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Roy Oswalt: Staying, or Going? Regardless, The Wizard Will Be Remembered

For Houston Astros fans, and management alike, the only question on their minds is this: Will Roy Oswalt still be with the team come the trade deadline on July 31?

And if you ask Oswalt, he’ll tell you the blunt truth: he has no idea.

“You think about it, for sure, not really knowing where you’re going to be in the next few days,” Oswalt told beat writer Brian McTaggart last week. “You have to wait until that decision is made and they approach you with something. It would be different for sure, to put on a different uniform. I won’t know that feeling until it happens. You never know. I may be here until Oct. 4.”

The latest reports indicate a strong possibility of Oswalt landing with the Philadelphia Phillies, but only time will tell.

And time is ticking away.

Another possibility for Oswalt’s destination, according to numerous sources, is the Texas Rangers. If Texas lands the Wizard, watch out American League—the Rangers are World Series bound.

But until a deal is set in stone, it’s all hearsay.

“The money part, I can work out with anybody,” Oswalt said. “We can work on doing different things to restructure whatever they want to do. The biggest thing is making it work for both of us.”

That means Houston’s franchise as well.

“I’m going to find a way to get it done if it works for both of us,” Oswalt said. “I’m not going to go somewhere that’s bad for me. I don’t want to do anything that puts the Astros in a bad situation.”

From rumors involving the Phillies, to the Rangers, to the St. Louis Cardinals (who now appear to be out of contention for Houston’s ace), Oswalt is just waiting the whole thing out—along with management and fans.

“I think my biggest focus is still pitching and this will work itself out,” Oswalt said. “I don’t think about this when I’m away from the field. I’m trying to focus on winning the [next] game.”

Meanwhile, Astros owner Drayton McLane told the media on Wednesday, July 28, that no deal is certain regarding Oswalt at this time.

“There have been lots of discussions,” McLane said. “There have been lots of ideas exchanged between teams, but nothing’s imminent.”

And until the Oswalt deal is signed and delivered, it’s all a matter of guessing.

On the other hand, the Astros first baseman and longtime slugger Lance Berkman has no intention of leaving.

At least that’s the plan.

“This is my home and I like it here,” Berkman said. “We’ve struggled, but we’ve had a lot of good years, and this organization has done a lot of good things for me, and I don’t want to jump ship when things turn south.

“I’d like to help us win here, but obviously I’m open to any suggestions. If a team calls and wants to rent my services for a couple of months, I’d certainly listen.”


Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at

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Houston Astros: Naming Jeff Bagwell New Hitting Coach Step One of Many

The Houston Astros, despite their pitiful overall record this season, are beginning to take the needed steps in the right direction.

Step one, of many, was the Astros naming Jeff Bagwell as the team’s new hitting coach.

Is Bagwell the depleted franchise’s savior? No, not by any means.

But Bagwell’s hiring does mean one thing that fans should be happy about: The Astros are about to become refocused on winning and bringing a World Series championship to the city of Houston.

Are y’all ready?

Bagwell—a key figure of those original Killer B’s that Houston fans became so addicted to in the early and mid-1990s—will be a great addition to an already improved coaching staff.

Expect trades next, with the starting pitcher and fan-favorite Roy Oswalt—the player mentioned the most in trade rumors—parting ways with the Astros.

As sad as it will be to see Houston’s ace leave the only team he’s ever played for professionally, it’s another one of those needed and necessary steps in this long and sometimes painful process of rebuilding a baseball team.

Will the Astros become immediate contenders in the 2011 season with the inevitable moves awaiting this franchise?

Most likely, no (but it could happen—just look back to 2005 as a prime example).

However, they WILL be contenders again within the next two to three years.

As I mentioned earlier, this will be a very LONG and sometimes painful process when it comes to rebuilding Houston’s baseball team into National League Central leaders.

But it’s going to happen. Just give the current coaching staff and upper management time to re-create a new and solid team built on the principles that have always been important to this organization: fantastic clubhouse chemistry and a group of players that care about each other and the game of baseball more than words can express.

Houston’s heading in the right direction.

And Bagwell is going to be a major part of this rebuilding process that will likely conclude with another trip to the coveted World Series.

This time around, however, the Astros will be taking home the title.

I’m allowed to dream, aren’t I?


Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at


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MLB Mid-Season Awards: Who Is Halfway To Hardware?

It’s the perfect time for mid-season Major League Baseball awards.

So, who are my 2010 All-Star Break’s Most Valuable Players, Cy Young award winners, rookies of the year, comeback players of the year, managers of the year, biggest player surprises and disappointments, and biggest team surprises and disappointments?

Let’s begin with the National League MVP. We’ll end with the American League’s biggest team disappointment…

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Power Ranking the 10 Most Valuable MVPs in MLB History

There have been plenty of significant Most Valuable Players through the history of Major League Baseball, but which 10 are the best of the bests?

From studs in the American League like Mickey Mantle in 1956, 1957, and 1962, to duds like the AL’s Dustin Pedoria in 2008, let’s power rank the 10 most valuable MVPs to ever play America’s Pastime.

As a side note, I want to go ahead and inform readers that this is—by far—the toughest top 10 list I’ve ever had to put together, and just because some of the current talent may be towards the back end of (or not even on) this list doesn’t mean they are not worthy MVP players.

My point is that it would be extremely difficult to even assemble a top 25 list of the best MVPs in the history of baseball, let alone narrowing it down to 10.

However, without further ado, here we go…

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Jeff Keppinger: Under-The-Radar MLB Player on Under-The-Ground Team

When talking about under-the-radar players in Major League Baseball this season, Houston’s Jeff Keppinger should be a reoccurring name—regardless of the Astros awful overall record.

Houston doesn’t need a newspaper column with a photo of a graveside and RIP to know their season is practically over.

Fans, writers, and announcers for the Astros have already swallowed that reality pill and realize Houston is in the process of rebuilding.

And that’s putting it nicely.

But along with that rebuilding process comes the opportunity for the young guys to prove themselves in the majors.

Such is the case with Keppinger.

Outside of the constant bricks in the wall such as Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman, along with young studs like Michael Bourn and Hunter Pence, Keppinger has been a bright spot in a very dull season for the Astros.

Let’s take a quick look at why Kepp has been so vital to a Houston team struggling to rebuild, remold, and reload into National League Central contenders.

Thus far, Kepp’s been one of the best on the team, both on and off the field of play.

In fact, on a team batting well under .250, Keppinger and his .275 batting average is better than your average Astro.

He’s tied for third on the team with total bases (101), has 28 runs batted in, 21 doubles, a pair of steals, and holds a .361 slugging percentage.

And Kepp has also played in 73 games at second base for the Astros in 2010, trailing only Carlos Lee, Bourn, and Pence in games played this season.

Great eyes and patience at the plate have also been a contributing factor to Keppinger’s success this season, as he has walked 24 times this season.

Plus, when it comes to clutch hitting in clutch situations, no one has been better than Kepp in 2010 for Houston.

He proved that again on Thursday night in San Diego (yes, Bourn’s 10th inning triple was also key), plating two key runs to give the Astros an early 3-0 lead.

And he helped pad that 10th inning lead by driving home Bourn with a single—as Houston went on to win, 6-3.

Keppinger may be an under-the-radar player on a completely buried team, but the guy has many solid years of baseball left in the tank.

Hopefully, he’ll remain with the Astros.


Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at


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Top 10 MLB Swings that Could Translate to Wimbledon Success

Many hitters in the league have powerful uppercut swings designed to hit 40-plus home runs per season, but what 10 hitters have the kind of smooth, level cut that would make them untapped tennis talents?

We’ll begin with a couple honorable mentions, albeit players that are no longer active, and then we’ll begin the countdown from No. 10 to No. 1 in the best MLB swings that could translate to Wimbledon Success.

So, which baseball players may have been tearing up a clay court or grass court instead of a diamond or stadium?

And which guys could have excelled in both tennis and America’s Pastime?

Let’s begin…

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Top 10 Ways to Know You’re a Seller in MLB at Midseason

With the midpoint of the 2010 Major League Baseball season right around the corner, it’s time to take a look at midseason reports.

In this particular instance, we’re going to be examining how to determine if your team is a buyer—or a seller—at the halfway mark of the 2010 campaign.

So, what are the Top Ten ways to know you’re a seller in MLB at midseason?

Let’s begin with No. 10…

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Sticks And Stones May Break My Bones, But Put Me in the Lineup

Who are the 10 toughest players in Major League Baseball today?

While many have been quick to limp to the disabled list, others such as Derek Jeter, Kevin Youkilis, and numerous catchers across the league take their nicks and keep moving forward.

What names belong on my top 10 list?

Let’s begin with an honorable mention…

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Is It Too Late for a Run: Where Have These Houston Astros Been All Year?

The Houston Astros have finally begun winning ball games fairly consistently.

My only question is: Where were these Astros at the start of the season?

Carlos Lee jacked a grand slam in the top of the 10th inning on Wednesday night in Colorado, as Houston came back from an early deficit and the Astros topped the Rockies, 6-2, in wild fashion.

And it’s about damn time.

Just moments after Houston made their final selections in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, it finally appears as though the Astros are beginning to get things going this season.

It’s likely too little, too late.

I know the MLB season is excessively long—as is the draft—but realism eventually has to begin kicking in for all Houston fans, including myself (being the “Forever Optimist,” it’s tough to admit that the Astros are terrible this year).

As the trade deadline draws nearer and nearer, Houston fans are beginning to fret at the realization that Roy Oswalt—and possibly Lance Berkman as well—may no longer be Astros after this season.

That’s a tough pill to swallow for lifelong Astros fans.

Trust me.

The future, at least at this point and time, appears it will be built around the likes of guys such as Hunter Pence, Michael Bourn, and up-and-coming catcher Jason Castro (just to name a few of the younger stars in Houston).

But this summer’s draft should help the cause in a major way.

Houston selected pitchers in the 2010 MLB Draft. Lots of them (26 to be exact).

And that’s precisely what the Astros need right about now.

Yes, Houston is beginning to finally play some entertaining baseball games.

Carlos Lee is finally beginning to play like the Major League Baseball player we all knew he was and is; amazingly, the bats are beginning to re-awaken in the Astros lineup; and pitching is becoming more dominant and consistent.

All positive things looking towards the future, but I’ll take what I can get as a Houston baseball fan right about now.

It’s great to see the Astros finally winning games, don’t get me wrong by any means.

I’ll continue to watch all season—win or lose.

But, in the same breath, it’s exciting to be a Houston fan right now.

The future looks bright.

And winning a few this season, even with the Hollywood endings, doesn’t hurt at all.

For now, I’ll take what I can get as an Astros fan…



Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at


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Bud Selig Needs the Boot; It’s Time For Some Changes in Major League Baseball

When is Major League Baseball going to learn to have some morals and values?

It starts—and ends—at the top. And that means commissioner Bud Selig.

He’s old and in charge. He wants to let the world know—and he’s too freaking stubborn to make one single change to America’s Pastime.

Like it or not, commissioner Selig, we live in the year 2010.

We live in a world with social networking, instant messaging, and texts.

We live in a world with instant replay.

When, oh when, is MLB going to wake up and face reality?

You would think screwing a kid out of perfect game would change Selig’s mind on the whole instant replay issue.

You would think a 60-year-old umpire in tears may just strike the heart strings of Selig.

You would think Selig would have some sense to at least consider the notion of change.

Obviously not.

Change scares many people; and it’s a tough issue to deal with. But it’s something NCAA Football is currently dealing with—especially in regards to the Big 12, Pac-10, and Big Ten—as expansion talks are the focal point of water-cooler conversations.

And it’s something Major League Baseball will have to deal with one day as well.

Put it on the backburner for as long as you want, commissioner Selig; eventually that pot’s going to boil over and changes WILL be made.

What will it take to make the needed and necessary modifications to America’s Pastime?

Will it take giving commissioner Selig the boot?

Will it take another perfect game called not-perfect due to a blown call?

What, exactly, will it take to make change happen?

America believed they’d get it when they elected Barack Obama—and only time will tell if that’s the case.

Selig could learn a whole lot from other sports leagues around the nation—as well as taking a glimpse at the political world—in learning to adapt to the world we live in today.

Wake up, commissioner Selig. The time has come for some changes in baseball; and as stated earlier: It begins—and ends—with you.

The NBA, whether they did it reluctantly or not, has made some changes in their game to adopt new rules regarding instant replay.

Those rules have already been vital in this season’s NBA Finals.

The same could be said about the near-perfect game in 2010.

And Selig COULD have done something about that.

But he chose not to…



Denton Ramsey may be reached via email at


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