Paul Gallant created a religion to worship Houston's greatest G.M.

The church of Jeff Luhnow

Paul Gallant

For sports fans, nothing beats rooting for a sure thing.

Luckily for me, I've been #blessed #soblessed to grow up rooting for an actual demi-god: Thomas Edward Patrick Brady.

That beanie tho...

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I know, I know. Some of you are frothing at the mouth. Others are experiencing heart palpitations, shuddering as you recall a handsome gunslinger carving up a one loss team that thought letterman jackets were a fantastic fashion statement. Or yo-

"Your lord and savior is a cheating fraud, PAWL."


Does being a disciple of the TB12 method mean that I'm more likely to marry a super model? Or that I'd have been a successful quarterback into my late 40s if coach had given me a shot (clearly he was racist against skinny paste bois)? Or that . . . I'm better than you?

Probably. But don't fault me for my parents arbitrarily decided to have the sex / children in the greater Boston area being one of the chosen people. Instead, focus on this: if you're an Astros fan, YOU TOO have a sure thing.

Jeff. Luhnow.

Look at that legend, wheeling, dealing, and acquiring aces for nothing

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

He landed Justin Verlander – and a World Series trophy – by trading a can of pringles and an oatmeal crème pie cookie. He acquired Gerrit Cole for a box of Lunchables Pizza and a Capri Sun.

"Nearly 50% of what you just said was inaccurate to some degree, PAWL."

I'm not even close to done. He drafted Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman, and found Yuli Gurriel. He took flyers on the oft injured Charlie Morton and Michael Brantley, and got MVP worthy play out of both. He's fine tuned the use of analytics SO MUCH that the Astros are practically speaking a different language than all of baseball. ALL OF THIS helped slowly turn the Astros from a total laughing stock into the best organization in baseball.

And on Wednesday, Luhnow outdid himself again. He acquired Zack Greinke – 10-4 on the season with a 2.90 ERA - from the Arizona Diamondbacks. Yeah, sending over two former first round picks ('18's Seth Beer and '17's J.B. Bukauskas) along with Corbin Martin and Josh Rojas was a lot. BUT, when you consider that he was able to keep BOTH of the Astros top prospects – Kyle Tucker and Forrest Whitley - this deal looks SIGNIFICANTLY more impressive.

Verlander. Cole. Greinke. And [arguably] the best lineup in baseball. Cancel the season. It's over. Go home.

I'm not a religious man. But Luhnow's greatness has touched something spiritually within me. And I want to share this feeling with ALL of you, through the power of worship. So guess what? I'm starting a religion. Introducing the Church of Jeff Luhnow.

Creating a religion is INCREDIBLY easy. Thanks internet! I became an ordained minister in less than five minutes here (and there are at least 10 alternative just as easy options) and filled out the necessary I.R.S. paper work (slightly more difficult since there are two forms to fill out) for tax exemption. Will I use all future tax-free donations for my own personal gain to spread the word of Luhnow? You bet!

Per the internet, it only takes about 5 steps to create a religion. They are as follows.

1. Choose a focus, a central theme, idea, or person.

This one is easy. Jeff Luhnow – our sweet bilingual Mexican-American prince – is our lord and savior. And through his wisdom, we shall walk the path behind him towards enjoyable October baseball every year.

2. Create a central belief system, consisting of 2 or 3 main dogmas.

We only need 3.

  • Thou shalt not question Jeff Luhnow
  • Seriously, thou shalt not even think of such a thing

3. Create Rituals:

  • Win in all trades by aggressively bartering. Even if you're purchasing something from a vending machine, never pay unless you've had a hearty haggle session.
  • Always avoid trading top prospects, because there are lots of dummies in Major League Baseball, and you can always steal an elite pitcher from a team of poors.
  • Aggressively defend the importance of spin rate, even if you literally have no idea about its actual impact on a baseball match.
  • Constantly remind people that analytics are the future of baseball…
  • ...And that you're smarter than other people because you embrace those analytics. REMIND PEOPLE CONSTANTLY for full salvation.
  • And most importantly, persecute Rangers fans to the point of conversion. Good old fashioned Church Inquisition fun!

4. Pay attention to aesthetics, in terms of materials, symbols, etc.

Well, I did make a stained glass window of THE HOLY ONE for our future place of worship...

The perfect stained glass for your home!

Paul Gallant

…and this hat does make me look fat religious enough?

The Grand Tradesman himself.

Paul Gallant

5. Choose your own role. Who are you in this religion?

After atonement / self-flagellation for these two heretical takes on the Gallant Says podcast, I declare my self the High Tradesman of the Church of Luhnow.

So, my new Luhnow-niites, follow me to glory. Trades be with you.

Paul Gallant hosts the "Gallant Says" podcast (Tuesdays & Fridays on iTunes), "Just Sayin'", Friday nights at 10:30 CT on Kube 57, and contributes to SB Nation Radio. Want to get in touch with him? Get after him on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

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Yordan Alvarez provided the offense to back up more stellar pitching by the Astros as they took ALCS game 6 to advance to the 2021 World Series. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of this series in Houston then falling behind in the series 2-1 by dropping the first of three games in Boston, the Astros took over the ALCS in Games 4 and 5, sending them back to their home crowd with a chance to finish things off in Game 6 at Minute Maid Park. After another stellar performance by their pitching staff and more timely hitting, they would accomplish that mission, winning the series and moving on to the 2021 World Series.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 0

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston wins 4-2

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Losing Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Houston strikes first to start tightly-contested Game 6

After a scoreless top of the first inning by Boston's offense, the Astros capitalized on a chance to be first to score in the bottom of the frame. Alex Bregman started the two-out rally, reaching base on a single against Nathan Eovaldi for the first hit of the night. Yordan Alvarez followed, delivering his sixth RBI of the series with a double to put Houston on top 1-0.

That did not spark further immediate scoring, as the one-run score held while both starting pitchers provided solid outings for their team. For Eovaldi, he was able to limit Houston to just that single run through four frames. He returned in the bottom of the fifth, facing two batters, allowing a single, and getting a strikeout to end his night.

Garcia impresses in big start

For the home team, they were recipients of another expectation-exceeding performance from one of their young arms. Only anticipated to go a handful of innings, Luis Garcia worked efficiently and effectively against Boston, keeping them scoreless and hitless through five innings. He continued in the sixth, getting two more outs before allowing a two-out triple, ending his night as Phil Maton would enter to strand the tying run. Garcia's final line: 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 76 P.

With both teams dipping into their bullpens, the Astros took advantage of Boston's as Yordan Alvarez's dominance went on display once again. He led the inning off with a triple, then scored on a double-play ball to extend Houston's lead to 2-0. Kendall Graveman took over on the mound in the top of the seventh and worked himself into a big moment. He gave up a one-out walk, followed by a single, which put runners on the corners for Boston. He continued to struggle with the zone, falling behind the next batter 3-1, but was able to battle back to get the strikeout paired with a terrific throw by Martin Maldonado to cut down the runner from first trying to steal second, ending the inning and maintaining the two-run advantage.

Astros headed to the World Series

Ryne Stake was Houston's next reliever, and he put Houston three outs away by getting a 1-2-3 eighth. With Ryan Pressly warming, he watched and hoped that his offense could give him some more insurance to work with when he went to the mound in the top of the ninth. His wish would be granted, as after getting two on base, Kyle Tucker would put a major exclamation point on the night's offense, hitting a three-run opposite-field homer to the Crawford Boxes to push the lead to 5-0.

Pressly, now with the five-run lead, came on to try and start the celebration by getting the final three outs. Against the tougher part of Boston's order, he would get a 1-2-3 inning, giving the Astros the American League pennant, which along with those won in 2017 and 2019, puts them back in the World Series for the third time in five years.

Up Next: The Astros will have three days off before The Fall Classic kicks off. While Game 1 will be on Tuesday, October 26th, nothing else has yet been determined as Houston awaits to see which of the Dodgers and Braves will advance out of the NL, which will also dictate if the Astros will host or travel to World Series Game 1.

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