A Brief Introduction and A Look at The 2015 PITCHf/x Astros

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A Brief Introduction

Aug 20, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Astros designated hitter Evan Gattis (11) flips his bat after striking out during the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

When I signed on to Climbing Tal’s Hill, I jotted down a short list of the three most important qualities to bring to my writing. The list above was as far as I got before it descended into trite nothings, so I deleted my later mentions and saved a document with just those three. Here is the reasoning behind each guiding principle:

  1. Be Critical Without Takes

The Houston market is friendly, sometimes too friendly. No player ever got traded to Houston and worried about having to fight off a hostile media when they slumped or said the wrong thing. It is, relative to many baseball markets, a low-expectations, happy-go-lucky crowd.

I would like to bring a more critical eye to things. Smart front offices – and we have one – make mistakes. Fairly frequently, in fact. All managers do the same. Media coverage and fan reaction to the Astros tends to coalesce around two poles: “We’re having a great year, why are you questioning Move X?” on the one hand, or “Here’s the problem with this team: (thing that is barely a problem and at most 5-10% of the issue)”. The dreaded take. I would like to bring nuanced criticism to the table.

  1. Avoid Narratives

I am not a writer by trade. I don’t think the player with his shirt unbuttoned is lazy (sorry, Singleton haters), or that the blue collar grinder is valuable (sorry, Gattis fans). I don’t believe rookies choke in big spots, at least not because they’re rookies. Simply put, narratives are a crutch for guys who think their primary job is to tell a story. To a hammer, everything is a nail, and to a storyteller, everything is a parable. Perhaps that form of writing will appear in this space from time to time, but not in trying to analyze on-field baseball events.

  1. Illuminate

Twitter is where I like to share my random Astros thoughts that are probably garbage. When I write, it’s because I am personally curious about something, and choose to research it to learn more. Then, if I think there’s something worth spending your leisure time on, fellow Astros fan, I put it in blog form and share it. If I can’t illuminate some aspect of being an Astros enthusiast, I won’t write. I promise.

Next: Astros PITCHf/x