The job of the play-by-play announcer is simple: Give the score and the details of the play. The job of the play-by-play announcer is also difficult: Keep the viewer involved in the game and direct traffic so that the color commentator can explain and enlighten. Nobody in Houston is better at this job than Bill Brown. He doesn't shout. He's not a homer. He doesn't try to be a comedian. He just lets the viewers of Houston Astros games know what's happening. And to anyone who has ever been stuck in car listening to Milo Hamilton scream about the height of the press box, this is a blessing. Brownie took over for the sainted Gene Elston in 1987. He's been more than up to the task since that time, and here's to hoping he's up to it for many more years to come.

Native Houstonians are rare on the sports radio dial. Most of the guys on 610 and 740 came to Houston as adults, and don't identify with Houston teams as strongly as people who grew up here. Sports Rap host Ralph Cooper is a notable exception to that rule. He's not an uncritical homer or anything like that, just a guy with a knowledge of Houston sports that's as broad as it is deep. The Worthing graduate got his start in the sports world in the early '70s and has been at every major Houston sporting event since, including the 1974 Super Bowl at Rice Stadium, the Phi Slamma Jamma and Luv Ya Blue eras, and the pair of Muhammad Ali bouts at the Dome in 1971. Cooper covers everything from junior high football to women's pro basketball, all from a Houstonian and African-American perspective. What's more, he does it with wit, punch and style. If you want to be in the know, hangin' with Mr. Cooper every weekday from 5 to 7 p.m. is the thing to do.

Native Houstonians are rare on the sports radio dial. Most of the guys on 610 and 740 came to Houston as adults, and don't identify with Houston teams as strongly as people who grew up here. Sports Rap host Ralph Cooper is a notable exception to that rule. He's not an uncritical homer or anything like that, just a guy with a knowledge of Houston sports that's as broad as it is deep. The Worthing graduate got his start in the sports world in the early '70s and has been at every major Houston sporting event since, including the 1974 Super Bowl at Rice Stadium, the Phi Slamma Jamma and Luv Ya Blue eras, and the pair of Muhammad Ali bouts at the Dome in 1971. Cooper covers everything from junior high football to women's pro basketball, all from a Houstonian and African-American perspective. What's more, he does it with wit, punch and style. If you want to be in the know, hangin' with Mr. Cooper every weekday from 5 to 7 p.m. is the thing to do.

Viewers of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption best know Richard Justice as that show's Southwest bureau chief. But Richard Justice is also the only reason to read the Houston Chronicle's Sunday sports section. In his column, which appears every Sunday during baseball season, he's not gossipy and he doesn't kiss up to his favorite players. He just discusses baseball with concise sentences, acerbic language and a refreshing absence of clichés and star-lust. This column enlightens. The only thing better than Justice on Sundays during baseball season would be Justice on Sundays all year long.
Viewers of ESPN's Pardon the Interruption best know Richard Justice as that show's Southwest bureau chief. But Richard Justice is also the only reason to read the Houston Chronicle's Sunday sports section. In his column, which appears every Sunday during baseball season, he's not gossipy and he doesn't kiss up to his favorite players. He just discusses baseball with concise sentences, acerbic language and a refreshing absence of clichés and star-lust. This column enlightens. The only thing better than Justice on Sundays during baseball season would be Justice on Sundays all year long.
Until we get a CD of classic Houston sports songs (anyone remember that Astros ditty about "stealing round the bases / driving in the runs / no place else but Houston -- As-tros Num-ber Ooooone"?), we'll have to content ourselves with the offerings of Pulltab. Their sound is a little like Smash Mouth, but those guys never sang about Jeff Kent, Steve & Cat, Daryle Ward, Aaron Glenn, and of course, Yao Ming. Still, with our teams so mediocre lately, we long for an album of songs from or about the glory days. Potential song titles: "Lew Lloyd's Stouffer's Suite," "Let's Kill Mike Torrez (Dickie's Revenge)" and "Where Have You Gone, Guido Merkens?"

Until we get a CD of classic Houston sports songs (anyone remember that Astros ditty about "stealing round the bases / driving in the runs / no place else but Houston -- As-tros Num-ber Ooooone"?), we'll have to content ourselves with the offerings of Pulltab. Their sound is a little like Smash Mouth, but those guys never sang about Jeff Kent, Steve & Cat, Daryle Ward, Aaron Glenn, and of course, Yao Ming. Still, with our teams so mediocre lately, we long for an album of songs from or about the glory days. Potential song titles: "Lew Lloyd's Stouffer's Suite," "Let's Kill Mike Torrez (Dickie's Revenge)" and "Where Have You Gone, Guido Merkens?"

We'll wager that this spacious restaurant and bar was originally intended as a different kind of "nightlife option." Sure, Live Sports has plenty going for it as a sports bar: The TVs are big and show a variety of sports; there are more drink options than you'll know what to do with (who orders ouzo at a sports bar?); and the food's pretty good. But this place was designed for stripping. There's an unused stage in the main room, and upstairs there's a private area with couches. All that's missing is a pole. It's fun to sit in one of the huge booths, enjoy a Rockets game and imagine the perfect sports-watching environment.
We'll wager that this spacious restaurant and bar was originally intended as a different kind of "nightlife option." Sure, Live Sports has plenty going for it as a sports bar: The TVs are big and show a variety of sports; there are more drink options than you'll know what to do with (who orders ouzo at a sports bar?); and the food's pretty good. But this place was designed for stripping. There's an unused stage in the main room, and upstairs there's a private area with couches. All that's missing is a pole. It's fun to sit in one of the huge booths, enjoy a Rockets game and imagine the perfect sports-watching environment.
He came to the team late because of contract negotiations. He was subjected to intense press scrutiny at every U.S. city he visited. And he had to learn the NBA game on the run and acquaint himself with his teammates in quick practice sessions and on the court. Yet by the end of the season, he was easily the best passer on the team and provided a defensive presence in the middle lacking since the days of the Dream. He also made two of the best commercials on television. The future is Yao.

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