STILL TIME TO SHOP

5 last-minute gift ideas for the degenerate sports fan in your life

You can't go wrong with whiskey. Courtesy photo

So you have waited until the last minute to get a gift for the degenerate sports fan in your life. It’s getting tight on something from Amazon, but it is still possible. However, if you want to get a gift that looks like you put some effort into it (even though you didn’t), and in most cases not spend a lot of money, you have options and can get most of these without waiting in line for much. Sure, you can always get golf, running, tennis or crossfit equipment, but if the person in your life likes good alcohol, gambling, fun and sports (yes, that’s me, so I would love any of these), here are five last-minute gift ideas:

Local beer and spirits

There is no shortage of great choices; the craft beer scene in Houston is the best it has ever been, and there are several great options. The Downtown Spec’s has entire area dedicated to Houston and Texas beers, including some nice barrel-aged options. The staff is very knowledgeable and if you just ask for guidance they will help. If you want to go more high end, whiskey is always a good choice. We recommend keeping it local. The Whitmeyer’s Texas Whiskey and Texas Peach are great options, and if you want to go high end, the Single Barrel is the way to go. Your degenerate will thank you. Spec’s downtown has them on a regular basis, but you can also swing by the distillery and pick up a bottle if you are on the north side of town. A distillery tour (or a brewery tour) gift card makes a nice complement. This is a good, affordable option, because you can spend as much or as little as you like.

Astros World Series memorabilia

Your sports fan will still appreciate Astros World Series gear. Academy still has a great selection and you can swing by there. If you want something a little different, the audio book HIstory Earned makes a terrific gift, or you can hit them with a coffee table book. Again, affordability is the key. The audio book is just $13.99, and most gear is under $60.

Poker room membership

Legal poker rooms are cropping up everything, and a membership for your favorite degenerate works very well. Check for the one nearest you; a google search will do it. My personal favorite is Lions Poker Palace on Richmond near Dave and Buster’s. You can’t go wrong with this one. A yearly membership is the best option for someone who is playing a lot, but even a monthly membership works. You can create a nice gift card online and give your degenerate a money order and it makes it look like you put in a lot of effort.

Rent a suite at Sam Houston Race Park

Live racing returns in January, and there are affordable suite packages available. It’s a great way to have a fun night with friends, perhaps win some money and do some business networking. If you want to keep it more personal and keep the price down, a nice romantic dinner at the Winner’s Circle Restaurant or a night in the Jockey Club works as well. That way, you have a nice dinner together, while the degenerate in your life can get in a few bets.

Rockets partial ticket packages

In case you haven’t noticed, the Rockets are on a tear right now. Five-game packages are available and a night at Toyota Center can be fun and entertaining. Ticket prices vary based on seating so there are very affordable options.

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Houston drops the opener

Angels use big sixth inning to take opener from Astros

Houston's offense started hot, then went cold Monday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With a 2-1 series win under their belt to start this ten-game homestand, the Astros turned the page to a three-game set with the Angels on Monday night. Things started strong for Houston, building an early lead, but it would erode in the middle innings as the Angels would respond with a big sixth inning to take the opener.

Final Score: Angels 5, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 18-17, tied for second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Suarez (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (1-2)

Houston Builds an early lead

After a 1-2-3 top of the first by Luis Garcia, Houston would start the scoring in the bottom of the inning. Back-to-back walks set things off, setting up an RBI ground-rule double by Alex Bregman, giving them the 1-0 lead. Kyle Tucker lead the bottom of the second off with a double, then came around to score on an RBI single by Myles Straw, then Michael Brantley made it 3-0 with an RBI double later in the inning.

Los Angeles roars back to take the lead

Los Angeles trimmed the lead to two runs in the top of the fourth with an RBI double, but Houston was able to get that run back on another RBI by Straw in the bottom of the fifth. Things fell apart for Garcia in the top of the sixth, with back-to-back one-out solo homers trimming the lead to one run and ending his night there: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, 92 P.

The Angels didn't stop there, getting two more runs to take the lead off of Brandon Bielak, who managed just one out while blowing the lead. Brooks Raley would enter to get the final out of the inning, then tried to keep the deficit at one run when he returned in the top of the seventh. It looked like things might unravel for him, allowing the first two batters to reach base on a walk and single, but he would battle back to strike out the next three straight to strand both.

Angels take the opener

Joe Smith took over in the top of the eighth, still 5-4, but would get two outs while allowing a double in his three batters before Houston moved on to Kent Emanuel, who finished the inning off. After another scoreless inning for Houston's offense, Emanuel remained in the game in the top of the ninth to keep a walk-off chance alive, and he would do so by erasing a walk to send the one-run game to the bottom half. The Astros wouldn't pull off a comeback, though, dropping the opener to Los Angeles.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Tuesday night. It shapes up to be an exciting pitching matchup, with Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 3.58 ERA) for Houston going up against the two-way star Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 2.41 ERA) for Los Angeles.

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