The Couch Slouch

Tale of the tape: Tom Brady vs. the Slouch

Tom Brady
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I often daydream about Tom Brady.

Yes, I am obsessed with TB12. Why wouldn't I be? Who am I going to obsess over during this pandemic, Jay Cutler?

So The Greatest Quarterback Who Ever Lived finishes his unparalleled two decades as a New England Patriot and now decides to spend his next two NFL decades as a Tampa Bay Buccaneer. He's in Tampa for, oh, 15 minutes, and already…

-- While working out in a park, he gets ejected because he is violating its coronavirus closure, but he receives an apology from Mayor Jane Castor.

-- He tries to visit Buccaneers offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich's house and mistakenly walks into his next-door neighbor's home, then an NFL probe determines Brady did not violate the league's offseason work rules.

-- An auction to benefit coronavirus food needs nets a $800,000 bid for four tickets to Brady's first Buccaneers home game, his jersey and cleats from that game and dinner with Titanic Tom.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Nothing bad ever happens to this guy. The sun shines on him nearly 24-7, and even when it rains, he walks between the drops.

What a 21st century for this guy – the tuck rule leads to his first Super Bowl title; he impregnates his girlfriend, a model, then before the birth of their first child, moves on to a supermodel; he has a season-ending knee injury in 2008, but hasn't been touched on or off the field since; he overcomes both Spygate and Deflategate for six championships total.

Meanwhile…

In one of the freakish oddities of my checkered life, Brady and I shared the same agent for 17 years – I am not making this up – and in that period of time, TB12 earned about $225 million in NFL contracts and I earned less than $50,000 in deals our rep brought to me. Essentially, we are a latter-day Henry and Tommie Aaron: together, the brothers combined for 768 home runs; together, TB12 and I combined for almost $225.1 million in salary.

(Column Intermission: Speaking of Jay Cutler, the longtime Chicago Bears quarterback and Kristin Cavallari are getting a divorce. I guess she finally looked at his NFL stats.)

The fact of the matter is, in just about every walk of life, Brady outdistances Couch Slouch.

He played football, basketball and football in high school. I played ping pong, pinball and hooky.

He graduated from Michigan with a general studies degree. I graduated from Maryland with an American studies degree. America is a big subject, but "general" is even bigger, no?

He was lightly regarded in his field coming out of college as a sixth-round pick. I have been lightly regarded in my field till this very day.

He has won three NFL most valuable player awards. I took first place in the 2005 U.S. Bowler Writing Competition in the "editorial" category.

He's played himself in "The Simpsons," "Family Guy" and "Entourage." I played myself in the 2005 ESPN drama "Tilt." Note: 2005 was a BIG year for me.

He advocates drinking 1/32nd of one's body weight in water each day. I buy Orange Crush by the keg.

He is friends with President Trump. I voted for Ralph Nader in 2000.

He favors Transcendental Meditation. I close my eyes when "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" comes on.

He launched his own line of vegan snacks. I eat Fritos and Bugles.

He is quarantining in Derek Jeter's 30,000-square-foot home that he's renting. I am quarantining in my 1,300-square-foot home that my bank owns.

He has had endorsement deals with Aston Martin, Beautyrest, Cadillac, Foot Locker, Glaceau Smartwater, IWC watches, Nike, Sam Adams, Tag Heuer watches, Ugg footwear, Under Armour, Upper Deck, Visa and Wheaties. I give unpaid plugs to Yuengling in this column.

His book, "The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance," reached No. 1 on the New York Times' best-seller list. My book, "Hold On, Honey, I'll Take You to the Hospital at Halftime," can occasionally be found at yard sales.

On the other hand, he's only been married once. I got him there.

Ask The Slouch

Q.Now that POTUS has suggested injections of disinfectant and UV rays, is Barry Bonds on his way to Cooperstown? (Malcolm Wilson; Kensington, Md.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q.How many episodes of "The Last Dance" do we have to wade through before they get to Ickey Woods? (Steve McClemons; Arlington, Va.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. Under the NCAA's student-athlete rule changes, can I buy my seats directly from a player and avoid the middleman mark-up? (Steve Smith; Potomac, Md.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. Wait, wasn't the NFL's pass interference replay review supposed to take care of "contact tracing"? (Terry Golden; Vienna, Va.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. Would it be worth $1.25 if I nominated you for the Noble Prize in poker? (Jeff Gold; Columbia, Md.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Q. The Orioles are having a better year, don't you think? (Steve Owings; Spokane, Wash.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

You, too, can enter the $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just email asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!


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The Astros have their work cut out for them. Composite Getty Image.

Through 20 games, the Houston Astros have managed just six wins and are in last place in the AL West.

Their pitching staff trails only Colorado with a 5.24 ERA and big-money new closer Josh Hader has given up the same number of earned runs in 10 games as he did in 61 last year.

Despite this, these veteran Astros, who have reached the AL Championship Series seven consecutive times, have no doubt they’ll turn things around.

“If there’s a team that can do it, it’s this team,” shortstop Jeremy Peña said.

First-year manager Joe Espada, who was hired in January to replace the retired Dusty Baker, discussed his team’s early struggles.

“It’s not ideal,” he said. “It’s not what we expected, to come out of the shoot playing this type of baseball. But you know what, this is where we’re at and we’ve got to pick it up and play better. That’s just the bottom line.”

Many of Houston’s problems have stemmed from a poor performance by a rotation that has been decimated by injuries. Ace Justin Verlander and fellow starter José Urquidy haven’t pitched this season because of injuries and lefty Framber Valdez made just two starts before landing on the injured list with a sore elbow.

Ronel Blanco, who threw a no-hitter in his season debut April 1, has pitched well and is 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA in three starts this season. Cristian Javier is also off to a good start, going 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA in four starts, but the team has won just two games not started by those two pitchers.

However, Espada wouldn’t blame the rotation for Houston’s current position.

“It’s been a little bit of a roller coaster how we've played overall,” he said. “One day we get good starting pitching, some days we don’t. The middle relief has been better and sometimes it hasn’t been. So, we’ve just got to put it all together and then play more as a team. And once we start doing that, we’ll be in good shape.”

The good news for the Astros is that Verlander will make his season debut Friday night when they open a series at Washington and Valdez should return soon after him.

“Framber and Justin have been a great part of our success in the last few years,” second baseman Jose Altuve said. “So, it’s always good to have those two guys back helping the team. We trust them and I think it’s going to be good.”

Hader signed a five-year, $95 million contract this offseason to give the Astros a shutdown 7-8-9 combination at the back end of their bullpen with Bryan Abreu and Ryan Pressly. But the five-time All-Star is off to a bumpy start.

He allowed four runs in the ninth inning of a 6-1 loss to the Braves on Monday night and has yielded eight earned runs this season after giving up the same number in 56 1/3 innings for San Diego last year.

He was much better Wednesday when he struck out the side in the ninth before the Astros fell to Atlanta in 10 innings for their third straight loss.

Houston’s offense, led by Altuve, Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker, ranks third in the majors with a .268 batting average and is tied for third with 24 homers this season. But the Astros have struggled with runners in scoring position and often failed to get a big hit in close games.

While many of Houston’s hitters have thrived this season, one notable exception is first baseman José Abreu. The 37-year-old, who is in the second year of a three-year, $58.5 million contract, is hitting 0.78 with just one extra-base hit in 16 games, raising questions about why he remains in the lineup every day.

To make matters worse, his error on a routine ground ball in the eighth inning Wednesday helped the Braves tie the game before they won in extra innings.

Espada brushed off criticism of Abreu and said he knows the 2020 AL MVP can break out of his early slump.

“Because (of) history,” Espada said. “The back of his baseball card. He can do it.”

Though things haven’t gone well for the Astros so far, everyone insists there’s no panic in this team which won its second World Series in 2022.

Altuve added that he doesn’t have to say anything to his teammates during this tough time.

“I think they’ve played enough baseball to know how to control themselves and how to come back to the plan we have, which is winning games,” he said.

The clubhouse was quiet and somber Wednesday after the Astros suffered their third series sweep of the season and second at home. While not panicking about the slow start, this team, which has won at least 90 games in each of the last three seasons, is certainly not happy with its record.

“We need to do everything better,” third baseman Alex Bregman said. “I feel like we’re in a lot of games, but we just haven’t found a way to win them. And good teams find a way to win games. So we need to find a way to win games.”

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