4th and a Mile with Paul Muth

Gyms, Astros, power rankings, and trial by combat

A lot can go wrong here. Photo by Joshua Jordan

So I was at the gym Tuesday. Not bragging.

I've never been a fan of gyms. I like lifting, but I don't like gyms. I don't like the music (even if I actually like the music), I don't like the culture, I don't like vibe. But I also don't own a squat rack, and unless I can guarantee that my landlord won't take away my deposit for doing deadlifts in the kitchen, it's off to the gym I go.

Even if everything is perfectly fine, I unwittingly go out of my way to find things that annoy me every time. I'm constantly looking for more reasons to dislike gyms, like watching the guy with a sleeveless black button down over his red short-sleeved under armour shirt and cargo pants sitting at the lat pulldown machine for 5 minutes having a conversation through his airpods without attempting a single rep.

Now I'm not gym gatekeeping, I'm not qualified to do so even if I wanted to. I'm just grumpy. I want to be alone but I don't have the option so everything bugs me. My big giant over-the-ear headphones should suggest my preference for solitude.

So Tuesday.

I'm over by the dumbells, near a bench. Nothing of mine is on the bench. I AM NOT AFFILIATED WITH THE BENCH.

I'm about to start a set of 15 reps. I tighten my wrist straps. Deep breath. Let's get it.

I'm facing the mirror and I see a guy approaching from behind, eyeballing that stupid bench. He stops at it and begins to stare at me.

I don't like gyms. I close my eyes to focus on finishing my set. That's when I felt him tap my shoulder.

Now this dude isn't part of the "New Year, New Me," crowd. He's this jacked little guy who has obviously spent enough time in a gym to understand that one of the cardinal sins within the Iron Temple is interrupting a set for anything short of life, limb, or loss of eyesight.

As my eyes summoned the power of a thousand suns to glare through his spaghetti strap "Beast Mode" tank top, I ripped my headphones off and whipped around to find out what was so important.

"Are you using this bench?"

I'll let you imagine what happened next, but it wasn't cordial.

I don't like gyms.

To the Astros Apologists

This advice is coming from someone who has gone to at least 30 games a season for the past four years. I've got excel spreadsheets documenting every game. I've traveled across the country for years just to catch Astros away games, and I've got an Orbit tattoo that's hard to show off in the winter. I've lived and breathed this team as long as I can remember. With that said:

Stop.

After reading reddit comments, tweets, Facebook posts, and even a few radio listener call-ins, there seems to be this idea that Astros fans should "accept being a villian," and adopt an "us against the world" mentality.

This chapter in the Astros franchise ended much like Adam Sandler's latest movie, "Uncut Gems." It ends so abruptly, that in the midst of the whiplash you're caught trying to see if there was something that was missed, and if in fact it's actually over.

It's over. The investigation is over. The Astros unequivocally cheated, and when you wake up tomorrow, they will still have cheated regardless of how mad you are about the whole thing. Adopting some "us against the world" mentality says more about your values than it does your fanhood. So let's ease off that approach and find a different way to cope.

Instead, take it on the chin. I'm not saying abandon your team, but just because it's a thing you love doesn't mean you should blindly defend the indefensible. We all knew that one kid growing up who would get into all kinds of trouble, but was never disciplined because his mom believed he was an angel who could do no wrong. Don't be that mom. Own that they messed up, handle it however you want, but don't defend them.

I'm still not sure how to process the whole thing myself. It's like looking back on fond memories with someone after you learned they cheated on you. I don't think it's enough to end the relationship, but I do need some time to step back and reassess.

World Power Rankings of the Week

#5 James Harden's new 'do

I wasn't sure if the braids were hanging around, but our dude is lookin' slick these days and Reddit's r/Rockets is having a mild meltdown over it.

#4 Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Durant's twitter beef

Honestly, all twitter beef is gold, but this week offered some solid haymakers from retired big man Kendrick Perkins, and the NBA all-time record holder for feelings per minute, Kevin Durant. Perk called KD a quitter, KD told Perk he was trash, and down the hill we went. I'm a sucker for NBA drama and it rarely disappoints.

#3 Leonardo DiCaprio, Lifesaver

Imagine having fallen off a cruise liner and treading water for roughly 11 hours. The thought of a rescue would begin to seem dim. Now imagine a glistening yacht arriving out of nowhere and plucking you from your impending watery grave. That's already a pretty awesome way to elude death's icy grip. Finding out who this yacht belonged to must have been pretty sweet as well.

#2 Anything Derrick Henry does in January

Anyone watching the playoffs next to me during any Titans game has since become tired of me reminding everyone that his nickname is "Tractorsito." He's throwing touchdowns, he's stiff arm spinning opponents and pushing them into their own teammates. He's also more than doubling his quarterback's passing yards (160) with his rushing yards (377) throughout the playoffs.

#1 Trial by combat

I'm down for it anytime, anywhere. As a spectator. Especially when you're requesting it from a judge toward your ex and her attorney during a custody battle so that you can "rend their souls" from their bodies. Not sure I'd want that on record, but ok.



4th and a mile with Paul Muth

The Roast of baseball whiners, and what to do this weekend

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Allsport/Getty Images

I think I'm on my 8th or 9th full run through of The Office right now. The Office Ladies podcast got me back into it this time, and if you haven't given them a listen, I highly recommend it.

Anyway, I was watching the "Stress Relief" episode where the office takes turns roasting Michael Scott. He eventually craters and leaves, only to return and head shot roast everyone with one liners.

I'm at the point in this Astros offseason episode where I've cratered. I've kept silent while I watch Astros fans don their Twitter armor and go to Twitter war in defense of their team. But it's old, and I'm human.

Now I don't condone the cheating they were found guilty of. And I also think it's OK to be mad if you were on another team when it happened. But whining about it on Twitter or into a microphone isn't doing anything, especially if you haven't taken the time to make sure your side of the aisle is clean. It's important to not throw stones if you live in a glass house, and frankly, all of this piling on is going nowhere and changing nothing.

So, whatever. Let's throw some back.

"[I] thought Manfred's punishment was weak, giving them immunity. I mean these guys were cheating for three years. I think

what people don't realize is Altuve stole an MVP from [Aaron] Judge in '17. Everyone knows they stole the ring from us."

-Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder

Your own player's union prevented the punishments and even if he did they would have all been thrown out due to good old fashioned labor laws. And don't talk about stealing an MVP, you're one Christian Yelich kneecap away from a 2nd place finish last season dude. Even then he still should've won it.

Boom roasted.

"I feel like every single guy over there needs a beating. It's wrong."

-Nick Markakis, Atlanta Braves outfielder

I mean, bold words dude. It's a shame that the next day 70-year-old Dusty Baker crumpled your entire manhood into a ball with a simple response: "I didn't think Markakis talked too much, maybe he had his Wheaties." Also, try swinging better than .121 in the postseason the past two years.

Boom roasted.

"If I knew what [pitch] was coming in '17, I probably would have hit 80-plus home runs,"

-Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees outfielder

Let's get you on the field for more 80 games first, then we can have this conversation, bud.

Boom roasted.

"Listen I know I don't play baseball but I am in Sports and I know if someone cheated me out of winning the title and I found out about it I would be F*^king irate! I mean like uncontrollable about what I would/could do! Listen here baseball commissioner listen to your players speaking today about how disgusted, mad, hurt, broken, etc etc about this. Literally the ball is in your court(or should I say field) and you need to fix this for the sake of Sports! #JustMyThoughtsComingFromASportsJunkieRegardlessMyOwnSportIPlay"

-LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers small forward

So speaking up about the sanctity of baseball is more important than speaking up about the basic human rights of the people of Hong Kong. Noted. I guess Houston didn't buy enough of his shoes.

Boom roasted.

And finally, here's a one tweet mic drop to all of the journalists piling on for easy page views:

Boom roasted.

This weekend in Houston

Sabrecats - Live sporting events are a little thin this weekend, but if you're feeling adventurous, there's a Sabrecats rugby game this Saturday at 7 pm. Watching rugby isn't the adventurous part. Driving down 288 to get there is.

Doomsday Wrestling - If you've never seen Doomsday Wrestling put on a show, be at Numbers on Westheimer on Saturday at 9 pm. You don't have to like wrestling to enjoy it. You're welcome.

Mardis Gras Stuff - It's Mardi Gras weekend, people. be prepared. If you haven't tried Mardi Gras in Galveston, this is their last weekend. Get going. There's also a pub crawl in the East End (or EaDo for the hipsters).

It's also National Margarita day this Saturday, for what it's worth.

What to watch this weekend

Your Houston Roughnecks hit the road for the first time against the Tampa Bay Vipers on Saturday at 1 pm (FOX), and the Rockets will be in action against the Utah Jazz at 8pm (ATT-SW).

But that's not what this weekend is for.

This weekend is about the Deontay Wilder versus Tyson Fury rematch on Saturday (8 pm, ESPN+/FOX PPV). We're dealing with two absolute mammoth human beings in what has been a fairly underwhelming weight class to watch for some time. This is the biggest boxing match of 2020 to date, and last time these two were in the same ring it was a draw.

4 Downs of the Week

I'm switching up the formatting of the Ultimate World Power Rankings of the Week to be a little more on theme. It's simple, we'll get through this together

1st down (a good thing) - JJ Watt ties the knot, boogies with grandmother, stays wholesome.



That couple is so adorable it's exhausting. Probably the most heartwarming sports-ish news Houston has had in awhile.

2nd Down (An okay thing. Mainly just a thing.) - Brodie and the Beard, swag on max.

On July 16th 2019, a sage mind (me) predicted an unquestionable truth on this site:

"Harden and Westbrook may be in the running for best on-court duo on the league, but they are hands down the most fashion-forward."

-Me

And would you look who made the cover of GQ! The Oukast nod didn't go unnoticed, either. Very nice.

3rd down (not great) - Astros have a target on their backs, Vegas has an over/under.

Place your bets, Houston. According to an ESPN.com article, Vegas has the odds of Astros batters being plunked at 83.5. Last season teams were hit about 66 times on average, for reference. I wonder what the over/under is for Astros bench clearings?

4th and a mile (Bad) - As if Houston needed another reason to cancel Buffalo Wild Wings

Buffalo Wild Wings found itself in a bit of hot water in the Bayou City earlier this week after someone's twitter fingers got ahead of themselves.

Houston fans didn't take that lying down, and BWW soon tweeted an apology. Then this happened:

I'll see you guys at Pluckers. Forever.

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