HARRIS COUNTY – HOUSTON SPORTS AUTHORITY INSIDER

New TV show features Gow Media's John Granato

Just Sayin' joins the Houston sports landscape. Courtesy photo

The Harris County – Houston Sports Authority Insider will take you inside Houston Sports each Friday because #WeAreHoustonSports!

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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After rallying in the ninth inning in Game 1 to take the pivotal opener of this best-of-three ALWC series, the Astros were in the driver's seat to try and end the series on Wednesday with another win at Target Field. Here is a quick rundown of Game 2:

Final Score: Astros 3, Twins 1.

Series: HOU Wins 2-0.

Winning Pitcher: Cristian Javier.

Losing Pitcher: Cody Stashak.

Houston gets the first hit and first run in the fourth

Through the first three innings, neither team could get a hit off of Jose Berrios or Jose Urquidy, though the Twins did load the bases in the bottom of the first on two walks and an error, but Urquidy would strand the runners before getting 1-2-3 innings in the second and third.

Meanwhile, the Astros lineup was retired in order in three perfect innings by Berrios. That changed in the top of the fourth when Houston would get back-to-back two-out walks to set up the first hit of the game, an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker to give the Astros a 1-0 lead.

Dusty Baker makes another early call to the bullpen before Twins tie it up

Urquidy was able to keep the 1-0 lead by working around a two-out single in the bottom of the fourth, the first hit for the Twins. He returned in the fifth, allowing a leadoff single before a strikeout for the first out. Dusty Baker would pull another early hook, like Greinke the day prior, dipping into his bullpen early to end Urquidy's day at just 76 pitches in the fifth. His final line: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 76 P.

Brooks Raley was who Baker called on to face the top of the Twins' lineup. He would walk his first batter, putting runners on first and second, get a strikeout for the second out, then allow an RBI-double to Nelson Cruz that almost scored a second, go-ahead run. Instead, the runner was out at home thanks to a terrific defensive play by Carlos Correa, bulleting the ball to Maldonado at home, who made a great tag to save the run and keep it tied 1-1.

Correa homers, Astros advance to ALDS

After Raley completed the fifth inning for Urquidy, Cristian Javier was the next reliever out to begin the bottom of the sixth. He would toss a 1-2-3 frame, sending the tie game to the seventh. In the top of the seventh, Carlos Correa broke the tie with a long, loud two-out solo home run to center-field, putting the Astros back in front 2-1.

Javier held on to the one-run lead in the bottom of the seventh by working around a leadoff walk, then returned for the eighth. He would get through it scoreless, despite allowing a one-out walk to Nelson Cruz, who would be pinch-ran for by the speedy Byron Buxton. After a strikeout for out number two, Javier would catch Buxton between first and second base in a rundown, getting the big final out of the inning.

Houston added insurance in the top of the ninth, getting two on base before an RBI-single by Kyle Tucker, his second of the day to make it 3-1. That left things up to closer Ryan Pressly, making his first appearance of the postseason. He would notch the save, advancing the Astros to the ALDS for their fourth-straight year.

Up Next: The Astros will now have a few days off to travel to the west coast before starting their ALDS with the winner of the A's / White Sox ALWC series. Game 1 of their ALDS will be on Monday, October 5th, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, with start time TBD.

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