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.
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.
The Tavern On Gray
Suck at pool? Then travel to The Tavern's patio to enjoy the ancient art of table tennis. Wow the crowd with your wicked backhand and work off that beer gut chasing stray balls from under your fellow Ping-Pong enthusiasts' feet. When you need a break, quench your thirst with one of the establishment's 26 draft beers and gaze slack-jawed at the 85 TV sets. Then pick up your paddle again and show everyone who's the real Forrest Gump.

Suck at pool? Then travel to The Tavern's patio to enjoy the ancient art of table tennis. Wow the crowd with your wicked backhand and work off that beer gut chasing stray balls from under your fellow Ping-Pong enthusiasts' feet. When you need a break, quench your thirst with one of the establishment's 26 draft beers and gaze slack-jawed at the 85 TV sets. Then pick up your paddle again and show everyone who's the real Forrest Gump.

Bocce ball, basically a prehistoric version of bowling that involves what look like croquet balls, is best played in Boston's Little Italy. But Houston doesn't have a Little Italy, so we have to make do. Go eat some pasta. Have dessert at Dolce & Freddo to get in the mood. Then get a little drunk: Hans' Bierhaus has more than 140 international beers -- buy a stein full of something Italian. And head around back to the bocce area/beer garden and pretend like you know what you're doing.

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