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Joan Jett. Dan Patrick. Bob Costas. Craig Biggio. And Plenty More.

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Before I get much further, I really want to send a message to NBC: If you’re going to adapt a Joan Jett song for your Sunday Night Football game, why not get Joan Jett to sing the song? It was bad enough when Joan Jett-wannabe Pink tried doing the song last season, but this year you’ve got a bad country singer doing the song. It’s a Joan Jett song. Get Joan Jett. Forget the fakes. Go for the real thing.

It's not like she's super busy or anything...

Oh, and one more thing to NBC. What’s the use of having a pre-game show with Bob Costas and Keith Olbermann, two of the best in the business, if you’re going to waste time with the non-entities that are Tiki Barber, Jerome Bettis and Peter King? The pre-game show has no momentum. Just when things get going with Costas and Olbermann doing the highlights, you grind it to a halt to let Bettis and Barber and Collinsworth gossip, or you throw it to Peter King for useless information which Costas or Olbermann could relay instead. And for what it’s worth, you’re wasting Collinsworth. The guy was forced to sit with Terry and Howie for years, but he’s smart and intelligent. He should be working the booth instead of Madden. And speaking of the booth, NBC’s wasting Bob Costas. Bob Costas is one of the preeminent play-by-play guys in the country, and you stick him in a studio and let Al Michaels keep up with a shtick that grew tired years ago. And Madden, get some new stories. You repeated the story about hating the refs showing how much yardage was needed for the first down during the Thursday and the Sunday game. And it didn’t add anything to the broadcast either time.

And while we’re at, Dan Patrick is free of ESPN. So dump Madden and Michaels. Team up Costas and Collinsworth in the booth, and put Patrick and Olbermann behind the studio desk. It will suddenly be the smartest, wittiest program on all of TV, not just sports.

Oh, yeah, I forgot. Silly me. After years of Howie and Terry and Michaels and Madden and the inanities uttered by Joe Buck and the stupidity from Chris Berman and the various yo-yos who team with him on Sunday, the audience won’t be able to handle any intelligence.

But I can dream.

Speaking of dreaming, the nightmare that is the Astros season is nearly over. Just 19 games to go. And do you know what? Some of these games are actually going to be meaningful. Not to the Astros, of course, but the Good Guys are playing the first place Chicago Cubs for three games starting tonight, and next week, the ‘Stros go up against the Milwaukee Brewers, who just happen to be tied with the Cubs, and the St. Louis Cardinals, the third place team. The Astros can play a role in determining which team wins the pennant.

The Astros will continue interviewing GM candidates this week, but Jesus Ortiz thinks it’s more important to tell me about the annual rookie hazing ritual and about how the Mets honored Craig Biggio. The only time the annual hazing ritual can even be considered important is when Chan Ho Park breaks down into tears because his clothes were destroyed, but it’s not important that Troy Patton feels comfortable in a dress. Jesus, here’s an idea: how about doing some reporting instead? Why don’t you talk to some of the GM candidates? Why don’t you actually tell me why Muzzy Jackson is qualified despite working for the Kansas City Royals? Yeah, I know, it would require some actual work – it’s probably more fun laughing at the rookies in the dresses – but since the Chron’s wasting valuable money on your salary, why don’t you actually earn it.

But what’s it really matter? Nobody’s reading Jesus Ortiz, and nobody’s reading me. It’s football season. And the Astros suck. But I’m just going to keep on keeping on. I took on the task of writing about the Astros, and I’m going to write about the Astros. – John Royal

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