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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The Texans have a big decision to make. Composite image by Jack Brame

The last few weeks have brought us some very interesting episodes of "As Kirby Turns." Cal McNair has admitted he hasn't spoken with Deshaun Watson and has also doubled down on his affinity for Jack Easterby by saying he's staying around. The franchise's only member of their Ring of Honor, Andre Johnson, came completely out of character by tweeting his support for Watson to "stand his ground" in what most assume is his desire to play elsewhere. Newly hired general manager Nick Caserio has the hardest job in the NFL because he's basically a one leg man in a bleep kicking contest. National and local media are all floating rumors and opinions about Watson's status with the team. Meanwhile, Watson himself has been cryptic and hasn't come out and said one thing either way about his status with the team.

My opinion is that he won't be traded and this is his way of using the leverage he has to get some things done his way to ensure more of his career won't be wasted. Once they hire a head coach he approves of and they talk, he'll be back in the fold and blow things over by saying he never demanded a trade and was only upset about some things due to miscommunication. Blah blah blah. However, where there's smoke, there must be fire. I'll examine some pros and cons to a potential trade of Watson.

Bad news first. This franchise has waited its entire existence for a franchise quarterback like Watson. Finally getting one and having to deal him amidst the bumbling owner and charlatan right-hand man would be a big blow to overcome. This coming year is shaping up to be difficult as it is, but doing so with Watson wearing a different jersey could prove to be a near fatal blow. It would take an additional year or so to recover. The only way this timeline is expedited, is if they get a quarterback back in the trade or with one of the draft picks that they feel can be the man moving forward.

The bright side. Watson is this team's most attractive asset as it looks to rebuild. There are teams in the top five of this year's draft who need quarterbacks, and a couple of them have multiple first round picks. The Jets, #2 and #23 overall in the first round this draft, are the most intriguing destination because they may be bad next season with Watson if you get that pick in the trade as well. Throw in Sam Darnold, who's still young and salvageable, and this could be a hard reset that may not take as long. The Dolphins, #3 and #18 overall this draft, also have a lot to offer. Rumor has it Watson would like to go to Miami in a deal that includes Tua Tagovailoa, who was a guy Caserio liked when entering the draft. Again, another potential hard reset that may not take long if either young quarterback pans out. You could also trade back from those top slots to acquire more picks to help fill some of the many holes you have.

I reiterate, I do not believe Watson will be traded. I'm not even sure his no trade clause is applicable since he's still under his rookie contract and his extension hasn't kicked in yet. The new CBA rules call for stiffer penalties for players who refuse to report, so a holdout is highly unlikely. I'll be glad when they hire a coach Watson likes, and we get the happy family press conference introducing him, so this soap opera can move on to its next episode.

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