Hoffman's Houston
the best and the worst

Ken Hoffman bets on the Houston Astros and blasts the worst show on TV

Ken Hoffman bets on the Houston Astros and blasts the worst show on TV

Houston Astros Game 5 hit Alex Bregman
Hoffman has the Astros playoff run all planned out.  Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Why is everybody so concerned about the Astros finishing with the best record in baseball and getting home field advantage throughout the playoffs? The goal is to win the World Series, right?

So, maybe the Astros would be better off finishing behind the Yankees in the American League and behind the Dodgers, if it comes down to a Houston-Los Angeles World Series.

First (actually second) things first, a League Championship Series against the Yankees: If the Astros finish behind the Yankees, the first two games will be played in The Bronx. We throw Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole at the Yanks. Good luck with that, New York. I’d take Verlander and Cole if the Astros were playing the 1927 Yankees. Nobody can match that one-two punch. Don’t care if it’s on the road, at home, or on Mars.

The Astros are going to play at least two games on the road in the LCS and World Series. Their chances of winning on the road are better with Verlander and Cole.

Then it’s back to Houston with a 2-0 lead. I like Zack Greinke and Wade Miley at home in Minute Maid Park. Repeat against the Dodgers. Schedule the parade.

The Wolf of Team Israel
Last week I wrote about Jeremy Wolf, the slugging outfielder from Trinity University’s 2016 national D3 baseball champions, who’s now playing for Israel’s national team in Olympic qualifying tournaments. It’s an improbable team for sure. When you think of sports in Israel, baseball isn’t on top of the list. In fact, it’s not on the list. There is only baseball diamond in the whole country, the team doesn’t play regularly and rarely even practices together.

Last week, the team headed to Italy for the Europe/Africa final Olympic qualifier. They were a long shot against powerhouse, well financed teams from The Netherlands and Spain. Both countries have professional baseball leagues and the government pays their players. The Netherlands won the European title last year.

Of course, Israel won the whole thing, beating Spain and The Netherlands on back-to-back days, then topping Italy and South Africa. Now they'll be one of only six countries going for the gold medal in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. It’s the first time Israel has qualified for an Olympic team event since 1976.

Time for the Texas MS 150
Registration for the 2020 Bike MS: Texas MS 150 charity ride is open. Changes are coming for the biggest, most money-making weekend charity bike ride in the world. The ride will take place May 2-3, a few weeks later than past years.

Instead of the ride starting in Houston and ending in Austin, next year there will be two starting points, Houston and Austin, and the finish line will be at Kyle Field on the Texas A&M campus. The ride also has a new name, Bike MS: Texas MS 150. It’s no longer the BPMS150.

I’m proud that SportsMap, one of my landing spots at Gow Media, is a sponsor of this event.

Worst TV show ever
With apologies to Maury Povich ("in the case of 2-month-old Charles, you are NOT the father!"), the worst program in TV history returns this week to Fox: The Masked Singer. Each season, a celebrity panel has to figure out which mega-superstars are hiding in elaborate Halloween costumes, dropping clues as to their identities. 

Nothing is more inadvertently hilarious than when the panel makes their guesses:

Nicole Scherzinger hollers, “I know it’s Taylor Swift!”

Ken Jeong jumps up, “No, no, no, that’s Madonna!”

Jenny McCarthy can’t control herself, “100 percent it’s Barbra Streisand!”

Robin Thicke practically explodes, “I love you Beyonce!”

Then the singer takes off her mask, and it’s Flo the Progressive Insurance Lady.

I kid about Flo, but she’s more relevant that some of the actual Masked Singers from last season. At least she’s got a regular TV job. That can’t be said for Tommy Chong (seriously), Ricki Lake (also seriously), Rumer Willis, and La Toya Jackson. Good thing host Nick Cannon yells out the mystery celebrities' names when they reveal their faces.

I'm pretty sure the panel had no idea who Antonio Brown was last season. Now, yeah — but not last season.

The Masked Singer – worst TV show ever. I won’t miss an episode. I fully expect Potsie, Casey Anthony, and Snookie to sing their hearts out this year.