You know your farm system is in trouble when talent is so scarce you need to hold a public tryout to fill roster spots. "Ha!", you say. "Those crazy independent leagues will do anything for publicity!"
If only that were the case.
The future looks bleak if you're an Astros fan, because today in Salem, Virginia they're hosting open tryouts. To the public. To anyone with a glove. Ever wanted to be a pro ball player? This is your chance! I've attached the press release that is posted on the home page for the Salem Avalanche, the Class A affiliate of the Houston Astros. I'll give my two cents at the end of the article.
Salem, VA (June 17, 2008) - The Houston Astros will hold an open tryout camp for prospective professional baseball players [today], June 18, from 11AM - 2PM at Lewis-Gale Medical Center Field at Salem Memorial Baseball Stadium. Registration will begin at 10:30AM sharp.
The camp will be under the direction of Houston Astros scout JD Alleva. Participants must be at least 16 years of age, with proof of age required at the time of registration.
No players selected by a Major League team other than the Houston Astros in the 2008 June free-agent draft will be eligible to participate in the camp. American Legion players are required to have a letter from their coach or post commander granting permission to attend the camp.
Players must furnish their own uniforms, gloves, and shoes. Bats, balls and catching equipment will be furnished by the Astros. No dressing areas will be available, and players should arrive at the park in uniform and ready to begin the tryout. The club will not be responsible for any lost/stolen valuables or personal belongings of the participants.
Wow. I wonder if Jay Gibbons reads this site, I hear he's looking for work. Barry Bonds, too. And who is the scout, JD Alleva? Is the talent pool so shallow that he really thinks he might find a solid prospect or two? I mean, really? And I thought Bill Bavasi was a terrible GM in Seattle. Astros GM Ed Wade has set the bar at an all time low if this was his idea.
But with the Astros already 12 games back in the NL Central division, I suppose it can't hurt. Consider the panic button officially pushed.
In other Bad Baseball news from Tuesday night...
The A's routed Brandon Webb and the Diamondbacks by a score of 15-1. Webb lasted just three and a third innings and allowed 7 runs on 7 hits and 5 walks. All four relievers after Webb allowed at least one run . . . The White Sox dropped 16 runs on the Pirates. Bucs starter Ian Snell allowed 7 runs on 9 hits and 6 walks in 4 innings of work. Not to be outdone by the D-Backs pen, the Pirates relief corps also allowed at least a run per pitcher. Particularly bad was Marino Salas, who allowed 5 runs on 5 hits, recording just a single out . . . The Mets lost new manager Jerry Manuel's debut . . . and from a different sport, the Lakers lost decisive game six by a score of 131-92. Yeah, that's 39 points. Ouch. I'll save the breakdown of the meltdown for Ryan should he feel up to it.