Astros remove gun from Colt .45s throwback uniforms

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The Astros are celebrating their 50th anniversary this season, so they plan to honor their past by wearing a different throwback uniform at every Friday home game. The first “Flashback Friday” will feature the Colt .45s, which was the name of the franchise for the first three years of its existence.

Sweet. Those were some pretty awesome uniforms. The only problem is, MLB nixed including the gun in the logo.

According to Paul Lukas of the Uni Watch blog, Astros fan James Crabtree wrote a letter to commissioner Bud Selig about the issue and this is the response he got from Mike Acosta, the Astros’ authentication manager:

“During our discussion with Major League Baseball, it was expressed to us that we could wear the uniform as long as the pistol was removed. We realize this changes the original design, but we still want to honor the Colt .45s. We are also under an obligation to follow Major League Baseball’s requests.”

Oof. The weird thing about this is that when the Astros originally announced plans for “Flashback Friday” last September, they had the old Colt .45s uni featured front and center. Apparently something changed over the past few months.

There was some discussion about whether the Colt .45s was appropriate back when new Astros owner Jim Crane mentioned that they had considered changing the team’s name. The world is a very different place now than it was when the franchise debuted in 1962, so obviously the same name and logo wouldn’t work today, but completely altering the design for one game is a bit overboard.

How Yu Darvish tipped his pitches during the World Series

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You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.

Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.

Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.

Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.