The Pallilog

Charlie Pallilo: At least some big names should be on the field for Texans this weekend

J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney should see time. Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The third NFL preseason game is typically the least unwatchable of the four. The Texans-Rams game would fill that prescription provided J.J. Watt plays at least a few snaps. There are wackier predictions out there then one suggesting the Texans and Rams could meet in late August, then again in early February in Atlanta. It might take a meeting in Super Bowl LIII for the two quarterbacks taken first overall in the 2016 and 2017 drafts to share the field. The Rams Jared Goff was a bust of a rookie, then with much better coaching and talent around him a breakout star last year. The Texans have less star level talent, so their highest of hopes ride overwhelmingly on Deshaun Watson being healthy and fantastic.

Other than arguably the Jaguars, the Rams were the biggest team story in the NFL last season. After 13 consecutive years without a winning season, the Rams exploded into the highest scoring team in the NFL en route to an 11-5 finish.

Over their 82 seasons as a franchise from Cleveland to California to St. Louis and back to California, the Rams have won 555 games and lost 559. So if they match last season’s 11 wins they’ll climb back over .500 for their history. The only time the Texans’ franchise record has been over .500 was after their inaugural win over the Cowboys in 2002. The quickest the Texans can again get over .500 for their history is by going 16-0 this season, 16-0 next season, and then winning their first four games in 2020. Yeah, it’ll take a while longer.

Ringing it in again

When the Astros scheduled their fourth replica ring giveaway night for this coming Monday, it was not a coincidence that the pick was a Monday night game with the school year underway all across Houston. A game that would otherwise have had thousands of unsold tickets quickly became a sellout. It’s an absolute win-win; the Astros reap some nice additional profits and more fans get the coolest of ballpark giveaways.

Monday darn sure wasn’t picked with the idea that it would be the opener of a huge series with the Oakland A’s who are strongly challenging the Astros for the American League West title. But here we are. It’s late August not late September, but Monday’s game should have the most playoff feel to it of any at Minute Maid Park until the playoffs.

Growing pains

The Astros hoped for help Thursday night from St. Pius High School graduate Kohl Stewart who made a start on the mound against the A’s. Stewart didn’t get the win but his Twins did. In 2013 Minnesota drafted Stewart fourth overall. He had the option of going to play baseball and quarterback at Texas A&M. Aggieland was enticing, but a signing bonus from the Twins of more than four and a half million dollars was more enticing. Stewart was not having a good season in the minors, giving up well over a hit per inning with a 4.47 earned run average split between AA and AAA. Since the Twins’ season is down the drain, they called him up two weeks ago. Three starts in Stewart’s ERA is 6.94.

No shot of watching this

I’m not sure what if any television I’ll be watching come Nov. 23, which this year is the day after Thanksgiving. Could have the Big 12 regular season title on the line that night as Oklahoma plays at West Virginia. The Rockets will be playing at Detroit. I know what I will NOT be watching. Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson in their sure to be overhyped heads up match in Las Vegas. Billed as nine million dollars, winner takes all. In the spirit of Las Vegas, the best bet is it’s not really winner takes all. Sponsorship money, appearance fees, and other revenue streams. Former supermodel Linda Evangelista once said she wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning for less than 10-grand per day. You think Tiger or Phil would let a bunch of others profit while one of them gets zero? If so, can I interest you in some Las Vegas oceanfront property?

Nine million bucks is a notable chunk even to guys each worth hundreds of millions of dollars, but the selling of this as some golf ballsy stress test? Neither Tiger nor Phil is risking a penny. Worst of all, Woods-Mickelson will air on pay-per-view. Come on! And no thanks.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Urban Meyer sure seems the opposite of an honorable man. But hey, great football coach!  2. Big time college sports has cheating galore, but I’d still be surprised if Jimbo Fisher and his new A&M staff were brazen and stupid enough to have done what ex-Ag Santino Marchiol alleges.  3. Best ever palindromically surnamed NFL players: Bronze-Doug Harrah Silver-Jim Otto Gold-John Hannah (all o-linemen!)



 

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This is getting out of hand. Photo by Ronald Martinez/Allsport/Getty Images.

Dr. Rick warns his patients, young homeowners who are turning into their parents, you can expect to pay more for snacks and drinks at a movie theater. It's the same deal at a professional sports venue. Three years ago, I put a down payment on a cheeseburger at Toyota Center ... I still have three more payments to go before I get it.

But this is ridiculous. The PGA Championship, the lesser (least) of golf's majors, is charging $18 for a beer, a 25-ounce Michelob Ultra, at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa. It's $19 for a Stella Artois. You can buy a six-pack for less at the supermarket. Aren't there laws against price gouging, like during a hurricane? Isn't Tulsa where the Golden Hurricanes play? Get FEMA in here. Did tournament directors get together and ponder, how can we piss off our fans? Sure, it's Tulsa and there's not much else to do, but that's no excuse.

Charging $18 for a beer makes the concession stands at Minute Maid Park look like a Sunday morning farmer's market. A 25-ounce domestic beer during an Astros game is $13.49. A 25-ounce premium beer is $14.45. Yeah, that's high for a beer, but at Minute Maid Park there are lots of hands in the till. Aramark wants to make a profit, the taxman has big mitts, and the Astros want their cut, too. Look, you want to sign Kyle Tucker and Yordan Alvarez to an extension or not? Then drink up and don't complain. Some quiet grumbling and head-shaking is permitted, however.

You know the PGA Championship is charging too much for a beer when even the rich pampered players take notice. "18 (!!!!!) for a beer ... uhhh what," former PGA Championship winner Justin Thomas tweeted. "Good thing I don't drink a lot."

Like he will be in line for a beer at a public concession booth, anyway.

Of course there will be fans sneaking in beer in baggies strapped to their ankles, like stuffing your pockets with store-bought Snickers before going to the movies. It doesn't have to be this way. The Masters, the most prestigious golf event, charges only $5 for both domestic and imported beer. I know it's a gimmick, part of The Masters mystique along with pimento sandwiches for $1.50, but still it's a welcome gesture. You never lose when you treat the public fairly. When Mercedes-Benz Stadium opened in Atlanta, Falcons owner Arthur Blank insisted that food vendors charge the same inside the stadium as they do at their regular restaurants. Same thing when Denver International Airport opened, fast food restaurants couldn't jack up their prices to their captive customers. Here? There needs to be a loan window outside the Cinnabon booth at Bush-Intercontinental.

Except for the Masters in Augusta, golf's majors aren't tied to a city. A major comes to a city maybe every few years or in most cases never. There's no need to ride into a city like the James Gang, rob the local bank, and high tail it out of town. Golf should be the last professional sport to stick it to fans. While the game has made strides to open its arms to lower-income youths, golf remains an elitist, extremely expensive sport for regular folk. Equipment is expensive, private courses are exclusive and country clubs are exclusionary. Public courses are less expensive but still expensive and crowded. Plus there's never been a professional sport more dangerously dominated by one person than golf. I can imagine network executives on their knees praying that Tiger Woods makes the cut and plays on weekends. Otherwise, TV ratings go straight into the toilet, you know, like whatever team Mattress Mack is betting on. (I joke because I love, and frankly a little scared.)

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