EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH ASTROS ANALYST

Mike Stanton on MLB's return & Astros chances of winning another championship

Photo by Getty Images.

Baseball fans aren't quite sure what to call Major League Baseball's second attempt at starting the 2020 season but Wednesday marks the start of Spring Training 2.0 or MLB Summer Camp. Most MLB teams are preparing for the upcoming 60-game season at their home city ballparks instead of their usual Spring Training locations, but not every player will be playing for their team in 2020.

Multiple players have decided to opt-out of playing the 2020 season for various reasons regarding health concerns or potentially exposing the virus to an at-risk person in their family. The Nationals Ryan Zimmerman, announced earlier in the week he was opting out of playing because he has a newborn child and a mother suffering from Multiple Sclerosis.

But will the rest of the players on those teams losing key members support or resent these decisions?

Former MLB All-Star reliever and current Houston Astros analyst on AT&T SportsNet Mike Stanton joined The Jake Asman Show on Gow Media's SB Nation Radio Wednesday to discuss this situation. When asked if what players say publicly about supporting their opting-out teammates differs from what they may think privately, Stanton said that could definitely be a factor.

"I think there could be some resentment," Stanton said. "I don't know if it ever becomes public or if it ever becomes known by the player that opts-out, but yeah there is going to be some of that here or there. I'm not going to say it's going to be rapid because I think the players that do opt-out will be dealing with inner turmoil with that decision. It's not going to be a decision that is made on a whim, a snap decision, it's not going to be an emotional decision, there's going to be a lot of things that go into that. I think most players are going to understand why these players are going to be opting out but there might be some players that go 'man I wish Mike Stanton' was here today."

Unlike other sports attempting to return, MLB will not be playing games in an isolated bubble meaning that it will be on the players to police themselves and abide by the social distancing guidelines when they are away from the ballparks. Stanton says veteran players are going to have to lead the way to ensure that the younger players follow in-line.

"There is going to have to be accountability," Stanton said. "Those conversations need to be had in between the players... You can't be on the road and be like 'I'm tired of this hotel room, I'm going to go out to lunch today' you just can't do that. You have to maintain your discipline and not get too comfortable in your situation because that is when mistakes happen."

How does the current Astros analyst on AT&T SportsNet feel about the 2020 Astros chances of winning another championship?

"I think they are definitely one of the top two or three teams in the American League," Stanton said. "I think they have as good of a chance as anyone… Especially in a short season, really anything can happen."

You can listen to The Jake Asman Show weekdays from 8 AM -10 AM Central on SB Nation Radio.

You can listen to the full interview with Mike Stanton below:


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The Texans didn't have an answer for Derrick Henry. Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Romeo Crennel made a valorous call that might have costed the Houston Texans from winning their second consecutive game on Sunday. Up by seven with 1:50 left in the fourth quarter, Crennel decided to call a two-point conversion following Deshaun Watson's one-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks.

During the two-point conversion, Watson had a look at an open Randall Cobb, but Titans' defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons got a hand on the ball to deflect the pass. The failed conversion allowed the Titans to take a 42-36 victory over the Texans inside Nissan Stadium. Tennessee scored 13 unanswered points, which included a seven-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to A.J. Brown to send the game into overtime.

"I think I would do it again," Crennel said during his media availability on Monday. "You are on the road against a divisional opponent who is undefeated, and if you could get that two-point conversion — you shut the door on them. We had a guy open, but unfortunately, the ball got tipped and we did not make it. I would do it again because it was a good choice."

The decision to not kick the field goal caused somewhat of an uproar, but it is understandable why Crennel made the call. Crennel had faith in Watson to put the Texans in a position to close the game, similar to his 4th-and-4 call during last week's victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

In the end, Crennel's risky decisions could stem from the lack of faith he has in the Texans' depleted defense.

Houston's defense hit an all-time low against the Titans. They gave up a franchise-worst 601 total yards — with Derrick Henry accounting for 212 yards on 22 carries. But despite their struggles against the run, the Texans' secondary were just as faulty. They gave up a total of 338 yards through the air and allowed Tannehill to go 8-for-9 down the field during the Titans' final drive of regulation.

Had Houston's defense made a stop during the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, the Texans could have ended the game 2-0 under their interim head coach.

"I wanted to go ahead and get the two points — I felt like that would have put the game out of reach for them," Crennel said. "If we had gotten it, we would have been in much better shape. But we did not get it. We did not perform well in overtime, and they [Titans] won the game."

Following Sunday's heartbreaking loss, Texans safety Justin Reid said it best, "Had we converted on the two-point conversion, this would be a totally different conversation. So it is what it is."

Up next, the 1-5 Texans will look to bounce back from defeat against the 4-1 Green Bay Packers, inside NRG Stadium on Sunday. Kick-off is at 12:00 PM CT.

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