WOO!

Remembering when WWE star Ric Flair outhustled our columnist at Comicpalooza

Remembering when WWE star Ric Flair outhustled our columnist at Comicpalooza
Our columnist recalls meeting the Nature Boy at Comicpalooza. Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images

Comicpalooza is coming to the George R. Brown Convention Center, May 24-26, so pop culture, sci-fi, comic book fans, and whatever are on high alert to get their nerd on.

The lineup of celebrity guests tops anything in the history of the event. Slated to appear are: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, and James Tolkan from the Back to the Future franchise; WWE superstar John Cena; Jon Heder and Efren Ramirez from Napoleon Dynamite; Rebecca Romijn, Anson Mount, and Andrew Robinson from Star Trek; Shannen Doherty and Rose McGowan from Charmed; and the stars I’ll be lining up to meet, Creed, Oscar and David Wallace from The Office.

There will be an exhibit floor packed with merchants selling all kinds of stuff that appeals to this crowd. There will be comedy shows by the Geeks of Comedy, House Party Comedy, and live wrestling matches featuring the heroes of Texas All-Star Wrestling. There will be cooking demonstrations for kids, cosplay competition, and trivia contests.

For more information, including ticket prices, times and dates for the celebrities, etc., click on Comicpalooza.com.

I’ve been to a couple of these events. They’re huge. I promise you will see things and meet people that you don’t run into during Little League games and Junior League meetings.

An amazing true story

In fact …

Comicpalooza was the scene of one of the great snubs of my career – and trust me, I’ve been “better-dealed” a few times.

They say you should never meet your heroes because they’ll inevitably let you down. It happened to me.

A few years ago I was invited to participate in one of these pop culture festivals at the George R. Brown. They told me, just come up with something. I created a game show called “Win a Date with a Nerd” – a takeoff on the old Dating Game.

Originally the idea was to have a nerd ask questions of three really hot Hooters Girls but I couldn’t convince three Hooters Girls to waste their afternoon on something so stupid. Ultimately, I talked one attractive young woman into picking her date from three total nerds straight out of central casting. These nerds made Sheldon, Leonard, and Howard from Big Bang Theory look like Navy SEAL Team 6 — the guys who got Osama bin Laden.

The game went OK and to this day I have no idea if the date actually took place. I’d like to think it didn’t because it would upset the delicate balance of nature and the Earth might fall off its axis.

Anyway, my favorite professional wrestler Ric Flair was at the event and I met him outside the building. Because there was street construction that limited parking, organizers arranged for limos for guest participants. I was waiting for my car to take me home.

I was talking to the Nature Boy, slobbering over him pretty good, when a car pulled up and the driver yelled out my name.

Flair said, “That’s me,” hopped in the car and the driver took off. No wonder they call Flair the “dirtiest player in the game.”

Another car arrived a few minutes later, and the driver hollered, “Ric Flair.” I tried to get in the car, explaining what had happened. The driver thought I was hustling him and pulled over to wait for Naitch. No way he was letting me in that car.

I wound up calling a friend to come get me.

This article originally appeared on CultureMap.

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Astros defeat the A's, 6-3. Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images.

Jake Meyers hit a three-run homer to highlight Houston's six-run fourth inning that backed Justin Verlander's winning start, and the Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 6-3 on Friday night.

Verlander (3-2) struck out nine over six innings to increase hit total to 3,377, passing Hall of Famer Greg Maddux (3,371) for 10th on the career strikeouts list. He gave up two runs — one earned — on eight hits and didn't walk a batter for a second straight start and seventh time this year.

After another milestone to add to a long list of them, Verlander wasn't sure exactly how to feel.

“I feel like I should be more excited but I feel like I’m a little more introspective and reflective,” Verlander said. “A lot of sacrifices you make in this game, a lot of time away from the family, but I love it, so it’s pretty amazing. I don’t know if as a 21- or 22-year-old kid in professional baseball if I’d thought I’d be in the top-10 in anything. This sport’s been around for so long. Hard to put into words, but a lot of thoughts, a lot of thoughts went through my mind.”

When his teammates celebrated him once the special outing had ended, Verlander allowed himself to ponder the meaning.

Verlander remembers his first strikeout and he recalls one against Hall of Fame slugger Frank Thomas here at the Coliseum — and the pitcher wears No. 35 because of Thomas.

“I have a lot of great memories here,” he said.

A's manager Mark Kotsay, a former Oakland outfielder, has been witness to some of those.

“He’s just tough. He’s a Hall of Fame pitcher. He knows his game plan and he executes it really well," Kotsay said. "He doesn’t make a ton of mistakes.”

Yordan Alvarez added an RBI double and Josh Hader finished the 2-hour, 31-minute game with his seventh save for the Astros, who began a seven-game road trip.

After right-hander Ross Stripling (1-9) retired the first nine Houston hitters in order, Jose Altuve singled to start the fourth for the first of four straight hits that included Alex Bregman's two-run single.

The A's drew an announced crowd of 9,676 for the series opener after winning two of three against Colorado following an eight-game losing streak.

Miguel Andujar came off the injured list and immediately hit an RBI single in the first off Verlander and finished with three hits in his A's and season debut — including another run-scoring single in the seventh.

Andjuar's RBI marked the first time the A's have scored first in 18 games — ending the longest streak in franchise history. Batting cleanup, he also singled in the third.

Astros left fielder Chas McCormick robbed Max Schuemann of an extra-base hit when he crashed into the wall to make a great catch ending the eighth.

“That was a big play at the moment,” manager Joe Espada said.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Astros: RHP José Urquidy was pulled from his rehab start with Triple-A Sugar Land because of right forearm discomfort. He has been on the injured list with inflammation in his pitching shoulder. ... 1B José Abreu is scheduled to rejoin the club Monday in Seattle after playing at least two games with Triple-A Sugar Land as he works to regain his hitting rhythm.

Athletics: Andujar had been sidelined all season after having meniscus surgery on his right knee. He was claimed off waivers from the Pirates on Nov. 6. Oakland created roster room by optioning INF Brett Harris to Triple-A Las Vegas.

UP NEXT

RHP Spencer Arrighetti (2-4, 7.16 ERA) pitches for the Astros in the middle game opposite A's LHP JP Sears (3-3, 4.31).

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