Barry Warner: On the Astros, Bob McNair, The Masters overreaching, the NFL draft and the Rockets

Astros owner Jim Crane went above and beyond. Photo by Joshua Jordan

The World Series champs finished their first homestand with a 5-1 record.

Not only did Jim Crane exceed the previous record of employee rings, he also paid the taxes for each individual. Thursday night when he presented a ring to Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta, it was because Landry’s is a big sponsor of the Astros.  I did not see him giving one to the formerly beloved owner of the Texans, Bob McNair.

The trade with the Pirates for Gerritt Cole has been a steal thus far. In Saturday night’s bizarre win, he went seven scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts. Cole's 22 strikeouts are a club record for a pitcher in his first two starts with the Astros.

Last night in Minnesota, where temperatures dipped into the 20’s, they won 2-0, with Justin Verlander striking out 9 in six innings.  

It is absurd for MLB to allow a game played in those type of conditions. It shows once again the greed of owners.

McNair at it again

The philanthropic Texans owner continues to make national headlines, this time for his interview with the Wall Street Journal where his only regret for the “inmates are running the prison’’ comment was “The main thing I regret is apologizing. I really didn’t have anything to apologize for.”

According to the reporter, Andrew Beaton, the Texans owner wanted to set the record straight.  

Close friends and confidants tell me he is still sharp, on top of several topics other than football. There are no after effects from the chemo treatments when the cancer hit five years ago.

Once again, my advice is simple.  Do not talk to the media, here or anywhere.  At this stage, only bad things happen.

It has become a PR nightmare, but no one on Kirby Dr. will tell him no.

He still denies meeting with the 2008 Texans’ players and staff after Barack Obama was elected President.  The staunch, conservative owner consistently has donated millions to Republican candidates.

Owen Daniels confirmed McNair’s talk to the team when on with John and Lance on ESPN 97.5.  Eric Winston did the same on the Texans Propaganda Network.

I’ve spoken to several other players and former assistant coaches who confirmed the same. I have been in this business for 62 years and never heard an owner do something like that.

Sad that a man who has done so much with his money for our community has tainted his legacy.

A local angle at pretentious Augusta

The semi religious experience at Augusta was turned upside down by the winner of the green jacket, Patrick Reed, holding off Ricky Fowler and Jordan Spieth.

No other sport, including the hypocrites running the NCAA put more of a muzzle on the media than the members of the toughest and snobbiest golf course in the nation. There is no mention of fans; instead they are called patrons.

Augusta rules with an iron fist.  All of the past winners of the Green Jacket have been cut from the same mold.  But not Reed, who lives here in Spring. He has a rep of not being the sharpest knife in the drawer, being outspoken, cheating and being hated by his college teammates.  Like Aaron Rodgers, he blew up the bridge between his parents and siblings.

Being the rebellious spirit I am, it is somewhat refreshing to see a Dennis the Menace personality winning the Holy Grail of Golf.

He is the class clown, the goofball in a Catholic school where the nuns would rap his knuckles with a ruler.

The highlight of the first round to me was defending champ Sergio Garcia putting five balls in the water and taking a record 13 on the hole. The golf gods humble even the best, at times making them look like hackers

CBS got its wish, with Tiger Woods playing on Sunday. But not as a contender. Woods closed with a flurry, shooting a 3-under 69 in the final round and finishing at 1-over 289 for the Masters.

Both his irons and putter were faulty through the 18 holes.

After all of his surgeries and other problems, watching him today is like getting together with an old lover from 10 years ago.  You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube. Hopefully I am wrong and he will win a major at least one more time. The stars must align.

Watching him at his prime was a thrill.

NFL Draft: Who do you trust evaluating QBs?

The Broncos love Josh Allen, despite many in scouting for other teams questioning his football intelligence. But they would be thrilled if USC’s Sam Darnold dropped to five.  My sources tell me that John Elway was underwhelmed when Josh Rosen spent the day at the Broncos facility. A couple of GM’s have told me they are truly concerned about the cerebral and socially conscious UCLA quarterback caring more about trying to fix the outside world than football.

I have been privileged to know Gil Brandt. the man whose scouting genius put together the Dallas Cowboys until 1989, when Jerry Jones fired him.

He spoke with’s Peter King in his must-read Monday Morning Quarterback column about the upcoming draft   He is the polar opposite of many on Rosen, who is his top choice, followed by Sam Darnold, colorful Baker Mayfield, big armed Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson as first round quarterbacks.  

‘‘This will be an incredible extravaganza. for years to come, people will compare every draft to Dallas. the saying everything’s bigger in Texas will definitely apply. we’ll have sections all over the stadium for all 32 teams, and it’ll be like a competition between all the teams and their fans. twelve big-time college coaches will be there—Nick Saban, Urban Meyer, Chris Petersen, others. day two’s going to have the same excitement.”

Playoffs are coming

Rockets have home court advantage throughout the entire playoffs, which open here Saturday night.  The first opponent will be determined when the regular season ends Wednesday night.

The hottest team in the league is in Philly. Props to Sam Hinkie, the controversial Sixers GM when they would annually tank for the lottery.

The former assistant to Daryl Morey coined the phrase “Trust the Process.”  It paid off with a 50-win season, led by Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons and center Joel Embiid.



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The Rockets traded for Kevin Porter Jr. on Thursday night. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets received 20-year-old Kevin Porter Jr. in a trade acquisition from the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night. Unfortunately, Kevin has been in recent trouble while playing for the Cavilers. So, it makes sense why the Rockets received Porter for a second-round draft pick. Hopefully, Porter can squash his troubles, so he can blossom for the Rockets.

In November, Porter was arrested on gun charges but eventually got released in three hours. As the season was ramping up in December, Porter's gun charges were dismissed. Even though the charges were dropped, Porter still managed to have issues with the Cavs. The Athletic's Jason Lloyd and Joe Vardon reported Porter had an outburst inside the Cavaliers' locker room. It was seen that newly acquired Taurean Prince had Porter's locker, which caused him to be upset. Porter then started to throw food across the locker room and get into a heated exchange with GM Koby Altman. After the locker room debacle, Altman decided to put the talented Porter on the trade block. Thursday night, Rockets GM Rafael Stone struck a deal to acquire Porter.

Porter is 6'4 with tremendous upside and could become one of the building blocks for the Rockets' future. Since the Harden-era has ended, the Rockets need a spark for this season because they are 4-9. I'm curious to see how head coach Stephan Silas adjusts his roster, including the starting rotation with Porter now onboard. Silas has changed his starting rotation 13 times so will it be 14 now? Who knows? Hopefully, Porter adds a spark with newly acquired Victor Oladipo.

Porter averaged 10 points per game and shot 44 percent from the field with the Cavs. He isn't a three-point shooter but is an excellent mid-range shooter. Porter shot 50 percent from mid-range, including being able to shoot 40 percent in "catch-in-shoot" situations. He is also a shifty dribbler and can shoot above 40 percent off the dribble. Porter is a young talent that can create a lot of opportunities for himself on offense, including being extremely athletic. The Rockets need more scorers and creators on offense since John Wall is still nursing a knee injury and James Harden is in Brooklyn.

Hopefully, assistant coach John Lucas and John Wall can counsel Porter as he starts his new career in Houston.

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