CHANGE IS COMING
Here are all the reasons Houston sports fans should embrace 2021
Where's my thermal underwear? It was 61 degrees when I stepped outside to take my dog for a walk this morning. What is this … the North Pole?
You know what it means whenever the temperature drops below 70 in Houston. TV reporters will be wearing gloves and bundled up like the Michelin Man. Such weenies.
Seriously, wasn't last night just the best? I absolutely jumped up from the couch when Carlos Correa blasted a shot over the centerfield fence for a walk-off homer. Everything is falling into place for the Astros – we're throwing pitchers who don't even have a baseball card yet, our second baseman can hit 400-foot home runs but can't throw the ball 30 feet to first base, and our best hitter can't buy a base hit.
Yeah, the Astros are on their way to the World Series, after dropping the first three games to the suddenly puckered-up Tampa Bay Rays. It's going to happen. It's destiny.
Don't worry about these 2020 Astros. Of more concern, though, are the 2021 Astros. And 2021 Texans. And 2021 Rockets.
Houston is the 4th largest city in America, a big-time market with fans that see the regular season merely as opening acts for the playoffs. Yet all three of our teams seem to have precarious futures, trending in the wrong direction. At the least it's a fair question: who's minding the store?
The Astros may be losing its entire outfield, possibly in a matter of days. Slugger George Springer and professional hitter Michael Brantley are headed to free agency for big bucks (no whammies) that could be too rich for the Astros' blood. Josh Reddick also looks destined for another team. At some point soon, the Astros will have to back up the Brinks' truck if they hope to sign Carlos Correa long-term.
Meanwhile, manager Dusty Baker, suddenly a genius the last two games, is really a seat filler until all the dust settles from the Astros cheating scandal. He's signed for next year, not to infinity and beyond.
The Houston Texans have neither a general manager nor fulltime head coach. That's what happens when you give both jobs to one person who does not play well with others, and the team starts 0-4 with the highest payroll in the NFL. And the team traded away its best receiver with little to show in return. The cherry on top, the Texans don't have a first-round pick next year.
Over at Toyota Center, the Rockets also don't have a coach and its much-admired general manager quit for "personal reasons." I've got a feeling that Daryl Morey's personal reasons will vanish in another NBA city pretty soon. The Rockets have a new, first-time general manager Rafael Stone, who will guide their search for a new coach. Jeff Van Gundy seems to be the front-runner for the job, with John Lucas moving up fast on the outside. Van Gundy is excellent on ESPN games, and Lucas knows the organization.
The Rockets appear ready to unload Russell Westbrook to the highest bidder, with the Knicks the most likely trade partner. Rockets better hurry if they want Westbrook to be happy in New York - Fashion Week is in December.
All that to say, enjoy these moments right now. A pandemic robbed us of a normal sports year but these are highly interesting, if not historic times. Houston sports may not be this interesting for quite a while. Be thankful you're not rooting for the Pirates, the Knicks, or the Jaguars. Change is uncomfortable but can be bundled with hope. In the absence of hope, a fanbase becomes generally disinterested like the aforementioned teams. And as the famous Seinfeld quote goes, "that's not gonna be good for business. That's not gonna be good for anybody."