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...

Elsa/Getty Images

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.

Houston Astros/Facebook

The Astros had a bad 4-6 road trip and looked forward to getting home to Minute Maid Park where they have been dominant this season. The pitiful Detroit Tigers arrived in Houston with a record since the All Star Break of nine wins and 27 losses. They literally do not have one non-pitcher who would make a healthy Astros' roster. That includes the way over the hill sure fire Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera. Splitting four games at home with the Tigers would have been a fail. The Astros did not fail, though "only" taking three out of four seems a little disappointing. The S.S. Astros Good Ship Lollipop has sprung a couple of leaks. Neither that can't be plugged with good health, but the Astros have two notable health issues.

Carlos Correa's next endorsement deal should be for peanut brittle, emphasis not on the peanut. Some guys just have a propensity toward getting injured. Unfortunately the Correa resume grows that he is one of those guys. That back problems have resurfaced is troubling, to no one more so than Correa himself. It's clear the guy loves the game and is spectacularly talented, but durability is one component of greatness and to this point Correa simply has not demonstrated durability. If he can't produce a fully healthy bigtime season or two in the next year or two, any visions of a Manny Machado-like 10 year 300 million dollar contract will be up in smoke. Still, Correa turns only 25 years old next month so there's time to prove sturdiness, but more sand has seeped through the hourglass. For the 2019 Astros the dropdown is huge from Correa at shortstop to either Miles Straw or Aledmys Diaz being in the lineup. As for 2020, please tell anyone saying the Astros should trade Correa to be quiet.

The loss of Ryan Pressly for most if not all of the rest of the regular season is a big blow to the bullpen. Of even bigger concern is whether he can get back and get sharp to start the postseason.

This doesn't mean the ship is sinking. The Astros enter the weekend just one game behind the Yankees for the best record in the American League, and the Astros own the tiebreaker (having won the season series 4-3). They are three back of the Dodgers for best in MLB, the Astros have a three game lead in the tiebreaker with LA (intradivision record). The Yankees play at the Dodgers this weekend so if you're a glass half full person: a Dodger or Yankee loss is guaranteed three days in a row! If you're glass half empty: a Dodger or Yankee win is guaranteed three days in a row!

NFL on the horizon

A little over 2 weeks until the Texans begin their 18th season of play in the National Football League. We've all heard the saying, the 18th time is the charm. So is this the season the Texans are finally a legitimate Super Bowl contender? Probably not. The Texans do not look like a notably improved football team. On paper their schedule is clearly more difficult than last season's. Within the AFC the Chiefs clearly have more overall talent and are better coached. The Patriots still exist. One of these years Tom Brady really will slip. Maybe at age 42 this is the season.

If Jadeveon Clowney opts to sit out, or is traded, anyone thinking he won't be missed, is wrong. Clowney is not a superstar but he's really good. The Texans will be easier to run on without him. And while not an elite pass rusher, Clowney has to be accounted for. Anyone thinking, ah, he's hurt all the time anyway…wrong again. Clowney missed one game last season, and the season before that he played in every game.

If you want a couple of reasons for plausible optimism, here you go. Coming off of last season Deshaun Watson does not rate as one of the top 10 quarterbacks in the NFL. He could well vault into that echelon this season. The Texans' offensive line remains something between a question mark and a glaring weakness, but really, can it be worse than it was the last couple of seasons? DeAndre Hopkins is about as good as it gets today at wide receiver, the same for J.J. Watt at defensive end though the clock is ticking down on his prime.

The Texans probably begin their season by losing at New Orleans. On the other hand the Buccaneers started their 5-11 2018 season by beating the 13-3 to be Saints in New Orleans.

Buzzer Beaters

1. Connor McGregor pitches some "number 12" brand of whisky. As a human being he seems much more a piece of number two. 2. Two peas in a pitching pod: Justin Verlander 15-5, 2.77 ERA, 239 strikeouts. Gerrit Cole 15-5, 2.75 ERA, 238 strikeouts. 3. Worst tasting vegetables: Bronze-kale Silver-peas Gold-lima beans

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