Hoffman's Houston
beat the bombers

Hoffman's must-visit Astros road trip, plus a Royal Rumble dustup

Hoffman's must-visit Astros road trip, plus a Royal Rumble dustup

Gerrit Cole Houston Astros
Traveling Astros fans should mark their calendars for a Gerrit Cole reunion.  Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

I am planning my year’s fun trips: Topping the bill, September 21-24 to New York. That’s when the Dusty Baker-led Houston Astros visit Yankee Stadium for a 4-game series against the Bronx Bombers, with both teams predicted to be in the playoff hunt, and a lot of anger in the home team dugout.

I want to be there when the Astros are introduced. The booing will be monumental. It will be a scene, especially when former for Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole takes the mound wearing pinstripes. I will not be wearing my Astros cap. You know how those Yankees fans can be. 

On top of the Astros vs. Yanks, the Feast of San Gennaro will be underway on Mulberry Street in Little Italy in Manhattan. It’s the single best, most caloric and delicious food festival in the world. The long street is packed with tens of thousands of visitors and booths selling sausage and pepper sandwiches, pizza, zeppoles, and all sorts of Italian food.

This how I imagine heaven.

There will be a meatball-eating contest, a cannoli-eating contest and a zeppole-eating contest. Big name entertainers take the main stage each night of the fest. Some of the acts from last year: the Devotions, the Chicklets, Vito and the Elegants, and Jimmy Russo and the Flowers. 

Chick-Fil-A...downsizing?
Don’t get alarmed, nothing is happening in Houston … yet. But Chick-fil-A is experimenting with downsizing its menu in two markets: Charlotte, North Carolina and Arizona. The top-selling and revered chicken chain has dropped six mainstays there.

Makes sense. One of the things that makes Chick-fil-A so popular is a clutter-free menu without a thousand items, many of which never sell. Gone from the menu in Charlotte and Arizona: sausage breakfast items, sunflower multigrain bagels, original chicken strips, grilled cool wraps, side salad, and decaf coffee. Uh-oh, chicken and egg bagels and original strips are two of my Chick-fil-A go-to’s. Let’s make a quid pro quo deal, Chick-fil-A: You can take away those six items, but add spicy strips to the permanent menu (they were tested last year), and we’ll call it even.

Don't miss this autograph show
Tickets are on sale now for the 34th annual Houston Tristar Sports Memorabilia and Autograph Show, February 7-9, at NRG Arena. Among the sports heroes appearing for autograph sessions: Joe Montana, Lance McCullers, Randy Johnson, Ryne Sandberg, Yuli Gurriel, Clint Capela, Brooks Robinson, and dozens more. 

The autograph I’m lining up for: Keith Hernandez from the Seinfeld sitcom. I understand he may have played big league baseball, too. 

I was involved in a very sophisticated, academic political debate recently. When I found my section and row at Minute Maid Park for WWE’s Royal Rumble, an extremely large human wearing a Stone Cold Steve Austin T-shirt was in my seat. I politely asked him and his buddies to slide down the row. He said, “I would, but the two people next to us are Trumpers, and they won’t move.” I told him, “I’m not checking voter registration cards, but everybody has to move. If you don’t move, I’ll get an usher or the League of Women Voters here to move you.” The Trumpers eventually slid down a few seats, and there was bipartisan peace in the neighborhood.

That is, until my original seat filler stumbled over my friend while exiting the row for a beer run, and called us “&$#@&^!!” Hey, leave my mother out of this! Democracy in action.