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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Mom, Look, Farmstros is Using Phineas and Ferb's Time Machine

I understand that as the holidays approach, the UPS man is occasionally going to mis-deliver an occasional package.  So, I wasn't that surprised when a large, unexpected parcel was on my porch Monday night.  However, I was curious when I saw that the box was addressed to Phineas and Ferb.

Despite my curiosity, I was fully intent on leaving the box untouched so the driver could pick it up and give delivering it to the proper mailbox another try.  However, some of the younger members of the Farmstros staff insisted that we just give the box a look.  "Mike, it's for Phineas and Ferb! How can we not look inside!"

Reluctantly, I opened that box and found a brand new Time Machine.  I didn't want to use the machine, since it didn't belong to me. Yet, I'll admit that the opportunity to look at the Astros of the Future in the future and report on it was too tempting.  So, I gave it a go and set the machine's clock for December 18, 2022 and let her rip.

The ride was surprisingly smooth and its destination was the Farmstros offices, 10 years in the future.  The offices were empty, so I booted up the computer and hopped on the internet.  I was certain that the blogosphere had to have changed over the span of ten years, so I started with what I knew and googled "Astro draft picks".  Interestingly, the following article is the first thing that popped up.

Houston Born and Raised, All-American Catcher Not Sure if he'd Like to be an Astro
by James Brooks for Crawfish
posted December 18, 2022

It seemed normal to meet Lance Michaels at his "favorite baseball stadium" to talk about his upcoming junior season at Rice University and the prospect of being drafted in the first round of the MLB's 2023 Rule 4 draft. Michaels is a two-team All-American catcher and the centerpiece of Manager Lance Berkman's nationally recognized program, so it stands to reason he would be most comfortable being interviewed at the ballpark.

However, it was Michaels' choice of ballpark that threw me for a loop.  "This may seem a bit odd," said Michaels, "but if it's not too much trouble, I'd like to meet at the Rangers' stadium in Arlington." Conveniently, he and I were both in the Metroplex area last week, and we were able to set up a time to meet at the stadium.  I was intrigued as I set out to meet him in the shadow of Jerry World.

"I get asked often if I'd be excited to be drafted by the Astros in June."  Michaels, 21 says, "That possibility causes mixed emotions for me. Most people know that I grew up near downtown Houston.  I went to Carnegie High School which is a short drive from Minute Maid Park."  Most of Michaels extended family lives in the Houston area.

Despite this proximity, Houston's big league team didn't really rub off on Michaels.  "When I was starting to get into baseball, around 3rd or 4th grade, to be blunt, the Astros weren't of much interest to me. The team's leadership kept talking about being a winner someday in the future.  Some people thought they could do it, some people weren't sure.  As for me, I couldn't wait around to find out. I remember having the distinct thought, 'If I'm going to be a great player, I need to watch great players.'  Michaels started 4th grade in August 2011, when the Astros were wrapping up the first 100 loss season in team history.

"I couldn't convince my parents to move to Dallas, but they did  agree to take me to Arlington at least once a summer.  We'd also go to Minute Maid- to watch the Rangers play- a few times each season.  Also, we'd go to Reckling Park for a few games of Owl baseball each season." I failed to ask Michaels about watching baseball on television as a teenager, but I assume he wasn't too concerned about the CSN Houston deal being worked out.

Michaels' strategy of watching great players(instead of less than mediocre ones)has paid off.  He was an all-state catcher two times in high school.  He was second team All-American in 2021, his freshmen year at Rice.  That year's team gave Berkman his first College World Series Championship as Rice's manager.  Michaels was first team All-American in 2022, and is the consensus college player of the year headed into 2023.

For those of you scoring at home, after reading and printing out the above article in 2022, I returned to 2012, packed up the time machine, and called the UPS offices to explain the situation.  As I write this post, the man in brown shorts is loading the box in his truck so he can properly deliver it to Phineas and Ferb.

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