HARRIS COUNTY – HOUSTON SPORTS AUTHORITY INSIDER

New TV show features Gow Media's John Granato

Just Sayin' joins the Houston sports landscape. Courtesy photo

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Producer Vince Rockwall is trying to find the right place to give a wrap up signal to our little group who is talking Houston sports. He moves a little to his right. Then a lot. We’re not seeing it.

He gives up and moves to the other side of the set - and away from the lights. He finally gets our attention and we close out the segment.

Best move of the day.

Just sayin’.

There were a lot of little things to iron out Thursday afternoon when longtime Houston sports personality John Granato, semi-newcomer Paul Gallant and I stepped in front of the cameras to tape the first installment of a new 30-minute Saturday morning sports show debuting tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. on Kube 57.

The height differential. The cameras. The timing. The segment length. The one-liners. The script they edited on the fly. The normal TV production kind of things.

Just sayin’.

And the name of the show? What else?

Just Sayin’.

There’s no screaming or yelling like you see on First Take or other shows. Just a good dynamic and strong opinions. Although we do have to admit that Gallant’s enthusiasm does drive him to get so excited that his voice steps it up a few decibel levels.

“You’re all gas, no brakes,’’ Rockwall said. “Take a breath.”

That drew laughs all around. And, of course, led to a little smack talk.

Granato, who hosts a morning show on 97.5 FM, is our measured , thoughtful, semi-grumpy leader. Gallant – Pauly G – is the very talented, opinionated young “kid” who is part of a morning trio on Sports Radio 610, that airs at the same time.

And me? I’m a long-time TV reporter and the public relations director for the Harris County -- Houston Sports Authority. They call me Switzerland.

“It’s a lot of fun,’’ said Granato. “Patti and I have been working together on different things, projects – Fox Sports, Rockets games, Astros – for years. So for us do be doing something on a weekly basis – we’ve been talking about this for a while -- it’s really cool.’’

But he also knows I’m a stickler for grammar and it’s hard for me to say the words we toss around on camera, like sayin’ and ain’t.  I fact ain’t is an actual pet peeve!

“I’m going to say ain’t and sayin’ and as much slang as possible to irritate Patti because she just can’t stand it,’’ he grinned. “So that’s my plan for the show.’’

Shocker, coming from Granato. I should be saying all the right things like  – “I couldn’t be more excited to work with these two and that I’m looking forward to working with the young, up-and coming Pauly G.’’

But the truth is after one show now, and remembering what it’s like to have John harass  and irritate me, I might have to rethink this whole project! All kidding aside, John’s a pro and I love every minute of it. He will drive me nuts, but I certainly can dish it back.  It’s kind of like a marriage, you have to have a little friction.

And then there’s Paul, who started at 610 with a night slot.

“He was really, really good,’’ Granato said. “He’s energetic. He’s a loud guy.’’

“So here’s the deal – the loudest guys are the hardest to shut up. You need to slow them down. Young whippersnappers. You’re going to have to slow them down and put them in their place from time to time. And that’s what’s going to happen here.

“Until Switzerland here comes in and says calm down.’’

Gallant grins. “I’m thrilled to work with John and Patti, who I’ve been seeing at every Texans or Astros or Rockets or whatever thing I’ve been covering over the last few years,’’ he said.  “. . . It’s going to be great.’’

So far, so good.

We practiced once last week, then shot the first show Thursday. We talked about the Texans, the Rockets, the Astros and even threw in a little golf. In the coming months, we’ll be adding guests and features.

And a lot of  opinions.

“The hardest things is probably getting the chemistry going,’’ Granato said. “We all haven’t worked together and a three-man booth is hard.’’

You couldn’t tell with the launch show. We breezed through.

“We’re not going to create controversy just to create it just so we can do this great TV of yelling at each other,’’ Granato said. “We’re going to say what we really mean and hopefully we’re going to disagree on some things.  And when we agree, we agree. What we have to learn is not stepping on each other and respecting each other’s space.’’

We bounce talking points off each other all week and pull the best together before we tape.

The only strange thing? We’re agreeing a lot more than we thought.

For me, the hardest part is these two are very good at what they do and they have very strong opinions and it’s interesting playing that role of Switzerland from a Sports Authority standpoint, because we are partners with teams, and I have to keep things from getting too far offsides.


“We’re all doing different things all week,’’ Gallant said. “We each bring a unique perspective when we’re putting a show together.’’

But mostly we just want to talk sports and have a little fun.

Just sayin’.







 

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Martin Truex Jr. won his 2nd race of the season last week. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

NASCAR returns to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway. This is the first of two races here at this track as they will race on Sunday afternoon. This will be different from the normal night race they usually have here as this will definitely affect the racing surface considering how much the sun could make the track slick. It should be a fun race come Sunday.

Last week, Martin Truex Jr. passed Denny Hamlin to capture his second win of the season after rain moved the race to Sunday. He became the first driver to win multiple races after a fierce battle with his teammate Denny Hamlin. The race was filled with tons of wrecks including a fifteen car pileup including Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch. It was one of the better races of the season as there was lots of beating and banging.

The race was not without controversy but not the kind you would expect. Early in the race Rick Ware Racing teammates Cody Ware and James Davison were involved in an altercation. The two were battling towards the back of the pack when Ware decided to drive through his teammate in turn four. The race got much worse for Cody Ware as he was involved in three more cautions all throughout the race. Many people around the sport were quite perturbed by his antics including broadcaster Mike Joy as he was audibly annoyed after Ware spun out later in the race. Many have questioned if the fifth-year driver should even be in the car and overall I can understand why some of those people think that. In his five years of driving, he has finished on the lead lap one time. I hope that he is able to figure it out and find success in the future, but this was not a good look.

The slump continues for two-time champion Kyle Busch

Throughout the race, Busch was running okay for the most part but towards the closing laps of the race he and Chris Buescher got together triggering a fifteen car pileup. Despite all this, he was able to rebound to a respectable tenth place finish. This has been more than likely the toughest stretch of his career since his championship in 2019. Many would say that the omission of Practice and Qualifying has really affected his performance. Whatever the issue is, this team really needs to find some speed, or he could be in danger of missing the playoffs. I look for this team to bounce back considering how talented he is.

Prediction

The driver that I have winning this week is Kyle Larson. This has been an incredible rebound season for Larson as he currently sits fourth in points. He is also second in laps led only to Denny Hamlin. Richmond has been a great track for him as it fits his driving style perfectly as he can run the outside line and find grip where others can't. This track is also rather sentimental to him considering he won his first pole award here during his rookie season in 2014. While he may not have the results he would want he has always been extremely fast here and even won back in 2017. I look for him to capture his second victory of 2021 come Sunday.

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