Five "Nights" The Astros Can Use To Sell TIckets In September

Breaking Bad night?
When it comes to the standings, Major League Baseball (or any team sport, for that matter) is a zero sum game.

One team wins, one team loses, and in baseball, by the time August rolls around, from a business standpoint, you just hope that the teams that lose regularly are in cities where the fans attach fewer conditions to attendance than in other cities. St. Louis, Boston, Chicago....those seem like places where tickets still get sold even if the team is ten games under .500.

Unfortunately, many cities aren't nearly as unconditional with their love for their hometown team, so it sends marketing and promotions departments scrambling for solutions to create buzz, fill seats, and generate revenue.

Phoenix is one of those passive sports cities.

At 44-57 heading into Wednesday's games, the Diamondbacks are on a long road to nowhere, mired in a battle for third place in the NL West with the equally underwhelming San Diego Padres. So how does Arizona get fans out to the ball park for a Sunday game against the woeful Chicago Cubs?

Here's how:

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Rockets Sign 2nd Round Pick Nick Johnson (DUNK VIDEO)

Nick Johnson's poster the summer league.
If there were a Hall of Fame for highly valuable second round picks, it would likely be located in Houston, perhaps as an annex to the Toyota Center.

In the modern day edition of the NBA Draft, where the value of a draft choice has odd contractual ties to the round in which he is selected, no team has done better on draft night than the Houston Rockets.

(I was going to say no team has "taken better advantage of" of the second round than the Rockets, which may still be true, but it's hard to feel like they've gamed the system when Chandler Parsons just walked for nothing after the team turned down a fourth year at $964,000. Probably semantics.)

Chase Budinger, Carl Landry, Parsons, hopefully Isaiah Canaan.

And if Daryl Morey's words about Nick Johnson match the actual output, we may have another plaque in the second round HOF.

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Dre Watch 2014: Andre Johnson Reportedly Spotted At NRG Stadium

Photo by Groovehouse
The Andre Johnson watch continues.
Where will Andre Johnson be come Friday?

That's the question on every Texan fan's mind as we head toward the end of the week and the beginning of Training Camp 2014. Will he remain away from the team, working out on his own at home? Will he happily just trot out with the wide receivers, get in line and begin drills?

My personal preference: I'm hoping Andre Johnson just sits at the top of the scissor lift in a black trench coat with Crow face paint, à la Sting in WCW 1997, and when the time is right, he drops down from the sky and starts belting the coaching staff and front office with a black plastic bat.

(Have I also mentioned I'm on vacation this week and I'm quite possibly drunk right now?)

Well, if you're looking for any indicators as to how this whole thing plays out, we may have gotten one early this week.

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NFL Rookie QB Update: Mettenberger Sucker Punched, Manziel Smitten, Madden Ratings Reaction (VIDEO)

It's in the game.
At the risk of sounding like Chris Berman (which bis a horrible risk to take, nonetheless...), there's an old lyric in the Eagles' iconic hit "Hotel California," you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave.

It rings true for so many things, not the least of which is the status of "SEC football player."

Yeah, you can get drafted into the NFL, you can sign that first contract, attend OTA's, and become a full fledged member of an NFL roster, but to most of the mouth breathing psychopaths in the SEC footprint you'll still always be "that moppy haired asshole who plays for our archival."

Zach Mettenberger found this out the hard way.

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Tony Dungy, Michael Sam and the Complicated Relationship Between Sports, Faith and Rights

Photo by Marcus Qwertyus
Former coach Tony Dungy thinks Michael Sam will be a distraction.
Former coach and all around good guy Tony Dungy said he would not have drafted Michael Sam, the All-American linebacker taken by the St. Louis Rams who is openly gay.In and interview with the Tampa Tribune, Dungy explained he believes Sam's sexual orientation will be a distraction, "Not because I don't believe Michael Sam should have a chance to play, but I wouldn't want to deal with all of it. It's not going to be totally smooth...things will happen."

As some have pointed out, Dungy has been a fervent advocate of players like Michael Vick and Tim Tebow, both players who have caused massive distractions -- Vick for his jail time after his involvement with a dog fighting ring and Tebow for his outspoken views on Christianity combined with his natural charisma as a Heisman Trophy winner. The former coach has also been behind the move to provide equal opportunity for African American coaches who have historically been under represented in the NFL.

Some might call this hypocrisy, but a more apt descriptor might be "complicated."

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Houston Texans Update: Cushing, Nix, T. Williams To PUP List, Brennan Williams Released

Changes on the eve of camp.
On Friday, everybody reports for team meetings, and come Saturday, it begins.

The Texans' first training camp of the Bill O'Brien Era will be underway, and by Saturday morning, we will have confirmation on just how entrenched Andre Johnson is in his stance against the team. That will be the storyline that has everyone buzzing on Saturday.

In the meantime, the final pre-camp transactions and decisions are being made, some of which were expected and some of which sound more dire than they actually are.

Here's the latest...

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Fantasy Crime League Update: St. Louis Rams LB Arrested With Former Houston Rocket

It's crunch time now, the time where the true greats show why we revere them so.

Yes, the NFL offseason is merely days away from ending, and while this year's police blotter has been more sparse than usual in terms of overall crime, the race to the finish is highly compelling. It's almost like we are in a tight pennant race during the "dead ball" era -- short on offensive fireworks, but still drama laden.

The chalk right now to take the 2014 Fantasy Crime League crown are the two Harbaugh brothers and one of their squads, the 49ers and the Ravens, trailed closely by the Bills, who've been buoyed by the one man crime wrecking crew that is defensive tackle Marcell Dareus.

And late in the game, don't look now, but here come the St. Louis Rams! And this criminal incident has an NBA flavor to it, with a former (briefly) Houston Rocket involved!

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Just When You Think Things Can't Get Worse for the Astros, They Prove You Wrong

Categories: Baseball, Sports

The Astros could be characters in one of Elmore Leonard's novels.
Elmore Leonard's novels are full of guys and girls who think they're smarter than everybody else. Crooks, con men and cops who know better than their rivals. Who have figured out all of the angles. They're arrogant about this genius, bragging to anyone who'll listen about just how damn smart they are. But then the plan's put into play and things fall apart. The mark doesn't respond properly. A confederate chickens out. Or, usually, it's because the hero or heroine, who's been dismissed as a plodding fool, figures out the genius's plan and pounces on the mistake. And there are always mistakes.

The Houston Astros would be the perfect antagonist of a Elmore Leonard novel, were Leonard still alive, and were he to have written about baseball teams and not petty criminals. The team's an arrogant bunch of wise guys convinced they're smarter than everybody else and they're not afraid to tell everyone about just how damn smart they are. They're a bunch of guys who have failed to win anything and who, in fact, built a team that for the past several years has been known more for tanking games to get high draft choices than it has for being a competitive on-field product. And just like Elmore Leonard's villains, the so-called smartest guys in the room have started making mistake after mistake.

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Rory McIlroy's Dad Cashes $340,000 Ticket Gambling On His Then-Teenage Son

Categories: Game Time, Sports

Best bet ever or BEST BET EVER!
As parents, true belief in your child is a difficult thing to quantify.

As parents, if our children have hopes and dreams, we outwardly believe in them and we encourage them unconditionally to chase those dreams until society, an employer, or the authorities tell them not to.

But what if we had to put our hard earned money where our hearts and mouths are? Would we be as steadfast?

In America, it's never come to that. We can't bet on our kids (sadly). However, overseas, you can apparently express and quantify your convictions via that most clarifying of routes -- the futures bet!

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SEC Network, Texas A&M Coming to Comcast, Houston. Fans Continue to Wait on CSN, Rockets, Astros

Aggies will be on the air in Houston this fall.
The good news: Aggies fans will get to watch A&M football on Comcast this upcoming fall. The bad news: CSN Houston is still ONLY on Comcast.

Not to be a negative nelly, but it does seem rather ridiculous that games for both Texas A&M (SEC Network) will be available to the vast majority of Houstonians, while two of our professional sports teams are visible to only about 40 percent of the city (oh, and the colleges that are in Houston -- UH, Rice -- get their coverage on CSN Houston as well). The Longhorn Network, which was a debacle from day one, is still not on Comcast, but is on most of the other major providers including AT&T U-Verse and Dish Network.

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