Every-Thing Sports

Santa Jermaine hands out gifts for the Houston sports scene

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"It's the most wonderful time of the year!" I'm sure you've all heard that jingle/song line/phrase in one way shape or form over the last few weeks. Probably more than many of you would have cared to hear. It's Christmas time and you'll be hearing all sorts of Christmas music, Christmas jingles, and the like.

Every year at Christmas, you inevitably get a gift, or gifts, that you don't like. You may have even gotten gifts you can't return. Here in Houston, there are some special gifts Santa Jermaine would like to give out to some of the local sports scene:

Chris Paul

I would like to gift Chris Paul some new legs this year. Last year, as many Rockets fans would say, the team was "a hamstring away from the Finals!" Well Houston, I'm here to take away the pain from the idea of paying a 33 year old point guard $160 million dollar extension this past offseason. Once he gets his new legs, think of the scene from Forrest Gump when he takes off running and sheds the leg braces.

The Astros

This team is poised to be a World Series contender for years to come. However, they have some key decisions to make, and they need to be made now. I will gift the Astros Yankee/Red Sox/Dodger money. Sure, this won't be the answer to all their problems, but it will solve a lot of them. Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole will be free agents after the season. George Springer, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman will all need to be paid as well. Hell, Dallas Keuchel doesn't look like he's poised to return this offseason and Lance McCullers is out with Tommy John surgery and will need to be resigned when/if he's healthy.

James Harden

The Beard won league MVP last season, but the team is off to a bad start. He's doing what he can to keep them afloat for now, but he needs help. Well, help is on the way in the form of a Michael Jordan/Kobe Bryant-type killer instinct and defensive intensity. Harden is the best one on one scorers in this generation. The constant complaint across the board is that he lacks that killer instinct, defensive intensity, and consistent effort guys like MJ and Kobe had. If he gets this gift, do you think the Rockets win a ring any time soon? Better yet: why do they need this gift and Chris Paul's gift? Well…

Darryl Morey

…the Rockets need those gifts because their G.M. is sometimes too smart for his own good. I want to give Morey the gift of using his Jedi mind tricks when trading again. He was able to get Harden from the Thunder for a bag of basketballs and some magic beans. If Chris Paul's gift fails to work, or the team isn't able to improve from within or maybe even if it's not working over the next couple years, how could you waste Harden's prime?

Deshaun Watson

Watson is living up to all the hype. He's a playmaking quarterback that will be with the Texans for the next 10-15 years…if he's healthy and continues to improve. For Watson, I will gift him Tom Brady and Drew Brees' ability to stay healthy, as well as their decision-making. If there's a knock on him, it's his health and ability to read defenses and get the ball off. Taking sacks will contribute to his health questions. This is by proxy a gift to DeAndre Hopkins. A healthy Watson with better decision-making will help him in his quest to be this team's all-time best receiver.

Honorable Mention

Gow Media- The gift of me as a full-time employee. The Dynamo- A bigger fan base. U of H Football- A great coach who wants to be a Coog for life. Bill O'Brien- An offensive coordinator/quality control specialist.

There are more gifts to give. If you guys have any, hit me up. I'd love to know what you think.

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The Astros play Game 1 of the ALDS Tuesday. Composite image by Brandon Strange.

With a nod to Charles Dickens, October is the best of times (Astros) and the worst of times (Texans and Rockets) for Houston sports fans. At least this October.

October is the one month when all three of Houston’s major sports teams are guaranteed to be in full swing at the same time. It’s possible, if the Astros make the World Series that November will have all three teams in action, too. But let’s not jinx things.

The Astros start their playoff run Tuesday on TBS. Since the Yankees also play that day, also on TBS, we can assume the Astros will get the daytime slot, the Yankees in prime time. Now before Astros fans start screaming east coast bias, it really only applies to TV. Fun fact: no New York Met has ever won an MVP Award, and only one Yankee has won it in the past 37 years – Alex Rodriguez in 2005 and 2007. How’d that work out for him? Most important, a New York team has won the World Series only once in the past two decades – the Yankees in 2009.

The Astros could play as many as 15 more games in October, five in the Division Series, seven in the League Championship Series and three in the World Series before the calendar flips to November.

Meanwhile, the Texans plod on with three more games in October, and the Rockets have 11.

The winless Texans are at home against the Titans at NRG Stadium, on the road against the Jaguars and Raiders.

The Rockets, coming off the worst record in the NBA last season, have three games at home at Toyota Center and eight on the road.

This presents a problem of abundance, an embarrassment of riches, for Houston sports junkies. Who are you going to watch on TV? Which team will you pay to watch in person? Who are you rooting for the most? Whose jersey will you buy?

David Puddy is right, you “gotta support the team,” but who will own Houston this month?

What to do? If it’s true that nothing succeeds like success, and everybody loves a winner – it’s an obvious choice.

The Astros.

The Astros just completed their regular season with 106 wins, second most in franchise history, another American League West title, the best record in the American League and will have home field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. Even though fans had high hopes for the Astros entering 2022, the team smashed everybody’s expectations. Vegas put the Astros over/under wins at 92 games. The Astros seemingly flew by that number during spring training.

They are the first team in American League history to win 100 games in four of their last five full seasons. Not even Babe Ruth’s Yankees of the 1920s and 1930s did that. This core of Astros has won five of the last six American League West titles. They’ve played in three of the last five World Series. This is a dynasty right before our eyes. We’re witness to greatness. How ‘bout them Astros?

What a season it was. Who could have figured that 39-year-old Justin Verlander, out of action for two seasons after Tommy John surgery, would have a career year, a ridiculously skinny earned run average and the overwhelming pick for the Cy Young Award? Jose Altuve would return to a .300 batting average, Cristian Javier would lead the team in strikeouts, Yordan Alvarez would finish No. 2 between Aaron Judge and Mike Trout in OPS, and rookie Jeremy Pena would slug 22 home runs, the same number as Carlos Correa? Remember last offseason and cries of “pay the man!” Some of a team’s best deals are the ones they don’t make.

Strap yourself in for an October to remember. The storylines are endless. There’s bad blood between the Astros and the Yankees, between the Astros and Dodgers, between the Astros and boo birds in every stadium not named Minute Maid Park.

It’s going to be fun.

As for the Texans, Deshaun Watson returns to action Nov. 4 against the Texans here at NRG Stadium. And we’ll catch up with the Rockets when the NBA season starts for real on Christmas Day. But until then … play ball!

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