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  • What If
    February 18, 2019

    Last season, 12 MLB pitchers pitched 200 or more innings, how many were Astros?

    Here is from yesterday’s Chron:

    Lawyers for Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner filed a motion Friday afternoon seeking to declare Proposition B invalid, contending the voter-approved referendum supporting pay parity for firefighters violates Texas law.

    The move is the latest in an extended legal battle between the city and firefighters over the November ballot measure requiring the city to pay firefighters the same as police of equal rank and seniority.

    Though Proposition B passed more than three months ago with 59 percent voter approval, the city has yet to begin paying firefighters more — a delay that has sown frustration among the fire union despite Turner’s assurance that his administration is ironing out the details.

    “This is what the mayor means when he claims three months after the election that he is working to ‘implement’ Prop B,” fire union President Marty Lancton said Friday in a statement. “Once again, he is defying the will of 292,000 voters.”

    Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/houston/article/Turner-s-lawyers-move-to-declare-Prop-B-invalid-13621513.php?src=hp_totn.

    I think it was actually 298,000 voters if you add in the ones from Fort Bend County.

    I went and looked at the results again for Harris County and the City of Houston for November 6. In most of the countywide judicial races, there was a 3% drop off or under votes, as compared to the 1% to 1.5% for the U.S. Senate and statewide races at the top of the ballot. For Prop B, there was a 13% under vote, and that was at the very end of the ballot. Some folks have been saying that folks didn’t know what they were voting for when they voted for Prop B, that they were just showing their support for the firefighters. Even though there were a few hundred thousand dollars spent against. Commentary is kind of one who doesn’t like to show disrespect to the voter, that they know what they are doing. What if they did know that by voting for Prop B, the City of H-Town would have to find the $100 million for firefighters and if cuts had to be made, so be it. Maybe the 13% who under voted, didn’t understand it, but the 87% that did, actually knew what they were voting for. I am sure somebody will debunk my what if-ism by coming forward with a recent poll that asks H-Town voters if they were aware that a vote for Prop B meant $100 million in cuts.

    I am sure the folks at H-Town City Hall didn’t think too much of the Channel 13 story on potholes on Friday. There has been a drop off in the number of potholes being filled.

    On the botched raid in Pecan Park, from Day 1, folks, including some in the media, had questions. Who said there were “crazy conspiracy theories” and guaranteed that “we got the right house?” Thank goodness for those that had questions. It is always good to question.

    Yesterday, the Chron E-Board had a take on the raid.

    In the #TXHD145RunoffSpecialElection, our opponent has a doorhanger without any photos. Got it? We got pictures on ours. Oh, well.

    Justin Verlander with 214 innings pitched, Dallas Keuchel with 204 2/3, and Gerrit Cole with 200 1/3 were the three Astros of course.

    Check this article from the Boston Globe on the Red Sox who will and won’t visit 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.:

    FORT MYERS, Fla. — The world champion Red Sox’ visit to the White House, scheduled for May 9 after the team plays a series in Baltimore, projects to be an awkward affair as we continue to get feedback regarding who plans to go and who plans to skip the event.
    In November, days after the Sox won the World Series, manager Alex Cora initially said he would go to the White House with the team. Cora backed away from that pledge when he came to Boston in late January. Saturday morning here, the manager said he’s still undecided.

    An unfortunate byproduct of winning a championship in any professional sport is the inevitable controversy around the traditional visit to the White House, this being Donald Trump’s White House.

    The Globe’s Peter Abraham has polled 22 players regarding their intentions:
    Players who plan to attend (12): Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Brock Holt, Brian Johnson, Mitch Moreland, Chris Sale, Blake Swihart, Steve Pearce, Nathan Eovaldi, Brandon Workman, Heath Hembree, Sandy Leon.

    Players who said they would probably attend (one): Rick Porcello.
    Players who said they would not attend (four): Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers, Hector Velazquez.
    Players who said they are undecided (five): Eduardo Nunez, Xander Bogaerts, David Price, Christian Vazquez, Eduardo Rodriguez (two of these players off the record said they were not going).
    Here’s the unfortunate and awkward math: Twelve of the 13 players who have pledged to visit the president are white. Including manager Cora, all 11 of the nos and undecideds are persons of color.
    I ran the Globe’s unofficial poll numbers past Red Sox CEO Sam Kennedy here on Saturday morning and asked him if management is worried about the awkwardness of white Red Sox players pledging to go to Washington while persons of color might not be making the trip.
    “Of course,’’ answered Kennedy. “It’s a difficult issue, but we wanted to stay consistent with making this opportunity available to the players. This is for them. It’s not about ownership or the front office. It’s about the players and giving them the ability to be recognized for a World Series championship. We’ve done it regardless of administrations or specific politicians. We’ve done it three times now. Twice under [George W.] Bush, once under [Barack] Obama, and we really need to be above politics here and allow our players this opportunity if they want. We’ve been consistent all along. It’s not a mandatory trip, but we see it as and honor and we’re going to give the players who want to go an opportunity to go.
    “We don’t have a final RSVP list. This is the first chance people have to be together and talk about it. We’ve extended the invitation to the players and we’ll get a final RSVP list.’’
    Does Kennedy have any concern that this could split the famously cohesive team?
    “I don’t think so,’’ he said. “I think this is a really tight group, demonstrated by what they achieved together last year. I certainly hope not.’’
    Same for Cora.
    “No,’’ said Cora. “This week all the talk has been about getting ready and repeating. The work ethic is there. We don’t talk about [the White House trip] in the clubhouse. [Sox management] made it clear that it’s optional. Whoever wants to go, goes. And whoever doesn’t want to go, get on a plane and go to Boston. We don’t even talk about it.’’
    Cora is from Puerto Rico, an unincorporated US territory that has strained relations with President Trump. The Sox manager did not attend the Houston Astros’ trip to the White House in the spring of 2018 (Cora was already managing the Red Sox at the time). He disputed the notion that he’s under pressure from back home to skip the Washington event.
    “In my case, I’ve got my reasons to be undecided,’’ said Cora. “So, whatever. Everybody has their reasons. That’s the beauty of this clubhouse. We respect everybody’s opinions and everybody’s beliefs. For me, it’s not a big deal.’’
    Does Kennedy worry that the Sox are putting their manager in an awkward spot regarding his decision to attend?
    “No,’’ he said. “I think that Alex will make his decision and we will respect whatever decision he makes.’’
    Asked if he believed the Washington trip might be a distraction to the 2019 Red Sox, president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said, “None at all. Whatever they want to do. It’s an easy one for us, too, there. We’re playing Baltimore on the 8th [of May]. There’s a plane going back for whomever doesn’t want to go, and whoever wants to stay, on the 9th, we’ve got a plane for them.’’
    Visits to the White House by championship teams have been controversial since President Trump took office. The president rescinded an invitation to the Philadelphia Eagles when many players said they did not plan to attend after the Eagles beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl in February 2018. When quarterback Tom Brady abruptly pulled out of the Patriots’ visit to the White House in the spring of 2017, President Trump made no mention of Brady’s contributions during the ceremony on the South Lawn. The outspoken Golden State Warriors were not invited to the White House after winning the 2018 NBA title.
    This is the America we live in today. And in their time of triumph, not even the feel-good Red Sox are spared.
    Sad.

  • Local Racial Divide
    February 15, 2019

    When the Astros and Yankees played at The Yard in the Inaugural Game back on March 30, 2000, how many then future Hall of Famers played that evening?

    Where is H-Town’s grown-ups? Commentary is talking about the racial divide over at the HISD Board of Education. This is 2019 in the country’s most diverse city and we are dealing with this crap? Sorry folks, we can’t be celebrating our diversity while allowing this crap to go on. Here is from today’s Chron:

    Houston ISD’s pursuit of a permanent superintendent will continue after trustees rejected a motion Thursday to suspend the search amid a recently launched state investigation into potential violations of open meetings laws.

    Trustees voted 5-3 to continue the search for a permanent leader to replace former superintendent Richard Carranza, who left the district in March 2018 to become chancellor of New York City public schools. Three trustees who favored suspending the effort argued the district cannot attract qualified candidates with the looming threat of sanctions tied to the state investigation, while the five opponents argued the district should push forward despite the inquiry.

    “I promised my community that I would do a superintendent search, and that’s what I’m following.” said HISD Board President Diana Dávila, who voted against suspending the search.

    And this:

    The three trustees who supported suspending the search — Wanda Adams, Jolanda Jones and Rhonda Skillern-Jones — have all advocated for permanently retaining Interim Superintendent Grenita Lathan, arguing she has proven her ability to lead the district.

    And then this:

    “I cannot imagine that a highly qualified candidate who is rational and sane would come here in the face of uncertainty, when they may not have a job soon,” Skillern-Jones said.

    The five trustees who voted against the motion Thursday — Dávila, Holly Maria Flynn Vilaseca, Sergio Lira, Elizabeth Santos and Anne Sung — have pushed for a nationwide search. Trustee Sue Deigaard, who previously supported giving Lathan a short-term contract and simultaneously conducting a nationwide search, abstained from Thursday’s vote, telling her colleagues she is “not going to be part of this divide anymore.”

    “We all need to figure this out and not continue to be divisive on this subject,” Deigaard said.

    Here is the entire piece on this crap: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/education/article/HISD-trustees-vote-to-continue-superintendent-13618448.php?src=hp_totn.

    Someone I respect told me the other day that Deigaard just ought to step forward and call for TEA to step in immediately.

    It’s 2019 and this is going on.  This is a sad.

    I sure hope Amazon doesn’t come to H-Town and try to pull a fast one on us.

    Hall of Fame greats Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell played in the 2000 Inaugural Game of course. Do did Derek Jeter and he will get into the Hall of Fame soon. The Rocket also played and maybe he will get in too.

    Spring Training is happening.

  • More School Days
    February 14, 2019

    Parkland was one year ago today. Remember.

     
    It looks like CraftPAC and the Beer Alliance have struck a deal. The Wholesale Beer Distributors are not on board yet though. Still, it is progress. I wonder if a twelve-pack from the brewery will be cheaper than at Spec’s?

    There is a discussion about extending the school year in our public schools. As someone told me yesterday, good thing school kids don’t vote. I replied that some high school seniors do, but they don’t give a rat’s arse because this is their last year. The only problem I have with the extended school year is extended school zone speed limits.

    Does this mean that summer will only last a month?

    For the #TXHD145RunoffSpecialElection there will once again be five Early Vote in Person locations. Only five days of Early Voting in Person though – that’s the law.

    Are Harris County Dems supposed to have a discussion on whether or not to support more assistant DAs that District Attorney Kim Ogg wants or are we supposed to be silent? We elected her a few years ago. Or are we supposed to support the Dems on Commissioners Court who turned down her request? Or are we expected to sit on the sidelines? That’s not our nature folks.

    I wonder if there is room to compromise.

    I wonder if restaurants will be crowded this evening.

    Have a nice Valentine’s Day!

  • Billionaire Blues
    February 13, 2019

    Dallas Keuchel is still a free agent. How many times was he our Opening Day starting pitcher?

    Well, the winner of the #TXHD145RunoffSpecialElection will be 149th in seniority in the Texas House.

    Let’s see. Billionaires have been putting dough into the political system and trying to tilt the results in their favor. Some folks are getting fed up with this and are now proposing to tax billionaires more. They asked for it. Commentary is predicting that billionaires’ arses will get taxed more for sure. The political climate is headed that way. The billionaire blues so to speak.

    Speaking of billionaires, it looks like collusion to me. Commentary is talking about Spring Training opening today and there are still great players unsigned. Here is what Justin Verlander tweeted yesterday:

    100 or so free agents left unsigned. System is broken. They blame “rebuilding” but that’s BS. You’re telling me you couldn’t sign Bryce or Manny for 10 years and go from there? Seems like a good place to start a rebuild to me. 26-36 is a great performance window too.

    When are the billionaire owners going to learn that they won’t win this war?

    From MLB.com:

    All 30 Major League teams will wear special “MLB 150” patches on their uniforms for the entire 2019 season in honor of the 150th anniversary of the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first openly all-salaried professional baseball team.

    Every club will also sport MLB 150 patches on its caps on Opening Day, March 28 — the first time a league-wide anniversary will be commemorated on caps.

    Dallas Keuchel of course was our Opening Day starting pitcher from 2015-2017.

    That’s all I have.

  • We Have A Date
    February 12, 2019

    Which team led MLB in dingers last season?

     
    The #TXHD145RunoffSpecialElection has been set for Tuesday, March 5.  Early Voting in Person is Monday, February 25 through Friday, March 1. Got it?

    Commentary is seriously considering boycotting CNN like forever. I don’t know why they are giving another billionaire free time this evening. This is news malpractice in my book. This guy can only be a spoiler – period. Shame on CNN. Breaking news my arse!

     
    Where in H-Town are they having this town hall anyway?

     
    Here is the Chron E-Board take: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Welcome-to-Houston-Howard-Schultz-billionaires-13608492.php.

     
    The Yankees of course led MLB with 267 dingers last season.

     
    Pitchers and catcher report tomorrow.