It's a gray day in Houston today (no pun intended), and just this past weekend, only a promotional hoodie a friend fortuitously found at our Village Voice Media party - we have no idea who or what a "Mojofilter" is; we're just glad they didn't make keychains this year - kept us from freezing our tookus off at SXSW. Must be baseball season. Or close to it. Rocks Off will admit that like all too many of our fellow Houstonians, our interest in the Astros has waned to such a point that we did not attend a single game last season. That wasn't always the case, though - we used to disappear from our desk at the Austin Chronicle for hours on end to follow the 'Stros in the playoffs on the team radio network's Austin affiliate KVET-AM, and drove down from Austin for at least three or four games a year. One day, we're certain, the hometown nine will rebound and rekindle that flame of fandom that, it turns out, has also singed a few of our musical heroes. The Rev. Billy F. Gibbons, for one, whose history with Houston baseball stretches even further back than when the 'Stros set up shop in 1962. Here's a little of what the right reverend recently told Hair Balls honcho Rich Connelly:
"Now...call it luck, call it fortune, or call it doubled-down, downright dangerous, the two characteristic cornerstones became a reality following the foresight and fateful finagling of several farsighted soothsayers, to the delight of the many sports fans, surprised at the success of shuffling in a sporting event bringing in that elusive 'winning combo' the community long awaited."
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"Make no mistake, back when Houston hosted home to the famed Buffaloes (the 'Houston Buffs' for the uninitiated, by the way), Texas League baseball had found a supportive sector of the city that held passion for a ballgame. The original Houston ballpark houses, West End Park (1907-1927), Buffalo Stadium (1928-1952), later, Busch Stadium (1953-1958), just aside the super two-lane Gulf Freeway, set the stage for a lust of knuckles, curves and speed, all on the infield lawn where the humidified, summer seasoned crowds watched their home team 'play ball!'...!"
Read more of Gibbons' riffing on the national pastime, Houston-style, in this week's Press cover story, also featuring a guest verse or two from the People's Champ himself, Paul Wall. By the way, ZZ Top hasn't announced any Houston dates for 2010 yet (although we've heard things), but will be at Beaumont's Ford Park April 24 with the Edgar Winter Band and Jonathan Tyler & the Northern Lights. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday at ticketmaster.com. Road trip, anyone?