Bo Porter makes for a formidable presence and a good quote. On Thursday evening, Porter participated in a Q&A with the season ticket holders at Minute Maid Park with Bill Brown moderating. The discussion ranged widely from how he picked a college to his involvement in selecting a coaching staff to his thoughts on women in baseball, but it was one of his first remarks that received the biggest applause, "My number one goal is to bring a championship to this City."
When Porter talks about bringing a championship to Houston, it doesn't smack of empty platitudes. When he says, "Most people don't fail because they aim too high. Most people fail because they aim too low," it doesn't come across as cliche because he speaks with a thoughtful gravitas that inspires respect. It is obvious to me that he has thought about all of these things long and hard.
He knows that there are many obstacles lying ahead, but he feels well-suited to take them on through his abilities to teach and to motivate. "You want to make sure you take advantage of every teachable moment possible," said Porter. He wants to arm the young players with not only information, but an understanding of how to use that information. Porter understands that at some point during a 107-loss season, losing became a mindset. He wants to change the way the players think.
He spoke of Clemens as being not only a great pitcher, but a great teacher and feels that he will be a "huge benefit to our pitchers from a mental standpoint."
He spoke of plate discipline. "One of the biggest maturations for a young player is understanding their strike zone, not the strike zone."
He spoke about the DH as a benefit when it comes to a pitcher's development because the game situation no longer dictates when a manager has to take out the pitcher.
He spoke of the aggressiveness he wants in a third base coach, "Don't tell me you didn't know [if the runner would be safe]. Send him and find out because if you don't send him, you'll never know."
He spoke of pitchers being coddled in the minors in regards to pitch counts, his distaste for the quality start stat, his discussion with Jon Singleton about decision-making and learning from mistakes and his support for Brett Wallace. "Brett Wallace is our first baseman."
The most well-received answer, though, had to be Porter's reply to a question about when the Astros would once again be competitive. He did not hesitate, "If we had a game tonight, I will tell you that we will be competitive. When you say, 'Is your team competitive?,' to me, what that equates to is that they play hard every night." He went on to assert that, if he told the players who have been here in Houston working out to suit up for a game that night, they would be ready to play. "The message has been delivered. They will be competitive right now." Bill Brown's one-word response, "Wow."
At another point during the Q&A, Porter stated emphatically, "I promise you we will deliver a championship to this City." I wouldn't bet against either him or the sheer force of his formidable will.