Archive for April, 2015

Moving On Out

The Mayor gives her “State of the City” speech today and I saw this earlier from Channel 13:

HOUSTON (KTRK) — When Mayor Annise Parker delivers her final state of the city address on Thursday, she plans to offer a challenge to the mayoral candidates.

I guess she can issue a challenge but I don’t think most of the Mayoral candidates will take up the challenge. They all have their own plans and ideas.

The campaigns for who gets to be the next mayor are just getting started. I am thinking that the candidates and their campaign folks are more interested in what the voters have to say these days. That’s just the way it goes.

The Chron E-Board has a take today on the Mayor’s “State of the City” here: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/State-of-the-City-6202618.php.

I don’t think I saw a mention of the City getting Ubered. That’s probably because the E-Board doesn’t want to remind itself that they also fell in love with Uber last year.

I hope the Mayor pats herself on the back today because she deserves a pat on the back and a “way to go” on some stuff. On some stuff she missed on but that happens to all mayors.

Because of term limits, an H-Town mayor gets six and done. During the six years, a mayor gets to rack up a few accomplishments and make sure they don’t run the City into the ditch. Because of term limits, you don’t really have the time leave a legacy of sorts. After your six years, you are gone – that’s it. Then a few years from now insider folks will be sitting around having a beer or two and playing a trivia game trying to name accomplishments of former H-Town mayors. Like who created Discovery Green? Who started light rail? Who brought us the drainage fee? You get the picture.

You can pick up a Dome replica this Saturday at The Yard if you are among the first 10,000 to attend. Everybody knows that we played our last regular season game at the Dome against the Dodgers on Sunday, October 3, 1999 that we won 9-4. Name the player who hit the last regular season dinger at the Dome?

Jorge Ramos is on one of the covers of “Time” this week. He got a mention from Hoda Kotb on “Today” this morning – Jorge RAYMOS – not.

I have to think that the folks that run Uber up in NoCal are laughing their arses off at H-Town these days. They printed out that demand letter from the Mayor and probably folded it up and made it into a paper airplane or something like that. They have been laughing their ares off at us for close to a year now.

I really do hope that the Mayor brings down the hammer on Uber and heck, while she is at it, on those that advised her Uber was a good idea. Here is the Chron story on the latest on Uber: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Mayor-demands-answers-from-Uber-on-permit-6202591.php?cmpid=btfpm.

Ken Caminiti’s third inning solo shot on Sunday, October 3, 1999, was the last regular season dinger hit in the Dome of course.

We are at 4-5 and have the day off. The 4-5 Angels visit The Yard this weekend. Their four wins have all been on the road – yikes!

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Getting #Uberized

I saw a story online yesterday about Sen. Marco Rubio and Latino voters. Just about all the Latino leaders that were interviewed said Sen. Rubio’s flip-flop on immigration reform would hurt him with Latino voters in a general election. Sen. Rubio is a very long way from getting the GOP nomination for President so I don’t really want to spend a lot of time discussing how he would do with Latino voters. However, if he did get the nomination it would be an event of historic proportion and the conversation would be a whole lot different.

We had this discussion last year but some folks seem to have forgotten. I am talking about letting Uber operate in H-Town and all the issues that come with this. A state senator from Michigan spoke to the H-Town City Council about his own bad experience with Uber. Here are some tweets from City Hall yesterday:

J Rodriguez retweeted
Jenni Sellers ‏@Jenni2138 1h1 hour ago
Mayor Parker “uber is a billion dollar freaking corporation and should offer insurance” @84thLegislature #txlege @TXRidesforHire

J Rodriguez retweeted
Jenni Sellers ‏@Jenni2138 1h1 hour ago
CM Christie says “if you are in Houston and need a ride, call Yellow Cab” @TXRidesforHire @84thLegislature #txlege

J Rodriguez retweeted
Jenni Sellers ‏@Jenni2138 1h1 hour ago
Mayor Parker states that “Uber does not seem to recognize our rules” @TXRidesforHire @84thLegislature #txlege

J Rodriguez retweeted
Katie McCall Fox 26 ‏@KatieMcCallTV 2h2 hours ago
Mayor Parker: “#Uber seems to be ignoring the local laws down here.”

They were ignoring local laws before we let them play. The City of H-Town kind of rewarded bad behavior. All of this was debated and pointed out and predicted before they got approval. It is not news. It is old news.

Lisa Falkenberg weighs in on Uber today here: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/Uber-s-safety-standards-don-t-live-up-to-website-6200001.php.

The Chron E-Board also weighs in here: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Uber-in-Austin-6199981.php.

Today is “Jackie Robinson Day” in MLB. All players will wear Number 42 to commemorate what happened 68 years ago today when Jackie Robinson took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. In 1949, Robinson won the NL MVP Award after batting .342 to lead the league. Who was the NL MVP runner-up? Hint: He wore the Number 6 for his team.

Ted Oberg and KTRK-TV are still chasing the incident at the county jail here: http://abc13.com/news/attorney-hard-to-believe-indicted-jailers-not-scapegoats/659634/.

The Brewers have the sausage races. The Nats have the Presidents racing. We used to have the hot sauces and now we have the Space Races by Methodist. Pretty lame if you ask me. At least name the three space folks Apollo, Gemini and Mercury.

“Stan the Man” Musial was the NL MVP Award runner-up back in 1949 of course.

Our bats are cold. Chris Carter, Springer Dinger, Evan Gattis, and Luis Valbuena have been awful, awful, awful! We don’t hit with runners in scoring position. We have not shown any power. We need to turn things around.

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The Chron has a front page NON-story today on the $30 to $70 million needed to host the 2017 Super Bowl. Part of the money will go to upgrade the luxury suites that most folks will never use.

County Commissioner Steve Radack says in the Chron “I’m not about to vote to spend a single dollar of county money updating these luxury suites.”

Here is more from the Chron:

Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle couched the matter in practical terms. Before the county begins making additional contributions, he wants to know how the investment benefits his constituents.

I don’t even know why this story is being written. We are going to host the Super Bowl. We are going to find the money for the upgrades. A lot of the money is going to come from tax revenues or fees or something like that but it will still come from the taxpayer. They will designate it as some sort of special fund and give it a fancy NON-government sounding name to appease folks like Commissioners Radack and Cagle. The luxury suites will be gussied up. The NFL will be satisfied. We will have the Super Bowl that close to 100% of Harris County folks won’t attend. And everybody will live happily ever after – got it!

Here is the Chron NON-story behind the paywall if you are interested: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Who-ll-pick-up-tab-to-get-stadium-ready-for-big-6197568.php?cmpid=btfpm.

Who led the ‘Stros in fielding errors last season?

Welcome to the party, Rebecca! I saw this tweet yesterday:

Rebecca Elliott @rfelliott • 24h 24 hours ago
Thrilled to announce that, starting today, I’ll be covering local politics for the @HoustonChron

I am sure she will be getting more follows.

One of the reasons we went out and got us a new shortstop this season was because we were lousy at shortstop last season. One the reasons folks didn’t show up to The Yard last season was because we were lousy at shortstop. Last night the new skipper started at shortstop our shortstop from last season and right off the bat he committed two errors before we recorded an out. I have no idea what our skipper was thinking last night and neither did the 19,279 that showed up at The Yard.

Jonathan Villar, last night’s starting shortstop, committed 18 fielding errors last season in 86 games to lead the team of course and here is what Tags tweeted last night:

Brian McTaggart ⚾️ @brianmctaggart • 14h 14 hours ago
This is what’s so frustrating about Jonathan Villar. Boots a routine ground ball to start the game.

Kevin Costner was at The Yard last night and I don’t think Julia Morales asked him if he wears a fanny pack.

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Today Kuffer takes on the issue of police and crime solving. A lot of crimes are not being solved by police departments these days. Here is how Kuffer ends his take:

What stands out to me in all this is that generally speaking the smaller cities had much better solve rates for property crimes than the big cities. In Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin, the solve rates for property crimes never topped 13%, but in the smaller cities it ranged from 18% to 28%. Fort Worth and Lubbock were the outliers there, on the low end. I’m not sure what to make of that, but it sure is interesting.

What application does this have to the 2015 Mayor’s race? (You knew I was going to get around to that, I’m sure.) Well, in addition to my wish that the candidates will eventually start to talk about public safety in a more comprehensive way, I’d think that a candidate who promised to have his police force concentrate on solving property crimes might be able to sway a voter or two. Lord knows, the Nextdoor discussion list for the greater Heights area spends a lot of time on break-ins and thefts and the like. Given how many of these crimes do go unsolved today, it seems to me there’s some traction to be gained on this issue. Just a thought.

Here is the entire Kuffer take: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=66379.

All I can say on this is check out what Bill King is saying on the trail and in social media on this.

Maybe this is starting to get old. Here is another Kuffer take from the weekend. It is titled “Where’s Adrian?” It is about the Harris County Sheriff still not getting into the race for H-Town Mayor. Here it is: http://offthekuff.com/wp/?p=66494.

It is what it is. I kind of have run out of things to say about this and out on the trail nobody seems to bring it up. The thrill is gone? Oh, well!

Let’s see. Hillary is talking about income inequality and the 2016 GOP candidates for president are talking about Hillary.

1965 was the first year for the ‘Stros in the Astrodome. Who led the ‘Stros in dingers that season?

Check out this tweet:

JORGE RAMOS ‏@jorgeramosnews 26m26 minutes ago
Today Latinos will make history. For the first time 2 Hispanics (Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz) will be candidates for the White House

I tweeted this Saturday afternoon. We got Ace baptized:

Marc Campos @MarcCommentary • 23h 23 hours ago
#Baptism of Ace with @Lafuente78 @Estesrc pic.twitter.com/P5hbNixqEi

Yesterday, “Face the Nation” announced their new host and this was tweeted:

Stephanie Haberman @StephLauren • 2h 2 hours ago
Hey look another white dude hosting a Sunday show. Moving along.

Ditto! That’s fresh, CBS!

The Toy Cannon, Jimmy Wynn of course, led the ‘Stros with 22 dingers in 1965.

George Springer was yesterday’s highlight reel for sure when he snatched a grand salami away from the Rangers yesterday at Globe Life. The A’s are now in town for three.

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Commentary attended last night’s meeting of the Harris County Tejano Democrats. A couple of Latino candidates running for Pasadena City Council showed up to report on their efforts. The City of Pasadena and Pasadena ISD are holding their elections on the same day for City Council and School Board – Saturday, May 9. According to some of the folks from Pasadena in attendance last night, rumor has it that in some voting precincts, a voter may have to go to two separate voting locations on Election Day – a move designed to suppress Latino voter turnout. Huh!

The ISD has their locations and the City has theirs – allegedly.

Commentary is thinking that this is just a rumor that is being fueled by Latino activists’ distrust of the folks that run the City and the ISD.

Surely the City and the ISD would not stoop to this to suppress voter turnout and inconvenience all voters – would they?

Plus, this would certainly be a waste of taxpayer dollars – the extra cost of location rental and Election Day workers. Plus, all this would do is shine a spotlight on what is going on out there in terms of politics. Tell me this is just a rumor, please!

After four games, the Giants lead MLB with 43 base hits. How many base hits do the ‘Stros have after three games?

Chron.com has a story today about the FBI keeping an eye on the Harris County jail mess. You know it is not a flattering piece when the story mentions Ferguson, Rodney King, and Mississippi burning. Here is the story: http://blog.chron.com/narcoconfidential/2015/04/fbi-watching-prosecution-of-jailers-who-kept-inmate-in-filthy-cell/#32012101=0&32020103=0.

Yesterday’s Chron E-Board take on the jail mess also generated a buzz. The title said it all: “Stench in the air.” Here it is: http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Editorial-A-stench-in-the-air-at-jail-6187735.php.

It has some folks wondering out loud how all this figures in a Mayoral race. We will see or will we?

A bunch of folks went to the Dome last night to celebrate the Dome’s 50th! Here are some tweets:

Lisa Falkenberg ‏@ChronFalkenberg 43m43 minutes ago
Happy Birthday, Astrodome! Wow, what a room. What a crowd tonight! Proud to be here. #Dome50 pic.twitter.com/CAJB5Qkars

Nick Mathews ‏@Nick_Mathews 47m47 minutes ago
22,000-23,000: People officials estimate at Astrodome’s 50th B-Day party 22,593: Fans at Minute Maid for today’s 5-1, one-hit Astros loss

AlanBernstein ‏@AlanBernstein 2h2 hours ago
Hundreds streaming into in the Astrodome tonight. Did something bad happen in New Orleans? #Astrodome50

After three games, the ‘Stros have 8 base hits of course.

It is certainly too early to panic but if they don’t start hitting don’t expect to get more folks out to The Yard next week when the A’s and Angels visit. We barely avoided a no-no yesterday.

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I am talking about the indictments and stuff over at the Sheriff’s Office joining the Mayoral campaign trail in H-Town. Here is a bit from today’s Chron:

Eighteen months after a mentally ill inmate was found in a Harris County jail cell in squalor, two jailers have been indicted and relieved of duty. A department internal investigation continues and may result in more disciplinary actions. But advocates for incarcerated inmates say questions remain.

“The sheriff hasn’t really explained how this could have happened,” said David James, a lawyer with the Texas Civil Rights Project.

Emily Ling, with the Austin-based Texas Jail Project, said she also had questions.

“At what point up the chain did people know what was really going on?” she said. “That’s really disturbing if a lot of the sheriff’s leadership knew what was happening and did nothing.”

Like Commentary has said before, the folks running the Mayoral campaigns are all pretty smart folks so they will know how to deal with all sorts of issues. This one is a bit challenging though. The folks that are asking the tough questions are not part of other Mayoral campaigns and they could be asking questions all the way through Election Day. When a new Sheriff is appointed, you never know how he or she will spin the investigation. The new Sheriff could dump all over the current Sheriff on how this situation and others were a handled. It could get real messy.

Here is the entire Chron article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/City-reviews-of-would-be-Uber-drivers-find-crimes-6187822.php.

I certainly would rather be talking about #HoustonPotholes.

The Astrodome turns 50 today so Happy Birthday!

Name the starting pitcher for the Yankees on April 9, 1965 at the Dome?

I have a lot of Dome memories of course. Going to see the Yankees when it first opened. The two Ali fights. Elvis of course. The 1980 NLCS against the Phillies. Luv Ya Blue! And the gold star ‘Stros playoff teams of the 1990s – to name a few!

Hunker Down is throwing a party tonight at the Dome but I can’t make it. I am going to try to check out Lisa Falkenberg at Tejano Dems.

Here is what the Mayor said in the Chron today about the latest on Uber:

Mayor Annise Parker said Wednesday that the city is determined to enforce its rules.

“We continue to cite drivers, and we can impound cars and we have done that,” Parker said. “This is a problem with the company, and I’m beside myself right now at being angry at Uber. … I don’t want to go cite another driver. I want to hear directly from Uber.”

Here is the entire Chron article on the latest on Uber: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/City-reviews-of-would-be-Uber-drivers-find-crimes-6187822.php.

Why should Uber respond to the Mayor? They have been giving us the big F-You since they got into town!

Mel Stottlemyre of course was the Yankees starting pitcher 50 years ago today at the Dome.

I am waiting for our bats to come alive.

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More on Yesterday

Commentary has said it before. The folks that are running the H-Town Mayoral campaigns are all pretty smart folks so I guess they know when to make announcements and when to get into full campaign mode. Of course you still have to deal with the headlines and the issues like the one on the front page of today’s Chron on the county jail. Here is the headline: Two jailers indicted in case involving inmate’s filthy cell.

And then this from article:

The indictment comes as Sheriff Adrian Garcia prepares for an expected mayoral run, and where his stewardship of the facility – one of the largest in Texas – could become an issue in the campaign.

Yeah, you kind of have to agree. This case sounds messy and you never know how it will end. Here is the entire story: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Two-Harris-jailers-indicted-in-case-involving-6185171.php.

Timing is timing and issues are issues. Channel 26 also put out a story on the Sheriff and campaigning. Here is a bit:

But there’s also a price exacted for remaining in office and running a sort of shadow campaign. For Garcia, cash, the life-blood of any successful run, is in short supply for a contest that will likely cost well north of $1 million to win.

“Every day that you don’t announce that’s less money that you raise and that’s less of a campaign that you can put together,” said Mustafa Tameez, a Fox 26 political commentator.

But political analyst (Chairman of Political Science at Rice University, Mark)Jones believes the Sheriff, unlike his competition, can afford to wait a month or two longer and still raise big money.

As for the threat of losing support among influential Hispanics, Jones says rivalry driven defection among Latino leaders has become the norm.

“I think there are quite a large number of Hispanic political elites in Houston who believe if they can’t be Mayor or someone in their faction can’t be mayor I think they would prefer that a non-Latino be mayor,” said Jones.

Now that is an interesting take by Professor Jones on H-Town Latino political elitism.

Commentary’s take on no announcement to date is pretty simple. The longer you wait, the less time you have to say “please consider voting for me.”

Here is the entire Channel 26 story: http://www.myfoxhouston.com/story/28744861/houston-mayoral-race-why-is-garcia-waiting.

Monday night’s 2-0 win was only the second Opening Day shutout win for the ‘Stros in our history. When did we throw our first Opening Day shutout?

I got this response yesterday on my take on the latest Uber stuff:

I can’t find in any of the links to this story why this Uber driver getting registered with the City would have prevented this rape. Are you and the Chronicle suggesting that he would have not passed the City background check? If that is true then that is a big deal, otherwise people are just “playing off of someone’s suffering” for a I told you so moment that doesn’t even make sense.

This is my take from yesterday:

The last thing Commentary wants to do is play off of someone’s suffering. That being said I have never been a fan of the Uber types. They kind of thumbed their noses at the City of H-Town regulations early on. So the following from the Chron isn’t surprising. It is sad and tragic. Here is how it starts:

An Uber driver accused of raping an unconscious female passenger was never permitted by the city and drove for more than two months after the alleged incident, frustrating city officials who worked for months to bring the company into compliance, only to have Uber skirt local rules.

………Uber officials also acknowledged on Monday that many of their drivers do not have a city permit.

The incident drew a strong rebuke from Mayor Annise Parker.

“It is inexcusable that Uber had a driver on the streets and tied to their app who was not registered with the city,” Parker said in a statement. “We are consulting with the city Legal Department to determine appropriate action against the company for this oversight.”

Oh yeah! Well what did you expect? I kind of think the City jumped too quickly into letting these folks operate. I don’t think we were ready to handle this and the Chron article kind of confirms this. It is like we are now trying to catch up to something that we intentionally let out of the bag if you know what I mean. How can it be inexcusable when we handed them the excuse?

Here is the entire Chron article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Uber-driver-accused-of-rape-not-permitted-by-city-6182503.php.

Look! I don’t do Uber and I don’t have the Uber app. All I have is Yellow Cab’s phone number. I do know that you can’t use an Uber driver unless the Uber driver is in the Uber system. And a driver can’t be in the Uber system unless the Uber folks let you in. If a driver is not in the Uber system then folks can’t access the driver – got it! And according to the Chron yesterday, Uber says a lot folks in their system have not registered with the City. That’s thumbing their nose at the City because they can apparently get away with it because they are Uber – I guess.

Now we find out yesterday that a background check would have made a difference. Here is from today’s Chron:

“When you have a situation where a company comes into the city, operating illegally, and you work with them and they still don’t obey, you’ve got a problem on your hands,” said Michael Kubosh, a city councilman who opposed changing the city’s taxi and limousine code to accommodate ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft.

City officials Tuesday said they were still determining legal options for getting Uber to comply, and how best to enforce regulations on the company’s hundreds – perhaps thousands – of Houston drivers with a handful of regulatory inspectors and available police.

What a mess! What a mess that easily could have been avoided!

Here is today’s Chron article on the mess: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Uber-driver-accused-of-rape-started-work-after-14-6185045.php?cmpid=btfpm.

I guess you can say that Dave Wilson outsmarted himself. Dude, you have gotten personal with our Mayor so you better have your ducks in a row before you take her on. I don’t understand why you don’t get legal advice on the City of H-Town petition process before you roll in with press in tow. You can’t blame anybody but yourself on this one.

I have to say I am disappointed with the schedule magnets that were handed out on Opening Day. The print is way too small. You can barely read the start times.

On April 3, 2006, the ‘Stros shutout the Fish 1-0 of course.

Tonight is Dollar Dog Night so pardon me if I skip lunch today.

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Not Surprised

The last thing Commentary wants to do is play off of someone’s suffering. That being said I have never been a fan of the Uber types. They kind of thumbed their noses at the City of H-Town regulations early on. So the following from the Chron isn’t surprising. It is sad and tragic. Here is how it starts:

An Uber driver accused of raping an unconscious female passenger was never permitted by the city and drove for more than two months after the alleged incident, frustrating city officials who worked for months to bring the company into compliance, only to have Uber skirt local rules.

………Uber officials also acknowledged on Monday that many of their drivers do not have a city permit.

The incident drew a strong rebuke from Mayor Annise Parker.

“It is inexcusable that Uber had a driver on the streets and tied to their app who was not registered with the city,” Parker said in a statement. “We are consulting with the city Legal Department to determine appropriate action against the company for this oversight.”

Oh yeah! Well what did you expect? I kind of think the City jumped too quickly into letting these folks operate. I don’t think we were ready to handle this and the Chron article kind of confirms this. It is like we are now trying to catch up to something that we intentionally let out of the bag if you know what I mean. How can it be inexcusable when we handed them the excuse?

Here is the entire Chron article: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/transportation/article/Uber-driver-accused-of-rape-not-permitted-by-city-6182503.php.

Who threw more pitches last night – Dallas Keuchel or defending AL Cy Young Award winner Corey Kluber?

Candice Bergen was on “Today” this morning. Most folks know her as “Murphy Brown” and for her role on “Boston Legal.” I also remember her in “Carnal Knowledge”, “Sand Pebbles” with Steve McQueen, “The Wind and the Lion” with Sean Connery, and in “Soldier Blue.” She has always been one of my favorite actresses.

Last night was terrific. We won in a low scoring contest.

Before the game Jose Altuve was presented with a painting, a fancy ring, and a Lexus – not bad.

There were long lines everywhere except for the Blue Bell concession stand.

They handed out magnet schedules.

I missed snagging a foul ball by a hair.

Dallas Keuchel threw 103 pitches and Corey Kluber threw 102 of course.

This is our third straight Opening Day win. I’ll take it!

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Later on this afternoon, Bethany and I will be at Opening Day. I think this will make our ninth straight Opening Day together. It is our tradition. It is our thing.

It will be standing room only. It will be the place to be.

I dropped by The Yard Saturday afternoon to check out the exhibition game against the Royals and it looks like the prices are up again – at least for St. Arnold, hot dogs, chicken tenders (Dante’s favorite), and fitted lids. The waffle cones stuffed with mash potatoes and chicken will set you back $9.

I am ready for some baseball. The team added some experienced arms to the bullpen including a sidewinder. Jed Lowie hopefully is an improvement at shortstop. Same for Luis Valbuena at third. The team thinks a lot of Evan Gattis in left field. Same for Colby Rasmus in center field. If George Springer stays healthy and if Jose Altuve, Chris Carter, and our starting pitchers play like they did last year, things could get interesting.

Still, we are in the AL West, arguably the best division in baseball, so it is going to be tough. I have to say though that I am cautiously optimistic.

Oh yeah, we face Cleveland and the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner.

Name the ‘Stros player with the most Opening Day starts at catcher?

Fifty years ago this week, the Astrodome opened. This Thursday evening, Hunker Down is hosting a birthday party for the Dome out at the Dome.

Yesterday, Lisa Falkenberg weighed in and gave her two cents on the Dome. Here are parts:

Like (County Judge Ed) Emmett, I don’t come at this from the emotional point of view. I’m one of those 30-something Houstonians who has never stepped foot in that big metal dwarf planet on South Main Street. I have no memories of Mickey Mantle’s first hit, or the outrageously glitzy scoreboard, or the world’s first sky boxes.

But there’s no Houstonian who went to the rodeo this year and glanced up at that 1 million square-foot elephant in the room, and felt proud. I’d venture to say most felt embarrassed, both by our indecisiveness and by our failure to honor history.

And it’s quite a history. The Astrodome itself is a fascinating tale, complete with potentially catastrophic failures for which (Judge Roy) Hofheinz and his team of architects, physicists, agronomists and others always seemed to fashion solutions, not always of the high-tech kind, as architect James Gast writes in his 2014 book, “The Astrodome: Building an American Spectacle.”

Construction exceeding the voter-approved $15 million? Hold another bond referendum. Glare of glass ceiling blinding ball players? Paint it white, two coats! Paint blocking sun and killing grass? Paint the brown grass green, then later, put in the Astroturf!

And decades later: Thousands of Hurricane Katrina evacuees fleeing flooding and mayhem in New Orleans? Open the Astrodome as a shelter.

Somewhere along the way, we let this legendary example of creative problem-solving become, well, a problem. That shouldn’t be the last chapter for a structure that Hofheinz once likened to Houston’s Eiffel Tower.

“Like the space program,” Gast writes, “the Astrodome came to be because a group of Americans decided it should, and then just went ahead and did it.”

This week, for one night only, on April 9, the county will open the Astrodome to the public. Those who have memories there can stand on the ground floor reliving them while gazing up at the architectural marvel that helped make modern Houston.

The rest of us can go to. And I intend to be there, mouth agape, staring up at the face of audacity. And hoping we can still meet her gaze.

Here is the entire Falkenberg take: http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/columnists/falkenberg/article/Falkenberg-Let-s-face-the-Astrodome-s-future-6179456.php.

I am not as hard line on the Dome these days. But they have to have a plan and they have to sell it.

You won’t get Blue Bell at The Yard tonight. Check out these tweets from Saturday:

Texas Monthly retweeted
The Texanist ‏@thetexanist 28m28 minutes ago
Oh, nooooooo! RT @startelegram: “Texas grocery chain H-E-B pulls all Blue Bell products http://qa1.star-telegram.com/living/health-fitness/article1774395.html … …”

David Barron ‏@dfbarron 21m21 minutes ago
Well. This is serious. Astros will not serve Blue Bell ice cream at Minute Maid Park on Opening Day

David Barron ‏@dfbarron 19m19 minutes ago
Astros biz ops prez Reid Ryan: “The health and safety of our fans is always our top priority. We have a lot of fantastic food options …

David Barron ‏@dfbarron 5m5 minutes ago
Reid Ryan cont: … for fans to enjoy at Minute Maid Park–as a precautionary measure, we will not offer Blue Bell ice cream on Opening Day.

David Barron ‏@dfbarron 5m5 minutes ago
More Ryan: “We continue to support Blue Bell as they proactively address any safety concerns & we look forward to having …

David Barron ‏@dfbarron 4m4 minutes ago
More Reid Ryan: this Texas tradition back in the ball park soon.” End Astros statement.

David Barron ‏@dfbarron 2m2 minutes ago
FWIW, Astros were dishing out the Blue Bell on Wednesday during the club level open house. Milk and Cookies tasted fine to me.

David Barron ‏@dfbarron 6s6 seconds ago
This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper — and no Blue Bell at the ballpark. The horror. The horror.

Well, let’s at least serve Blue Bell in the Visitors Clubhouse before the game.

I checked out NBC’s “American Odyssey” last night and I am hooked.

Brad Ausmus of course started nine games behind the plate for the ‘Stros on Opening Day.

Let’s Play Ball!

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Quite a Wedding

The Royals are in town for two. Name the Royal who was in the starting line-up in last season’s MLB All Star Game?

Last night’s wedding was super nice. Congrats to Celeste and Kyle!

The ceremony was special. The venue was cool – the Bell Tower on 34th. I had never been there or even knew it existed.

The food was great. Commentary had fancy mac and cheese, mash potatoes, chicken fingers, a brownie, cake, mini shrimp ceviche, and quesadillas – yummy!

There were also plenty of politicos in attendance like elected officials Reps. Carol Alvarado and Sylvester Turner, Controller Ron Green, Council Member Larry Green, and Judge Don Coffey. Mayoral candidate Chris Bell and Alison were there. Nef and Katherine, Lindsay and Matt, Sue and Lillie, Sue, Sheryl, Keir and Allison, and Kristi also attended. (I know I missed a few names.) I think everyone enjoyed the evening.

There was plenty of love in the air! Way to go Kyle and Celeste!

Fusion has a good story today on why are most MLB TV announcers white dudes? We got Brownie, Ash, and Blummer – all white dudes. Nearly a third of all MLBers are minority – Latino, African American and Asian.

The new Commissioner says he wants to speed up the game. Maybe he also needs to look at diversifying the booth.

Here is the Fusion story:

Let’s see. The GOP criticizes the President’s Iran deal. The GOP goes after Obamacare, his AG nominee, his handling of the economy even though we have a 5.5% unemployment rate, and his handling of the Middle East even though his predecessor got us into the Iraq war. They even go after his golf game even though he was taken less vacation days than 43. I am sure later on today they will go after The First Lady for her moves last night with Jimmy Fallon.

The rumor yesterday was that Dave Wilson was also going to run for H-Town Mayor.

Salvador Pérez of the Royals of course was the starting catcher for the AL All Stars in last summer’s classic.

It is official! Monday’s Opening Day is now SRO!

That’s all I have for today so I hope all goes well for your Good Friday, Passover, and Easter!

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