Houston Astros Afternoon: Jackie Robinson Day


Today is April 15 which means Major League Baseball is celebrating Jackie Robinson Day in honor of the first African-American player in the league. Every player and coach in the league will be wearing the retired #42 to honor Robinson. Robinson’s number is the first-ever to be retired by every franchise. From History.com:

"On this day in 1947, Jackie Robinson, age 28, becomes the first African-American player in Major League Baseball when he steps onto Ebbets Field in Brooklyn to compete for the Brooklyn Dodgers. Robinson broke the color barrier in a sport that had been segregated for more than 50 years. Exactly 50 years later, on April 15, 1997, Robinson’s groundbreaking career was honored and his uniform number, 42, was retired from Major League Baseball by Commissioner Bud Selig in a ceremony attended by over 50,000 fans at New York City’s Shea Stadium."

There will also be a Civil Rights Game today with the Los Angeles Dodgers hosting the Seattle Mariners. Mark Newman of MLB.com says that it is fitting to hold the Civil Rights Game on Jackie Robinson Day.

As for the Houston Astros and the Oakland A’s, they’ll square off tonight at 7:10pm with Collin McHugh taking on Drew Pomeranz. Here’s a game preview.

Speaking of history, do you remember the 2001 NL Central division race between the Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals? Each team views that race differently, and the Cardinals have taken a new approach altogether according to the Houston Chronicle’s Ultimate Astros blog.

The teams finished with the same record that year, however, the Astros had a better head-to-head record against the Cardinals and were declared as division champions; Houston was seeded as such in the playoffs. St. Louis won second place in the division and a wild card berth, but declared themselves co-champions on their banner in old Busch Stadium the following season. Houston was puzzled.

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But the Cardinals took it a step further this year with their new scorecard art that was unveiled on April 12. The cover illustration depicts the current NL Central team mascots carrying their division title banners, with St. Louis taking sole claim of the 2001 title. Houston, which is now in the AL West, was not included in the art, and there is no mention of that title even being shared.

St. Louis has moved on and rewritten history in the process. Perhaps this will relieve any lingering heartburn for those who long for the old rivalries since the Cardinals don’t even acknowledge the Astros anymore. 

Finally, the Houston Astros have had an up-and-down start to the season, and their most ballyhooed sluggers have struggled up to this point. Eric Karabell of ESPN says that it’s too early in the season to fret about the lack of production from Chris Carter and Evan Gattis.

Karabell argues that Carter is a swing-and-miss guy, and those types of players are more likely to have slumps. As for Gattis, if he’s still dealing with the wrist issue from Spring Training, the team should put him on the disabled list to allow him to heal. Also, Gattis is transitioning from the National League, and the Astros have been unfortunate thus far in that they’ve faced a lot of strikeout pitchers. Karabell is confident that both players will return to form, so be patient and don’t kick those guys off your fantasy team yet.

Karabell is speaking from a fantasy baseball perspective, but he has a point. It is still early in the season, and it is very unlikely that the players will continue like this all season. I’m sure all of our fingers are crossed that they break out of this slump sooner rather than later. The Astros have some games to win!

Next: Who Are The Houston Astros' Franchise Four?

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