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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Zack Greinke earned his 10th win of the season in Sunday's finale agains the Rangers. Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

With the first two wins of the series under their belt, the Astros entered Sunday looking to take care of business before heading on the road. Despite the Rangers taking the first lead of the day, the Astros responded on offense and defense to erase the deficit to get the victory.

Final Score: Astros 3, Rangers 1

Astros' Record: 61-39, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Zack Greinke (10-3)

Losing Pitcher: Dennis Santana (0-1)

Greinke, with some help, notches a quality start

Zack Greinke was doing well in the early goings of Sunday's finale. Despite allowing back-to-back singles to start the game, he stranded both runners to finish the top of the first. He followed that by erasing two more runners in the second, starting a stretch of eight straight batters which he would retire to make it through one out in the top of the fifth without allowing a run.

Texas finally added a blemish to his day at that point, getting a solo homer to grab their first lead in weeks. Greinke rebounded from it, sitting down the next two batters to finish the frame, then posted a 1-2-3 sixth. He returned for the top of the seventh, but would end his day with a struggle, loading the bases with no outs on a single, hit batter, and walk. That prompted Dusty Baker to bring in Cristian Javier, who saved Greinke's stat line by getting a strikeout and double play to keep the Rangers from scoring. Greinke's line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 86 P.

Houston grabs the lead

Houston's starter would leave in line for the win, thanks to the work of Cristian Javier, but also some timely offense in the two innings prior. With not much going for them in the first four innings, the Astros tried to take advantage of Chas McCormick being on base in the bottom of the fifth, sending him for a potential hit and run with Abraham Toro swinging.

That turned into two runs, with McCormick able to slow his run as Toro would launch a two-run go-ahead homer to erase the Rangers lead quickly. They extended the lead to two runs in the next inning, with Yordan Alvarez working a walk and then later scoring on an RBI single by Kyle Tucker, making it 3-1.

Astros finish the sweep

After cleaning up the inherited mess in the top of the seventh, Javier remained on the mound in the top of the eighth and made it through a 1-2-3 inning to give him six outs against five batters. With it still a two-run game in the top of the ninth, Ryan Pressly entered for the save opportunity. He notched it, sitting down the Rangers 1-2-3 to finish the sweep, handing Texas their twelfth straight loss.

Up Next: The Astros will head out west for an eight-game road trip starting with a three-game set with the Mariners kicking off at 9:10 PM Central on Monday. In the opener, Luis Garcia (7-5, 2.86 ERA) for Houston is slated to go opposite Darren McCaughan (0-0, 1.80 ERA), who will make his second career appearance and first start for Seattle.

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