It's February, People. Spring Training has Started

I'm having trouble focusing on politics. I mean, come on, baseball's coming.

It's February, People. Spring Training has Started
Admit it. You'd rather see this than, you know who.

I am in such a quandary this week. There is so much to talk about in Russia, Ukraine, politics and lest we forget, gold lame' sneakers. Yes, he's hawking $350 sneakers and the rubes are buying the lot, just in time to help with his legal bills. Let me repeat, the likely Republican nominee just announced a sneaker line.

Republican presidential candidate and former president Donald Trump holds gold Trump sneakers at Sneaker Con Philadelphia.
But can he sell them in New York now?

I see a Spike Lee movie sequel, Rich, Fat White Men Can't Jump.

Then we have Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick and our ethically hobbled Attorney General Ken Paxton and their campaign of retribution against anyone in the legislature who voted against using taxpayer money for private schools, or simply observed that Paxton is a vulgarian schmoe. They have apparently decided to go on a Wyatt Earp-style political vendetta ride...

Earp Vendetta Ride - Alchetron, The Free Social Encyclopedia

And I hate using that shot because I really love that movie.

But, can politics wait just one week because there is so much to discuss in sports, particularly in my hometown of Houston? Baseball spring training began this week. My Astros have acquired one of the handful of star relief pitchers available in Josh Hader. They say they'll come to an agreement with Alex Bregman, which will please only everyone. Jose Altuve has signed a contract that ends when he has to use a walker at second base.

For my Dallas friends. Enjoy it while you have it.

Verlander has a stiff shoulder but assures everyone that it will be OK. You can add to that the fact that he still goes home to a shoulder rub from Kate Upton, and the therapeutic value of that cannot be estimated. So, things are looking up there.

The Texans surprised everyone with a rookie quarterback whose season statistics aren't that far from Patrick Mahomes, and better in a couple of categories. No, we don't have Taylor Swift in the champagne suites, but, hey, Beyonce' is a Houston girl, so maybe we can get her to the games. So, all in all, things are looking good for the fall and winter as well. That is if the Texas version of "Succession" doesn't get in the way.

The man who brought pro football back to Houston was Robert McNair, chairman and chief executive officer of The McNair Group, a financial and real estate firm headquartered in Houston, and the owner of Palmetto Partners, Ltd., a private investment company that manages the McNairs' public and private equity investments. In June 2000, McNair formed a biotechnology investment firm, Cogene Biotech Ventures, where he served as company chairman.

Now, when that servant of Satan, Bud Adams, took our Oilers away to the backwoods of Tennessee in 1996, McNair decided to do something about it. And the new Houston Texans began play in 2002. Well, for those first years, "play" was a euphemism. They were as ready for the NFL as the girl's field hockey team from Our Lady of Eternal Sorrows High School. And frankly, those are some tough girls.

But finally, we developed some all-pro talent, and this year it really came together. Coach Demeco Ryans and quarterback CJ Stroud are, a match made in heaven, and the best is yet to come.

But in the McNair family, there are rumblings. Robert McNair died in 2018, and his widow 87-year-old Janice McNair inherited the kaboodle, and with her second son Cal, runs the team business.


But Janice suffered a stroke in 2022, and two years later, her oldest, Cary McNair, officially filed for guardianship in late November of 2023, claiming that the issue had impacted her ability to run the business. I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that Thanksgiving dinner last fall was a bit dithery.

Sports Illustrated reported...

In January, attorneys for McNair and her other son, Texans chairman and CEO Cal McNair, wrote in court documents that they were “shocked” by Cary McNair’s “drastic and unwarranted measures of alleging his mother is incapacitated, seeking to terminate her rights and appoint himself as her guardian to control her personal, financial, and medical decisions.”

Let me put that into English. "WTF, you greedy bastard."

The face of a man whose place in the will was just taken by the family beagle.

But just this week, a judge in Houston ruled in favor of the widow McNair, and Cary's Hail Mary lawsuit was dropped in the end zone. I hope he has a closet full of those really nice suits in that picture because his allowance is about to be curtailed. To mix up my sports metaphors, if you swing for the fence, you either homer or strike out.

Now, I know there is some serious sh*t to deal with out there in America and the world.

We have the judgments that are way more than DJT has in that coffee can buried behind Mar A Lago. We know that the Head of the House Intelligence Committee, Mike Turner (R-Ohio) cannot be trusted to keep his piehole shut when given top-secret info.

We know that Tucker and the Donald's best friend Vlad not only is a murdering thug, but lousy at history. Poland made Hitler invade them? He is seemingly ready to violate a 1967 Treaty about putting nukes in space, but we are about to violate the Budapest Memorandum by holding up aid to Ukraine. Oh, yeah, and he killed Alexei Navalny after sending him to prison in the Arctic Circle for the crime of being a political critic, and that was after trying to kill him once before.

We have an upcoming Presidential race that should be sponsored by Centrum Silver and add that to the Keystone Kops who run my state, so yes, there's a lot of serious sh*t to deal with. For just this week though, just one week, I want to delight in footage of Hader throwing batting practice.

I can only hope that there are still things that can unite us in a time when everything about this country and particularly our politics, pulls us apart. There are media figures who make millions of dollars telling you who to hate, the sky is falling and your freedoms are about to be snatched away. Our political conversations are toxic and we no longer trust our neighbors who simply vote another way.

We treat each other as though some of us want the country to fail. Our elected representatives can no longer conduct the nation's business and many are prepared to abandon our role in the world. We hate and insult each other and can no longer even agree on what is fact. We don't trust science because of our politics. We no longer trust religion because of our politics. We don't like real history because of our politics. It seems that who we vote for, or against, is the only defining aspect of our lives today.

I don't know about you, but as someone who reports on it, and writes about it, I'm tired. Surely there is something we can all agree on, even Rangers and Astros fans. Maybe, just maybe, we can hear James Earl Jones one more time and actually believe it.

It gives me hope, hope that is reborn every spring.

Roger Gray has toiled at the journalism trade since 1970 and his first radio news job at KTRH in Houston. Over those woefully misspent years, he has worked in radio, TV and written for magazines. He was twice elected President of the Texas Automobile Writers Association and was elected to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. He covered the first Persian Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, Oslo Accords in Israel and peace talks in Ireland. He interviewed writers, actors, politicians and every President from Ford to George W, and none of them remember him.Now, he is part of the Texas Outlaw Writers, and if this doesn't pan out, the outlaw part will still work as he will indeed resort to robbing banks.