Billy-Ball Daily: 2007-8-28

8/28/2007
Billy-Ball Daily
Bill Chuck (Billy-Ball his own self)

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Happy birthday, Lou Piniella, Jack Black and Karl-Heinz Walter

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Top of the 1st
BOTTOM’S UP
Here’s to you Phil Garner and Tim Purpura. Less than two years ago, as Astros manager and general manager you led your squad to the World Series, albeit a four-game sweeping defeat at the hands of the White Sox but you did it. And today? You are unemployed, but that’s baseball.

Since their World Series appearance, the Astros are 140-153 (.478) including this season’s 58-73 and the Astros have lost six of eight games heading into today’s series opener against the Cardinals at Minute Maid Park. But let’s hear it for team owner Drayton McLane who with 31 games remaining in the regular season “felt it was time for a change,” because McLane has finally beaten the White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf at something. He was faster to fire his disastrous leadership and had the guts to admit “We have not done what we should have done in the last two years, and I felt we needed to put more invigoration and enthusiasm into the organization.”

The White Sox were 90-72 last season as they missed the playoffs, but this season, after yesterday’s win over Tampa Bay, are now 57-74 and are full game behind the Kansas City Royals in last place in the AL Central. Their record of 147-146 since their World Series victory does not reflect how simply horrible they are.

“My overall view of this is I’m so happy I got the opportunity to do it. It was a good run and a lot of fun” said the gracious Garner who was replaced on an interim basis by bench coach Cecil Cooper. Cooper, 57, becomes the 14th African-American manager in the history of MLB and the first for the Astros in the franchise’s 46-year history. He is the 15th manager in Astros history and will be considered for the job on a permanent basis. Regarding Cooper, Garner said, “I’ve been saying for a couple of years this guy is the most qualified guy out there that hasn’t managed. Hopefully, this is a long-term fit for the Astros and the city.”

The Astros barely missed making the playoffs in 2006, finishing 1