JR Richard

The Best and Worst Uniforms of All Time: The Houston Astros

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The Best: I angered fellow HBTer Drew Silva with my dissing of the Cardinals’ powder blues earlier today.  I have this feeling I’m going to step in it with some Astros fans now too. But here goes:

I know I’m supposed to be all hip and say I liked the crazy 70s-80s getup the best, but despite the fact that I am steeped in irony appreciation, they’re not my favorites. I hate white shoes on baseball players. I don’t like the numbers on the pants. There are all kinds of things wrong with that ensemble separate and apart from the rainbow design. My favorties: the late 60s-early 70s shooting star unis. Those things are just as pleasing as can be. Honorable mention: the Colt .45s gun uniforms. Which, if introduced today, would create a political crisis which would no doubt carry over into presidential campaigns and Supreme Court confirmation hearings. What a drag the modern era is, no?

Worst: Even if the day-glos weren’t as great as everyone now ironically says they were, the 1994-99 overreactions were far worse. Like the Brewers, they looked like a committee put them together. The current ones are better, but not that much better, especially when they wear the brick red batting practice jerseys. Just uninspired and blah. And a Texas team should not wear pinstripes any more than a city slicker should wear a Stetson.

Assessment: Isn’t there a middle ground between gonzo rainbows and corporate calculation?  I’d like to think Houston could find it.  Oh, and one other thing: the best thing ever about those day-glos was the cap with the block H over the star.  That has to return, even in a more muted color scheme.

Orioles re-sign Michael Bourn to a minor league deal

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04:  Michael Bourn #1 of the Baltimore Orioles hits a single in the fifth inning against the Toronto Blue Jays during the American League Wild Card game at Rogers Centre on October 4, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.

Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.

Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.

Shelby Miller is in the best mental shape of his life

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 24:  Shelby Miller #26 of the Arizona Diamondbacks pitches in the first inning during the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 24, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller had about as bad a season as one can have. He was the headliner in the trade that sent 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, All-Star outfielder Ender Inciarte, and highly-regarded pitching prospect Aaron Blair to the Braves. It was a trade that was pilloried at the time and continues to be pilloried to this day.

Miller didn’t do then-GM Dave Stewart any favors with his 2016 performance. He went 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio over 101 innings. That included a bout with mechanical failure, as he kept hitting the mound with his follow-through. He went on the disabled list. And after that, he was demoted to Triple-A. After getting fired, Stewart expressed remorse over acquiring Miller — or, more accurately, giving up Swanson to do so.

So, the 26-year-old Miller heads into 2017 without any momentum. To his credit, though, he’s going into the new season with a very positive perspective. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:

I’m just in a really happy place, away from the field, on the field. […]

Maybe it’s just the way I go about everything, trying to be positive in every single aspect of life. Baseball’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. I know bumps in the road are going to happen. Last year was obviously not just a bump, but a huge mountain. Right now, that’s completely behind me. I’m not worried about any of that.

I’m really ready for this year, ready to redeem myself so much.

Even pitching coach Mike Butcher sees the change in Miller’s mentality. “He’s not a different guy. But you can see there’s a presence in him. That’s what we need. Just be Shelby Miller. You don’t have to live up to anything. Just be yourself.”

Manager Torey Lovullo, too, praised Miller. “I saw a guy who had spent a lot of time taking care of his business in the weight room — he looks fantastic, in fantastic shape,” he said.

It sounds like Miller is not only in great mental shape, but great physical shape, too. Is it the “best shape of his life”? Only time can tell.