Just a few nuggets to report this series from the Astros feed, which features former Astro pitcher Jim DeShaias on the color commentary. Highlights include criticism of MVP sliding, the story of how J.R. Richard learned to pitch, how many midgets it takes to reach the moon, and why teams fear the Reds...beyond the obvious flatus created by eating GABP's fried bologna sandwiches.
DeShaias was critical of Joey Votto's slide on his caught stealing, saying that he started too soon. I think Jim was wrong on this one; if Joey thinks he is caught, he often will do an early slide with a surprise last-second move toward the bag. That said, I don't recall Joey being successful with this move ever.
J.R. Richard was a badass pitcher and an intimidating force on the mound. What I didn't know what that he barely had any instruction before he was the second overall pick in the 1969 draft on June 5th - the same day that a race riot broke out in Hartford, Connecticut (different times, brah). Richard was discounted when he reported numbness in his throwing hand, likely with some element of prejudice against a brother in the 1970's Texas. It turns out that J.R. had blood clots and had a full-on, career-ending stroke. Who knows if this could have been prevented if the Astros doctors had taken him at his word. But the most astonishing thing I learned this weekend about Richard was how he learned to pitch: he was walking along a road down in his home state of Louisiana when he saw a discarded book about pitching. He taught himself how to pitch from that book. This may or may not be that book:
HOW MANY MIDGETS DOES IT TAKE TO...
The Astros are reportedly having some marketing fun with their 5'5" second baseman, Jose Altuve. Such promotion has included such novelties as announcing how many "Altuves" it takes to reach the moon. I can't find any good links to this marketing strategy, but here is a picture of the moon from Houston:
DEATH AWAITS YOU ALL WITH NASTY, BIG, POINTY TEETH!
Fear. That's what other teams feel when in the presence of the Reds lineup. DeShaias lauded, "There's so much firepower in that Reds lineup. you never really comfortable in 1 run game against them." That's right, we're literally feared around the league. Fear: It's what's for dinner.