As a general rule, unless your team is in the NBA playoffs (I'd say NHL, but most of you wouldn't even know what I was talking about), this time of year can be pretty boring for sports fans. Baseball is still early in the year. There isn't the hint of football save OTAs and college sports are nearly dead as kids prepare for a summer of slurping tequila out of the belly buttons of co-eds and sneaking smokes and free beer behind the crappy restaurant they work at to make money for more partying.
For the northern half of the country, people are just beginning to fully emerge from there cocoon-like hibernation. For them, this is a time of fun in the welcoming warmth of the sun. For people who live in the south, we're just trying to stave off dehydration, usually with a mix of water, alcohol and air conditioning. But there are still things to do in sports even if it may be a tad slim pickings. Here are the best of them for this extended Memorial Day weekend.
5. USTA Texas Racquet Pro Fajitas & Ritas Adult and Junior Open All Weekend
Tennis and golf are sports played outside almost exclusively in the summer. In Houston, that seems almost criminal, but if you are going to have an outdoor tennis event, may as well do it right. The Bay Area Racquet Club is hosting a USTA tournament this weekend for adults and juniors featuring "fajitas and ritas," both items we can get behind at any time of the year. We'll take our rita frozen with no salt, thankyouverymuch.
4. NASCAR Whelen Series Modifieds, Trucks and Stock Cars Saturday, 6 p.m.
Houston Motorsports Park (aka The Palace of Power)
I can't imagine a much hotter place than inside the cramped cockpit of a race car speeding around an asphalt track with no air conditioning and a super charged engine burning like a California wildfire just inches from your body. Anyone who says drivers aren't athletes are full of it and some will try to prove that as part of the NASCAR Whelen Series event at Houston Motorsports Park this weekend. The promo video features "Thunderstruck" by AC/DC for appropriate effect.
3. Houston Astros vs. Oakland A's Friday, 7:10 p.m.; Saturday, 6:15 p.m.; Sunday, 1:10 p.m.
The Astros face former shortstop Jed Lowrie as the Oakland A's come to town. Astros GM Jeff Lunhow is a follower of A's GM Billy Beane, he of Moneyball fame, but the A's are clearly the better team (who isn't compared to Houston this season?) and are likely relishing a chance to beat up on the hapless Astros. The roof will most definitely be close, but I would pass on the sno cones if I were you.
2. Houston Astros vs. Colorado Rockies Monday, 1:10 p.m.
Another Astros entry was the reason for my "five-ish" mention in the headline of this post. But, when they switch dance partners for a matinee Memorial Day game, why not? They will welcome former National League rivals Colorado to the Juice Box. As usual, the Rockies are riding that Rocky Mountain high that comes in the form of offensive production in Denver. They are second in runs, fifth in batting average and 4th in slugging. Despite descending to sea level, they should love the friendly confines of Minute Maid on Monday.
1. Conference USA Baseball Championship Tournament Friday through Sunday (Championship Game 1 p.m. Sunday)
Probably the only baseball worth watching in Houston this weekend will feature a ping rather than a crack when it comes to hitting as the C-USA championship tourney rolls into Reckling. In fact, it got its start Wednesday night and will continue through the title game on Sunday. Both Houston-area teams the Cougars and the Owls will be part of the tournament, both with post-season aspirations. Rice has the higher 3 seed while UH has a 6 seed, but will not meet unless it is in the final game. How cool would that be?
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