CC Sabathia beat the Twins last night. That’s nothing new, he always beats the Twins. But it was significant for another reason: it was his 200th career win.
That’s 200 wins against 108 losses in his 13th season. Sabathia turns 33 in a couple of weeks and he’s been remarkably durable in his career. As such, it’s not a stretch to suggest that he could, quite possibly, win 300 games before he’s said and done. Being conservative, let’s say he wins seven more games this year. That puts him at 207. He’d then only need to average 15 wins and change over six more years to reach that magic milestone by his age-38 season. If he pitches through his age-40 season he’d only need 11 wins a year and change.
And if and when he does that a bunch of people will, once again, say that we’re unlikely to see another 300-game winner. Because people like doing that so darn much for some reason.
The Astros and Nationals share a spring training facility, so it was only natural that they would open Grapefruit League play together. The Astros were the home team. Here’s the lineup they rolled out.
Teams typically include at least a few regulars in their spring training lineups as a courtesy to the fans, who are spending money to see big league players play baseball. This is especially the case for home games. However, the Astros have decided to roll out a lineup with a combined 323 MLB plate appearances.
There might be a reason for that. Houston was lustily booed as they took the field. This was after running a video on the scoreboard celebrating their 2019 AL championship.
That’s all with the team that beat them in the World Series (and is widely regarded as baseball’s current heroes for beating the big bad cheating Astros) in the other dugout, of course. Nationals starter Max Scherzer has not thrown at any Houston player, and the game is now in a rain delay. But it seems like the Astros decided to spare their players from some possible rough treatment, both from fans and opposing pitchers.
The same could not be said for Astros mascot Orbit, who was also booed.
One can quibble with the merits of booing a bunch of players who have barely touched the big leagues because you’re mad at Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman, but sports fandom is something of an irrational business. Fans are going to want their pound of flesh, especially when they paid for the right to be in the ballpark and give the Astros a piece of their mind. Some of them even brought props! This is just how it all works, unfortunately. If you’re in an Astros uniform, you’re probably going to get booed.
Welcome to the 2020 season, Astros. It’s probably going to be like this all year.