Hoffman's Houston
a home run tip

Ken Hoffman reveals which Minute Maid Park food stand has the longest line

Hoffman reveals which Minute Maid Park food stand has the longest line

Torchy's Tacos Minute Maid Park
One food stand boasts long lines, the others offer smooth sailing, according to Hoffman's tipster.  Photo by Ari Morales/Courtesy of Kim Lewis Designs

Here’s a sports tip you won’t find anywhere else.

When the Astros return to Minute Maid Park for Game 6 (if necessary) or Game 7 (it may take that long to dismiss the Yankees, they’re good), don’t rush to the concession stands the minute you enter the stadium.

Where and when to eat during the game
According to my source, the playoff games are so intense that fans aren’t leaving their seats for food like during the regular season. If you wait until the second inning, there won’t be any lines at the concession stands.

That goes for the main concourse and the upper deck. I was at Game 1 and ordered by hot dog and Coke Zero (nice touch) with zero wait. The only food stand with lines from first pitch to walk-off homer is Torchy’s Tacos, which curiously is missing an apostrophe in its Minute Maid Park sign. (When it comes to tacos, grammar is every bit as important as guacamole.) Every other stand, though, is clear sailing from second inning on.

I am giving this tip against my own interests and better judgment. It may come back to bite me. I remember…

Worst best tip ever
When I arrived in Houston, I rented a house near Gessner and I-10. There was a supermarket two streets over and every night at 10, they sold all their remaining fried chicken for 10 cents a piece. Which fit right into my budget. (Newspaper writers don’t exactly earn salaries like inexperienced interns at City Hall in Houston.)

I would get to the supermarket at 9:55 pm, dawdle at the deli counter asking silly questions about potato salad, and at 10 pm sharp, I cleaned them out of fried chicken. Whatever they had, I bought. It was such an incredible bargain, for a while there, my diet consisted mainly of fried chicken and potato salad. 

Stupid me, I wrote about the great fried chicken bargain. I guess I was more popular then than I am now, but soon there was a crowd hanging around the deli counter, counting down to 10 pm like it was New Year’s Eve in Times Square. Two nights later, the supermarket ended the dime deal.  Darn it, I should have kept my trap shut. If I go to an Astros game later this week, there better not be a line for hot dogs in the fourth inning.

I’ll just say this: if I were a dedicated civil servant for the City of Houston, and the mayor hired an intern with barely any real work experience at twice my salary, I’d quit. The only thing more insulting to city staffers is the mayor’s ridiculous explanation. Even bigger problem: the other candidates, may be worse. 

Getting drafty with the Texans
Two months ago, Fred Faour wrote an excellent piece in SportsMap about the Texans’ fair-to-middling track record with their third-round picks during the Bill O’Brien era. Faour started with 2014 and ran right up to 2019, a few hits, a couple of incompletes, but mostly busts. 

It would be interesting how Faour rated the Texans third-round selection in 2013. That pick was Brennan Williams, an offensive tackle from North Carolina. Williams unfortunately suffered a knee injury and never got into a game for the Texans or any other team. What’s he doing now? Last week, the WWE introduced a new lineup of announcers for its Monday Night Raw show. One of the commentators is a extremely large man going by the name Dio Maddin. That’s former Texans 3rd-round pick Brennan Williams.

Off the chain
I’ve got one of the next Ripley’s Believe it Or Not book. Last week, the chain on my bike fell off. If I had a normal bike, I would have simply put the chain back on, and rode off into the sunset. But no, I had to get an authentic Dutch bicycle with a complicated, multi-section chain guard. I don’t have a compete set of Black & Decker tools in my garage, so I walked the bike to Bike Barn. A guy in the back said, “This may  cost $25 because it’s kind of hard to work with that chain guard.” I said, “whatever.”

An hour later I got a call, my bike was ready. The repair guy said the chain guard wasn’t as difficult to remove at he thought. When I took the ticket to the cash register, the salesperson said, “That’s $16.” I said, “I was told it might be $25. This is a first for me.” The salesperson laughed, “It may be a first for us, too.” 

He ain't Jake
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I’m not a big Daryl Morey fan. I think the Rockets keep spinning wheels, making trades, going nowhere, no titles. But when it comes to his tweet about Hong Kong — you never going wrong standing up for human rights.