A HOME RUN TIP

Here's how to avoid the longest lines at Minute Maid

Photo courtesy of Aramark

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

Here's a sports tip you won't find anywhere else.

When the Astros return to Minute Maid Park for Game 6 (if necessary) or Game 7 (it may take that long to dismiss the Yankees, they're good), don't rush to the concession stands the minute you enter the stadium.

Where and when to eat during the game

According to my source, the playoff games are so intense that fans aren't leaving their seats for food like during the regular season. If you wait until the second inning, there won't be any lines at the concession stands. That goes for the main concourse and the upper deck. I was at Game 1 and ordered by hot dog and Coke Zero (nice touch) with zero wait. The only food stand with lines from first pitch to walk-off homer is Torchy's Tacos, which curiously is missing an apostrophe in its Minute Maid Park sign. (When it comes to tacos, grammar is every bit as important as guacamole.) Every other stand, though, is clear sailing from second inning on.

I am giving this tip against my own interests and better judgment. It may come back to bite me. I remember…

Worst best tip ever

When I arrived in Houston, I rented a house near Gessner and I-10. There was a supermarket two streets over and every night at 10, they sold all their remaining fried chicken for 10 cents a piece. Which fit right into my budget. (Newspaper writers don't exactly earn salaries like inexperienced interns at City Hall in Houston.)

I would get to the supermarket at 9:55 pm, dawdle at the deli counter asking silly questions about potato salad, and at 10 pm sharp, I cleaned them out of fried chicken. Whatever they had, I bought. It was such an incredible bargain, for a while there, my diet consisted mainly of fried chicken and potato salad.

Stupid me, I wrote about the great fried chicken bargain. I guess I was more popular then than I am now, but soon there was a crowd hanging around the deli counter, counting down to 10 pm like it was New Year's Eve in Times Square. Two nights later, the supermarket ended the dime deal. Darn it, I should have kept my trap shut. If I go to an Astros game later this week, there better not be a line for hot dogs in the fourth inning.

I'll just say this: if I were a dedicated civil servant for the City of Houston, and the mayor hired an intern with barely any real work experience at twice my salary, I'd quit. The only thing more insulting to city staffers is the mayor's ridiculous explanation. Even bigger problem: the other candidates, may be worse.

Getting drafty with the Texans

Two months ago, Fred Faour wrote an excellent piece in SportsMap about the Texans' fair-to-middling track record with their third-round picks during the Bill O'Brien era. Faour started with 2014 and ran right up to 2019, a few hits, a couple of incompletes, but mostly busts.

It would be interesting how Faour rated the Texans third-round selection in 2013. That pick was Brennan Williams, an offensive tackle from North Carolina. Williams unfortunately suffered a knee injury and never got into a game for the Texans or any other team. What's he doing now? Last week, the WWE introduced a new lineup of announcers for its Monday Night Raw show. One of the commentators is an extremely large man going by the name Dio Maddin. That's former Texans 3rd-round pick Brennan Williams.

Continue on CultureMap to hear Ken Hoffman's thoughts on Daryl Morey.

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Eric Gordon has lost a tremendous amount weight during the shutdown. His biggest aspiration is to stay healthy and be more fit for the shorter season. He told the media that he feels confident about this team, and is optimistic about getting his shot back consistently.

"Everybody knows we're a dangerous team. We can beat anybody, and we can beat ourselves" said Gordon. "It's all about finding that consistent path. There are only eight games and playoffs around the corner, we have to be dominant from start to finish."

Gordon is at a career low shooting 37 percent from the field this season, while playing in only 34 games. During the season he went through a couple of injuries while averaging 14.5 points per game. For Gordon to be productive he needs to remain healthy so the Rockets can be successful. If Russell Westbrook or James Harden are off to a bad start, Gordon is a great weapon to go to. Even though Gordon's stats dropped from the previous two years, there can always be a quick turnaround.

Gordon's injury caused him to miss quite a bit of time, so it was hard for him to get back in rhythm. That can always throw a great shooter like Gordon off. The quarantine allowed Gordon to get healthy and practice his shot more. Before the season started, Gordon signed a four-year, $76 million contract extension. Daryl Morey is extremely confident about having Gordon on the Rockets. Morey was seen working with Gordon after practice Tuesday.

Mike D'Antoni has loved the way Gordon has looked on the court. As D'Antoni watched the Rockets five on five practice, he's been observing Gordon very carefully.

"He hasn't missed a rep. Looks good. Shooting the ball extremely well," said D'Antoni during the Zoom press conference. "Getting Eric Gordon in the groove and getting him going is very important. And also, getting the other guys to be able to maybe even have more opportunities."

When Gordon is consistent and healthy, it is a scary sight to opposing teams.

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