Why We Read Previews (A Prelude to My Astros 2011 Preview)

Thanks to the Internet -- specifically blogs, YouTube, chat rooms and porn -- the competition for the few spare minutes that you have in your day to consume items not related to work, family, or sleep has never been fiercer.

So why would you spend the next several minutes reading my preview of the Houston Astros empty shell of a 2011 season when you could be watching Rebecca Black parody videos or reading about the "Top Five Reasons to Watch Swamp People" (as if that list could be limited to just five)?

That's a great question, loyal "Hair Balls" reader! I'm glad I asked!

As best I can tell, there are five legitimate reasons to read a preview about anything:

1. You're related to the preview subject. Blood is thicker than water. Pretend there is a preview written about your child's fifth grade school play. Even if you know that every kid in the cast stutters through their lines like the defense attorney in My Cousin Vinny, and even if your kid is playing a lineless, inanimate role like "Oak Tree #3," you will still read the preview of their school play like it's the Playbill for Phantom of the Opera. It's just good parenting.

2. The preview subject has a chance of physically harming you. When we have a mysterious pain in our side or we're urinating blood, we immediately go seeking information on what these symptoms mean. Am I going to die? Webmd.com was built on the concept of hypochondriacs wanting a preview on what the shooting pain in their lower back could end up causing. Bottom line, if we knew that there was even the slightest chance that we could get broadsided walking across an intersection, we'd be downloading every single traffic preview app in existence to our iPhones.

3. The preview subject tastes good. We all love to eat, and if media in the 21st century has taught us anything, we love to read about eating and watch people eat almost as much as we like eating ourselves. Our food voyeurism has made the likes of Adam Richman a (no pun intended) rich man. I remember when Hardee's announced the Monster Thickburger, I actually sought out multiple reviews. Two 1/3-pound Angus beef patties, three slices of cheese, four slices of bacon and a dollop of mayonnaise -- it's the burger porn equivalent of a twenty-person orgy....and frankly, if you're not googling it after you get done reading this article, you're not human.

4. There's a good lesbian scene. Frankly, I'm not a huge movie guy. But I watched every trailer of Black Swan. I read every critique. I pondered sleeping out for tickets. Why? Because Natalie Portman was in a lesbian scene. A hot lesbian scene. Frankly, of all the reasons to watch previews, this one has more validity than the first three combined. On this, there can be no debate.

And finally....

5. You legitimately care. ...and this frankly is the one that any preview scribe writing about a sports team's upcoming season is banking on to attract eyeballs, Web hits, sponsors, etc. And this is my challenge over those few thousand words in this week's Houston Press cover story -- to somehow keep you interested in a team for which, by most subjective measurements, interest has not been this low in some time.

Hopefully, I can accomplish this. Because I know most of you are not related to anyone on the Astros. I know that no harm can be caused by watching Astros games (I think). While the food at the concession stands is tasty, I don't know if I am the one to write that preview. And I'm fairly certain that, unless Astros Marketing approves a "Charlie Sheen Appreciation Night" (complete with Bree Olson bobblehead -- extra bobble, of course), there will be no lesbian scene to preview.

No, I am stuck hoping that you care -- care about this team that is out of the gate an unimpressive 0-4, in what I've internalized as a deliberate attempt to obsolete my preview.

Yeah. Play ball, baby.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from noon to 3 p.m. weekdays and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast