You're not here to read about me. You want to talk sports. But you are here, in part, to hear what I have to say (also known as "the absolute truth"). So we might as well get the introductions out of the way now. That way, when the gloves come off and the insults start flying, you can't say I didn't warn you ahead of time.
For those of you familiar with my work at the Clutch City Chronicles, no introduction is necessary. You know what to expect; plenty of appreciative nods to the greats who came before me (i.e. David Hassselhoff and Gollum) and a Miss Cleoesque ability to see into the sports future. For the neophytes, here's my mini-manifesto:
Houston sports fans are pathetic. Seriously, we are. Astros' supporters are either still crying over the departure of Andy Pettite or pining for one more year aboard the Rocket's bionic right arm. Speaking of Rockets, have you been to one of our NBA games lately? James Blunt thinks the Toyota Center atmosphere is dull and depressing. As for Texans' fans, sure they passionately booed during last year's draft day debacle, but real fans would have burned down Reliant Stadium. Not that I'm condoning arson, mind you. But, come on, the Texans had it coming.
I know the list of heartache is long. You cried when Phi Slamma Jamma fell flat in Albuquerque (at least I did). You walked around in a catatonic haze for weeks after Kevin Bass flailed away at yet another Jesse Orosco slider in '86 (yep, I did that, too). Maybe you morphed into Bobby Knight when the Oilers became the patron saints of choke artists on a wintry January day in Orchard Park, New York. And perhaps you prepared yourself for another decade of suffering after Vince Young turned Reliant Stadium into his own personal playground. But you know what? It's time to forget the pain and let go of the past. Otherwise, you're liable to turn into the guys up there at the top of this post.
And nobody wants that.
Fact is, I'm already the Houston sports fan equivalent of Statler and Waldorf. Trust me, we don't need any more of those. So here's the deal: I'll play the jaded, cynical and bitter blogger, while you take on the role of the cheerful, optimistic fan who sees nothing but rainbows and roses ahead for our favorite teams. And, somehow, this yin and yang relationship will get us through the darkness, hand in hand.
Now that that's out of the way, here are a few quick-hit thoughts to get the discussion going:
The Texans' off-season has been no different than their first five years of existence. Boring. Tuesday, Shawn Barber joined Danny Clark, Jordan Black, Ahman Green and Jeff Zgonina as part of the club's free agent haul. Yawn. These moves are best described as "nice" and, you should know, I hate the word "nice". More often than not, it's used to describe something of little to no significance. Sure, these guys provide some depth, experience and leadership, but I'd be willing to bet that all of them will be gone by this time next year. You've gotta love a team that's patient enough to build toward a playoff contender in 2028. I know I do.
As for the draft, Texans' fans, stop thinking about Adrian Peterson already! Repeat after me: IT'S NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. I'm sorry. I know it would be nice to actually have a reason to watch this team play football. But Peterson will not be available at the number eight spot and the team has far too many needs to trade up and get him. Personally, I'm hoping they nab 19-year-old defensive tackle, Amobi Okoye. It may not be the sexy choice but, then again, do you think Brady Quinn and his rock hard abs are the answer? Didn't think so. By the way, for those of you who, like me, can't get enough draft talk, I'll be posting a new mock draft in the very near future. In the meantime, you can check out my latest versionhere
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Rockets' talk: This team is NOT going to win an NBA title this year. I really hope you already know this. They're not better than Dallas, Phoenix or San Antonio. So unless those three teams simultaneously contract a wicked case of monkey pox, you can forget about a victory parade this June. But that shouldn't stop you from making more noise at Toyota Center. Yeah, I know the crowds have been better this year. But that doesn't mean they've been good.
Finally, I'd like to address my esteemed (and much more sane) colleague, John Royal, and his assertion that the Astros need to part ways with Brad Lidge. Maybe they do. But they absolutely, positively should not trade him right now. Why? Because Houston would never receive anything close to market value for him. For one thing, it's spring training, the time of year when every team thinks it has a shot and likes its mix of young guns and cagey vets. You're much more likely to get a good player in return when clubs get desperate (and more realistic) as the trade deadline nears. For another, you're talking about a guy in Lidge who's coming off a 2006 season when he sported a 5.28 ERA and is now following that up with a sparkling 13.5 mark through six outings this spring. The art of the deal is about selling high and buying low. Is there a chance Lidge's stock could fall further? Sure. But as long as he owns a howitzer for a right arm, teams will always be tantalized by his potential. Therefore, you have to figure his market value won't dip too much even if he does drop a deuce on the pitcher's mound the next couple of months. So there's no need to jump the gun. Worst case scenario, you demote Lidge to middle relief and ditch him at the deadline. But who knows, maybe he rights the ship and returns to form as one of the game's dominant closers.
Wait a minute. Was that me being positive? Apparently, I've already forgotten my role. On second thought, you're right, John. Brad Lidge sucks. Send the loser packing. And make sure he takes David Carr and Rafer Alston with him. -- Jason Friedman