It was only a matter of time before Altuve fully embraced his new role

Jose Altuve completed the heel turn. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images.

If you've read my stuff here, or follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you know I'm a pro wrestling fan. Have been all my life and will continue to be. There are terms they use for good guys and bad guys. Good guys are called babyfaces or a face. Bad guys are called heels. Wrestlers who truly enjoy the craft will mostly claim to like playing a heel because your character can get away with more. They're expected to cheat to win. They also get "heat" with the crowd by insulting them and/or attacking/insulting the face they're going up against. See where I'm going with this?

The Astros have finally embraced their heel turn following the sign stealing scandal. Most guys have not really paid much attention to opposing fans booing them. Some have barked back at opposing players/fans/media, most notably Carlos Correa who took it upon himself to defend the club last season after they swept the Twins in the playoffs. That was a rallying cry that nearly brought them back to another World Series appearance. Jose Altuve has been largely silent when it comes to things. Last season was the worst of his career. It only came out before this season that he was dealing with some personal issues that caused his lull in play. This season started bad for him as well. That is, until a fateful trip to the Bronx to play the hated Yankees.

This was the team's first appearance in the Bronx since fans were allowed back into stadiums. They booed, made signs, held trash cans, and wore t-shirts and costumes. On more than one occasion, a "f*** Altuve" chant broke out. Altuve had enough and hit a game winning three-run homer to shut the crowd up. Ever since, his power numbers have been off the charts. He has 18 homers this season, with 11 of those coming in his last 30 games. His career high for a season of 24 is expected to fall this year if he keeps this up.

He's typically known as the soft-spoken, kind-hearted, quiet leader of the team. Altuve fully embraced the heel turn when he not so subtly waved goodbye to the Cleveland crowd after the team swept a four game series this past weekend, and I love it! I wrote about this before the start of last season because I felt the team might as well lean into being the bad guys if opposing fans/players/media were going to keep crapping on them. While some did, it wasn't until Altuve's wave that I was most proud. It's a simple gesture that players have done in the past. But when it comes from a guy like him, it carries a different type of weight. It also has more meaning since the team is leading the AL West by 4.5 games and are only a half game behind the Red Sox for the best record in the AL at the time of this writing.

This team is loaded with talent. While they've struggled in some areas, the one area they need to improve is the bullpen. The offense currently leads all of MLB in run differential at +137. Of the guys with 100 at-bats or more, they have five guys hitting .280 or more, another two guys just under that mark, and four of them are at .300 or more. I'd love to see them keep this same attitude and make another World Series run. Ideally, I'd love for them to win it all. If forced to settle for a World Series appearance, I guess I'd be okay. Then we could all wave goodbye to the haters.

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We'll see if Watson is in pads on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of the Houston Texans.

The Houston Texans had their last practice before pads come on for the first time on Tuesday. There was plenty to see on Monday.

1. Deshaun Watson had his usual extremely light level of work. He did very little throwing to teammates, though he did throw to the tight ends in 1-on-1 drills.

2. Texans head coach David Culley said "nothing has changed" when asked if Deshaun Watson will be in pads Tuesday. Culley has maintained that answer for a couple of sessions now.

3. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was back after missing Saturday with an excused personal day. Taylor has been the best quarterback in camp by a wide margin. Taylor makes better decisions with the football than other quarterbacks, but he does struggle on deeper passes. Taylor missed wildly on one deep ball and was a little wobbly on another.

4. Nobody in camp can cover wide receiver Brandin Cooks. This could be the easiest training camp of his life. He easily gets open in 1-on-1 situations.

5. Rookie wide receiver Nico Collins continues to flash his abilities in camp. Collins easily shook loose from defensive back John Reid and took the route vertical for an easy score. Collins later had a tough catch in traffic.

6. It's only been a few days, but the competition for inside wide receiver reps is tough. Former Bears wideout Anthony Miller has looked quick and nothing like the "draft bust" the Bears fans watched. Keke Coutee has rarely lost a rep, but Desmond King did win a few times over Coutee in the opening days of camp. Former Bengals wideout Alex Erickson finds himself constantly open. The cuts at wide receiver are already shaking out to be difficult.

7. Davis Mills bounced back in a sense that he couldn't be worse than he was on Saturday. The performance from Mills on Saturday was abysmal, but head coach David Culley said he liked how Mills responded today. With Tyrod Taylor back, there were fewer reps for Mills, but he had some impressive throws to go along with an off-target throw or two. Mills was far better than Jeff Driskel on Monday. Driskel tossed two interceptions right to defenders, including one that would've gone the wrong way for a score.

8. This linebacker group is interesting. With a new defensive scheme under Lovie Smith, the type of linebacker is very different from previous years. There was a clear emphasis on cover ability as these linebackers were added to the team.

9. Kamu Grugier-Hill and Kevin Pierre-Louis have both had some significant wins for the linebackers in coverage.

10. Rookie tight end Brevin Jordan looks the part physically, but he's had a rough few days, including a drop on Monday.

11. With the pads coming on Tuesday, it will be fun to watch the rebuilt defensive line clash with the many combinations of the offensive line. There will be no J.J. Watt who historically stirred up the team on day one of pads. Laremy Tunsil's cool confidence about the offensive line over the weekend leads me to believe they are a confident group, while there are spots to be won on the defensive side of the line.

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