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In the midst of the Houston Astros unprecedented and extensive franchise tear-down and rebuild, Sports Illustrated famously, boldly declared that the Astros would be the 2017 World Series champions — even though, at that time, 100-loss seasons were the norm.

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Two weeks ago, I took to this column to bemoan the fact that it appeared the Houston Rockets were getting left behind as teams around them — especially teams in the Western Conference — were engaging in the NBA’s version of an arm’s race in a wild offseason.

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Life can come at you fast in a wild NBA offseason. Just a few short weeks ago, there was a lot of big talk from the Houston Rockets brass about making a big splash; now they’re left looking like they’ll be content with bringing the same crew back.

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For some of these athletes, it is their first time on this grand stage, and for others, it will be their last time at a World Cup. So, don’t listen to the fun police, and keep living it up.

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Ultimately, this move will be judged by the success of the next individual to fill the role of Texans GM. It should also be judged by whether or not the Texans franchise upholds this championship standard across the board rather than only for hand-picked scapegoats.

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Normally, when this many key players are on the shelf and this many players with little to no Major League experience are filling their shoes, it would spell doom for even the most successful team. But, amazingly, the Astros have yet to miss a beat.

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The Indians’ continued improvement to what has for years been a solid baseball program and their fans’ continued high spirits and support for the team just goes to show that the horrific act at the high school on May 18, 2018 failed to defeat them. If anything, it made them stronger.

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A recent Washington Post article reported that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver believes the NBA’s one-and-done policy, which prohibits NBA prospects to be drafted directly out of high school, is no longer a good policy. And yours truly is with the commissioner on this one — to a point.

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Ball High is far from an athletics wasteland. However, there is always room for improvement, and that will be the mandate of the new athletic director, who will have to justify this extra investment with more wins in all of Galveston ISD’s athletic programs. It’s an interesting approach with exciting potential.

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Instead of diving into the free agency pool next year, starting pitcher Justin Verlander and the Astros negotiated a fair deal, completed this weekend, that will keep Verlander in an Astros uniform through the 2021 season. Also signing extensions with the Astros this past week were infielder Alex Bregman and reliever Ryan Pressley.

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For anyone who watches the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament for the upsets and Cinderella runs like yours truly, there’s one burning question heading into this year’s event. How can it possibly top last year?