4th and a mile with Paul Muth

The Astros are MLB's Patriots, and World Power Rankings

There's only one move from here. Win. Photo by Getty Images

Weekend takeaways

Well, like I said last week, this past weekend certainly didn't disappoint. The Houston Roughnecks kicked off the season with a huge win, and UFC 247 put on one heck of a show. I learned two things Saturday night:

  1. Reddit's r/XFL appreciated my low effort Roughnecks merch.
  2. Derrick Lewis could not care less about meeting fans after a fight.

That poor guy was inundated with rabid UFC fight bros just dying to get a picture with the heavyweight Houston native once he had arrived to his official after party at Little Woodrow's EaDo. The cringe moment of the night was every fight bro who asked him to do the weigh-in fight pose. There's probably at least one fight bro on your friends list who's already changed his profile picture to that.

Taking a page from Foxborough's playbook

The Astros have more in common with the New England Patriots right now than they'd probably like to. They've both found sustained success (obviously New England has done it longer, don't @ me Patriots fans), but they've also been a source of controversy. Both went to their respective championships, and later it was discovered that both used cameras to steal signs from the defense the same year. The Astros did it in 2017, and coincidentally, the Patriots exactly a decade prior.

The Astros cheated, and the Patriots cheated. There's no denying it.

But here's the thing: you probably thought to yourself "oh yea!" when I brought up the Patriots thing, even though it's almost exactly what the Astros did. The reason you forgot, is because the Patriots kept winning after the fact.

The Astros did two things specifically that have the sporting world outside of Houston demanding blood:

  1. They cheated.
  2. They beat two of the largest markets in the sport in the process

There's a pretty good argument to be made that there would probably be a lot less chirping if the Kansas City Royals and Arizona Diamondbacks had been defeated rather than the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers, but here we are. One thing the Patriots at least had going for them was that they were caught spying on a New York Jets team that went 4-12 that season.

Everyone forgets the timeline because we're just now finding out about it, and as a result they think that the 2018 and 2019 seasons were tainted too. The 2019 season was legitimate, and all the more heartbreaking as a result, but it proves something that the dog day Astros fan already knows:

This team is still really, really good.

Vegas doesn't care how much anyone likes a team. They care how good they are, and right now the Astros have the third best odds to make it back to the World Series according to OddsShark.com.

It's painful to be an Astros fan right now. Practically every preseason marketing visual has been scrubbed clean of any Houston representation despite finishing the season in a World Series game 7. It's easy to guess why. But between that and every social media platform spewing venom in the comments section at anything even remotely associated with the Astros, it's understandable why fans would look for ways to just make it go away.

There is a way. The Patriots showed us all, and it's pretty simple.

They won. The Patriots, much like the Astros (at least at the moment) were hardly apologetic. They shrugged it off, continued winning, and eventually the spotlight moved away.

So for everyone's sake Astros...

Go win.

The ultimate world power rankings of the week



#5: Another dog being an awesome bro.

It's really easy to get on my list. Just be a dog doing something awesome like this:

#4: Ohio Medical board harshes fans' vibes

I love the fact that a panel of brilliant doctors had to be convened for this, but once they were they voted in opposition of the petitions that called them there in the first place. According to ESPN.com, It was determined Wednesday that "[b]eing a fan of the NFL's franchises in Cincinnati and Cleveland does not meet the condition requirements to purchase medical marijuana."

They must not be big sports fans, because there's at least some room for debate there if we're being honest.

#3 Football bro invents rule that the other football has been doing for years

I've seen a lot of memes floating around XFL and NFL pages that, well, aren't really memes. It's just the two league's logos and what they think is a hair-brained idea:

This isn't new. This is called relegation, and outside of the play-in game, they've been doing this in soccer for years. Look it up.

#2: Brown Jewelry

No other weird valentine's day gift will dominate your sports commercials more than Kay Jewelers trying to offload those weird brown--excuse me--"Chocolate" diamonds. I still haven't met anyone that has ever actually asked for them, but the TV said it's a thing. Enjoy your final week in the spotlight, weird brown diamond, we'll see you back on TV the day after Thanksgiving.

#1 Valentine's newest trend, pandering to the jaded

This seems like a new thing over the past few years, but if it isn't it's at least gained popularity. Capitalism has found a way to make even more money off of their fake holiday by catering to those who won't be celebrating it. So if you're a vulnerable, newly single person looking for an unhealthy attempt at catharsis, the San Antonio Zoo has just what you're craving. That's right, for $5 you can name a cockroach after your ex. And for those of you truly unable to cope you can drop $25 and they will happily name a pre-frozen rodent after them, to be fed to a reptile later on. Don't worry, for proof they'll send you a certificate that "can be shared on your own social media pages." They'll be live-streaming everything too, so don't worry about missing out!

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The Houston Astros are on a roll. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

There are certain events in one's life in which you'll remember where you were and what you were doing when they happened. Whether good or bad, those memories are etched in your brain. Finding out you're going to be a parent for the first time, your first kiss, getting that new car, and when the Astros won the 2017 World Series. That euphoric feeling of watching the team you've rooted for finally win the ultimate prize was everything, especially coming off years of losing 90-100 games or so every year. It was really late and the whole house was sleep. I had to contain my excitement and celebrate as quietly as possible.

Fast-forward five years, and we could experience that euphoria all over again. As of this writing, they are 13.5 games up in the AL West and only 4.5 games behind their sons (aka the Yankees) for best record in the AL and MLB overall. They own the third best run differential in MLB, have an AL MVP candidate in Yordan Alvarez, an AL Cy Young candidate in Justin Verlander, and they may sure up some deficiencies by the trade deadline. Even if they don't make another move, this team can compete with anyone.

Go back a few months and see how many people truly thought this was possible. I myself thought they'd compete, make the playoffs, but sputter out. I wasn't confident in the pitching staff being what it is and wasn't sure the lineup would round into shape. Add that with the fact that they lost one of the guys who was a leader in the clubhouse (and one of their best players in Carlos Correa) and replaced him with a rookie, you wouldn't have been wrong to think they may even miss the playoffs or barely make the wildcard game.

Good thing is this team is resilient. Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel were struggling to start this season and are rounding into shape. Jeremy Peña, Correa's replacement, has been a revelation. There isn't much difference in their offensive numbers. In fact, there are several categories Peña is actually better at than Correa. His defense isn't that far off from Correa's either. People can say what they want about Machete, but that's OUR catcher and I love him! He can hit below the Mendoza Line all he wants when he plays that kind of defense and handles the staff the way he does. Centerfield is another area some think needs improvement. I think they're fine. Could the CF's hit and field better? Yes, but that could go for a number of guys. It isn't as weak of a spot as we think.

This team continues to show why they're a modern-day dynasty. Five straight ALCS appearances, three World Series appearances, and one title over the last five years is pretty damn good. Factor in all the free agent losses, sign stealing scandal, Covid, and everything else they've dealt with and overcome, I'll die on that hill of calling them a modern-day dynasty. A World Series win with this group would solidify that claim, as well as prove the haters wrong. Poetic justice in my eyes looks like this: beating the Yankees in the ALCS, then beating the Dodgers in the World Series just like they did in 2017. Then we can hit them with this gem.

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