Every-Thing Sports

How I survived football's offseason

New England Patriots website

It's been six long months since we had a meaningful football game. In that same time, there's still plenty of football activity. There's the Scouting Combine, the NFL Draft, NFL free agency, plus Spring practice and games for NCAA teams. These activities are spread out over the course of about three to four of those six months. Mix in minicamps and OTA's (organized team activities for the football acronym-impaired) and there are more doses of that drug we call football. But is it enough to satisfy your cravings? Nine times out of ten, it isn't. In fact, it'll drive most fans crazy. It can make them insane to the point that they'll believe their team is a Super Bowl or CFP contender (that's college football playoff for the football acronym-impaired) when they get a bit of good news coming from an offseason activity. This gives way for prime time hot takes and list culture. You have to find other avenues of entertainment. Here are some of the things I did to survive:

Game of Thrones

The final season of Game of Thrones ran during the football dead period. While many criticized its ending, as well as each episode of the final season, I enjoyed it. It may not have ended the way many wanted or expected, but isn't that a good thing? Good forms of entertainment will suspend your disbelief. Game of Thrones' final season did just that. Sure we can be upset at how it went, but it was still captivating.

Astros

Yordan Alvarez Astros Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball's fanbase has dwindled tremendously over the last 10 to 20 plus years. Within the last few years, the Astros have become World Series champs and perennial contenders. I used to take my kids to games when they were losing 100 of them a year. Now, I've only gone to a couple since they became this good. These guys are not only good, but also fun to watch as they genuinely enjoy each other and the game itself. After the trade for Zack Greinke, I sure am glad there's an Academy a couple miles up the road. Just saying.

Netflix

Netflix official Twitter account

We've had Netflix for quite some time now, but I finally gave it a shot and have become addicted to it. There are tons of great movies, original shows, documentaries, and specials. I just started Bad Blood recently. It's a series on the mob in Canada based off true stories using real life names and situations. The fact that I have so many shows, especially documentaries, to watch and not nearly enough time is appealing to me. I'll never get to them all, but I tried my best.

Max

Jermaine Every

For the longest time I've been anti-pets. Working in the cleaning industry, I've been able to make a good living off what they do to people's homes. However, I finally gave in (I.E. got over-ruled/suckered by the other three people I share a home with). When we adopted Max, he was barely a month old. As a Chiweenie (Chihuahua and Daschund mix), he won't grow larger than about 15lbs. Despite being a blend of two yappy dogs, he's very quiet and has a chill personality. He's still a puppy so he does have moments of FRAP-ing (Frequent Random Activity Periods), but it only lasts for a short while. He's also pretty smart as he doesn't fall for the pump fake when playing fetch. This is a pic of him being a nosey neighbor, one of his favorite things to do.

The Sideline Podcast

Brandon Strange

My cohost Craig Koshkin and myself have recommitted to recording our podcast every week. We've even come up with a new format (The Sideline Six Pack) to keep us on topic, as well as deliver a better overall quality product. We usually record every Monday afternoon and Tyler Scott has it up every Tuesday. We discuss our Six Pack of topics, usually covering the current state of sports (mainly local, but some national stories as well). One topic every week is non-sports, plus you'll love our other discussions that somehow always get woven in. Generally it's food because what else two chubby dudes love more than sports? Don't forget to subscribe and give us those five star reviews!

As you can see, I've managed to keep myself pretty busy this offseason. There are a few other things I haven't mentioned. For example, I've gotten back into cooking and trying different recipes. One of my media mentors, Craig Shelton, hipped me to some seasonings and sauces I need to try. The kids have also found things they've wanted me to cook, as well as some classics I haven't cooked in a while. Now that football season is once again upon us, I'll start writing my Texans, Saints, and NFL recaps during the season. Be on the lookout for those as well. Whenever that first day of training camp comes and preseason games start to replay on NFL Network, I get that tingling feeling. I imagine it's similar to that feeling we've all had when we opened that gift we always wanted and finally got. Or it could be that feeling of the junkie getting that fix again after being sober too long. Either way, I'm glad football is back.

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Houston scored in droves

Astros drub Twins in finale to take series win

Houston's offense showered Minnesota with hits in Sunday's finale. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games, with Houston's offense uncharacteristically ineffective in the loss on Saturday, they tried to turn things around with a win to take the series on Sunday. The Astros would bounce right back at the plate, getting hits and runs all through the afternoon to rout the Twins.

Final Score: Astros 14, Twins 3

Astros' Record: 37-28, second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (3-0)

Losing Pitcher: Michael Pineda (3-4)

Valdez keeps rolling

Framber Valdez continued to impress in 2021 after starting his season on the IL, posting another quality start with a win against the Twins. After four scoreless frames, he allowed a solo homer to start the bottom of the fifth, just the third hit of the game for Minnesota to that point. He went on to retire the next three batters to get through the inning.

He faltered a bit in the bottom of the sixth, allowing a leadoff double followed by a single, with a run coming across on an error on that play. He once again rebounded to finish that frame, then put up a 1-2-3 seventh to finish his day off, notching another quality start and a win. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 97 P.

Houston keeps their foot on the gas

While Valdez's outing was a highlight of its own, Houston's offense was the story of the day. They put their foot down on the pedal all day and did not let up, starting in the top of the first when Jose Altuve turned the first pitch of the game around for a single, later scoring on a sac fly by Alex Bregman to put the Astros in front 1-0.

After two scoreless innings, they got right back on the scoreboard in the fourth with a two-run homer by Kyle Tucker, then kept pouring it on with two runs in the fifth on a sac fly by Yuli Gurriel and an error, making it 5-0 at the time. The runs kept coming in the top of the sixth, with a two-RBI double by Michael Brantley, who would score later on a two-run bomb by Yordan Alvarez. Then, in the top of the seventh, Brantley struck again to push it to double-digits with a two-RBI single to make it 11-2 and give Brantley 4 RBI on the afternoon.

With Houston swapping out starters with the hefty lead, even their pinch-hitters were getting involved, with Chas McCormick leading the top of the eighth off with a solo shot to make it a ten-run game. They then loaded the bases with no outs, setting up a sac fly for Myles Straw to make it 13-2.

Astros take the series

In the bottom of the eighth, Ralph Garza Jr. came in as the first reliever out of the bullpen for Houston. He recorded two quick outs but then met Nelson Cruz, who lasered a solo homer to put it back at a ten-run game before finishing the frame. Houston put their twentieth hit on the board in the top of the ninth, their highest total this season, en route to another scoring inning with a sac fly by Robel Garcia to make it 14-3. Garza came in for his second inning of work to wrap things up in the bottom of the ninth, giving the Astros a successful end to this series and road trip.

Up Next: Houston will travel home before an off day on Monday to rest before 20 days of consecutive games. They'll kick off a six-game homestand on Tuesday, welcoming in the Rangers for two starting at 7:10 PM Central. Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1, 2.96 ERA) will make his return from the IL for the Astros, though Jake Odorizzi will "piggy-back" him, and Kyle Gibson (4-0, 2.13 ERA) will take the mound for Texas.

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