Every-Thing Sports

Let's discuss the best ways to watch the return of the Astros

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MLB is returning to live games with their pandemic-shortened schedule on Thursday, July 23. The rest of the league will play on Friday, July 24, including your Houston Astros. Fans won't be able to be in attendance at the games, but there's no doubt in my mind many will be tuned in. After all, there's very few live sports we have to watch that will hold our attention.

Sure there are other live sports to watch, but do they really hold a candle to one of the big three? UFC has held some entertaining fights. I've seen some decent boxing matches as well. My son has gotten us into racing since watching Ford vs Ferrari. The Korean Baseball Organization is pro baseball, but it comes on at like 3am. So now that we're getting one of the big three back, how do you plan on watching?

Small gatherings

Some people will gather together to celebrate. I know for a fact that Cobos Que will be open and serving his mouth-watering BBQ. There's going to be some good food served and I suggest you make plans accordingly. For the few places that are allowed to remain open, I'm sure folks will either sit and eat, or order to go. Several friends have said they will gather to watch together as well. Whatever you choose to do when it comes to gathering, please be responsible. Mask up and practice social distancing.

Flying solo

There will be many more who will choose to watch the game alone and/or in the comfort of their own homes. This is my go-to move. I describe myself as an antisocial extrovert. I can be around people and seem like a people person, when in reality I'm fighting off my anxiety because I'm around other people. This is also the safest move since the city is back on red alert. Order food to go or have it delivered. Pour your favorite beverage. Sit back and enjoy the Astros inside your own four walls.

Drinking Haterade

With success, comes detractors. Add that to the fact that the Astros were hit hard by MLB for cheating, and you have fans of other teams ready to watch the Astros just to see them fail. Hell, there are even members of the media that want to see them fail! Sure, they cheated, got caught and took it on the chin. But they weren't the only ones. They cheated and deserve the venom spewed their way. The holier-than-thou attitude by others is what truly gets me. With the shortened season and no fans, some are actually angry that the Astros won't get the treatment they deserve. When you allow that level of hate to consume you, you deserve to be miserable.

Indifferent

Another segment of society will be totally indifferent. They'll watch if it's on and there's nothing else holding their attention, or maybe catch some highlights. These are the ones that don't really care if MLB comes back or not. I'd love to see a Venn diagram of those in this category and their overwhelming love for football and/or basketball. MLB has done an awful job of appealing to the younger audience. Their dwindling audience is getting older and older. Disposable income is growing with the demographic they're failing to reach. This is why MLB has fallen to third among pro sports and is in danger of falling further.

Much talk was centered around the league and players publically arguing over money. Now that they've gotten things settled and are set to return, they can focus on the issue at hand: seizing the moment. The NBA is set to restart their season around the same time. The NFL is on target to open training camps as well. MLB has an opportunity to grab a hold of their moment in the spotlight to get a foothold on a segment of the sporting world. The Astros hold a special place in the hearts of their fans because of their recent success. I could see this season paying off big time for them. Having two aging pitchers and another coming off major surgery favors them. I'm ready to see what this team can accomplish. 60 games is plenty enough time to determine a champion. Let's sit back and enjoy the Astros season. Who knows, it may be one of their last title runs given the state of the roster...

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The media has mixed feelings about the James Harden trade. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

James Harden was 100-percent exactly right earlier this week when he said the Houston Rockets were "just not good enough."

How could they be? Not when their moody superstar scorer, who makes about half a million dollars per game, shows up chubby, looking like a kielbasa about to explode in the microwave. Hey, some people eat when they're unhappy, it's a defense mechanism. In Harden's case, the only defense he's exhibited this season. At least he had a good excuse for missing pre-season training camp and alienating his teammates - he was busy partying with Cinnamon and Cherish in Atlanta and Vegas without a mask. Worst of all, he went into the tank his last four games in a Rockets uniform, standing around, arms folded, scoring fewer than 20 points each time, all Rockets losses. Fans in the front row were asking him to move, he was blocking their view of players who cared about winning. James Harden sabotaged his own team, a team that offered him $50 million a year to stay. Something that crazy could only happen in professional sports these days.

There's a saying that drives the American labor movement: "a fair day's wage for a fair day's work." It's the motto of the American Federation of Labor. The National Basketball Players Association is not a member. Harden's sulking on the court, cheating the Rockets and their fans, was unforgivable.

Harden, sitting out games while somehow being on the court, forced the Rockets to trade him - and quick - to Brooklyn. The trade, when you ignore the fine print and unindicted co-conspirators Cleveland and Indiana, sent Harden to Brooklyn in exchange for Caris LeVert (immediately flipped for Victor Oladipo), Jarrett Allen, three first-round draft picks and four swapped first-rounders. It's true, when you trade a superstar, you never get back equal value. The other team wins.

If it makes Rockets fans feel any better, the media in New York already has problems with their new problem child. I should say newest problem child. Kyrie Irving plays for the Nets.

"They (the Nets) gave up everybody! There's nothing left now. I just want to cry, It's awful," weeped WFAN Radio talk host Evan Roberts. For those who don't subscribe to weekly Arbitron ratings reports, WFAN is the most powerful, top-rated sports talk station in the Apple.

"You're leading down the road of doom. Harden and Durant could be gone in a year and a half. I'm not convinced this gives them a better chance to win a title. I'm living a nightmare again. They better freaking win."

Circle March 3 on your Rockets schedule. That's when the Brooklyn Nets, with their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and possibly Kyrie Irving visit Toyota Center. I hear talk radio salivating over the record jeers that will cascade over Harden's name, although I'm not buying it. Fans don't think like the media does. I'm thinking that Rockets fans will welcome Harden back - one night only - with cheers.

Toyota Center public address announcer Matt Thomas: "Usually when former Rockets come to town for the first time since leaving, I give them a positive introduction. It's up to the fans how to react."

James Harden spent eight seasons with the Rockets. He is a spectacular player who watched other NBA players engineer trades so they could compete for a title. Harden didn't think the Rockets were good enough, and he's right. So he wanted out. We've all been there, a job we didn't like for a company we didn't like, for a boss we didn't respect. Harden wanting to be traded is understandable. How he went about it was deplorable. He hurt his co-workers.

Houston will make Harden pay for his disrespectful departure. He has an upscale restaurant set to open here. The name of the steakhouse will be "13." Harden's business partners may want to change that number ... before the restaurant's telephone number is disconnected. There are plenty of other restaurants in Houston. Rich people who can afford steakhouse prices hold grudges.

Rockets fans searching for a silver lining say, "We got two decent players and a whole bunch of precious first-round picks" for a malcontent who would rather be anywhere (except maybe Sacramento) than Houston." Yes, a bunch of first-round picks does bode well for the future. Anywhere, except maybe Houston.

Houston's draft war room isn't the most successful operation in the NBA. Over the past decade prior to 2000, under the direction of general manager Daryl Morey, the Rockets made 16 draft picks. Not one of them is still in a Rockets uniform, many of them have sought employment outside of America, some outside of basketball. Among their first-round whiffs: Nikola Mirotic, Terrence Jones, Sam Dekker - all out of the league. Best of all, Royce White, who played three whole games in his NBA career and finished with a scoring average of 0.00 points per game.

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