Larry Dierker Chapter meeting recap - 1/21/2019

A total of 46 members and friends were in attendance for the Larry Dierker Chapter monthly meeting on January 21, 2019, at the Spaghetti Western restaurant on Shepherd Drive in Houston.

Karen Warren, staff photographer for the Houston Chronicle, was our first guest. She started her slideshow of photos with President George H.W. Bush’s funeral in Washington, D.C. as well as College Station. She had some amazing shots.

Karen is a graduate of the University of Texas and has worked as a photographer for the Chronicle for 22 years. Karen is also the first female journalist to be inducted into the Astros Media Wall of Fame. Her pictures of the Astros over the years were beyond amazing.

Karen showed us candid pictures of Ken Caminiti, Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, Jose Lima, and other players, including Jose Altuve's first major-league game, and a cool photo from the top of the Astrodome looking at downtown. It was truly a fun walk down memory lane. Thank you so much, Karen, for sharing with us.

Next we heard from Chandler Rome, the Astros beat writer for the Chronicle. He graduated from LSU, where he covered Alex Bregman’s junior and senior years. Chandler interned with Brian McTaggart in 2015. He has a degree in mass communication with a concentration in print journalism. 

Chandler told us about the huge adjustment he had to make moving from a college baseball schedule to the MLB schedule, where he covered 136 games last season plus the playoff games.

His job is to cover more than just the box scores: he also focuses on storytelling and analysis. He has to turn in 600 words by the final out in every game he is covering. A member asked Chandler what his goals were. He replied that this is his dream job so he will have to re-evaluate that. 

Chandler was asked about access to the clubhouse. He responded that he has a press pass and can go in any clubhouse but he usually just covers the Astros. His favorite interview is Gerrit Cole, because he is so interesting to listen to as he reflects on the game.  

Chandler also reflected that he loved to interview A.J. Hinch, who is "accessible and fascinating."

Chandler was asked if gets to interview the umpires. He said no, the only person who can interview a umpire and that would be only the crew chief is the pool reporter.

Chandler was asked about sources going “off the record” in interviews. He said off the record is off the record. "You have to maintain trust, it is vital to the relationship," he added. But he also said that sometimes you can reword your question and get it on the record.

Chandler ended with “I hope I did not bore y’all.” Well, I certainly was not bored.

Next was Kate Love, who worked for an outfit in Seattle called DriveLine Baseball, where they studied the magnus force or effect. The magnus effect is an observable phenomenon that is commonly associated with a object moving through a liquid. The path of the spinning object is deflected in a manner that is not present when the object is not spinning.

Kate went on to eloquently compare the spin rate of a curveball to a fastball. I will not even try to explain all that she did, but suffice it to say the curveball has a greater spin rate than the fastball mostly because the fastball is just faster. Can spin rate be manipulated? Yes, but it is most affected by substances which are currently illegal. It is basically manipulating the surface friction to increase spin rate.

The Astros announced that they will have their own Astros Hall of Fame. Reid Ryan said the first class would be large and the induction ceremony will take place later this year. It will be housed where Home Run Alley is now, between the Crawford boxes and the Budweiser Patio.

Note: If you are interested in 13 Astros game tickets, including parking, behind home plate in the field boxes, contact Grant Sovereign at grantsovereign@gmail.com.

The meeting ended without trivia this time as we went late.

Bob Dorrill (bdorrill@aol.com) informed us that we have 7 new members since last meeting, with Mark Brubaker in attendance and Jenifer Windham joining during the meeting. Guests Wesley Story and Kate Love’s parents were in attendance for a total of 46.

Saturday is the Houston Astros FanFest at Minute Maid Park. Thank you to those who volunteered to work. Bob will be in touch with you if you do not have vouchers yet.

— Karen Walker