It's a great time to be a Houston sports fan. Sure, there are always going to be teams and situations that could be better, like the Texans offensive line, but overall it could be a whole lot worse.
All three of H-Town's major sports properties are sitting pretty in their current situation. The Texans, Rockets, and Astros all currently stand as the reigning division winner in their given league, and all have a legitimate shot to compete for a championship. Okay, realistically two of them do, and the third has the makings of a playoff team that could get to that elite status if they draft properly and make a late addition or two.
Let's take a look at the squads in Space City and how they stack up with other metropolitan areas of the United States.
The Astros are the easiest team on this list to talk about. All they do is win in the last few years, including bringing the city its first-ever World Series title just two short years ago. The team never seems to rest on the success of the past and has loaded up and locked down key players to assure that they will be in the hunt for another title this October and be on the scene in the postseason for years to come. Jeff Luhnow and owner Jim Crane used savvy transactions and the financial commitment necessary to keep the good players they had, like George Springer, Alex Bregman, Jose Altuve, and Carlos Correa, and then went out and made moves to get big names, like Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Michael Brantley.
They also took chances and ran the risk of losing the luster on all their sparkling success by trading for a much-needed closer in Roberto Osuna, who was facing serious legal issues in Toronto. They did their due diligence and plenty of homework to believe he would be cleared of all charges eventually and made the surprising and controversial trade that helped to re-shape their bullpen. Along with Ryan Pressly, another late-season trade acquisition last season, the Astros quickly turned their biggest weakness into another position of strength. Houston, you have a world-class baseball team and the organization to keep it that way for years to come.
The Rockets are a team that can never be questioned when it comes to going for it and chasing championships. When you think back on it, ever since the back-to-back championships in the mid-'90s, the team has always aggressively pursued big names like Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen, Tracy McGrady, and Dwight Howard. It hasn't always worked out for them in terms of winning it all, but it always gave them a shot and made them a team to watch nationally.
When GM Daryl Morey traded for James Harden and later acquired Chris Paul, it assured the city that they would have one of the top teams in the NBA and a roster equipped to compete with the best in the league, mainly the Golden State Warriors. We all know that if Paul didn't pull a hamstring last season in the Western Conference Finals, we may very well be talking about another title team in our fair city. After a rough start and some missteps with the roster and replacing players lost in free agency, the team has re-tooled and most importantly is healthy heading into another playoff run. With Boogie Cousins going down for the Warriors, this could be the year that the Rockets take down the champs.
For more of this story, including what Blank has to say about the Texans, visit SportsMap.com.