H-Town Hold it Down

Travis Scott’s Cactus Jack Block Party gives us a reason to be proud to be Houstonians

Jose Partida with his Cactus Jacks. Courtesy photo

I have been part of the sneaker community since I was in middle school. Back then, my hobbies included sitting on my computer on 23isback.com or designing my own pair of Air Maxes on Nike ID. Of course, back then I could not afford to actually buy those sneakers. All I could do was admire them and promise myself: once I started making real money I can buy myself whatever shoes I want. I am still working on that “making real money” thing, but here I stand in 2018 with more sneakers than there are days in a month. We all have our own vices, right?

I remember first hearing about Travis Scott in 2012 when he was all over Cruel Summer, the compilation album by Kanye’s GOOD Music. The following year, he dropped Owl Pharaoh and began seriously leaving his imprint in rap music. Fast forward to 2018, Travis has established himself as one of the top artists in Hip Hop and one of the biggest celebrities in Houston.

Last Wednesday, Travis Scott took to twitter to announce his Cactus Jack Block Party, presented by Jordan Brand. I was fortunate enough to attend the event that converged several of my favorite things: Sneakers, Hip Hop, and, of course, Sports.

The Party took place at Root Memorial Square Park, right outside of Toyota Center. By the time I arrived to the event the line wrapped around the park. Us millennials do not play when it comes to supporting our favorite artist. There was another line at the park, though. This line was for those who lucked out on the Nike SNKRS app and were waiting for their chance to get Travis’ collaboration with Jordan Brand, the Cactus Jack. Travis’ shoe is an Air Jordan Four covered in blue suede, with white, red and black accents. They are a fitting tribute to the long gone Houston Oilers.

Once into the park, fans were given a chance to enjoy a party that was as Houston as it could be. 97.9 The Box played the music. Frenchy’s Chicken fed the fans. Deshaun Watson watched on as the basketball tournament took place. Of course, there cannot be a Houston party without the presence of Bun B, who made his way through the Social Status line and purchased his own pair of Cactus Jack’s. To put a bow on it, fans jumped the rails when Travis arrived and got the party shut down by the Fire Marshal. How’s that for a Houston party?

As I took in the event it dawned on me, this is the first time Houston has done something like this. Collaborations between Nike and artists are not uncommon. They’ve done it with Kanye West, they’ve done it with Drake, and they are doing it right now with Kendrick Lamar. Travis granted the Houstonian sneaker head the chance to feel that special feeling with this release. He grabbed one of the best Jordan silhouettes and created a shoe that resonates with everyone in the city of Houston. When I look at the Cactus Jack Fours I see Paul Wall hanging out in a Warren Moon throwback. I see Johnny Dang giving Lance McCullers his World Series Grill. I see PJ Tucker  hustling for a rebound wearing his pair in the NBA playoffs. I see the encapsulation of this unapologetically Hip Hop city.

Travis has taken his music around the world, never letting people forget where he is from. The fact he has released one of the most talked about sneakers of the year gives me as much pride as him rapping about Houston at festivals around the world.

At one point in his life, Travis was much like me. A young sneaker head who could only dream about one day having his own shoe. Now, he has them and, with another color way possibly on the way, the dream collaboration with Jordan is only getting started. If Travis Scott was not already respected by Houstonians for his music, I think he has done himself many favors this year. Whether it was sitting court side throughout the Rockets’ historic season or putting on an exclusive event like this one, Travis shows us why we should be proud to be Houstonians.

From the 713 to the 281, Houston is proud to call Travis Scott their own, and, boy, were they happy to get their hands on the Cactus Jacks’ a day before their official launch.  

 

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Houston drops first of three

Mariners heat up late to take series opener over Astros

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

With the playoffs just a little over a week away, the Astros started their last week of regular-season games in Seattle against the Mariners. A couple of wins against them would secure Houston's spot as the AL West's second playoff participant, with Oakland all but having locked up the first spot sitting six games in front of Houston with seven left to play. Here is a quick rundown of the opener from T-Mobile Park:

Final Score: Mariners 6, Astros 1.

Record: 27-27, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Marco Gonzalez (7-2, 3.06 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (3-3, 4.24 ERA).

Bitter end to an impressive start for McCullers Jr.

Both starting pitchers would take a scoreless deep late into Monday night's game. While the Astros were trying to figure out Marco Gonzalez, Lance McCullers Jr. was repeating the success of his last start, a seven-inning two-hit start against the Rangers.

McCullers Jr. allowed a two-out walk in the bottom of the first inning, then proceeded to retire the next fourteen batters before a one-out double in the bottom of the sixth gave the Mariners their first hit of the night. He would go on to finish the sixth before things unraveled in the seventh.

A leadoff walk would result in a run after an error by Jose Altuve left runners on first and second, setting up an RBI-double to give the Mariners the first run of the night and a 1-0 lead. McCullers Jr. looked like he was going to cap off his night by stranding the runners on second and third after back-to-back strikeouts, but before he could get the last out of the inning allowed a three-run home run to blow the game open at 4-0. His final line: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 1 HR, 102 P.

Mariners take the opener

Despite getting several hits against him along the way, Houston could not get anything substantial going against Gonzalez, who would shutout the Astros over eight innings of work. After Enoli Paredes finished the seventh, Brandon Bielak would take over out of Houston's bullpen for the bottom of the eighth.

He struggled mightily, loading the bases with no outs, including a hit batter before allowing a two-RBI single to extend Seattle's lead to 6-0. The Astros would get on the board in the top of the ninth, getting a two-out double by Carlos Correa, who would score on an RBI-single by Josh Reddick. That would be too little, too late as the 6-1 score would go final as the Mariners took the opener, keeping the Astros' magic number at two.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will be another 8:10 PM Central start on Tuesday. On the mound will be Framber Valdez (4-3, 3.82 ERA) for the Astros and Ljay Newsome (0-1, 6.35 ERA) for the Mariners.

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