Reaction: Justin Verlander signs with the Mets

Big news this morning: the AL Cy Young winner Justin Verlander has signed a 2yr/$86M deal with the New York Mets, with a vesting option for a third year.

Verlander leaves the Astros with two World Series titles, two Cy Young awards, and a lot of great memories. Best of luck, JV!

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Mariners fans cheered when Jose Altuve was hit by a pitch Monday night. Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images.

I don’t dislike the “other team.” Sure, I root for the Astros to win, regardless who they're playing, but especially this week against the Seattle Mariners. This is do-or-die time for the Astros. Win, they're in the playoffs. Lose, let's not even think about lose.

I’ve got nothing against the Mariners players, though. Who knows? The way baseball operates these days, some of them could be Astros before spring training next season. They got any free agent lefty relievers in their bullpen?

Look at Justin Verlander. A few months ago, back on June 20, he was on the mound for the New York Mets pitching against the Astros, the team he pitched for last season. Monday night, improbably back in an Astros uniform, he just may have saved the season for the defending World Series champs. Verlander was marvelous, throwing eight innings of three-hit ball in what, no cliché for a change, was a must-win game. It may not have been a death blow for Mariners' playoff hopes, but it surely has them reeling in despair.

So cheer for the Astros. But be careful who you boo.

Except in the case of Seattle Mariners fans. What a bunch of awful jerks. They're evil.

Not all of them. But it sure sounded like most of the 39,920 fans who attended Monday night’s game at T-Mobile Park.

In the ninth inning, with Mariners’ playoff hopes dimming at the hands of the Astros, Seattle pitcher Dominic Leone unleashed a 96-mph heater that struck Jose Altuve on his left elbow. It looked bad. Astros fans remember that Altuve was hit by a similar pitch, a 96-mph sinker that broke his right thumb, during the World Baseball Classic back in March causing him to miss the first seven weeks of 2023.

Monday night, Altuve flipped his bat backwards, doubled over and grimaced in pain. A Major League fastball, even if it strikes a protective elbow guard, is scary business.

How did Seattle fans react? They cheered.


Altuve is used to being jeered in ballparks around the Major Leagues. Deserving or not, and as more information comes out, it’s undeserving that Altuve is the face of the Astros sign-stealing scandal.

But to cheer for a player to get injured is just plain disgusting. This applies to all players, but in Houston, especially Altuve.

Jose Altuve is this generation’s favorite Astro. I happen to think that when his career wraps up, he will be a Hall of Famer and the undeniable greatest Astro ever. He is more than a mountain of statistics. He is a role model, not just an All-Star second baseman, but a generous, charitable public servant. In 2017 he was named Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated, not just for helping his team win the World Series, but for helping his city through a devastating hurricane.

The Astros could say goodbye to George Springer, Gerrit Cole, Carlos Correa, Yuli Gurriel, yes Justin Verlander, too. The one player that management shouldn't dare think about parting ways with is Jose Altuve. He is the embodiment of the Houston Astros spirit. Fans' forgiveness and understanding have their limits.

Not that the Mariners need any extra boost to fall out of the pennant race, it's what they do best all on their own, but here's hoping that Mariners fans enjoy another October watching the Astros play baseball on TV.

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