Time to head into the weekend again, so gather the neighbors, call in the dogs and talk baseball, the Astros and anything you'd like to bring to the table. Welcome to another Free Blog Weekend! Let's be clear: I'm not a Cubs' fan. But how the team handled Ryne Sandberg is atrocious. According to some in Chicagoland, the Cubs never considered the Hall of Famer as a legitimate manager candidate. Hopefully, the Astros would treat a manager candidate better if he'd paid his dues and taken a AA and AAA teams to the league championship the last two seasons. Which current of former Astro would you most like to see become manager some day? One of the rumored possible Astros' targets this off season is a left handed hitting outfielder to platoon with Jason Michaelsin left field. That assumes that Carlos Lee is either gone or moves to first base. Michaels has taken his lumps from Astros' fans, but he's an Ed Wade favorite. Apparently teams like the Orioles, Rockies, Met and Blue Jays may be interested in Lance Berkman this winter. Here's a thought: A player who is traded in the middle of a contract may demand a trade. Roy Oswalt falls into that category. Don't expect the demand, just pointing out the options. What else is on your mind? Questions, predictions, ideas or just conversation. Some of the best baseball minds in America may read your thoughts on this Free Blog Weekend. Independent Fav, Although all local blogs are inundated with trial balloons for the local franchises, I personally do not think the discussion of 1)Cubs managerial search and 2) Which former Astros would make a good manager? were made with the intent of replacing Mills. They are both interesting topics that stand alone. Perhaps the heavy responses led you to believe that they pertained to Mills. I think the majority of fans are pleasantly surprised with Astro performance after the trades and that translates to an overall positive impression of Mills. The Cubs are in our division and questions about ex Astros always get a good response. So I really didn read that much into it. I guess I could be mistaken. [john andrew, I agree. Mills is safe and there should be no discussion about it. CB] Did I miss something? Why all the talk about managers? The Astros have a very capable one (see the record after all star break). If its all about the treatment suppossedly received by Sandberg I understand, leys stop trying to find the next Astros Manager. Work with Mills and hope the front office suppors him by providing good players. Oh well i can wait to see what the Astros pull off concerning trades this offseason and will be ready to cheer them on Next April. If that is Richard Justice pretending to be Lowell then I have lost all respect for Justice. Have a nice week folks. re: Becky: but you just hit my MAIN nerve by saying the folks who live in Dallas, Ft. Worthare on, Becky! re: Bill Holmes also hoping Joe Buck and Tim McCarver have laryngitis. Maybe our worst two national broadcasters, and they in the same booth. I agree that they are terrible, but the guy who does Dodgers games is the worst! I had to watch the Dodgers broadcast of Astros games several times and now just turn off the sound and watch without sound. We are very fortunate to have Brown and DeShaies (sp?). no axe to grind with berkman, but his agent must be giving out the info on who is interested in him. for the last two years, he has been far from the berkman of old, and worse, he doesn really seem to care. he came into this season out of shape and not ready to play after an embarrasing 09 performance. his play with yankees leaves nothing to be desired. i have always thought that he was one of those players with such god given talent that he never worked hard to make himself a true superstar. i loved watching him play here, but it is time for both to move on. [justbob, Berkman had off season surgery and even missed the first couple weeks of the season, so he certainly started the year at a disadvantage, although I don't believe it's fair to say he didn't get ready for the season. CB] Am I the only person who thinks the NL Central is a winnable division next year? I like that the Astros went with youth and traded some of their veterans, but I think they have a fair chance to compete for the division title in 2011. They need to upgrade the bullpen and offense. The starting pitching is not great, but it is good and can be helped by improving the bullpen. Also, I like Crawford and I wouldn mind the Astros making him an offer, but I hope they don break the bank in trying to sign him. If he is willing to sign a contract in the 5/$85M range I am comfortable with that, but I don see him taking that even to play for his hometown team. Hate to keep hitting on the same theme, but main goal of the leadoff hitter should be to get on base. K are not as big a deal, since he is not supposed to drive in runs. Bourn is not very good at getting on base .330 career wise though .354 and .341 the last couple of seasons which is still below average. Willy T the supposed Lowell gold standard for Astros leadoff had a worse career OBP of .320 and frankly had one year in Colorado that mainly pulled him even that high. Both guys strike out too much. Willy T 162 game average is 94 Bourn is a really terrible 111K per 162 games. Neither of these guys is an ideal leadoff guy but Willy T has been so much worse the last 3 years (at just one year older than Bourn) that it is not a conversation piece any more. In other news Bags just did what we feared and said he is not coming back to coach next year. I hear Sean Berry is available we have any good options in the organization for hitting coach? Any good coaches cut loose because they were working for a bad manager in other organizations? Is there a hitting equivalent of Dave Duncan, who can be a mad alchemist for our offense? 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Now Foley, along with her husband, fight back as the Co Executive Directors of the Resource Center (ITRC) in San Diego, California. After Bridget J. Thomas learned that her identity was stolen by a bank employee at a branch 300 miles from the one she used, she was shocked. And that was just the beginning of her nightmare! When the thief was caught, she was working at a different bank in a different state. After her arrest, collection agencies continued to hound Ms Thomas. Setting the Record Straight Might Not Be All That Easy or Quick! Setting the record straight is the tip of a nightmarish iceberg that can take months even years to accomplish often with undue pain and suffering for the victim. In serious cases victims spend an average of 600 hours and $1,400 in out of pocket expenses to repair their credit. Until they can prove their innocence, they are more likely to be: charged higher rates for insurance and fees for credit cards, rejected for student loans or home mortgages, arrested for crimes they did not commit. unable to get or keep a job, A Call From A Collection Agency Or A turndown For A Loan Is Often the Only Tip off That Your Identity Was Stolen. A thief needs only one thing to open the doors to his windfall your Social Security number. Unfortunately it is routinely used by government agencies, health care providers, utility companies, merchants, employers, and financial institutions. Often, your Social Security number is publicly available. That how General John M. Shalikashvili, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, became a victim. His Social Security number and those of many other military officers were published in the "Congressional Record" and were later posted on the internet. Thieves used their identities to open 273 new credit cards accounts and run up a bill of over $200,000.00 in charges. To stop identity thieves in their steps, there are several things you can do. You can begin by freezing access to your credit file. By doing so, you cause your file to become off limits to anyone who does not know the secret PIN (Personal Information Number) of your choosing. This sets the wheels in motion to protect you from the bad guys anyone who attempts to apply for credit in your name. It causes their application to be rejected; although your credit cards won be affected. And if you want to apply for new credit or let a bank, store, or agency run a background check on you, you can get a credit thaw. For example, if you decided to shop for a big ticket item, like a car, you might thaw your history for auto dealers. Other Things You Can Do Starting NOW! Periodically check your credit report for suspicious activities. Americans are now entitled to a free annual credit report from each of the three bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. If you elect to shop online, use a credit card rather than a debit card. Learn more about "phishing" email scams, and other schemes, frauds, and cons to separate you from your identity and your money. of one of the three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, and request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit reports. (The other two credit bureaus will automatically be notified.) The alert lasts for 90 days and requires creditors to call you before opening new accounts in your name; however, a word of caution is in order here. There are no legal requirements to honor alerts and merchants who are eager to make a sale may ignore them. Close your credit card accounts and change the passwords on all your financial and banking accounts. File a police report. Although credit bureaus won extend a fraud alert without it, be aware that local police departments may be reluctant to provide a report. Many may lack the resources to properly investigate the crime. Mail copies of the police report to all three credit bureaus with a cover letter demanding your complete credit file. Call every credit where you know a bogus account has been created and have them close your file immediately. Demand copies of all fraudulent applications for credit and billing statements. Creditors don want to divulge that information, but they will if you enclose a copy of a police report and forward your request it in writing via certified mail. Face it, identity theft is a growing problem affecting everyone in some way or another. With the increase popularity of internet usage, it has become easier for cybercriminals to steal our identity. In 2002 alone, the victim total due to identity theft climbed to 10 million, a new high. 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