Talking Points: M's lucky to have Astros in division

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1

The Mariners will play 19 games against the Houston Astros this season, and that should help push their win total up — maybe to .500. The Astros are dreadful, having stripped their roster of most of their established players in the past couple of years. They come off back-to-back seasons of 106 losses in 2011 and 107 losses in 2012.

But Billy Beane, general manager of the Oakland A's, told the Seattle Times this spring that the Astros' struggles are temporary and the addition of Houston to the AL West will be a long-term pain.

"All that stuff (poor record, rebuilding) is temporary,'' Beane said. "I think they're going to be a great franchise, because they've got revenues, they have smart people running things . . . My guess is, once they get there, they're going to be there for a long time. ... It's a big city with big revenue. If someone perceives them as not being competitive now, I think that will be short term.''

2

Spencer Hawes of the 76ers was booed each time he touched the ball last week in Sacramento versus the Kings. This is what happens when you go back to the town where you played the first three years of your NBA career and advocate for moving the franchise to another city.

While Hawes played three years in Sacramento, he spent the first 19 years of his life in Seattle, including a year at the University of Washington.

Before the 76ers' game against the Kings, Hawes was reminded the game might be his last in Sacramento. He responded: "As a native Seattlite, that would not break my heart.''

Not a diplomatic answer, then again Hawes has been vocal about returning the NBA to Seattle and attended a Sonics' rally last summer.