A look back

What this World Series means to someone who has been covering Houston sports all his life

What this World Series means to someone who has been covering Houston sports all his life
These are moments we should not forget. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

I wrote this the night the Astros won the World Series. I thought it would be worth bringing back for Father's Day.

It was about an hour after Game 7 that it hit me. The Houston Astros are World Series champions. And for the first time in a long time, I got emotional. I felt incredible joy for the players, team management, and most of all the city of Houston.

My city. 

I hoped the people celebrating realized how truly memorable this moment will be going forward. How rare it is. How special it is.

How sports gives us memories like this that we should never forget.

I come at this from a different perspective. I am an old man, three years younger than the Astros. I have been covering sports in this city in one form or another since I was 16. But my ties go even farther back than that.

Both my parents were in sports journalism. I grew up around it. I thought every little kid got to go to Don Wilson pitching camps. Dan Pastorini quarterback camps. I thought they all got to meet Gordie Howe and Guy V. Lewis. At the time, I did not appreciate any of it.

I lived through all the moments Barry Laminack wrote about. And I see what this means to the city, as the incomparable Ken Hoffman wrote.

But sometime during the evening, after my work posting stories to this site was done, sipping on whiskey, I realized what it meant to me.

So about that different perspective...I am not a fan. I can’t be. I have to be detached. I could not really enjoy the games as they were happening. My mindset was simple: What do we need to do for the site? What will we talk about on The Blitz? I look at teams with a detached eye, because that is how I was brought up.

Fans can truly enjoy the moment, but can’t really be honest. They can’t see things from a neutral perspective. I have always had to do that, whether it was my time at the Chronicle or now. It does not always lead to popular takes. But it is how I have to be to do my job.

But when the job was done, I could sit back and appreciate what we just saw.

What sports is really about is escape. It is the greatest and best form of reality TV. It takes our mind off our everyday troubles. It gives us amazing memories.

And that’s what hit me. It made me think of my dad, Fred B. Faour, one of the smartest, funniest people who ever lived. A man who endured terrible hardships growing up. He was abandoned by his mother and grew up in an orphanage. He was kicked out of our great grandparent’s house because my mom had married an "N word." He was Arabic and looked different from everybody else. He was discriminated against. He was not promoted because he was not a white man. 

And he never complained. He was irreverent. He buried himself in sports as an escape. He covered sports and coached kids and gave them hope. He created memories.

As a journalist, he never acted like a fan, because he couldn’t. But he lived and died with the teams. My worst sports memory was UH’s loss to N.C. State. I was devastated. I thought none of my teams would ever win anything after that. I was an 18-year-old kid who watched people he knew -- I went to high school with Alvin Franklin -- lose a game they were supposed to win.

I could tell my dad was hurting, too. But he made jokes. And I felt better. That’s what he did. When my grandfather died, my dad cheered us up by making jokes. When I went through my first divorce, he hit me with one inappropriate joke after another. And it made me feel better.

Year after year, as the heartbreaking losses mounted, he would make me laugh. When we lost him in 1997, I tried to make people think of the good things, make them laugh. And that’s been my policy ever since.

But early Thursday morning, when I no longer had to work,  I understood what this World Series meant. Memories we will have forever. My dad made me realize that sports is not just the “toy department,” as we were often called in my newspaper days. It is how we bond. How we come together. How we find joy and sorrow together. It is about emotion. Watching everyone celebrate, whether it was the players in LA or the people in Midtown or in Minute Maid: We came together. We were all on the same side. We rejoiced.

Not a day goes by where I do not think of my dad. And when I finally had a chance to be a fan, all I could think of was how I wish he had lived to see it. How I wish we could have talked on the phone for hours about every detail of the game. How we could make Dodger jokes. I could almost hear him say something inappropriate like “how many (lady parts) do you think Springer is test driving tonight?”

And that is what sports is to me. Talking about it with people we love. Sharing the moments, good and bad. And there have been a lot more bad than good in this city.

The older you get, the less emotional you get. But this has been a tough stretch. Harvey was devastating. Seeing the people piling into the George R. Brown was heartbreaking. Talking to friends who lost their dream houses and are still displaced was more than depressing. The shootings in Vegas also hit close to home. I spend a lot of time there and was just at that venue, and two of my favorite people were in the middle of it. Our world is a mess right now. Bad news dominates everything.

But moments like this make it all melt away, like light snow on a fall day, even if it is fleeting. We can escape. We can feel.

And it brings back so many memories. Watching Jose Cruz. Enos Cabell. Earl Campbell. Moses Malone. Living my entire life as part of the sports landscape of this wonderful city, from the time my parents took me to the first game in the Astrodome in a stroller, to the Rockets titles, to me creating the tombstone, to UH winning the Peach Bowl, and finally to this.

Memories.

So many times I came close to leaving Houston. Even in the last five years, I had opportunities in Denver, Los Angeles and Toronto. But this is my home. This sports scene is my life. All my memories are here.

This moment is why I stayed. This memory we will have together forever.

The Astros are World Series champs. And for once, dad, we don’t have to make jokes to cheer each other up. The Astros actually won.

I wish you were here to see it.

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The Astros rotation looks like a strength moving forward. Composite Getty Image.

The Houston Astros are coming off a much-needed series win over the White Sox, but have a quick turnaround as they host the Orioles on Friday night at Minute Maid Park.

The 'Stros dropped the first game of the series with Framber Valdez on the mound, but were able to rebound with Hunter Brown and Spencer Arrighetti starting the final two games.

Brown was brilliant once again, and Arrighetti bounced back after a disastrous start against the Tigers over the weekend. Despite all the injures to the Astros staff this season, their young pitchers are stepping up when they need them the most.

Brown has six consecutive quality starts and is beginning to show signs that he can be the top of the rotation pitcher the club always hoped he could develop into.

Arrighetti has stepped in and shown that he belongs in the big leagues, and has provided innings Houston desperately requires with so many pitchers on the injured list.

Speaking of which, with Justin Verlander on the IL, Double A prospect Jake Bloss will make the start for Houston on Friday night. Bloss has quickly progressed through the farm system, having been drafted just a year ago.

We'll see how he performs in his MLB debut, but the club seems to have a lot of quality pitching options moving forward, especially with Luis Garcia and Lance McCullers scheduled to return in late July and early August respectively.

And as we look at the Astros rotation moving forward, perhaps they will go back to a six-man rotation during certain stretches in the second half of the season.

Which could prove to be vital to the team's success. As good as Ronel Blanco has been, he's never pitched as many innings as he'll be asked to pitch this year. Same goes for Arrighetti. And let's face it, sending Verlander out to pitch on four days rest consistently at 41 years old doesn't sound like a wise decision. He's already been on the IL twice this year.

While some see Garcia and McCullers as wild cards to help the team this season, Astros GM Dana Brown doesn't see it that way. He told the Astros flagship station this week that he's counting on those guys to make big contributions when they return. And he's counting on their postseason experience should they get there.

Keep in mind, Garcia has a 3.61 career ERA and has been durable outside the Tommy John surgery. And McCullers has always been good, it's just the health that causes concern.

Garcia is also an example of how a player can skip Double A and Triple A and have success right away in the big leagues. Hopefully, Bloss can follow in his footsteps, since he's bypassing Triple A to make his first start.

So what's the short and long-term outlook for the Astros rotation? And should we expect Verlander to return in 2025?

Be sure to watch the video above as we address those questions and much more!

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