Raheel Ramzanali: Hey Houston sports fans, stop hating on Clay Walker!

You hate this man for what reason? Jamie Squire/Getty Images

We as sports fans are a weird bunch. We’ll get upset and latch onto the weirdest hate towards a person or thing and pass that hate on. I get it, this is nothing new and I’m not breaking ground on the weird hate patterns we have, but i’m standing up and speaking out against it. Specifically the hate towards native Texan and Beaumont’s own Clay Walker.

Earlier this month when Clay Walker performed the national anthem at the Astros home opener and World Series pennant unveiling ceremony, Houston sports fan lost his mind and regurgitated the played out “Clay Walker sucks!” hate. I’ve had enough - Clay Walker doesn’t deserve this hate. He’s done nothing wrong. In fact, he’s done everything right. The reason Clay Walker performs 4-5 times a year at various games around town is because teams trust him to do a good enough job on the biggest stage. Clay Walker is GOOD at singing the national anthem. But this has nothing to do with the national anthem or the success story that is Clay Walker.

Let’s be honest, most of us don’t even care who sings the national anthem. In fact, you can’t even name any other national anthem performances you’ve seen at a local game. The only reason Houston sports fan immediately hates on Clay Walker is because of the world famous perfectly-crafted-banger It’s Football Time in Houston team song that plays during Texans games. If this is the origin of your Clay Walker hate, then sit back and relax because I’m about to change your mind about this bnager and why it shouldn’t be something you hate, rather something you embrace as a sports fan.

“Well It’s Finally Here

I’ve Been Waiting All Week

Just To Kick This Thing Off

I’ve Been Rocking Away On the Edge Of My Seat

Now I’m Ready To Roll.”

In under 10 seconds, Clay captures the excitement of game day and how all week long we’ve discussed the ins and outs of everything regarding the Texans game. Now, just minutes away, you’re on the edge of your seat and are close to getting some answers. Hell, you can even say you’re ready to roll to enjoy an NFL game.

“Here they come to mix things up.

Bet Your Boots They’re Tough Enough

Let’s Get Ready To Root For Our Team

All You Texans Get Up And Scream.”

The average pair of boots in Texas costs about $350. Clay is so confident that the Texans have prepared hard all week that he’s giving you free betting advice that you should play the Texans money line because this team is tough enough AND they will mix it up. However, they do need your support so be ready to scream and root for your team. So far, all I see is a confident insider that wants to help you make money with a betting tip.

“It’s Football Time in Houston

And We’re ready to Play

You’ve Got no time to lose now

It’s Red White And Blue Today”

If you’ve ever attended a Texans game, you’ve heard this one line probably twenty times over the course of a game. It’s really not that bad once you put it in context. Clay is just stating the obvious, on a Sunday inside NRG during a game it really is football time in Houston. Sure, sometimes the Rockets or Astros are playing at the same time and it could be basketball, baseball and football time in Houston, but that happens so rare that he just left it as football time in houston. Clay also makes an insightful point that “you’ve got no time to lose now” in the chorus that should resonate with everyone reading. Tomorrow is not promised so we really don’t have time to lose. If an Instagram motivational guru posted this line, you’d all eat it up, but because Clay wrote it first, we’ll hate for no reason.  

“Welcome to the greatest city of all

Houston Texas

Are you ready for some football!”

I’m sorry, all Houston sports fan does it brag about how great his/her city is and how other cities suck. Clay puts it into song form for you to sing and you HATE IT? Get out of here. I love Houston and I’m glad Clay Walker wrote an anthem for my city. Also, once you’re done letting the world know about the greatest city of all you can ask them if they’re ready for some football.

“It can rain, it can pour

it can snow I don’t care.

I’m here til the end”

I’ve seen Texans fans hang around until the end during a snow game at Lambeau Field and Clay is right, we didn’t care! We supported the team. As for the rain, it doesn’t  matter because NRG’s roof will be closed. Also, if you actually listened to the song, maybe you would have stayed until the end of that Colts game and watched a great comeback two seasons ago.

“The spirit of victory flowing around in the air

We’re Gonna Win”

Be honest, you’re getting chills, right?

“I’m so excited we’re all here.

I love the sound of those hometown cheers

Men, Women, Girls And Boys

Get On Your Feet

Make Some Noise!”

This is one of my favorite parts of the song. It’s so nice to be appreciated and thanked for being a fan. Clay takes the time in a song to thank us, the fans. You still hate this song? This song has been with the team since it started and even back in the 2000s Clay was all about being inclusive. Clay could’ve done the “men only watch sport” bit, but instead he shouted out all.

The Texans are about to March
Toro’s getting ready to charge!”

OK, I’ll be honest - this part is kinda weird with him just chanting important traits that most leaders value in a job setting. In fact, I don’t think any of us have even gotten this far into the song, but damn it, it’s beautiful. We as a society hate on millenials for everything, yet here is a song that could drive home the value of tradition, courage, and pride if we let it play all the way through. Maybe all the millenials needed was Clay Walker just saying important traits over a mildly entertaining riff.

So there you have it, It’s Football Time in Houston isn’t this horrible song that you’re making it out to be. As with anything in 2018, I encourage you to dig a bit deeper and form your own opinion instead of following the group think that occurs on social media and sports talk shows. If you’ve made it all the way here, turn up your speakers and let your entire office know, IT’S FOOTBALL TIME IN HOUSTON!

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Houston goes up 1-0 in the series

Altuve, Correa help lift Astros to ALCS Game 1 win over Red Sox

Carlos Correa's go-ahead homer in the seventh inning of ALCS Game 1 helped lift the Astros to a 1-0 series lead. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite one rough loss to the White Sox in the ALDS, the Astros looked like the dominant team they are capable of being, taking that series 3-1 to advance and taking ownership of home-field advantage in the ALCS against the Red Sox, who upset the Rays. In Game 1, despite trailing for the middle portions of the game, Houston would get more highlight moments from the faces of the franchise to start the series with a win.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 4

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek

Losing Pitcher: Hansel Robles

Houston strikes first, but Boston sends Valdez to an early exit

Both starting pitchers worked in and out of trouble in the early goings of ALCS Game 1, starting with Framber Valdez in the top of the first. After erasing a leadoff single by inducing a double play, he went on to load the bases on a single and two walks but would strand all three runners to keep Boston off the board. The Astros jumped in front in the bottom half, with Jose Altuve working a leadoff walk, moving to second on a one-out single by Alex Bregman, advancing to third on a wild pitch, then ultimately scoring on a sac fly by Yordan Alvarez to put Houston ahead 1-0 after one frame.

They had a chance to extend their lead in the bottom of the second, taking advantage of a shaky inning by Chris Sale, who loaded the bases with one out as Houston would get two singles and a hit-by-pitch. That flipped the order over to the top, but a great diving catch by former Astro Kiké Hernández would end the inning. Hernández led off the top of the third against Valdez, and he would tie things up with a solo homer.

Things went downhill from there for Valdez and the Astros, as a one-out walk followed by a single gave the Red Sox the go-ahead run in scoring position. On a groundball that likely should have been a double play to end the inning, it would get through Altuve's legs, scoring a run and keeping the inning alive for Boston. They took advantage, getting an RBI double to extend their new lead to 3-1. Valdez would get one more out before Dusty Baker would give him the early hook, bringing in Yimi Garcia, who finished the frame.

A battle of the bullpens, Altuve ties it up

Like Valdez, Sale would also not make it through three innings, getting two outs while putting two on base before Boston would start their bullpen's night as well. Both sets of relievers settled the game down, with the Red Sox stranding two of Houston's runners in the third as well as the fifth, maintaining their two-run lead. After Garcia finished the third, Cristian Javier entered to eat up a couple of innings, and he would do just that by getting through two frames with just one hit, four strikeouts, and no runs.

Next, Phil Maton took over in the top of the sixth and erased a leadoff walk to keep things in striking distance for the home team. In the bottom of the sixth, Houston put another runner on base, getting a one-out single by Chas McCormick. Two batters later, with two outs, Jose Altuve provided yet another career postseason highlight, tying the game 3-3 with a two-run home to re-energize the Minute Maid Park crowd.

Astros take ALCS Game 1

Now a brand new ballgame in the top of the seventh, Brooks Raley came in to face three batters, getting two strikeouts while allowing a single before Dusty Baker would move on to Ryne Stanek, who would get the third out. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, Carlos Correa continued his march to a monster off-season contract, putting Houston back on top with a solo homer, making it 4-3.

Houston kept the script after Stanek with the new lead in hand, going to Kendall Graveman as the setup man in the top of the eighth. Despite a two-out single, he would get out of the inning with the lead intact, putting Houston three outs away from the victory. After a walk, single, and hit by pitch to start the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, Altuve would drive in his third run of the game, getting a sac fly to extend the lead to two runs at 5-3.

That insurance run proved pivotal, as closer Ryan Pressly was met with a leadoff solo home run by Hernandez, his second of the night for Boston, to make it 5-4. Pressly refocused and was able to get the next three batters in order, though, wrapping up the win to start Houston off with a 1-0 series lead and putting them three wins away from advancing to the World Series.

Up Next: The two teams will have a moderately quick turnaround, with ALCS Game 2 scheduled to start at 3:20 PM Central on Saturday ahead of NLCS Game 1 between the Dodgers and Braves getting the night slot. The pitching matchup is expected to be Nathan Eovaldi for Boston, who is 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in his two starts this postseason, going opposite Luis Garcia, who had a rough outing in the ALDS for Houston, giving up five runs without completing three innings in Chicago.

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