KEEPING IT RAHEEL

Raheel Ramzanali: Defending my honor - Respect the headband, Granato!

David Beckham rocked the headband look. Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Last week I was brutally attacked online via cyber bullying thanks to fellow SportsMap contributor John Granato. Like most of his cyberbullying, his attack was focused on my physical appearance and attire. Mr. Granato was not fond of my athletic chic attire that featured a slim soccer style headband to keep my hair out of my eyes while I worked out. The comments were hurtful and the pain was real, but I persevered because I know some of the greatest athletes ever have rocked the soccer headband. In an attempt to set the record straight and help bring John into the fashion forward year that is 2018, here are the best athletes ever to wear a skinny soccer style headband:

Mike Miller: If shooting 40% from three during your career isn’t enough, Miller is a two-time champ and also won the Rookie of the Year for the 2000-2001 season. The rest of the list will feature mostly soccer guys, so I wanted to start with American sports to highlight how greatness can be accomplished in the NBA with a skinny headband on. In addition to his shooting, Miller went out to redefine his career and gladly took a bench role for the 2005-2006 season Grizzlies and played his way into the 6th Man of the Year award. None of this happens if his hair was in his face thus making him the greatest American player to wear a soccer headband.

Luis Scola: There was a time in Houston where Scola was the crafty forward that fans couldn’t get enough of and most of that charm came from his headband. We’ve had our share of characters in Houston, but none of them ever flexed on us with the soccer style headband like Scola did so it was only right that we fell in love with the 2007-2008 All-Rookie team player. Scola went on to average almost 15 pts a game for the Rockets and was part of the 22-game winning streak. Hate the headband? You might as well hate Houston, John.

Sergio Ramos: In America we celebrate champions and greatness more than any other country. MJ vs LeBron: CHAMPIONSHIPS. Derek Jeter: CHAMPIONSHIPS. Tom Brady: CHAMPIONSHIPS. So it is only right that we celebrate one of the most decorated Spanish footballers in the history of the sports: Sergio Ramos. We might know him as the crewcut captain, but before the current iteration of Ramos, he was a notorious headband guy. He’s won a FIFA World Cup, multiple UEFA Euro titles, and four other Champions League titles with a relatively unknown club called Real Madrid. Defense wins championships and he is the greatest scorer from a defensive position.

David Beckham: Few soccer stars have ever captured the mainstream headlines like Becks did in the early 2000s when he was the most popular athlete in the world. Part of his appeal was his fashion forward style and haircuts. Becks did it all: faux-hawk, cornrows, and of course the headband look. He’s the most decorated celebrity athlete of our generation and it is only right I end this list with him. John, if you hate greatness then you hate the headband. Enough.  

 

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Houston gets the lopsided win

Valdez, Astros dominate the Angels in 10-0 rout in Anaheim

Framber Valdez was dominant against the Angels on Monday night. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

With a series win at home over the weekend, the Astros started their final regular-season road trip on Monday, squaring off against the Angels in Anaheim. They held the momentum firmly in their favor all night, dominating both sides of the game to start the series with a victory.

Final Score: Astros 10, Angels 0

Astros' Record: 89-61, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Framber Valdez (11-5)

Losing Pitcher: Jaime Barria (2-4)

Siri leads off with a bang

With Jose Altuve being given the night off, Houston gave Jose Siri a shot at the leadoff spot, and he delivered to start the opener in Anaheim. He launched a missile to left field, 426 feet, to put the Astros in front 1-0 before the Angels could record an out. Later that same inning, they strung together three singles, the third being an RBI by Carlos Correa to double the lead.

Valdez goes seven shutout innings

That gave Framber Valdez a lead to work with as he stepped on the rubber in the bottom of the inning, and he didn't give it up as he would post a dominant start. He started with a 1-2-3 first, worked around a couple of singles in the second, then used a double play to face the minimum in the third.

He retired Los Angeles in order again in the fourth, stranded a two-out single in the fifth and a single and a walk in the sixth. He had his worst inning of the night in the seventh, giving up a leadoff single then loading the bases on back-to-back two-out walks. He'd escape the jam, though, keeping the shutout alive and finalizing his impressive line: 7.0 IP, 6 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 98 P.

Astros take the opener in lopsided fashion

Houston tacked on an insurance run in the top of the eighth, getting a one-out double by Correa to set up an RBI single by Marwin Gonzalez, pushing the lead to 3-0. Things escalated from there, as another single put two on base for Martin Maldonado, who blew the game open with a three-run homer to make it a six-run lead.

Brooks Raley took over for Valdez in the bottom of the inning, and with a 1-2-3 inning, made it his eighth appearance in a row without allowing a run. The Astros didn't let up in the top of the ninth, getting two hits and a walk to load the bases before a grand slam by Gonzalez made it 10-0 and gave him 5 RBI in a two-inning span. Seth Martinez, called up by the Astros earlier in the day, made his big-league debut in the bottom of the ninth and closed out the lopsided win to put Houston's magic number at 6.

Up Next: The second of this four-game set will be another 8:38 PM Central start on Tuesday. Jose Urquidy (7-3, 3.38 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, going opposite Packy Naughton (0-2, 4.32 ERA) for the Angels.

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