Astros take two – but what will Pettitte and Clemens do?

Believe me, I was really excited to hear that the Astros signed Carlos Lee and Woody Williams.  Maybe that will be the draw to convince both Andy and Roger to come back another year.  No matter what, Roger is always a draw at the box office, and Andy is one of the nicest players around.  I think having a rotation that included Williams, Pettitte, Clemens, Oswalt and well, ……we will have to see who the other might be.  That’s a pretty strong lineup. 

This time of year, it gets long, waiting for spring training to roll around.  How about you guys?

It’s off to the races with the free agent frenzy

Can’t believe it’s that time again.  It just seems like it was the middle of baseball season, and here we are, wondering where players will land.  I, for one, hope that Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens re-sign with the Astros.  It is ALWAYS exciting to watch those two pitch, no matter what….

I would love to see Woody Williams or Greg Maddux come to Houston, and glad to see Biggio re-signed for another year.  Just can’t imagine him playing anywhere else.

What about Barry Bonds?  Does anyone think he will really leave San Francisco?

Quick Hits with Jason Marquis – St. Louis Cardinals

How has this year gone for you?  Marquis

It’s been an up and down year, a little inconsistent, not what I was looking for, but there’ s been positives that I can build on and negatives that I can work on. 

What’s one thing you’ll change for next year?

Just to be more consistent with what I have and really don’t change what I have, just get more consistent with it.

After the season is over, including World Series, what are you going to do?

Well, next year I am a free agent and I should be back in St. Louis, but we’ll see what my options are.  I’ll spend time with my family and get back to being healthy and working out and getting ready for next year.

Are you planning any vacations during the offseason?

None yet, but we just had a newborn baby so we’ll have to decide what we want to do.

What has been your greatest strength as a player this year?

Just taking the ball every five days and making all my starts, and giving my team a chance to win every time I step in the field. 

There’s a lot to be said for retractable roofs!

Living along the Gulf Coast, the Astrodome set the standards of indoor baseball.  And while many will argue baseball is a game to be played outside, there’s a lot to be said for those retractable roofs!  Many a game in Houston would have been cancelled this year if not for the roof.  On blazing hot days, fans are grateful for it as well.  Nothing like 72 degree constant temperature. 

My favorite weather times are April and October.  Outdoor baseball is awesome then.  But as the heat comes into play, and the rainy summer days (especially afternoons), I love our roof.

I was all set to watch the game last night, excited as ever.  Hopefully tonight, they will be able to get a game in.  And while I look outside my window and watch the rain fall (in Houston it’s raining) I hope St. Louis weather clears us so they can Play Ball!

Game 3 – No Match for Game 2’s Excitement

While I love watching the World Series, Game 3 was not quite as exciting as Game 2.  I guess that’s because of all the controversy with Kenny and his "dirt".  But, you have to hand it to Chris Carpenter – player of the game.  He pitched awesome, and I always like watching David Eckstein and Scott Rolen.  With the Redbirds playing at home, I predict another victory, although, I bet Mr. Leyland put a fire under his team after last nights game. 

Tony La Russa – Cardinals World Series Coach and Animal Advocate

Major League coaches have a tough job.  They always have to be making decisions regarding the game, what moves to make, how to set up the play, getting your team to the play offs and dealing with lots of different personalities. 

Tony La Russa knows what it is like to be a World Champion, taking his previous team, the Oakland Athletics to a championship in 1989 and his Redbirds to the series the year before last, and again here in October 06. 

La Russa also knows there are a lot of animals that have it tough too.  During the off season, he  spends his time raising money for ARF, the Animal Rescue Foundation that he and his wife Elaine created in 1991.  The goal of ARF is to find homes for stray animals, and save them from being euthanized.  The organization also has educational programs on controlling pet over-population. 

He loves animals and is doing all he can to help save them.

MM:  What’s it like to be a coach?

TL:  It’s a neat way to be close to the game when you are not playing because you are still involved.  The neatest thing is when you have a team that has a chance to win because that is what it is all about.  It’s a competition and you like to have enough time for you to be the winner.

MM:  What is a typical day like?

TL:  I think with all coaches, you come to the ballpark and your biggest responsibility is to try to put players in a position to be successful, so you pay a lot of attention. If you’re a pitching coach you work with your pitchers and if you’re a hitting coach you try to find ways your hitters can get base hits. 

MM:  What is your best and worst baseball moment?

TL:  The best is winning a World Championship and the worst is getting to the World Series and getting beat three times.

MM:  Can you tell me about ARF?

TL:  ARF stands for the Animal Rescue Foundation that my wife and I have always been really passionate about.  There are companion animals that we didn’t want to be euthanized because they couldn’t find homes, so fifteen years ago we started a foundation to try to get more of those animals into families and at the same time we have also found that there are a lot of ways that the animals have helped people, like seniors who need companionship or victims of violence that need some kind of love and tenderness and kids need to be part of their learning life experiences so there’s a lot of things that animals do for people. 

MM:  What was your most memorable baseball game?

TL:  I think probably one or two.  Watching Mark McGwire in 1998 set the home run record, that was amazing, but I think the most memorable was in (’04), game 7 at home, when the Cardinals were able to beat the Houston Astros to win the National League Championship, because we had come close but had never won the national league and we won it against a really good Houston club that we respect.  They had guys like Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio, and then they had  a legend in Roger Clemens pitching, and it was just a great game and to win that competition was just the best.

MM:  What advice do you have for kids who might one day want to be a coach?

You have to start by trying to play yourself and learn the game.   If you love the game, you want to learn it and the more you learn about it the more you can pass along.    Play as much as you can and learn as much as you can.

If you would like to learn more about Tony La Russa’s foundation, ARF, go to

Drombowski on Being A GM

Watch here for a short series on quick hit questions with some of the players/personnel playing in the World Series!

Lets start with Tigers GM Dave Drombowski.

Dave Drombowski

What has it been like to be the GM of two teams?

Well, it’s very exciting.  Whenever you talk about that I think I am very fortunate to be involved in baseball and to be a General Manager, and so I think I’m in a fortunate situation.

How is it to be the head of the team and having to trading people and all that?

Well, I think that you look at it from a couple different perspectives.  One perspective is that you’re always trying to do anything that you can to help your baseball team, so that’s something that you do, whether to win now or help yourself in the future, depending where you are as an organization. But you also have to realize that you’re dealing with people’s lives and that they’re going to be moving from place to place.  I think that you have to keep both in consideration.

If a kid wanted to have a career in baseball as a GM, what would they have to do?

Well, I think there’s a lot of  different things.  I don’t think there’s any set pattern to do that, but I think that getting a well rounded education and then be in a position where you learn about every aspect of the game, which is player development, scouting, Latin American operations, all the intricacies of the administrative end of the baseball operation and having a total feel of the financial end, would all be things that I think would be very important, but getting a well rounded education is the first step.

Cards and Tigers – The Fight is On

Thanks for all the great emails.  I am glad you like the interviews and I am taking down names of guys you’d like to read about here.  I have some interviews I will be posting shortly, so stay tuned!

How about game 2 of the Cards/Tigers!  I have to admit, it had me on the edge of my seat.  The controversy over Kenny Rogers "dirty" hand is being debated all over the place, and I sit here, waiting for game 3 to get going, waiting to see what will take place.  How will the Cards react tonight?  Do you agree with how Tony LaRussa handled the situation? 

I predict the Cards are going to be full of fight tonight, and rally back to take the game.  That’s my prediction, lets see how I do. 

NLCS Predictions

To me there is nothing more exciting than baseball in October.  As we sit here watching the NLCS playoffs with a tied game, I realize just how exciting these guys make the game!

I predicted the Tigers to make it to the series.  Jim Leyland has that magic touch, and Mr. Drombowski waited it out and brought that winning team together, just like he did with the Marlins.

I like St. Louis, and I like the Mets.  This one is going to be a nail bitter, but whichever way it goes, it’s going to be one heck of a World Series.

This time last year, the Astros were in a battle with St. Louis for the title.  I got to see that one in person.  It was a real experience for me. At the end of the series, I always can’t wait until spring training. 

Email me at if there are any players you’d like to see highlighted here.  It’s a great way to see how the players are behind the scenes, and a peek into their personal lives away from the field.

Commercials over, gotta get back to the game!

Dueling Rookies

Saturday’s game between the Astros and the Phillies turned out two spectacular performances for two rookie pitchers. Cole Hamels Cole_hamels and Jason Hirsch Hirsch both gave it their all, with Hirsch hitless until the 5th, and Hamels carrying his no hitter into the 7th. This is what makes baseball so exciting. Hamels teammates made some awesome plays, doing their best to keep the no hitter going. Unfortunately for Hamels, Houston’s Adam Everette spoiled his bid in the 7th. Hamels left the game afterward, but his 11 strikeouts were impressive. Phillie is only one game out of the Wild Card at the moment, and Houston desperately needs a win tomorrow to even have a chance of making the playoffs.

CLEMENS WATCH: Clemens is scheduled to pitch this Wednesday against the Reds. There should be a large turnout, as many speculate this could be his last time to pitch, should he decide to really retire.