The future is bright for Houston sports. Composite Getty Images.
If the darkest hour is just before dawn, then Houston sports suffered a total blackout last week. In the span of seven miserable days …
The Houston Astros’ quest for a second consecutive World Series title ended in a thud 11-4 loss to eventual champions Texas Rangers. The Astros lost all four games of the ALCS at home. Proving they weren’t one-hit blunders, the Astros also accomplished that shameful feat during the 2019 World Series.
The Houston Texans fell below .500 for the season by losing to the previously winless Carolina Panthers. It was a matchup between the Panthers’ No. 1 pick Bryce Young and the Texans’ No. 2 pick C.J. Stroud. The Texans were licking their chops at proving they made the right selection and the Panthers’ blew it. Defying mathematics, one was greater than two.
The Houston Rockets started their 2023-24 season by going 0-3 out of the gate, including a 30-point defeat by the Orlando Magic.
The University of Houston Cougars were whitewashed 41-0 by the Kansas State Wildcats, the Coogs’ first shutout loss in nearly a quarter-century, 48-0 by Texas in 2000, and their worst pointwise beating since a 56-7 thrashing by Tulsa in 2007. UH fell to 1-4 in Big 12 Conference play and 3-5 overall. On top of everything, the NFL spanked UH for wearing Houston Oilers trademarked “Luv Ya Blue” uniforms and threated to haul their butts into court.
Mama said there’d be days like this. But a new day is dawning and already there are signs that Houston sports will be fine as the calendar turns to 2024.
The Astros will have most of their key players returning next season and, fingers crossed, pitchers Lance McCullers and Luis Garcia will be back from injury. All signs are pointing to burgeoning star Yanier Diaz taking over the starting catcher job. The Astros are looking for a skipper to take over for the retiring Dusty Baker and that should light a renewed fuse under the Astros rockets. Guess who Las Vegas has as favorites to win the American League pennant in ’24? That’s right, the Astros. Free mattresses for everybody!
Why the sad Texans face? The Texans already have won as many games, 3, as they did all last season. We have a fiery head coach DeMeco Ryans, who is respected and looks like he could suit up himself and sack the quarterback. Our quarterback, with only seven games under his belt, already is the best QB1 in Texans history. We have a defense. We have a kicker. We have receivers performing better than expected. And holy crap, fans have returned to NRG Stadium! Imagine, all it took was Texans management and coaching staff putting a team on the field that fans have pride in.
The Houston Rockets already have broken out of their 0-3 funk with a victory over the Charlotte Hornets. You just have to look at the Rockets bench for better days ahead. There sits new coach Ime Udoka, breathing fire and not about to take another dreadful Rockets season. Departed coach Stephen Silas, a nice guy (probably too nice), seemed to be on happy pills the last three historically losing teams. Have you seen Udoka up close? I walked next to him outside Kenny & Ziggy’s delicatessen a few weeks ago. He’s huge. His shoulders look 6-feet wide. I was so intimidated that I passed on my pastrami and corned beef combo sandwich and ordered a broccoli salad. Vile weed.
The UH season is a disappointment for sure but, really, what did you expect from the Cougars’ debut in the Big 12? They’re playing with the big boys now and a Power 5 conference is the real deal compared to UH’s previous residencies in C-USA and American Athletic conferences. The Cougars have four games left in 2023 and three of those opponents, Baylor, Cincinnati and UCF have losing records. The Cougars just might, I said might, find themselves in a bowl game yet.
Perhaps the funnest news coming out of UH is this: starting Friday, first-time, officially licensed, limited-edition bobbleheads of UH mascots Shasta and Sasha are available at bobbleheadhall.com/products. The figures are produced by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum and numbered 1-2,023.
After a quiet offseason the Houston Astros finally made some moves this week to bolster their roster by adding backup catcher Victor Caratini in free agency.
The club also acquired some bullpen help by trading for Royals reliever Dylan Coleman.
Astros GM Dana Brown also garnered a lot of attention this week by proclaiming Jake Meyers will get an opportunity to be the everyday starter in center field.
And while the Astros have been connected to several free agent relief pitchers by various media outlets, it appears Houston isn't looking to spend much money.
On the other hand, the Yankees went out and traded for superstar outfielder Juan Soto, and have shot past the Astros when it comes to World Series odds.
Which begs the question, have the Astros done enough to compete with the Yankees in 2024?
To be fair, we've seen this movie before. The Yankees historically out spend every team, but they've been a little more conservative over the last few years.
But now, they look like the Yankees of old when it comes to payroll.
Plus, we heard rumors a few weeks ago that the Astros might be looking to trade Jake Meyers. And now all of a sudden he's getting the first crack at the starting job in center?
Could this be a smoke screen from Dana Brown to try to elevate his trade value? We've seen the Astros value defense in center field before, they let George Springer walk and replaced him with Myles Straw.
Be sure to watch the video above as we decipher what the Astros are really trying to accomplish this offseason, and successful they can be in the AL in 2024.