NERDS AROUND TOWN

Nerds Around Town: Rain, terrible NFL and Batman Day

Nerds Around Town: Rain, terrible NFL and Batman Day
ART BY JESUS RODRIGUEZ

Born with a comic book in one hand and a remote control in the other, Cory DLG is the talent of Conroe's very own Nerd Thug Radio and Sports. Check out the podcast replay of the FM radio show at www.nerdthugradio.com!

GOOD DEED OF THE DAY

I had been talking about a walk to fight melanoma called Steps For Melanoma Walk, but given the weather the last few days, the more important thing in the near immediate future is to focus on your friends and neighbors and local charities. Make sure everyone is dry and fed and warm this weekend.

WATER WOES

So when are we going to have the very honest conversation about the climate? I don't know a way to beat around the bush on this anymore, Houston is flooding regularly now. We've over-developed all of our drainage and water absorption away to the point that now we retain water all the time. On top of poor planning that is decades in the works (so we can't/won't blame any one party for it, it's us, Houston has been ignoring water run offs forever) the storms are getting larger and more powerful and more devastating in ways that are hard to even fathom. Over fourteen years ago our fun neighbors to the east, New Orleans, suffered their own catastrophic flooding and we were able to help them but we complained about taking on the residents and what our city "turned" into, all while ignoring the real lessons. Cities have to be able to handle the storms, and yet, 14 years later we're flooding and looking to Washington for help like it's their job to bail out our inability to learn a lesson. We complained about Louisiana's inability to properly handle their funds and infrastructure and yet, here we are, swimming for our lives.

BAD NFL

There are some dramatically bad teams in the NFL right now and the Titans and the Jaguars are two of those awful teams and this game last night was some bad football. Also on a side note, I have Fournette on my fantasy team and he lets himself get tackled 9 yards out after a terrible game?! C'mon man! Also it says a lot about Nike and the helmet company that they both dropped Antonio Brown the Patriots haven't and the NFL hasn't benched him. The fact that he didn't pay this girl $2 million dollars to settle confidentially may have been right ethically for him (I have no knowledge of facts in this case, simply speaking hypothetically) but it clearly was a poor business decision and sometimes these guys need better advice. I talk about good advice all the time and this guy is clearly in need of it.

DRAMA IN THE INDUSTRY

It's rare when a story is just full of awful people all around but the feud between Rob Liefeld and Terrific Production LLC fits that bill for me. Rob Liefeld has long been the Rockstar or the upstart of the comic book industry, regularly finding himself in the center of the several of the big dramatic moments in the comic book industry's history. Some great like the founding of Image Comics, which changed comic books for the better, to feuding with creators to being the guy who had his own Levi jean's commercial (true story). He was cashing million dollar checks as 19 year old comic creator and now has lost the rights to one of his biggest creations through poor decision making. The guy who has it has started up Terrific Production LLC and he seems like an absolute looney tune. He has done literally everything in the most inefficient and unproductive ways, insulting creators and seeming to know nothing about the climate of current comic books. It's been fun to watch.

NOT THAT YOU ASKED

Come hang out with me tomorrow afternoon at The Adventure Begins for Batman Day. It's going to be awesome! There will be a flippin' Batmobile there. Seriously.

Feel free to check out my brand new comic book Another Day at the Office or buy a shirt from Side Hustle Ts where some proceeds help people struggling with cancer or listen to Nerd Thug Radio. Thoughts, complaints, events and comments can be sent to corydlg@gmail.com.

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The Astros are back in action Friday night against the A's. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

The Astros need to whip up on the Oakland A’s this weekend in California as they did in sweeping four from them last week at Minute Maid Park. That was the start of a homestand which ended up with seven wins in 10 games. That goes down as a successful homestand, especially since it felt like the Astros’ prior winning homestand came while Donald Trump was President (it actually started in late July). Still, 7-3 doesn’t feel like a smashing success with it ending by dropping two of three games to the lowly Los Angeles Angels.

It is not exactly with bated breath that anyone should be waiting on Jose Abreu’s return to the lineup, but it’s coming. It should not be on this road trip. After the three games with the A’s the Astros move up the coast for a big four game set with American League West leading Seattle. The M's start all right-handed pitchers. That is no time to sit Jon Singleton to see if Abreu has managed to pump a few drops of gas into his tank while spending the better part of this month at the Astros’ minor league complex. It’s not as if Singleton has been stellar since Abreu’s departure, but by comparison, he’s been Lou Gehrig-esque. The series with the Mariners isn’t make or break but the Astros are strongly advised to get at least a split. That it should be Framber Valdez starting the opener Monday night doesn’t breed tremendous confidence, coming off his meltdown outing against the Angels. Another start, another opportunity.

The Mariners are at the Nationals this weekend, starting it a mere four and a half games ahead of the Astros. In four of the five other divisions the Astros' 22-28 record would have them at least 10 games off the lead.

One step forward, two steps back

Speaking of washed-up first basemen, Joey Votto should be a future Hall of Famer. The 40-year-old Canadian is trying to make it back to the big leagues via the minor leagues with the Toronto Blue Jays. Votto was an absolutely tremendous player with the Cincinnati Reds. As the Beastie Boys said, “Ch-check it out.” Over Jeff Bagwell’s first ten seasons with the Astros he hit .305 with a .417 on-base percentage and .552 slugging percentage, yielding a phenomenal .970 OPS. Over Votto’s first ten full seasons with the Reds: .313/.429/.540 for an exactly phenomenal .970 OPS. Where am I going with this? Read on!

Votto had phenomenal strike zone and bat control. He turned 30 during the 2013 season. That year Votto had 581 at bats. He popped out to an infielder once the entire season. Alex Bregman turned 30 the third day of this season. Bregman popped out to the shortstop four times in the Angels series. So much for Bregman’s “knob past the ball” epiphany that saw him hit three home runs over two games last week. Going into the weekend Bregman has one hit in his last 23 at bats. His season stats continue to be pitiful: a .209 batting average and .607 OPS. Bregman has only struck out once in the 23 at bats of his latest deep freeze. It’s that so much of his contract is feeble. There is a lot of season left for Bregman to build up to decent numbers, but one-third of the regular season will be complete after the Astros play the Mariners Monday night.

While Bregman’s season to date has basically been one long slump, Jose Altuve is in a funk of his own. Since blasting a homer Monday, Altuve is hitless in 12 at bats. Mini-slumps happen to everybody but Altuve’s woes trace back farther. Over his last 15 games, Altuve is batting .175. He last had more than one hit in a game May 5. He’s also drawn just two walks over those 15 games. It’s tough to ever sit Altuve, but he’s probably playing a little too much. Altuve turned 34 earlier this month. He has started 48 of the Astros 50 games at second base. Mauricio Dubon should be getting a start per week at second (and probably another at third given Bregman’s level of play). Over a full season not playing the field once per week still means 135 starts. Altuve should mix in some more at designated hitter (he has just one DH game so far this season). Wear and tear is a real thing, players don’t grow less susceptible to it as they get to their mid-30s.

King Tuck

On the flip side, Kyle Tucker! So far this season, he’s making himself as much money as Bregman is costing himself. Only Shohei Ohtani (1.069) starts the weekend action with an OPS higher than Tucker’s 1.060. The law of averages dictates that Tucker won’t finish as high as 1.060, but if he does, it would be the greatest full-length season offensive performance in Astros’ history. Jeff Bagwell posted an absurd 1.201 OPS in the strike-shortened 1994 campaign. Yordan Alvarez came in at 1.067 in his 87 games played rookie season of 2019. Lance Berkman’s 2001 was a monster. Enron Field was more hitter-friendly then than Minute Maid Park is now, but Berkman’s numbers were “Oh My Gosh!” spectacular. .331 batting average, 55 doubles (second in franchise history to Craig Biggio's 56 in 1999), 34 homers, .430 on-base percentage, .620 slugging percentage, and 1.051 OPS. And that was just Berkman’s second full season in the majors. Lance finished fifth in National League Most Valuable Player Award voting. Giant-headed Barry Bonds won MVP with his 73 home runs among other sicko stats.

* Catch our weekly Stone Cold ‘Stros podcast. Brandon Strange, Josh Jordan, and I discuss varied Astros topics. The first post for the week generally goes up Monday afternoon (second part released Tuesday) via The SportsMap HOU YouTube channel or listen to episodes in their entirety at Apple, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

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