RAISE A GLASS TO THE STROS

Astros and Houston brewery host official Game 3 and 4 watch parties this week

Astros Yordan Alvarez, Kyle Tucker, and Alex Bregman

Head to Karbach for the official Astros watch party! Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

How latest Astros series further confirms MLB actually got something right

Real fans know that there's no reason to panic after the Houston Astros fell 6-2 ALDS playoff game loss to the Minnesota Twins on Sunday, October (the only thing that stung was former Astro Carlos Correa driving in three runs).

History shows that we can bounce back to our Game 1 form, where Justin Verlander and our boys dropped the Twins 6-4 on Saturday, October 7. Let Yordan Alvarez go yard, let Alex Bregman blast some Breggy Bombs, and we're back in business.

Now, as the Stros travel to Minnesota for Game 3 and Game 4, locals can scream for our men in orange and blue at restaurants and bars across the city — check out CultureMap food editor Eric Sandler's list of food and drink deals here.

A quick time out for the Ultimate Sports Bar Showdown

As sports fans know, CultureMap and SportsMap are teaming up to celebrate the return of the fall sports season with The Tailgate, our all-out party devoted to everything sports. It’s happening Wednesday, October 25 at Silver Street Studios, and tickets are already on sale.

For The Tailgate’s second year, we’re inviting CultureMap and SportsMap readers to vote for Houston’s best sports bar in our Ultimate Sports Bar Showdown. Our panel of editors and other local experts has compiled a roster of 16 local favorites with an array of different strengths. Some are owned by professional athletes, while others are part of local or national chains.

Some are big enough to accommodate hundreds of people at a time, while others are more intimate. Regardless of the specifics, they all offer a lively atmosphere for rooting on all of our favorite teams.

Rather than a head-to-head, bracket-style tournament, we’re inviting readers to vote for their favorite establishments from the entire field. The top half of all vote getters will advance to the next round as we go from 16 to eight to four to two to a winner. People may vote once per day, and voting will be monitored to ensure every establishment gets a fair shot to win. Vote here for your favorite.

Back to the Astros ALDS Watch Parties

Looking for a team-sanctioned Astros rally? Head to the Astros Official ALDS Watch Parties at Karbach Brewing Co. (2032 Karbach St.) on Tuesday and Wednesday, October 10 and 11, in Spring Branch.

Fans can look forward to special appearances by everyone's favorite green guy Orbit and the Coca-Cola Shooting Stars, check out a prize wheel, snap pics at all the photo ops, snag official team postseason gear from the team store, and more.

Here are the watch party schedules for Game 3 and 4, which kick off 30 minutes before first pitch.

Game 3, Tuesday, October 10: Watch party start time is 2:30 pm; game time is 3:07 pm.

Game 4, Wednesday, October 11: Watch party start time is 5:30 pm; game time is 6:07 pm.

"Every single person in that clubhouse is motivated to go out and play well tomorrow," Bregman told the media on Monday, October 9 when discussing his teammates' focus and readiness.

No doubt, Alex — now, it's game on.

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These uniforms have to go. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

Major League Baseball will consider going back to having players wear their team uniforms for the All-Star Game.

Club uniforms were used by the American League from 1933-2019 and by the National League from 1934-2019. When the game resumed in 2021 following the pandemic-related cancellation in 2020, MLB had started a uniform contract with Nike and Fanatics, and All-Stars were outfitted in specially designed league uniforms that drew criticism from traditionalists.

Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

This year's AL uniforms had a sandy base with red sleeves and lettering and the NL had a navy base with light blue sleeves and lettering.

“I’m aware of the sentiment on this issue,” Manfred told the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday. "I think where my head is on it, it’s something we’re going to have a conversation about coming out of the All-Star Game. We've got a lot of uniform things going on. And, obviously, the conversations have to involve the players first and foremost but Nike, some of our partners. But I am aware of the sentiment, and I do know why people kind of like that tradition."

MLB and Nike were criticized for club uniforms this year and said in May that 2025 club outfits will have larger lettering on the back of jerseys and individual pant customization. Players complained this year that white pants worn by some teams are see-through enough to show tucked-in jersey tops.

Regional sports networks

Manfred said a national steaming package of local television broadcasts is a future possibility.

“I could see a situation where we grow into a 30-club model. It might start on the digital side, where you have 14 or 15 clubs, and, you start with a digital product there as your first alternative,” he said.

“I was in Sun Valley last week and I did the whole speed-dating thing with everybody who’s ever streamed anything. When you talk to people in the streaming business, they’re not really interested in buying the state of Wisconsin and two counties in Michigan," Manfred added. "They want to be able to stream quite frankly, all over the U.S. and Canada but more broadly internationally. So I think those conversations are a product of owners saying, holy cow, the RSN business is really deteriorating. We know the future’s going to be streaming. What we’re hearing from the streamers is they want a more national product, and we need to be responsive to what people want to buy.”

MLB took over production of Arizona and San Diego local television broadcasts last year following the bankruptcy of Diamond Sports’ Bally networks and said MLB will be available as an option for teams looking for new deals. He said Padres game are approaching 40,000 subscribers, which he called a good figure.

“Having said that, from a revenue perspective it is not generating what the RSNs did," Manfred said. "The RSNs were a great business. Lots of people paid for programing they didn’t necessarily want. And it’s hard to replicate that kind of revenue absent that kind of bundling concept.”

Offense

While offense is near half-century lows, it has picked up from early in the season.

“The decline in offense is something that we’re paying a lot of attention to and we’ll continue to monitor to make a decision as to whether we think we need to do something. You do hear a lot of chatter about the dominance of pitching in the game. That’s absolutely true.”

Birmingham

After the success of the June 20 game between San Francisco and St. Louis at Rickwood Field, Manfred said MLB will return to the ballpark in Birmingham, Alabama, but the “exact form” had not been determined.

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