Baseball announcers have traditionally been genial, low-key companions who take you through a hot, lazy summer night. But more and more are turning into Dick Vitale-like screamers shouting, "There's a looooong fly ball that has a chance! -- but it's caught by the shortstop." Luckily, Astros fans have someone from the old school who's been doing a solid job below the radar for quite a while. Bill Brown doesn't overwhelm the listener with convoluted stats, and he leaves the detailed analysis to his broadcast partners. What he does do is keep the viewer informed of everything he or she needs to know, with a minimum of fuss or ego gratification. It can almost make watching the Astros bearable.
Baseball announcers have traditionally been genial, low-key companions who take you through a hot, lazy summer night. But more and more are turning into Dick Vitale-like screamers shouting, "There's a looooong fly ball that has a chance! -- but it's caught by the shortstop." Luckily, Astros fans have someone from the old school who's been doing a solid job below the radar for quite a while. Bill Brown doesn't overwhelm the listener with convoluted stats, and he leaves the detailed analysis to his broadcast partners. What he does do is keep the viewer informed of everything he or she needs to know, with a minimum of fuss or ego gratification. It can almost make watching the Astros bearable.
There used to be many more sports-talk shows on the radio in Houston, but thankfully the best has survived. Rich Lord and Charlie Pallilo have the afternoon-drive slot on all-sports KILT, and they've made many a rush hour less frustrating for Houstonians. Lord's a bit of a goof, and Pallilo's more of an acerbic know-it-all; together their chemistry is impeccable as they ricochet through sports, movies, current events and babes. Their regular guests are solid: former Astro Kevin Bass and Chronicle NFL beat writer John McClain. Now that KILT has the Rockets, the hosts aren't as dismissive of the hoopsters as they used to be, but perhaps that's too much to expect.
There used to be many more sports-talk shows on the radio in Houston, but thankfully the best has survived. Rich Lord and Charlie Pallilo have the afternoon-drive slot on all-sports KILT, and they've made many a rush hour less frustrating for Houstonians. Lord's a bit of a goof, and Pallilo's more of an acerbic know-it-all; together their chemistry is impeccable as they ricochet through sports, movies, current events and babes. Their regular guests are solid: former Astro Kevin Bass and Chronicle NFL beat writer John McClain. Now that KILT has the Rockets, the hosts aren't as dismissive of the hoopsters as they used to be, but perhaps that's too much to expect.
Picking a Best Sports Columnist in Houston is no easy matter. And it's not exactly because there's a wealth of riches to choose from. So our winners tend to be somewhat of a cheat -- they've not been the paper's regular sports columnists, they've been the beat guys who do a "news and notes" column every Sunday. That said, Richard Justice isn't sneaking his way in -- he's a respected reporter who writes lucidly and well and isn't afraid to be contrary. He's a little too tight with baseball commissioner Bud Selig for our taste, but hey, it's a free country.

Picking a Best Sports Columnist in Houston is no easy matter. And it's not exactly because there's a wealth of riches to choose from. So our winners tend to be somewhat of a cheat -- they've not been the paper's regular sports columnists, they've been the beat guys who do a "news and notes" column every Sunday. That said, Richard Justice isn't sneaking his way in -- he's a respected reporter who writes lucidly and well and isn't afraid to be contrary. He's a little too tight with baseball commissioner Bud Selig for our taste, but hey, it's a free country.

Channel 26, KRIVWhen it comes to breaking sports news in Houston, few folks do it better than Channel 26's Mark Berman. There's more than a bit of truth to that ad the station runs showing rivals watching Fox's 9 p.m. news to see what they'll need to catch up on before 10 p.m. Sure, he sometimes gets a little breathless over being the first to report minutiae, but in the wack world of sports these days, who's to say what's minutiae and what isn't? Berman is the antithesis of -- and the antidote to, for that matter -- the blow-dried types getting by with a few inane quips as they narrate tired highlights. He won't win any beauty contests, but Berman won't be outworked, either.
Channel 26, KRIVWhen it comes to breaking sports news in Houston, few folks do it better than Channel 26's Mark Berman. There's more than a bit of truth to that ad the station runs showing rivals watching Fox's 9 p.m. news to see what they'll need to catch up on before 10 p.m. Sure, he sometimes gets a little breathless over being the first to report minutiae, but in the wack world of sports these days, who's to say what's minutiae and what isn't? Berman is the antithesis of -- and the antidote to, for that matter -- the blow-dried types getting by with a few inane quips as they narrate tired highlights. He won't win any beauty contests, but Berman won't be outworked, either.
Scuba Bob is so badass that he once bit a nurse shark on the dorsal fin just so his students would see that they shouldn't be afraid to swim with sharks. "I kissed it after I got through biting it," he says. "I petted it, too." Scuba Bob estimates he's made around 3,200 dives and taught more than 1,000 students. He grew up watching Mike Nelson and Jacques Cousteau on TV. He spent his summers at his family's beach house in Bolivar, where he splashed around in the water collecting fish and conducting eighth-grade science projects on sea anemones. A licensed psychotherapist by profession, Bob pays special attention to students who are afraid of breathing under water, incorporating stress reduction and relaxation techniques. Whether he's focusing on deep breaths or misbehaving with sharks, Scuba Bob will find a way to ease your fears about the water.

Scuba Bob is so badass that he once bit a nurse shark on the dorsal fin just so his students would see that they shouldn't be afraid to swim with sharks. "I kissed it after I got through biting it," he says. "I petted it, too." Scuba Bob estimates he's made around 3,200 dives and taught more than 1,000 students. He grew up watching Mike Nelson and Jacques Cousteau on TV. He spent his summers at his family's beach house in Bolivar, where he splashed around in the water collecting fish and conducting eighth-grade science projects on sea anemones. A licensed psychotherapist by profession, Bob pays special attention to students who are afraid of breathing under water, incorporating stress reduction and relaxation techniques. Whether he's focusing on deep breaths or misbehaving with sharks, Scuba Bob will find a way to ease your fears about the water.

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