As Good As It Gets?

As crunch time nears, the Astros keep fans in suspense

The scrappy horde of reporters who hang out at Minute Maaid Park's press row during Astros games can agree on one thing: Jeff Bagwell is their go-to guy. While second baseman Jeff Kent usually broods in front of his locker after games, turned away from the media scum, Bagwell always faces reporters, offering up quotable crumbs -- win or lose. After a loss to the Mets in early August, the Bagster fixed his eyes in a vacant stare and wondered aloud "if this is as good as we are." His question will be answered as the pennant race intensifies. This weekend, the Astros face off with neck-and-neck rivals the Cardinals in a critical series. Though Houston has won six of 11 games against St. Louis, there's no way of knowing whether our team will rise to the occasion. In these uncertain times, the Astros' unpredictability is the one thing Houstonians can count on. 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, September 12 and 13; 1 p.m. Sunday, September 14. Minute Maid Park, 501 Crawford. For tickets, call 877-927-8767 or visit www.astros.com. $5 to $39. -- Greg Barr

SUN 9/14

Pastas, Ponies and Pinot Noir
Cultured horseplay at the Houston Polo Club

Joe Rocco

Soldiers and peasants played polo 2,500 years ago in Persia and China. But the rough-and-tumble sport eventually made its way to quarters just inside Loop 610. This Sunday, the Houston Polo Club hosts the fourth annual Polo Italia and Risotto Festival, which features a six-chukka (period) match. Postgame activities include a wine tasting and some of the town's finest chefs presenting their own delectable varieties of risotto, a rice dish that originates in the homeland of -- you guessed it -- Marco Polo. 4 p.m. Sunday, September 14. 8225 Memorial Drive. For tickets and information, call 713-622-7300 or visit www.thehoustonpoloclub.com. $50; benefits the Children's Assessment Center. -- Eric Norvell

 
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