Back on September 19th, I was supposed to “appear” on Tony Voda’s podcast when he visited Minute Maid Park, but unfortunately my body had other plans. A week before, I ended up going to the hospital (for the first time that I can actually remember) because I had acute appendicitis and I ended up needing surgery. This prevented me to go despite my pleas to my parents that I wanted to go, but I was “repaid” later when the Astros made the postseason and I was 100% ready to ballhawk at the two playoff games I attended. Anywho, with my absence, this left poor Tony to do the podcast by all by himself, and he had many questions for me in which they were left unanswered. Well now, 4 months later, I really felt the need to answer them once and for all (and also the need to blog), and after listening to the podcast once again, I pretty much can answer them. So pretty much now this is sort of an interview? But yeah also, I modified and took out some of the questions (hopefully Tony approves) since they were asked in September in the thick of the playoff race, and I can’t really answer them anymore since they already happened! (ex: did I purchase playoff tickets for the playoffs, who will win the 2nd Wild Card Spot, etc.) Enjoy!
Q: How do you feel about Tal’s hill? Will you miss it? Will it effect the team’s fielding strategy?
A: Well, for those who didn’t know, Tal’s Hill is going to be removed following the 2016 season (was going to be after 2015, but was pushed back a year after the Astros’ playoff run) I really like Tal’s Hill, I think it’s a really cool design, and the fact that you’ll probably see nothing like that again, really makes me appreciate it more. Seeing people run up it is exhilarating to see. Seeing it go, will make me sad, but I’m actually excited to see what they do with that space, and if I’ll be able to go inside of it for BP and stuff. As for their fielding stategy, I believe it’ll change a lot. It looks like there will be a really tall wall there and who knows how the balls will bounce? Gotta wait to see it first. Planned picture seen below.
Q: Did Carlos Correa deserve AL ROY? What are his chances of being a HOF’er?
A: Yes! The way he helped the team produce greatly, his constant outstanding fielding skills at shortstop., a 279. batting average, 22 Home Runs, and 68 RBI’s in his first season despite coming in June? Remarkable. The way that he’s going, I think he can get on a good pace to becoming a Hall of Famer, I know he’s going to get better. The good thing also? He’s only 21 years old. Wow, as a fan, I’m going to have fun watching him play in the future. It’ll be fun.
Q: Is there a better middle infield in the MLB right now (Correa/Altuve?)
A: Well, heavily biased being an Astros fan, I don’t think there is. These two kids are the future of the Astros and I’m going to be very happy to see them turn so many double plays for the next few years.
Q: Will Carlos Correa be looked as a better draft pick than Byron Buxton in 2025?
A: I think so, (sorry Twins fans) when the Astros developed Correa in the minors, they tried to make him more of a 5-tool star player, and they’re succeeding so far! I think that he’ll produce more than Buxton offensively (no disrespect to him, he seems like he can grow a lot), but in 2025, he’ll be looked at the better pick.
Q: Can the Astros sustain future playoff runs after 2015?
A: I really hope, and do think so. With the core of Correa, Altuve, Keuchel, McHugh, McCullers, Rasmus, Castro, and all of the amazing prospects we still have (in particular, AJ Reed) this team is one that I’m happy to see for the next few years. Winning the AL West in 2016 and taking it back from the Rangers would really be great.
Q: Is David Ortiz a HOF’er now that he’s over 500 HR?
A: Well, as of now to me, he’s in. He’s been a really consistent offensive machine, and as a DH, he really does his job. Averaging a per year, he hits .284, hits 36 Home Runs, and drives in 118. Pretty great. Also, such a clutch player for the Red Sox. Now, there is PED talks of him and those talks will once again reappears after he retires, but I think it’ll take him a few years to get in, that is, if no big news comes up about him like if he did take PED’s. Then, I would rethink myself, but for now when he appears on the ballot, he’s got my checkmark. Q: How was the 2015 Postseason in your eyes?
A: Well, I enjoyed it, that is until the ALCS (Kidding!). To see the Astros in it was really amazing, even though they got knocked out by those darn Royals in heartbreaking fashion. The NLWC game was great, and all of the Division series’, everybody I wanted to win won, except the Astros (Cubs def. Cardinals, Mets def. Dodgers, Blue Jays def. Rangers). A Lone star showdown for in the ALCS would have been REALLY great for this rivalry, (it was so close to happening!) but it wasn’t meant to be. Maybe next year? After the Astros got knocked out, I despised the Royals and wanted them to lose, but I was really was rooting for the Cubs to win it all. Ultimately they got sweeped by the Mets, and the Royals beat the Jays, and eventually the Royals won the World Series in 5. *sigh*. But this postseason, I really enjoyed it. Exciting. (High point: ALDS Game 5- Rangers VS Blue Jays. Wow. Low Point: Royals comeback in Game 4 of the ALDS which I was present.)
Q: How many commemoratives did I snag in Houston in 2015?
A: I ended up snagging 36 (!!!) of the 2015 Commemorative that they used in Houston. Every ball they used for the games here were commemorative, so with that, I was able to snag a huge amount, which makes me very happy.
A: Personally, I loved the 2015 one out of all of them. With respect to the other two, the logo on this one looks bigger, and better. The shooting star & celebrating the Astrodome really makes it go over the top.
A: Well, in 2015, we snagged our 300th, and 400th baseballs in May and September, respectively. We also snagged 146 this year, thus giving us our 2nd straight 100 ball season. Some goals/milestones that I want to snag is our 500th lifetime ball, that would be really sweet, and maybe, with a few more games attended we can maybe hit 600 and 200 in a season? Who knows? But for now, I’ve got my eyes set on reaching 500, to me, it’s a really big accomplishment/stepping stone. Halfway to 1000.
Q: How do I feel about netting issues for the 2016 MLB season?
A: Well it’s unfortunate that we have to talk about this, but from a ballhawking perspective, it really sucks. Many teams may introduce this (I only know that the Twins are so far), and to possibly take away 3rd out balls? Man, what a bummer. I don’t like the idea. So far in Houston, I hear that the netting is already “good” by MLB standards so I hope there’s no change. Now, I understand you have to keep people safe, but I think if you’re gonna sit down there, you’re going to pay attention to the game. Nowadays, in the dugout seats there are more distractions and that’s just a recipe for disaster. Bring a glove for god’s sake! I hate hearing about people getting hurt over the years, and I know there’s a better solution than netting. Hopefully, MLB can find a better solution.
Q: Who did I vote for 2015 Ballhawk of the year?
A: Well for Ballhawk of the Year, I voted for 1. Greg Barasch. Amazing average in fewer games? He was just unreal, so he got my 1st place vote, 2. DeeCubs24 (David Welch) He too had an amazing average, and really good numbers. Lots of game balls too, so I gave him my 2nd place vote. 3. Zack Hample, outstanding as always. Good average, lots of game home runs snags, he rounded up my 3 votes. Now I will admit here that I abstained from Junior Ballhawk of the Year votes. Reason? I really didn’t know who to vote for, but my clear consensus was that Cole Adkins was going to definitely win because compared to everybody, he rocked. Great numbers. (He would have had my 1st place vote for sure), but other than that, I didn’t know, there were many people deserving, so to keep it “fair”, I left it blank. Also, thanks to everybody who voted me into runner up, 2nd place for 2015 JBOY.
Q: Any predictions for 2016?
A: Well, I can’t really say because so many things can happen, but the only thing I want to say is that I’m coming for 1st place, Junior Ballhawk of the Year. (You’re on, Cole!) I know I’m capable, and a friendly battle doesn’t hurt either, right? Motivation for us both. That’s a goal that I have.
Well, thanks for reading guys, and it felt nice to finally answer all of these questions! Hopefully I didn’t give too bland answers, and maybe in the future more of these types of interviews can be posted? Who knows? Well make sure to comment if you have questions for me, and as always GO ASTROS! (Can baseball come any sooner?)