled to begin. The bar, Proof, had earlier canceled a large cocktail event that was to follow featuring Sandra Fluke, the young lawyer who became a feminist folk hero of sorts when she drew Rush Limbaugh’s ire, and later his apology, in her advocating for insurance companies to cover birth control.
It is Reefer Madness if you ask me.  My good friend Planned Parenthood CEO Melaney Linton has a take on the deal and the Reef co-owner has a different take of sorts.  I’ll side with Mel.

I’m betting some Planned Parenthood supporters will look elsewhere for their sliders.   If you are at The Yard you may want to avoid Reef related El Real, L’il Bigs, and the Freddy Fender and Caz Grand Slam grub if you know what I mean.

FYI:  The Roundtable hangs out at Reef. 

Angels skipper Mike Scioscia filed a protest last night at The Yard.  How man World Serious rings does Scioscia own as a player?

Let me give Guv Dude his due for greeting The President yesterday and not making it his own photo op by trying to hand over a letter or something like that.  

The Mayor has her campaign kickoff tomorrow at a park down the street.  Hope it doesn’t rain.

MLB.com columnist Richard Justice has a piece today on diversity in the MLB.  Here are parts:

In his 21 years atop Major League Baseball, (Commissioner Bud) Selig has used his platform and power to make the sport an institution committed to racial and gender fairness. His leadership has resulted in a historic period of growth and innovation, but he has remained true to his core values and his belief that baseball is a social institution and a force for change in the world.

And:

As part of that effort, the MLB Diversity Business Summit, to be held June 18-19 in Houston, will allow job seekers and entrepreneurs to meet teams at both the Major League and Minor League level, as well as an array of sponsorship partners.

Selig will head a list of speakers that includes MLB’s chief financial officer, Jonathan Mariner; Brewers owner Mark Attanasio; and D-backs president Derrick Hall.

Baseball has gotten high marks through the years for bringing men and women of color into the game at every level. In his most recent report, Dr. Richard Lapchick, director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida, wrote:

"MLB once again recorded an A for racial hiring practices."

Here is all of the Justice piece.

My pal Rosi Hernandez used to be a VP over at The Yard.  I wonder if Justice has checked to see if there is Latino/Latina VP under the new ownership.

The H-Town area will be getting a new area code – 346.  Who cares?  We don’t have to remember phone numbers these days.

Mike Scioscia won World Serious rings as a player wearing the Dodger blue in 1981 over the Yankees and in 1988 over the A’s of course.

The Rangers are in for three this weekend.  This is the second visit to The Yard for the Rangers this season.  I’m sure there will be plenty of Rangers fans at the games.  We’re 11 1/2 out and hope it isn’t 14 1/2 by Sunday evening.

Happy Mothers Day!

 

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Let me apologize for something I said yesterday.  Here is what I said:

Yesterday (Tuesday) a supporter of the Ben Mendez for City Council Campaign sent out a mean spirited and classless attack item on Graci Garces. 

It turns out the Mendez supporter was confronted yesterday and he ratted out the candidate and the campaign as the ones responsible for distributing the classless attack item.  This is mean spirited, classless, and narrow minded.  That’s not the way to conduct a political campaign in District I.  What do you expect?

Albert Pujols has a .323 career batting average but is only at a .240 clip this year.  How many times has Pujols batted above .300 in a season?

Some of us have fought hard to help Latino businesses benefit from our politics.  The Latino community has been very supportive of HISD bond initiatives in recent elections.  It looks like our efforts are not going to be appreciated as HISD is set to announce its HISD bond program managers with Latino firms being shut out.  What a shame! 

I don’t agree with those that criticize McDonald’s for giving a shout out to Charles Ramsey.  Here is from MSN.com:

Charles Ramsey is a media star this week after his heroic role in the rescue of three women who spent nearly a decade in captivity in a Cleveland home. He’s given several interviews about the incident, and he talks about McDonald’s in many of them.

He even mentioned McDonald’s in his 911 call to police after responding to Amanda Berry’s cries for help from the house. And the company has taken notice, reaching out to Ramsey on Twitter.

"We salute the courage of Ohio kidnap victims & respect their privacy," the company said. "Way to go Charles Ramsey — we’ll be in touch." The statement was retweeted more than 10,000 times.

With that message, McDonald’s has thrust itself into the widening spotlight around Ramsey, a restaurant dishwasher who rocketed to fame because of the rescue but perhaps more so because of the engaging, moving and often humorous ways he has recounted the event.

McDonald’s has become part of the story, and now it’s being criticized for crossing the line. "Even when you account for what might be noble intentions on the part of McDonald’s, the tweet still doubles as an ad," Seamus McKiernan writes in The Huffington Post. He added that McDonald’s seems to be praising Ramsey as much for his good deed as for mentioning the company repeatedly.

"We should acknowledge that the McDonald’s tweet is inappropriate at best and, at worst, it capitalizes on the sensation of a tragic story," McKiernan wrote.

Charles Ramsey is the real deal and folks that go after McDonald’s need to get a life.

Yesterday Wolf Blitzer and others said they were surprised to hear that two of the Cleveland Castro brothers weren’t charged.   Most of the world including Commentary had already convicted all three.  What do we know?

Albert Pujols has batted over .300 in ten seasons of course.

Commentary was at The Yard last night and saw us take a series from the Angels.  We can go for the sweep this evening – yikes!

 

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Last night Commentary watched Anderson Cooper’s interview with Charles Ramsey on CNN.  Ramsey is the fella whose Big Mac dinner was interrupted by one of the kidnapped women in Cleveland Monday evening.   Ramsey is very animated and entertaining in the interview.  It’s the best McDonald’s ad I’ve seen in a while.  I’m thinking McDonald’s will probably send him a year’s supply of McMeals.

Yesterday a supporter of the Ben Mendez for City Council Campaign sent out a mean spirited and classless attack item on Graci Garces.  I guess they are trying to take the focus off of Mendez donating dough to the GOP.  Last week the Mendez campaign had a cyberspace back and forth with a veteran Latino community activist on the GOP donation matter.

Albert Pujols is in town and everyone knows he won the NL MVP Award in 2005, 2008, and 2009.  He was runner-up in 2002, 2003, 2006, and 2010.  Name the players that won the award when Pujols was the runner-up?

Speaking of, whatever happened to the meeting that The Mayor was supposed to put together with CSNH, U-Verse, Dish, and Direct TV on carrying the ‘Stros game?  Did I miss it?  Was any progress made?

Some fella saw singer Paulina Rubio on a flight from Miami to H-Town.  He claims to have asked permission to take a picture of her and after he took the shot he claims she snatched his camera from him and put a knee to his groin area.  Now he’s gone to court to have a judge order Rubio to hand over his camera along with some walking around money.  I’m thinking Rubio already tossed that camera to el ultimo adios land.

I’m thinking that your neighborhood doesn’t qualify for one of those National Night Out parties or a Neighborhood Watch Organization certification if none of the neighbors notice that someone on your block has been hiding three kidnapped people in their crib for the past ten years.

Barry Bonds won the NL MVP Award in 2002 and 2003, Ryan Howard won it in 2006, and Joey Votto won it in 2010 of course.

We won last night but it is way too early to say that the changes made to the roster will result in more wins.  Jose Altuve should not be batting in the three spot.  Stay tuned!

 

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The Killer Ds of 2003 are having a ten year anniversary get together in Austin.  Good for them?

If the legislature is in Special Session this summer, I wonder if the Texas Eleven will have a get together.  That means The Dean will miss more time at The Yard.  Hey Dean, you ain’t missing much!

Christians for Good Government sent out another email yesterday with another ad complaining about HISD.  They mentioned that they held a meeting at a church this past weekend and that’s all I know about them.

How many of the current ‘Stros have ever made an MLB All Star team?

We’re at a point in the MLB season where things have to turn around or else we may end up witnessing the worst season of any team in the modern era (post 1900) of the MLB.  You have to wonder if collectively they think that they aren’t capable of winning.  It doesn’t help that they started calling themselves out this past weekend. 

Yesterday they shipped out three players and brought in three more.  Of our starting rotation at the beginning of the season, two have already been replaced with a third on the way.  

The Chron’s sports columnist has a piece on the losses that have mounted up.  Here are parts:

You can’t help but feel sorry for them.

Didn’t they know how outmanned they were against the Tigers, who outscored them 28-2 in one 18-inning stretch of the four-game sweep?

The Astros’ starting batting order Sunday had a combined total of 59 RBIs. Two Tigers – Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder – have a combined 68.

And this:

For all you National League traditionalists in Houston who didn’t want a designated hitter, you got your way.

The Astros don’t have one.

Through Sunday, their designated hitters had a batting average of .210 and had struck out 50 times in 124 at-bats. Their two most often used designated hitters – Chris Carter and (Carlos) Pena – are hitting .217 and .200, respectively, with a combined 35 strikeouts in 91 at-bats in that role.
Ouch!  That hurt!  And:

This is not a team built to win.

This is a team of sacrificial lambs.

The Astros were built this season primarily with players expected to hold down positions until the talented young reinforcements are ready to be called up from Oklahoma City and Corpus Christi.

We are 8-24.  Today’s Chron points out that the 2003 Tigers started out at 7-25 and ended up losing 119 games.  Guess what?  Carlos Pena played on that 2003 Tigers team – yikes!  Our new radio announcer Steve Sparks also played on that 2003 Tigers team – yikes!

The Chron also points out that the 1987 Padres started out at 7-25 and ended up with 97 losses.  Of course that team had future Hall of Fame greats Tony Gwynn and Goose Gossage along with Gary Templeton and John Kruk. 

The ‘Stros need better talent.  They need an attitude adjustment.  They need to play harder.  They need to believe in each other.

Carlos Pena and Jose Altuve are the only ‘Stros ever to have made an All Star Team of course.

I just hope that this isn’t the series that Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton get hot.

 

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Every now and then Commentary becomes relevant like in yesterday’s Chron E-Board take.  The other day Commentary mentioned The Mayor and her lists.  Well guess what?  Check this from the E-Board yesterday talking about The Mayor’s State of the City speech:

Job growth is tops in the nation, crime rates are down, and we seem to make every top 10 list.

She listed new programs to help people land jobs, touted the success of past projects like Hire Houston First and thanked Houstonians for contributing every day to making our city a better place. But the mayor’s speech seemed to lack one key item: the big picture.

How are we using the boom to help us when times are tough? How is Houston working to bridge the growing gap between wealthy and poor that threatens to render us economically vulnerable and socially stagnant? How will Houston look in 50 years?

These are questions that can’t be answered by a top 10 list. But Parker’s speech was exactly that – a list.

The E-Board take is a bit interesting in that they are nudging The Mayor to articulate a vision for H-Town.  Here is more:

Parker is not lacking for accomplishments, and we’ll probably hear all about them as the election approaches. As the mayor coyly said to rebut challenger Ben Hall‘s growing campaign: "I don’t need a campaign, I have an economy."

But Houston needs a future.

Two things here:  How do they know if Ben Hall’s campaign is growing?  Was it because he was parade marshal at Saturday’s Cinco de Mayo parade?  The Mayor does need a campaign.  Everybody that is running needs a campaign.

Here is one of the more interesting lines of the take:

One day Houston will become a city where people live because they want to, not because they have to.

I’m kind of thinking that The Mayor and her leadership circle are wondering what prompted the E-Board’s take yesterday like where did that come from.   Oh, well!

I encourage you to check out the entire take here.

When we played in the World Serious in 2005 and got swept by the White Sox in four, who were our four starting pitchers?

I’m not going to say much about the FBI and HISD other than it made the front page of Saturday’s Chron.  Stay tuned!

I don’t think I have ever been to two straight games of very bad ‘Stros ballgames.  Saturday night we got blown out 17-2.  Yesterday we were no hit through 6 1/3 innings and got whipped 9-0.  Now the players are calling each other out as we are 8-24 and the only big league team with single digit wins.  Here is from the Chron:

Reliever Wesley Wright said the Astros’ constant failure had become a “manhood” issue.

From closer Jose Veras:

“It’s easy to come here, lose a game, take a shower, guys can go home and say, ‘OK, we’ll get it tomorrow.’ No. It’s not that way.  We get paid to win ballgames. We are here to win ballgames. You (played) on teams in the minors to be here. Now you’re here. You’ve got to find a way to be successful to stay here.”

“People say, ‘It’s 162 games; we’ll get it later.’ Later when? It’s (32) games. When you going to take it?  So that’s all, you know? We’ve got to turn it around. We’ve got to find a way.”

From pitcher Lucas Harrell:

“It gets old, and it’s wearing on us.  We’re better than what we’ve been playing. … We’re embarrassed as a whole. We’re a team. We’re a family.”

From Wesley Wright:

“We all felt the performance has just been god-awful the last couple days and we can’t continue to put that type of showing out there.  It’s a challenge. Just to see what type of men we are and what type of baseball players we are.”

First of all the players ought to be calling out the front office.  They put together this $20 million team.  A lot of us aren’t surprised.   We are just as bad at home as we are on the road.  I don’t see it getting any better soon.

Check out the entire Chron piece here.

In the 2005 World Serious we started The Rocket, Andy Pettitte, Roy O., and Brandon Backe of course.

There sure were a lot of Tigers fans at The Yard this past weekend. One even had on a Kirk Gibson jersey.  We have the day off then the Angels are in for three. 

 

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