4th and a Mile with Paul Muth

Baseball will be back. But not today.

2019 Opening Day. Photo by Paul Muth.

Today crept up on me.

As with everyone else, a lot of priorities have changed. When I sat down to punch through my weekly writers block, it dawned on me.

Today was supposed to be Opening Day.

After what seemed like the longest off-season in the history of baseball, I'm confident in assuming that most Astros fans were ready to be done with their Queen Cersei-esque walk of shame winter and get back to actual pitches and swings.

Today was supposed to be a fresh start. It's the one day where everyone's team still has a shot to go all the way. It's the day you call in from work, and the day kids play hooky from school.

The return of baseball for me is an annual return to balance. It's my springtime Christmas. It's a resumption of normalcy. A lot of people complain about the length of a baseball season. I am certainly not among them.

But today the gates will remain closed. The lights will stay off. The banners will remain veiled, and the wait will continue.

And it absolutely should. The heartbreaking part of all of this is that it is absolutely necessary. It's ironic how a situation can highlight how much sports are engrained into our culture, while simultaneously showing us how trivial sports can be in the bigger picture.

Baseball will be back. And when it is, we'll welcome it warmly. But in order to ensure that, we all have to be responsible, even if it's uncomfortable.

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The Texans should swing for the fences. Composite image by Jack Brame.

With each passing day, the Deshaun drama thickens. It's progressed to Mayor Sylvester Turner tweeting, basically humbling himself to Deshaun.

A city that a few short weeks ago offered up mega star power across the board, has now seen James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and George Springer all depart for a variety of reasons. The impact of Deshaun leaving would be irreversible guaranteeing the Texans resting comfortably in the bottom of the AFC South for the next decade, wallowing in futility.

The saga will only intensify in two weeks should Patrick Mahomes collect another Lombard Trophy. As 2017 draft class contemporaries, Deshaun is comparing his career to #15. Another ring would place Mahomes up 2-0 in that discussion with Watson.

Perhaps the Texans should take a play from the Oilers playbook and inquire on Dabo Swinney. In the pursuit of securing the services of Warren Moon, the Oilers made a power play and secured the services of Moon's former CFL coach, Hugh Campbell. I've attended several luncheons and engagements in which Deshaun served as the keynote speaker. In many of those venues, a short video presentation would include personal greetings and feel good overtures directed to Deshaun from Dabo. The end result was Deshaun lighting up like a Christmas tree. There's a viable relationship in place there.

At the end of the day, Deshaun is a competitor. Losing DeAndre Hopkins was a major loss, but not to the degree that you might think. Deshaun still went out and threw for over 4,000 yards this season, and with a sub-par supporting cast, even pulling guys off of the practice squad in late December contests to fill out the receiving corps. The issue for Watson is trust, and culture. Hence, the recent headlines surrounding the Jets as a future home make very little sense. The Jets in 4 of their last 5 seasons have had double-digit losing seasons. Until the recent resurgence of the Browns, the Jets far and away have held the title of the "laughingstock" of the NFL.

The biggest challenge for the Texans is who could persuade Deshaun to stay? Could team President Jamey Rootes calm down the noise? It certainly won't come from Texans Ring of Honor recipient Andre Johnson. If I were Cal McNair, I would place a call to 105 Sikes Hall in Clemson, SC and ask for Dabo's office. That's as good of a place to start as any other.

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