Top Ten Houston Sports Moments of 2008
10. I never really followed the Houston Comets, who folded several weeks ago. By the time they came on the scene I was getting pretty sick of professional basketball. So I never became invested in the team, and I can't feel any real loss behind their demise. Still, unlike the Rockets and Astros and Texans, they did win a world championship within the past decade.
9. The Houston Astros were one of the worst teams in professional baseball for most of the first half of the season. But they put on an incredible display of winning in August to get back in contention for a playoff spot. Kind of.
8. The Houston Texans made another draft screw-up. But this time, it was actually a good one as they drafted Steve Slaton in the third round. The screw-up is that they thought he could only be one of those third-down backs who catches balls out of the backfield. Instead, he became something the team has never had in existence: an every down back who was a legitimate threat to score from any spot on the field.
7. The Houston Rockets, wanting desperately to become a relevant factor in the playoffs, traded for Ron Artest, the NBA's version of Adam "Pacman" Jones. It's too early to know how the Rockets and Artest will do if they actually make the playoffs, but right now, the move appears to have paid off. But then again, with Artest's history, let's hope the team has a good lawyer (hint, not Rusty Hardin) on retainer.
6. Speaking of Rusty Hardin, his primary client, Roger Clemens, appeared before Congress to testify into his alleged steroid/HGH use. At this one-day hearing, Clemens outed his wife as an HGH user, was threatened with contempt for witness tampering, and after the affidavit of his friend Andy Pettitte was entered into the record, he came off as a liar.
5. The Texans opened up their season in Pittsburgh against the Steelers with the Chron and most of the Houston media pimping the Texans as a playoff contender. The Texans were blown out -- the game was not even competitive -- and Texans fans quickly discovered just how bad the team really was.
4. The New York Yankees came to Houston for their first ever regular season visit. And Minute Maid Park was packed to the highest rafters. Of course, it was right before this series that Drayton McLane forgot to pay the A/C bill, because the city was besieged with complaints about the extreme heat inside the stadium.
3. The Rice Owls went 9-3, their best record in about half a century, to earn their second bowl trip in three years. They'll be playing the Western Michigan Broncos in the Texas Bowl, here at Reliant Stadium, on December 30, good tickets probably still available.
2. Speaking of Reliant Stadium...a little weather event known as Hurricane Ike came through town, causing extensive damage to the stadium, especially the roof. The Texans had to spend about a month on the road before they were able to play a home game.
1. And speaking of Hurricane Ike...Houston Astros owner Drayton McLane decided to ignore all of the advice coming from every weather person in this hemisphere, and attempted to force the Chicago Cubs to fly to Houston the day before Ike was supposed to hit. In an attempt to mediate, various MLB clubs offered up their stadiums so that the players and families would be out of harm's way. Drayton refused all offers so that, by the time Ike had passed through Houston, leaving about 98 percent of the city without power, McLane's only option was to play the games in Milwaukee. Of course, McLane then blamed Bud Selig for this, his players and the press went along, and thus it became the fault of Bud Selig and Hurricane Ike that the Houston Astros were unable to make the playoffs.
Oh, and one final thought, when we hold the Astros marketing slogan contest next year, I suggest we ignore all hurricane slogans.
-- John Royal