Editor’s note: Neal Farmer is Executive Director of the Touchdown Club, a former reporter for the Houston Chronicle and an all around good guy. He will be doing the Monday updates.
By NEAL FARMER
As Fred Faour said, I am older than him, which I prefer to say makes me chronologically blessed. Hopefully, it won’t turn into chronologically challenged.
Since I have been around the block, I will start off with a memory that still works today after Jeff Bagwell was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame (about three years later than it should have been).
At a Houston baseball kickoff dinner — I believe it was in 1997 — because I was the college baseball writer for the Houston Chronicle, I was presenting an award to Rice baseball player Lance Berkman as the area’s top college baseball player. Jeff Bagwell also was receiving an award as the top pro baseball player in the area. Amazingly, Bagwell shows up with a goatee that stands out about six inches from his chin. I kid you not, it was the longest beard I had ever seen that did not have any help from the jowls. He looked like a goat. So when it was time for me to speak, and before I say anything about Berkman, I looked a Bagwell and said, “So Jeff, did you make ZZ Top?”
The crowd cheered at the remark. Bagwell liked it, too, and shook my hand afterward.
Manager Larry Dierker also had a great laugh when he pointed out that Jeff would help the team any way he could, and with the beard, had found a way to get on base with a hit-by-pitch “without putting his body in peril.”
On another note: Since we are talking about sports and stuff, I have a high standard for music. OK, I am a music snob. Probably got it when I was in the Longhorn Band at the University of Texas. I like multiple styles of music, as long as the notes are beautifully crafted, and if there are words, the singer is passionate, takes chances and has the “it” factor. I like C/W, rock, classical, jazz, Big Band and even some rap. I am indifferent about trap. (All right, you caught me, I even think Kanye is talented musically as long as I don’t have to read about his crap off the stage.) If you don’t know why calling a note F-flat is funny, then we are going to have to have a serious E-talk.
With that in mind, I am going to give you a classical music piece to listen to, which should help you become more well-rounded. Listen to Mahler, Symphony No. 1, second movement. It is a waltz, which is the music of lovers. Let me know what you think.
Going Gaga: Lady Gaga blew me away at the Houston Super Bowl. When she dived off the top of the roof of NRG Stadium, she got my attention. Then when she sang in perfect pitch while dancing and movement about, I was thoroughly impressed. I thought it was the best Super Bowl I had seen. Then I came across Lists: Rankings About Everything, Voted On By Everyone, which you can vote on. The people had Prince as the top Super Bowl act and Lady Gaga No. 2. I thought back to Prince’s purple performance and I have to agree. Prince rocked. But you can vote on this, as well as other things, on this site. If you want to make Lady Gaga the top SB performer, then go in and vote. But I think the list got it right — if that is important to you.
Shameless promotion: My son’s high school soccer team, the St. Pius X Panthers, are playing for the state TAPPS Division I boys soccer championship on Wednesday afternoon in Waco against Central Catholic of San Antonio. This team is the reason we play/watch sports. Why? The Panthers were 11-14 going into the private school playoffs in February, and finished 6-6 for fourth place in district play. Their reward for barely making the playoffs was to travel seven hours one way to Brownsville to play No. 8-ranked St. Joseph Academy in the Valley. The Panthers won, 3-2, despite several questionable calls by the Brownsville-based refs. (Yes, I said it: Brownsville refs appear they might favor the local school. But it isn’t just there. It appears you might get the same treatment in Beaumont in every sport. Ask any Houston-based high school coach.)
The next game was against No. 4-ranked Houston St. Thomas Catholic, SPX’s arch rival that has defeated the Panthers twice in the regular season. SPX won 2-1. Last Saturday, the Panthers beat No. 9-ranked Antonian College Prep of San Antonio, 2-1, in overtime in Waco in the semifinal.
Here are the coaches TAPPS Division I boys soccer rankings.https://tapps.biz/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Post_D1-2-e1487099874731.jpg
The Panthers should be blown away by No. 2 San Antonio Central Catholic on Wednesday, if you look at records. But they have heard that line before. If the Panthers win, they are improbable state champions. If they lose, they are 14-14 on the year and made the final with an amazing run without superstars but with team chemistry. The season already is a success. I think I could write a best-selling book about this season.
Some point to its win over St. Thomas as the signature victory — so far. There are the Yankees-Red Sox, Hatfields and McCoys, Houston-Dallas rivalries. But they don’t compare to St. Pius X-St. Thomas, because the high schools are just blocks away from each other on Shepherd Drive. They are a lot of pranks that happen between the Panthers and Dirty Birds, some of which are not really legal. So the Panthers will have that to lord over the Dirty Birds — until next year when the teams have to relearn records don’t matter in this series.
From the weekend: Some takeaways from the Rockets big win over the Grizzlies...UH closed out Hofheinz Pavilion on a winning note…The Dynamo knocked off Seattle.
The eagle has not landed: You do not want to be a fox when this guy is around. Pretty cool GoPro video of an eagle hunting one down.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Everyone is a damn fool for at least five minutes every day. Wisdom consists of not exceeding the limit.”
— Elbert Hubbard
HOTTIE OF THE DAY