Falcon Points

On Super Bowl radio row, book signings, puppies, ponies and a good cause: 5 topics for a Monday

Like the Texans, Dynamo will be watching the Super Bowl.

Doing something a little different today, with a look at 5 topics to kick off your week:


1) The value of radio row

Theo Rossi and Ron Pearlman at radio row.

You might have heard the Super Bowl is this week in Atlanta. One of the side stories every year is Radio Row. Multiple stations send their shows to get interviews and broadcast live. We have done roughly eight or so Super Bowls, but did not go last year and will not be going this year.

Usually, if you don't go, you talk about how forced the interviews are, how everybody gets the same people and it does not make for great radio.

I actually like Super Bowl Radio Row. Yes, you have tons of interviews and everybody has to give their take on the Texans and who is going to win the big game and then hawk some product. But every year, you get one or two gems that you did not expect. One of my all-time favorites was when we had Theo Rossi and Ron Pearlman on to talk Sons of Anarchy. Other memorable interviews included Kevin Costner and the reverend Jesse Jackson. Getting guys who are not sports stars often creates the best interviews.

In a perfect world, you would do 1-2 interviews a day and pick out the ones you think will be interesting. But that's not how it works. So we will still do good shows this week, talk a lot about the game and find some entertaining angles. Many stations have stopped going due to costs, but hopefully in the future we will get a chance to go back. I honestly believe not doing it for a couple years will make the experience fun again; it can get to be a bit of a grind. But those occasional gems make it worthwhile.

2) Ready to party?

Save the date: Saturday Feb. 9 at Around the Corner bar and restaurant (1510 Hutchins Street in East Downtown) we will have the official Jesus Just Left Chicago book release party and signing. There will be a Karbach tap takeover, a D.J. and all around fun. It will be 3-6 p.m. Saturday afternoon. Copies will be available and if you already have yours bring it and I will sign it. The response has been awesome so far and there is a lot more to come. Ken Hoffman wrote a nice article about it here.

3) Running for a great cause

I have not been doing a lot of organized runs lately, but will be getting back in the game on March 3 with the Terry Fox run. Terry Fox was a Canadian hero and you can learn more about him here. Please join me for the 5k or 10k and help raise money for this cause. It will be a lot of fun, and I am sure there will be an after party.

4) Pup (non) fiction

Yes, she is much bigger now.

Sometime this week I will have a story on how to get proper training for your puppy. We have a 13 week old Dalmatian and she has been to four training sessions. I honestly do not believe I would be sane if we had not taken her. So look for that on CultureMap and SportsMap later this week. If you have a new puppy, it's not too late.

5) Not horsing around

Midnight Bisou won the Classic.

Coady Photography

Sam Houston Race Park opened its 2019 meet on Friday night and concluded a terrific opening weekend with the Racing Festival that featured several big stakes races. Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith came to town for the first time to ride, and it was easily the best thoroughbred racing in the country on Sunday. The Ladies Classic, which featured the seasonal debut of talented filly Midnight Bisou, was featured on the cover of the Daily Racing Form. Those kinds of things have not happened for a long time, so it was great to see. This is year 25 at the track, and hopefully it will be the best one yet.

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One more win and they're in. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

As they were at the start of the 60 game season, the Astros are a virtual lock to make the expanded postseason field. Unexpectedly, the only reason the Astros have a shot in October is because the field is expanded. Still, all they need is one win in three shots at the Rangers or one Angels loss as they play three at the Dodgers and the Astros are in and an absolute threat to win another American League pennant. This Astros squad is an average squad. The losses of Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander, and Yordan Alvarez combined with all their key hitters dropping off from 2019 make Astros' mediocrity a simple fact of life. A mediocre but potent team can beat any better team in a best of three, best of five, or best of seven series. Heck, a bad team can beat a great team two out of three. The format is such that the Astros will be the sixth seed among the eight AL playoff teams, so they will be the road team in each game of a best of three series at the number three seed. They could be headed to Oakland, Minnesota, or Chicago.

A couple of peripheral bummers of the Astros to this point disappointing 2020…

One, Justin Verlander's dream of 300 career wins pretty much died with the ulna collateral ligament in his right arm. Verlander's one win this year combined with zero next year will have him at 226 career wins when he turns 39 in February of 2022. That Verlander can then average 15 wins per season through age 43 isn't utterly impossible but is extremely unlikely. While cementing his Hall of Fame credentials, Verlander didn't average 15 wins per season from 2015 through '19.

Two, Jose Altuve's collision course with the 3000 hit club has hit a major detour. I'm not declaring Altuve washed up, though only apologists and homers would describe his short season performance as better than feeble. He's been among the worst regulars in all of Major League Baseball this season. Altuve's best baseball is behind him. If he can get back to 2018 or 2019 Altuve that's plenty good, though not close to 2016 and 2017 Altuve. Well, Altuve failed to reach 170 hits in either 2018 or '19. Giving him 170 hits per season for each of the next eight seasons (bet the under), Altuve would be within about 30 hits of 3000 when approaching his 39th birthday at the start of the 2029 season. Craig Biggio remained a lineup regular at age 40 only so he could get to 3000.

Texans face another tough test against Steelers

It's no shocking upset if they win but the Texans probably come home from Pittsburgh Sunday night with an 0-3 record. As only four point underdogs they should have a much better shot than they did against the Chiefs and Ravens. Not that that is saying much. The Texans were pretty pitifully overmatched by the Chiefs and Ravens, the faint silver lining is that they're the two best teams in the AFC. It's possible the Steelers are the third best team (I'll take the Bills but it's possible). So even at 0-3 the Texans' season wouldn't be dead. Just two years ago they opened 0-3 before ripping off nine straight wins and finishing 11-5. But just as the 2018 Texans wound up, this season's team would be a total pretender.

All five starters back on the offensive line was supposed to be a boon to the Texans' offense. The pass protection has been porous and now has to deal with a top tier pass rushing Steeler defense. Deshaun Watson has been his usual terrifically elusive self, but merely okay throwing the ball. Offensively, 38-year-old Ben Roethlisberger has looked all right at quarterback after missing all but the opener last season with a blown out throwing elbow. Big Ben is not close to the mobility threat Patrick Mahomes and Lamar Jackson are, but the Texan D which has thus far been sieve-like against running backs will see two backs each over five yards per carry thus far in James Conner and Benny Snell.

At least the Texans will have no crowd noise to deal with at Heinz Field. The Steelers are 2-0 but have only beaten the awful Giants and the injury-battered Broncos.


Buzzer Beaters:

1. One game is one game but Bregman, Altuve, and Springer all homering Thursday night had to create some warm feelings for any Astros fan.

2. The Lakers-Nuggets series has been outstanding. Number of Rockets you think are watching any of it: over/under 2 1/2.

3. Greatest Bennys: Bronze-the one with the Jets Silver-Jack Gold-Goodman

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