OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Another arrival in jeans for the Houston Astros.
If the Astros are sporting denim these days, consider it a good thing. A winning series earns Houston's players that right, and they can even wear their jeans to the ballpark ahead of the rubber game of a series. Manager Bo Porter is all for positive thinking and confidence, and some incentive, however simple it might be, during the grind of a 162-game season.
"The whole purpose is to come in with the mentality that you're going to win," Porter said Thursday. "I'm telling you, you'd be surprised, your mind is a powerful, powerful tool, to the positive thing and to the negative."
Center fielder Brandon Barnes and Co. sported jeans Thursday at the Oakland Coliseum after back-to-back one-run victories against the Athletics. The last-place Astros, in their first season in the AL West, began Thursday at 39-80 and 30 games out in the division in Porter's first year as skipper.
Porter has a few pairs of favorite jeans himself that he has been wearing - "Yes, of course." Around baseball, players typically dress up for getaway day, though the Astros hope to change that trend with their unique denim deal.
"Jeans are kind of like classics," Porter said.
Porter hollered at Barnes as the outfielder came off the field before the game and headed to the clubhouse.
"Barnsie, you've got jeans on today, right?" the manager yelled.
"Is that a question?" Barnes shot back. "I was going to wear them either way."
Second baseman Jose Altuve brought up the idea during a series in Tampa Bay before the All-Star break, and Porter - a firm believer in the mental game - agreed to it.
"I told him: `Yes, you can,"' Porter said. "So we win game 1 and lose the second game, so the third game I was very interested to see who was going to show up to the ballpark with jeans on, because if you show up with jeans, what does that mean? It means you believe that you're going to win the game, that's why you're wearing jeans. Needless to say, they didn't show up in jeans and I was highly disappointed, and I let that be known to the whole group. We talked about it after the All-Star break."
That's when Porter shared a story from old pal and former Chicago Bulls star B.J. Armstrong, who told Porter about how Michael Jordan once refused to bring a suitcase for a possible playoff-clinching Game 6 game at Portland because he didn't expect to need clothing for a second day or a Game 7.
"It was the mentality, `I'm not even playing a Game 7, this thing's going to end tonight,"' Porter said. "They won a championship and came home. So, I told them that story. Again, it starts with the power of the mind and believing that you're going to get it done. ... Like I said to them that day, `If all you all showed up today with jeans on, even if we lost the game we would have won the battle."'