OFF THE TOP OF MY BALD HEAD

Barry Warner: Keenum's success is a great local story, plus Texans, Astros and Keith Jackson

Barry Warner: Keenum's success is a great local story, plus Texans, Astros and Keith Jackson
Case Keenum is a great story. Vikings.com

Other than the Astros winning the World Series, there is not a better local story than Case Keenum.  The former Cougar record setting quarterback, who could not get drafted and was cut by the Texans twice, is on his way to becoming a very rich man. His walkoff touchdown pass Sunday added to what he will get paid this offseason when he becomes a free agent.

Saints safety Marcus Williams stood up after his gaffe in the divisional playoff game and took responsibility for allowing Stefon Diggs’ game-winning touchdown. Saints teammates came to his defense immediately after the game and again on social media Monday. The kid showed maturity way beyond his years.  But that does not excuse the lack of fundamental football we watch weekly in the garbage known as the NFL. Whatever happened to the art of tackling, wrapping your arms around a player and bringing them down? The Cardinal rule is for a defensive back to always look for the ball.

I am so sick of guys trying to make SportsCenter with big hits. They should be called turtles.

Texans add a GM

Brian Gaines is a solid hire and makes Billy O and his four-year extension the winner.

For starters, most pro franchises do not rely on head hunting firms to find coaches or executives.  Most are smart enough to know the top candidates.  But not your deep thinkers on Kirby.  So, you do not get the ability to tap into the minds of candidates on their evaluation of your talent. The same with solving many personnel problems within the cap.

It is both a joke and a travesty that they interviewed two house men.

Mc Nair, rightfully so, knew that O’Brien had at least four solid offers.  He was afraid of firing a coach only to see him have success after leaving this joke of a franchise. Does the name Gary Kubiak ring a bell?

One of few times in my career does the head coach get to pick the GM.

Please explain to me how the Texans have the balls to charge more money for such a terrible product.

Nice move for Astros

Gerritt Cole now an Astro. The former top pick in the draft will be here through 2019 when arbitration kicks in.  The price was nominal since Colin Moran was never going to be a starting third baseman and Michael Feliz cannot stay healthy. Joe Musgrove found his niche in the bull pen after demotion to minors.

Where are the fans, Rockets?

Why all the empty seats in the high dollar lower bowl? What does that say about the Houston business community that they can’t give away free tickets? Not questioning the brilliance of Tilman Fertitta, but the NBA will always be in third place the hearts of Houstonians. H-Town belongs to the Astros.

R.I.P. Keith Jackson

Dick Enberg has a cocktail partner in Heaven, with the passing of the great Keith Jackson.  His calls were melodious, up and down the scale — never losing the clippity-clop of his Southern upbringing.

The great sportscasters — and Jackson was truly great — all have a three-octave range and an understanding of storyline and plot points, knowing instinctively when to speak and, more importantly, when not to.

"They talk too damn much," he said once, in describing today’s yappy young announcers. "You wear the audience out."

In his long career, Jackson covered everything — rowing, baseball, boat races and Olympic Games. But it was college football that fit him best. Born in Georgia, he reminded you of an old Southern line coach, broadly built and with a bit of barroom bluster, like his growling soulmate Bear Bryant, with whom he used to pal around.

Every fan at that time remembers Jackson’s signature phrases, “Whoa Nellie,” “fum-BULLLLL,” and “big uglies” — referring to linemen — and how he anointed the Rose Bowl “The Granddaddy of ’em all.”

I had the privilege of being with this incredible broadcaster for the first Monday Night Football in 1970, when Jackson was the play-by-play voice alongside the brilliant-yet-boastful Howard Cosell and “Dandy” Don Meredith.  It was interesting working with Cosell to see the respect he held for Jackson.  

I saw the Iconic broadcaster several times after that night, which changed television, with Jackson always taking a few minutes to chat or do an interview.

He was one of a kind.

Chirp.

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Astros lose to Braves, 6-2. Composite Getty Image.

Reynaldo López struck out seven over six scoreless innings, Orlando Arcia homered and the Atlanta Braves won their third straight, 6-2 over the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.

López (2-0) allowed four hits and walked one in his third straight sterling outing to start the season.

“It’s like I’ve always said, for me, the important thing is to focus,” López said through an interpreter. “To have the focus during the outings and then, to be able to locate those pitches.”

He has given up one run in 18 innings for an ERA of 0.50.

“He threw the ball really well against a really good hitting club,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “Another solid one.”

Arcia hit a solo home run to left in the second and a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Luis Guillorme and backup catcher Chadwick Tromp each hit a two-run double in the ninth to put the Braves ahead 6-0.

“Tromp has done a good job ever since we’ve been bringing him in these situations and filling in,” Snitker said. “I’ve got all the confidence in the world in him back there. ... He’s an aggressive hitter. He’s knocked in some big runs for us in the limited time that he’s played.”

Kyle Tucker homered for the Astros leading off the ninth against Aaron Bummer, and Mauricio Dubón had a two-out RBI single to cut the lead to four. After Bummer walked Chas McCormick to put two on, Raisel Iglesias induced a groundout by Victor Caratini to end it and secure his fourth save.

“They pitched well, and our guys are grinding out at-bats,” Houston manager Joe Espada said. “Even in the ninth inning there, we’re grinding, fighting until the end.”

Hunter Brown (0-3) yielded two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and three walks in six innings. Brown allowed nine runs in two-thirds of an inning in his previous start, last Thursday against Kansas City.

Brown said he executed better Tuesday than he had in his previous two starts.

“He mixed all his pitches well,” Espada said. “The breaking ball was effective. He threw some cutters in on the hands to some of those lefties. He mixed his pitches really well. That was a really strong performance.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Braves: 2B Ozzie Albies was placed on the 10-day injured list with a broken right big toe. IF David Fletcher had his contract selected from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Albies’ place on the roster.

Astros: RHP Justin Verlander (right shoulder inflammation) threw a side session Tuesday, but Houston will wait until Wednesday to see how Verlander feels before deciding whether he will make his first start this weekend against the Nationals, Espada said. ... RHP Luis Garcia (right elbow surgery) threw around 20-25 pitches off the bullpen mound, and RHP José Urquidy (right forearm strain) also threw off the mound, Espada said. ... LHP Framber Valdez (left elbow soreness) played catch off flat ground.

UP NEXT

Atlanta LHP Max Fried (1-0, 8.74 ERA) starts Wednesday in the series finale opposite RHP J.P. France (0-2, 8.22).

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