Off the top of my bald head: A look back at the weekend in Houston sports

Justin Verlander will get the ball in Game 6. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The greatest asset of our city is the famed Houston Medical Center. In the early 1960s Dr. Michael De Bakey and his protégé, Dr. Denton Cooley’s revolutionary breakthroughs helped save millions over the years.

Heart palpitations ran through Astro fans early as the Dodgers jumped on Dallas Kuechel. The bearded lefty gave up four runs, with his teammates facing Clayton Kershaw.

Regardless of how physically fit you are, most sports fans felt they were having heart problems watching Game Five. All five hours, seventeen minutes of heart wrenching drama.

Ten innings, five Astro homers and three comebacks later, Alex Bregman’s RBI single ended with a 13-12 Astros win.  This time it was the Dodgers’ bullpen that exploded. The hang dog look of LA pitchers making their walk of shame to the dugout after they failed, spoke loud and clear.

There were too many heroes, too many twists and turns to last night’s incredible win. Once again, the loosest clubhouse I have covered here in Houston delivered on the field.  

Welcome to Houston, where a baseball team represents Houston Strong in the aftermath of Harvey.  

Welcome to drama, usually associated with Hollywood.

Welcome to Minute Maid Park, where dreams come true.

A win in LA Tuesday night with Justin Verlander on the mound in Dodger Stadium and Houston will have its first World Series title.  There will be the usual made for television presentation, with Jim Crane getting the hardware from Commissioner Rob Manfred.  Then the MVP award followed by another champagne and beer celebration in the clubhouse.   Josh Reddick will be wearing his red, white and blue Speedo.

And more than a few million Astro fans will feel like their heart is jumping out of their chests.


Friday a story broke indicating the Texans owner Bob Mc Nair made of one the dumbest remarks about “inmates running the prison.”  It topped comments made by the late Oilers owner Bottom Line Bud Adams.

Bob is stubborn.


Surrounds himself with yes men.

A politician.

Doesn’t know what he doesn’t know about winning in the NFL.

Follows Goodell and several other owners like a sheep.

Is non-conformational.

Cannot read a room and see African-American faces staring back at him.

His health has been slipping since Mc Nair was diagnosed with cancer. He is awaiting another stem cell transplant.

But he is NOT a racist.

People forget the act that even before his “hoof and mouth disease” moment, even before he owned an NFL franchise, he and his wife gave millions that benefitted citizens of all races here in Houston

But perception is reality, especially if you have donated $1 million to Donald Trump's campaign.

We live in an overly sensitivity society. People overanalyze every word, facial expression and syllable.

“As I said yesterday, I was not referring to our players when I made a very regretful comment during the owner’s meetings last week,” McNair said. “I was referring to the relationship between the league office and team owners and how they have been making significant strategic decisions affecting our league without adequate input from ownership over the past few years.”

And the moon is made of green cheese!

All but ten Texans essentially shot the finger at their now controversial owner by kneeling during the National Anthem.  But once the game started it resembled the good old days of the AFL, before the thriller ended with the Seahawks winning 41-38 in the best game of the season.

De Shaun Watson put on another spectacular performance, demonstrating how bright the future is with the elite leader.  The rookie from Clemson was 19-of-30 for 402 yards and four touchdowns while also running eight times for 67 yards.

The poised kid with an accurate arm that has shocked defenses continued his historic start, passing Kurt Warner with 19 touchdowns through his first seven career NFL games.  Last year, with Schlock Osweiller at quarterback, the Texans three for just 16 touchdowns.

In spite of no running game, the legend of Russell Wilson continues to grow like Apple stock. The six-year pro finished with 26 completions for 452 yards and four touchdowns against an alleged professional secondary that was a joke.

Cornerback Marcus Williams read an out pattern all the way and picked off Wilson on the Houston 7-yard-line with just under three minutes left in the game, the Texans were leading 38-34

We have heard the term “prevent defense,” for years. Against one of the best defenses we saw a prevent offense.  Rather than utilizing the amazing relents of rookie superstar in the making, the Texans Head Coach prevented a win.

But in true Texan fashion, O’Brien became more conservative than a Republican Tea Party member.   He showed zero confidence in the magical rookie quarterback who kept the Legion of Boom defense off balance all day. Running Lamar Miller three straight times was dumb, with such a special player like Watson.

As is the case after a Texan loss the emotional bully went back to his all too familiar O’Brien "I made some bad play calls today. I have to do a better job."

For the last several seasons the Achilles heel for the defense has been two-fold.  Linebackers who cannot cover and poor safety play. How else can you explain Jimmy Graham being wide open for the winning touchdown.

So was a tremendous individual game by J.D. Clowney that  goes down the drain.  He led the defense in shutting down Seattle’s running game with relentless pursuit from the backside.

Hopkins caught eight passes for a career-best 224 yards as Watson put more points on Seattle's CenturyLink Field than any quarterback in the last six seasons.

The Texans fell to 3-4, a game behind Jacksonville and Tennessee in the AFC South. They play the Indianapolis Colts (2-5) next Sunday back at NRG Stadium.

Will they stand or kneel during the Anthem?


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The Astros have assigned left-handed reliever Matt Gage to minor league camp, which means Houston's pitching staff is likely to head into the season without a lefty in the bullpen.

Ronel Blanco and Seth Martinez are expected to be the last two pitchers in the Astros bullpen now that Gage isn't expected to fill a spot on the club. With the Astros playing so many games in the month of April, could we see Blanco or Martinez making some starts with Lance McCullers still on the shelf?

Plus, should the Astros check in on Yuli Gurriel for some depth considering his versatility and the loss of Jose Altuve for the first couple months of the season? Gurriel still hasn't been added to the Marlins 40-man roster, which means he can opt out of his deal on Saturday if nothing changes.

Based on how things played out for Carlos Correa, the guys aren't very confident the Astros would change their stance on Yuli. But you never know.

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