Editor’s note: Paul Muth is an Army vet who tends to talk a lot, so when his friends tell him to stop, he either writes or talks to a microphone and calls it a podcast. He writes better with a beard and looks better with a beer. Or something like that. Follow him on twitter at @abumnamedpaul
BY PAUL MUTH
Last Monday I woke up around 10 in the morning (my Monday is your Saturday) and took an old friend of mine who was visiting from out of town to the ageless Dot Coffee Diner at 45 south and 610. Two reasons for this: One, I wanted to show my buddy around; two, I needed a good breakfast. A base layer, if you will. Ribeye and eggs ought to do the trick.
It was Opening Day. The Astros were finally back. First pitch was at 7:10, yet my baseball-watching crew had agreed to meet at a bar at 4. That’s a sign that everyone was aware of where this night was headed. Everyone was correct.
The six of us made it to the park around 6:30, and Clay Walker welcomed us back to Minute Maid with the singing of the National Anthem.
George Springer welcomed us back with a leadoff home run that bounced off the left outfield wall 389 feet later. The park erupted. Dallas Keuchel welcomed us with seven innings of two-hit pitching. It was a clinically executed opening to the season.
The Astros would go on to win the game 3-0, and we returned to our rendezvous point for a victory beer. One turned into a few, and 10 p.m. turned into midnight. The group slowly splintered and returned home until there were only two of us remaining at the bar.
My friend was out on the front patio and I was talking to some girl at the bar when voices were raised. I turned around just in time to see some big dude toss another patron to the ground.
Drunk bar fight!
“Dammit.” That was the only thing I thought. “Watch my beer,” I tell the girl.
It took two — myself and another friend of mine — to subdue the big guy. The other guy skittered off. We talked the big guy down and, surprisingly, he left peacefully. I walked back to the bar and retrieved my beer from the lady.
“So, anyways,” I say; downplaying the entire altercation as if it hadn’t triggered one of the biggest adrenaline rushes in the last six months. Wildly cheesy, in retrospect.
Nah, no way. That was awesome. Except for the next morning when i woke up with a pulled shoulder and a swollen knee. Getting old sucks.
So I guess baseball season is officially back. With a damn vengeance, at that. Anyway, let’s talk about week one for a bit.
At this point we’ve had the opportunity to see every starting pitcher work the bump at least twice, and I’m totally OK with what we’re rolling with. Keuchel looks like the 2015 version in two starts, and Lance McClullers is the most aggressive pitcher I’ve seen in an Astros uniform since Roy Oswalt was still slinging in the Juice Box. Charlie Morton looks like a good back end guy as long as he’s healthy, and Mike Fiers is, well, Mike Fiers. Our rotation is pretty decent, and this is all without Colin McHugh.
The bullpen, outside of Chris Devenski, has been mercurial. Granted, it’s been a week; but I’m predisposed to cringing every time I see Ken Giles or Tony Sipp take the mound. I was at last Wednesday’s 13 inning game though, and got to watch Devenski mow down the Mariners late into the night. That guy is filthy.
George Springer, holy hell. Player of the month contender for sure. Maybe this is the season he’s not home All Star Weekend. Outside of Springer, Gattis and Gonzales are really the only ones reliably producing right now. It’s too early to be worried, but man they’ve started off slow offensively.
Side note: I was writing this on my phone and when I typed “Gattis,” it autocorrected to “Gattis-Bomb.” Proud moment.
What a blah ending to such an exciting season. Since the beginning of March, the Rockets have gone 13-8 (more importanty, 4-5 since James Harden’s wrist injury). I understand that these losses almost all came against playoff teams, but man. There just doesn’t seem to be a ton of momentum heading into a first round matchup against the honey-badger that is Russell Westbrook. I expect the Rockets to advance, but hopefully it will be quick enough to allow Harden some time to rest.
CUBO!!! We were shut out this weekend, yet Cubo Torres remains the league leader in goals scored with 6. I’m telling you guys, this team is fun. Go check them out.
Romo, Romo, Romo. Whatever. We just cleared $16 million of bad contract cap space because of the idea of him. While it would’ve been cooler to see him put the pads on for us, I’m happy knowing that Romo’s final decision did nothing for the Cowboys, yet improved the Texans financial flexibility. The irony is not lost on me.
Bro move of the week:
One bro jogging, 13 miles, 13 minutes…