Griffin Phelps | The Golden Sombrero Baseball Blog | MLB, Fantasy, College & High School Baseball News

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Interview With a Vambauer

I originally planned on writing a review of my time spent at the ABCA (American baseball Coaches Association) national convention in Anaheim.  However, every time I began to think about the idea I grew more and more tired with it.  Finally, I realized that if I were already tired of the subject, then how could I possibly expect anyone to read it without feeling the same way?  Lucky for you the reader, I ran into the one and only Trevor Bauer.

Trevor Bauer is a true class act.  I say this with the following context…Bryce Harper made an appearance at the Marucci vendor’s booth and was obviously swarmed by anyone who caught a glance of his Bieber-esque beanie covered mane.  Over and over again Harper refused to sign autographs.  I know, I know, he is a busy guy.  He had a schedule and had to stay on top of it.  If he stopped for one, he would have to sign them all.  I get it.  Bryce Harper is a big deal.  But so is Trevor Bauer.  Dude was the 3rd overall pick in his draft.  He has hit 100 mph on the gun.  A lot of people hit deep fly balls.  The triple digit club is much more VIP.  Needless to say, Bauer had a crowd that rivaled Harper’s waiting for him after his Q and A session.  Trevor didn’t even look like he cared if he didn’t move for the next 24 hours.  He stood and took pictures, signed autographs, and carried on short conversations with each and every single person who waited for the briefest of moment with a star.  That group of people included me.  I patiently waited as every other person got their turn.  I wanted to make sure I was last, just in hopes that he might be willing to just talk for five minutes.  Lucky me.  And lucky for you too, I suppose.

After 30 minutes of waiting I got my chance to chat with Trevor Bauer, and he did not disappoint.  Trevor (that’s right, first name basis) is one educated guy.  He speaks with a purpose, but without trying to go over your head.  He seemed so comfortable with the entire situation that it was a tad bit scary.  I was also awed by the fact that he and I are the same size, with him maybe having 10 lbs on me.  Anyways, enough babbling.  What follows is my interview with Trevor Bauer.  (And mind you that this is the first time I have ever done an interview.  I apologize for the background noise, but this interview was done in the midst of 1000 other people milling around the convention center.)

Bauer interview

Road to the ABCA

I guess the best place to start is here- from my seat on this here train.  It’s five ‘til 8 and we are on the Amtrak from Gallup, New Mexico and won’t exit this beast until we hit Fullerton, California.  What do five coaches, a 12-hour overnight train ride, four and a half days in sunshiny Anaheim, and the nation’s largest baseball convention add up to?  That’s a hell of a good question.  Be sure to check back each night to find out.  I’m sure you won’t be disappointed.

A Trade, A Fan, and A Story



Welcome to the big leagues Jeff Luhnow.  A mere six days into his inaugural tenure as a general manager of a Major League franchise Mr. Luhnow has already completed his first trade.  As a fan I’m stoked.  Sure, it might have cost us a cheap and controlled closer, but who cares when you’re only going to win 55-60 games.  We were able to bring back a shortstop that has a higher ceiling than any of the other options left via free agency, and we brought back a young arm that has the potential to be as good as a number 3 starter.  Sweet.

There was still one part of this trade that left me with my mouth just a bit open and my mind grasping at straws…we didn’t shed any of the large salaries we have trade Carlos, Wandy, or Brett.  As a matter of fact, the exact opposite occurred.  Whatever.  After being strong armed in to joining the American League, showing up to prom stag (RE: the Winter Meetings), and having David Stern defecate all over the Houston Rockets, it is nice to be able to say that something positive is happening in Houston sports.[1]  I can handle the fact that the rebuilding process will test my heart and drive for the team.  I can accept that.  What I would not have been able to handle was a blown move right out of the gate.  So it is nice to finally enjoy a victory as an Astros fan- no matter how small that victory may be.

I will be sad to see Mark Melancon leave, though.  Not because of any stats, or because he made one of my outlandish predictions come true, or because of any way he could possibly help the team between the lines.  Melancon will be just fine as a closer.  As he logs more innings his BB/9 will decrease and finally allow his 8K/9 to let him slam the door shut.[2]   No, this break-up is of a more personal shade.  Before Marky Mark was chuckin’ in The Show, he and I were teammates in Tucson.  We were both on the 2004 University of Arizona team that went to the CWS that year.  You can only imagine my excitement when he came to Houston as part of the deal that sent Berkman to the Yankees.  It was pretty cool to have a friend playing for your favorite team.  It was a unique lens from which to view.  But that is neither here nor there.  Honestly, I just wanted to share a quick story about Mark and myself from that 2004 trip to Omaha.  It goes like this…

It was the night after our first game of the tournament- a loss to Georgia- and Mark and I were back at the hotel.  Because I was medical redshirting and not playing I was obviously itching to go out and enjoy the local taverns and watering holes.  Mark tells me that he has some friends from high school in town and I should hang out with them.  One house party, and many sodas later, I find myself back at the hotel approximately 3:30 A.M.  Not quite sure which room was mine I began trying them all.  Then called my girlfriend at the time to find out why she wouldn’t open the door to her apartment.  She immediately realized how lost I was and called Mark, begged relentlessly, and convinced him to find me.  He finds me on the floor below and politely walks me back to the room.  Then Beelzebub reared his true colors.  His eyes locked with mine and I felt his tug on my soul as he yelled something at me about how, “…and If I blow a f—–g save tomorrow I’m going to f—–g kill you!”  Sure enough, the next day Mark, the true freshman, was out there in a win-or-go-home game at the College World Series.  And true to form Marky Mark shoved and made sure we saw another game that season.  It was tits.  Mark, if you ever read this, big ups man.  You deserve everything that comes your way.


[1] No, the Texans don’t count for me.  I grew up an Oilers fan and moved out of Houston before the Texans were a team.

[2] Don’t believe me?  Look at the splits for him pre and post All-Star break.  Match that trend with the fact that he is finally throwing his new cutter with much better control and I think you will agree with me.

World Series Thoughts and Predictions

With the Fall Classic kicking off tonight, I felt compelled to make my predictions for this exciting World Series. Let me start off by saying that I am rooting for Texas. For starters, as an Astros diehard I would not be able to look myself in the mirror if I rooted for those bastards from the Midwest. Iʼve been raised better than that. Secondly, being from Texas has always allowed me to have a reason to root for an American League team, so long as they were not actually playing my beloved Astros. That appears to be changing though. With news last week of new ownership taking over (finally) and Houston headed for the AL West, this may be my last chance to cheer for the other team from Texas. Unless something drastic happens they will become my new division rival (read: mortal enemy). On the other hand, the Cards will begin fading away as an enemy in my mind. Now I will be able to cheer out loud for Albert Pujols and not have to feel guilty about it. I can watch Lance Berkman and not resent his resurgence, because it will not be at the cost of my team. It seems almost fitting then, that this final series of baseball for 2011 pits my arch nemesis from the past against the arch nemesis of my future. Or, maybe I am just grabbing at air as I try to ascend from the endless abyss known as Astros fandom.

For my predictions:

Rangers win in 7

Josh Hamilton wins MVP with 7 homeruns, including 2 in Game 7.

Changeups and Screwballs: A Southpaw’s Perspective for 9/20/11


–  I am finally sold on Ian Kennedy.  Dude has won more games this year than he has in his entire big league career.  And after watching him strike out six in a row in the 7th and 8th innings last night, I just can’t ignore the impression it left upon me.  He is no Cy Young winner this year, in my opinion, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a strong argument for him.

–  With the Brew Crew signing Ryan Braun to the deal they did, the writing is basically on the wall for Prince Fielder to read.  And he has.  The thing of it is, I’m not sure the market for a $100 million first baseman is what people believe it to be.  Look at all the usual big spenders, and see that they all have their own pricey 1B’s already.  I’m just saying that the market for Fielder is much smaller than people might realize.

–  Is Brad Pitt not the most Ironic actor to portray Billy Beane in the upcoming movie Moneyball?  Seriously, you can’t help but chuckle at that.

–  Here is some neat trivia for you- Do you know who holds the highest era for a single season?  That’s right, it is Roy Halladay, who posted an atrocious 10.64 era for the 2000 season.  Now pick your chin up off the ground and continue reading. (Author’s note: Now Brian Matusz is the owner of this prestigious award; he is sporting an era of 10.68-congrats to you sir.)

–  What kind of baseball blogger would I be if I didn’t have a mention of Mariano Rivera and his record 602 saves in here?  I am still mesmerized by the fact that he has gotten every last one of those in pinstripes.

–  How about those St. Louis Cardinals?  They might actually pull off their own comeback and rip the wild card spot right out of the Braves hands.  After writing about the lack of tight races, the game of baseball is making me eat my words.

–  If you had to take one of these starting pitchers and run them out on the bump, whom would you rather have: John Lackey or A.J. Burnett?  Me, I’d rather let the mascot go out there and see what he can do…in his costume, too.