Composite photo by Jack Brame
The NFL released its 2020 regular season schedule Thursday night hoping it plays out as actual and not hypothetical. The Houston Texans have an opportunity to send the rest of the league a warning shot of their ascendancy toward greatness! They also stand a chance of getting buried early. Returning to the scene of the crime, or more accurately their humiliation, the Texans are slated to play their first game that counts at the site of their last game that counted. This time a trip to Arrowhead Stadium means a visit to the home of the reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs. That means a probable 0-1 Texans start. They open as early 10 or 10 1/2 point underdogs. If they are 0-1, the Texans will probably sag to 0-2 as the home opener in week two has the Baltimore Ravens visiting NRG Stadium. On the other hand, if somehow they start 2-0…
0-2 is obviously more likely than 2-0. At least it gets easier for the Texans from there. Easier does not mean easy. Week three, at Pittsburgh. Yoy! Week four, home vs. the Vikings. The first game that on paper is a definitely should win game for the Texans is week five vs. the Jaguars. That's followed by a trip to Tennessee then a home game vs. the Packers. Man. That's five 2019 playoff teams among the first seven opponents, plus the Steelers in Pittsburgh. After those opening seven games if I somehow could guarantee you the Texans will either be 6-1 or 1-6, which way do you go? Thought so.
Zero Sunday or Monday night games on the Texans' initial schedule. Flex scheduling could alter that. The season finale for instance if, say, the Texans' home game vs. the Titans is to decide the AFC South.
The Texans' zero prime-time games after the opener at K.C. are five fewer than Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have.
ESPN.com had its 32 team beat writers make a regular season record guess for the team he or she covers. 21 of 32 predict winning records, two guessed 8-8, just nine forecast losing seasons. I guess collectively that makes them homers.
Jose Altuve turned 30 this week. He has 1568 big league hits. When Pete Rose turned 30 he had 1540 hits. Altuve has no chance at making a run at Rose's Major League Baseball record hit total of 4256. When Craig Biggio turned 30 he had 1105 hits. He finished with 3060. In the four seasons after he turned 30 Biggio missed a total of four games. Altuve starts his thirties by losing out on dozens more. At 188 hits per season (his average over his eight full seasons as a big leaguer) Altuve needs more than seven and a half seasons to reach 3000 hits. Biggio ranks 25th on MLB's career hits leaderboard. Altuve is tied for 570th.
50 years ago Friday featured one of the most famous games in NBA history. May 7, 1970, game Seven of the Finals, the New York Knicks won their first title by beating the Lakers in what is pretty much known as the "Willis Reed Game." The Knicks center and captain tore a thigh muscle early in game five which the Knicks managed to win anyway. With no Reed in game 6 Wilt Chamberlain went for 45 points and 27 rebounds as the Lakers rolled 135-113. To the surprise of most, Reed hobbled down the tunnel to take the court for warmups before game seven, as the crowd at Madison Square Garden went berserk. Reed hit two jumpers for the Knicks' first two field goals, and the game was basically over. Reed didn't score again, finishing with four points and three rebounds in 27 minutes but the Knicks just destroyed the Lakers, leading 94-69 after three quarters before ultimately winning 113-99. It's known as the "Willis Reed Game" but really should be known as the "Walt Frazier Game." The Knicks' point guard went off for a ridiculous 36 points and 19 assists, arguably the greatest game seven performance in NBA history.
I've known Joel Blank for 25 years. Despite that, I think we'll have some fun as this Monday we start doing a show together weekdays 11-1 on ESPN 97.5. Joel will adapt to my sarcasm. I will adapt to his Green Bay Packer fixation. Producer Nick Sharara will serve as referee when needed. The show will be called The Press Box. Had to be called something I guess.
1. Happy Mother's Day to all moms Sunday. Especially mine! 2. Next week takes us into the third month of basically no sports. Longest three years of my life. 3. Best synonyms for boredom: Bronze-torpor Silver-languor Gold-ennui
We're not saying this is the greatest photo of Alex Bregman ever…but we're not saying it's not. Photo by Bread & Water Productions.
Only Alex Bregman, his tireless crew (we’re looking at you, Tyler Straub), and his endless business and charity interests could make Major League Baseball’s quiet offseason seem so 24/7.
The latest: Wild Sol, the spicy and saucy new Southwest food brand that Alex and his wife Reagan have created — and just toasted with a totally fire launch party at EaDo hotspot Chapman & Kirby.
Alex and Reagan welcomed a star-studded, invite-only list of party people to celebrate the Wild Sol official launch and sample some savory — and spirited, literally — salsas (more on the “spirited” part in a moment). The party also saluted the Wild Sol team who have been working for more than a year on the launch: Laurice Howard, Reagan’s mother (and an Instagram treasure); the aforementioned Tyler Straub (whom we here at CultureMap have dubbed “Tyler the Creator”); Michael Posey, and Adrienne Price.
While hot Houston DJ Mr Rogers spun his party-perfect beats, the VIP crowd sampled Wild Sol’s line of Hot, Mild, Salsa Verde, and Mango Habanero salsas. Flecha Azul Tequilaprovided the perfect way to cool off from the spicy Mango Habanero and Hot salsas. Considered the fastest growing additive-free, ultra-premium tequila in the world, Flecha Azul was founded by A-list friend of the Bregmans — Mark Wahlberg — along with his partners Aron Marquez, and Abraham Ancer.
A Sol-powered party
Astros star shortstop Jeremy Peña (aka La Torrenta) hit the party. Photo by Bread & Water Productions.
As for the crowd, it was a family affair and a who’s-who list of sports celebs. Guests included Alex’s mother, Jackie De Oliveira Bregman; and Reagan’s parents, Laurice and Grant Howard, with her brother Kyle Howard. Other guests included Flecha Azul Tequila founder Aron Marquez; Houston Astros star shortstop Jeremy Peña; Astros business development director Kyle McLaughlin; Astros’ reporter Julia Morales Clark and husband Matt Clark; Adrienne and Jared Crane; rap legends Slim Thug and Paul Wall (who attended with his wife, Crystal); Warren Moon; former NFL star Adrian Peterson and his wife, Ashley; Madison Straub; Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale; former Houston Texans star Chester Pitts; Madelyn Payne; Haleigh Broucher; and Southern songstress Lenora and her fiancé Jarren Small.
The normally Navy SEAL-composed Alex Bregman tore it up on the dance floor and posed for an epic photo with his beloved Mom and with Paul Wall and Straub — making us wish they three would start a hip-hop act.
“I am so grateful for all of our friends and family who showed up to support,” said Alex Bregman of the party. “We’ve got great momentum and we’re looking forward to taking this to the next level.”
A little about the new Wild Sol salsas: each brings the heat and is made with an actual splash of Flecha Azul tequilas. Here’s the Wild Sol starting lineup:
Ladies and gentlemen, your Wild Sol starting lineup. Photo by Bread & Water Productions.
Hot Salsa: robust and spiced with dried chilies that really bring the heat; made with a splash of Flecha Azul Blanco Tequila
Mild Salsa: rich with limes, tomatoes, and dried chilies for a touch of heat; made with a splash of Flecha Azul Blanco Tequila
Salsa Verde: herby and smokey with tomatillos and vibrant serrano peppers; made with a splash of Los Coyotes Mezcal
Mango Habanero Salsa: sweet up front with fresh mangos and a punch of fiery habañeros; made with a splash of Flecha Azul Reposado Tequila
“We are excited to collaborate with our friends at Wild Sol,” said Flecha Azul Tequila founder Marquez. “Over the last year, I received samples of recipes, and their desire to produce a salsa that is unique and spirited shines through. You can’t have the best spirited salsa if you are not using the best tequila.”
No, you can’t, Aron. Those on the hunt for Wild Sol’s salsas can find it online at WildSol.co. — expect even more products this year. Houston shoppers can also look forward to Wild Sol on H-E-B and Kroger shelves in the coming months, the company promises. Score the Flecha Azul tequila line at local Spec’s, Total Wine & More, or online.
Breggy talks his bomb offseason
Bregman poses with his manager Tyler Straub just before he headed back to Phoenix after attending Astros Fan Fest. Photo by Steven Devadanam.
As we mentioned, few — if any — MLB stars have put in the work like Alex Bregman this offseason — on and off the field. Just how committed is the All-Star third baseman? In January, he flew in from Phoenix, where he’s been training, just to attend the Astros Fan Fest — only to hop a flight immediately after the event.
Seriously, does he sleep?
“Oh yeah,” Bregman told us at the event. “Sleep is the key. The sleep’s where you recover — you gotta sleep. I feel like that’s the best form of recovery for any athlete. So, we try to sleep eight to 10 hours a night.” When we jokingly asked if the headline is that Baby Knox (his son) is letting him sleep eight to 10 hours a night, Bregman chuckled.
“Oh, Knox sleeps — Knox might sleep 12 hours himself. He’s growing so much and I think it’s because he sleeps so well.”
Bregman, who (somehow) turns 30 on March 30, is well aware of all the speculation as to whether he’ll extend with the Astros, like his teammate José Altuve. He revealed good news for his fans who are waiting for an epic season.
Big things ahead
“I feel better than I’ve ever felt,” he told us. “I feel younger than I’ve ever felt. I feel more athletic than I’ve ever felt. I’m really looking forward to having a really good year.”
He’s also working on every part of his game as he readies for another World Series run, and is ready to play ball —as he works on every part of his game. “I think it’s every single aspect of the game, trying to get a little bit better,” he said. “This offseason’s been really hitting-focused and it’s been fantastic. I cannot even tell you how excited I am to get down to Florida and get going.”
We also caught up with Bregman at the annual Cactus Jack Celebrity Softball Tournament put on by Travis Scott this past week, where he hit the field with a host of all stars and celebrities. Having just headed up his Bregman Cares Classic tournament at Sugar Land’s Constellation Field, a ball game for a special cause meant that much more to him.
“It means so much,” he told us before the game. “Being able to help any community is such an honor.”
We also asked Bregman about his Super Bowl experience, where he partied with Houston Texans superstar quarterback C.J. Stroud and newly minted NFL Hall of Famer Andre Johnson, the first Texan to be inducted into the halls of Canton, Ohio.
“It was an honor to be able to hang with him and Andre,” Bregman added, “and celebrate their amazing seasons.”
And we’re ready to celebrate an amazing Bregman season, too.