, Port Arthur, Texas


May 11, 2013

West column: Texans' Cushing spells out reasons Wade's successful

PORT ARTHUR —     With free agency having cost the Houston Texans defense three solid starters — OLB/DE Mario Williams, ILB DeMeco Ryans and OLB Connor Barwin – in the last two years — there’s legitimate concern surrounding where the team is at linebacker heading into the 2013 season. Brian Cushing, the team’s best linebacker, who is in the final stages of rehabbing a torn ACL, says there’s a big reason why fans shouldn’t worry. Wade Phillips’ grasp of talent.  “The one thing I’ve learned about Wade is he knows exactly what he’s doing when he drafts a player, Cushing told Paul Kuharsky of last week. “He sees things in people and prospects other coaches and scouts don’t. He will always play the best players and we have a lot to pick from now.” The Texans added two outside linebackers in the recent draft — Sam Montgomery and Trevardo Williams . . . Houston, by the way, is favored in nine of its first 15 games next season, is the underdog in three and is rated a tossup in three. Yes, they already have lines posted in Vegas for all but the final week of the NFL season. Biggest surprise on that early betting line was Seattle being a one-point favorite over the Texans in Houston. AFC favorites Denver and  New England are pick-em in their games at Reliant Stadium. Houston is also pick-em when it plays at Indianapolis. Other teams favored over the Texans are San Francisco (5.5) and Baltimore (3.5). Dallas, meanwhile, is favored in six games, an underdog eight times and a pick-em once. Interestingly enough, the Cowboys are favored in their first three games. Guess the oddsmakers figure Tony Romo will be spending a lot of extra time at Valley Ranch early in the season

    Beaumonter Kendrick Perkins’ latest problem in the NBA playoffs is one that couldn’t have been found on a scouting report. Perkins, obviously unimpressed with Shaquille O’Neal’s mumbling and sometimes self-serving commentary on TNT halftime and post game shows, tweeted “Do Shack (sic) ever stop talking?” O’Neal, who has never been short on sarcasm, was told about the tweet and didn’t take it well. Following Oklahoma City’s game two loss to Memphis, he said, “I need more out of the great Kendrick Perkins. He really dominated tonight. Four points. I won’t talk about myself, Kendrick, I’ll just talk about you.” . . . It was noted in this space a few weeks ago that first LSU, then Alabama offered a scholarship to 6-1, 215-pound Baton Rouge eighth grade running back Dylan Moses. Not to be outdone, Mack Brown and the University of Texas have jumped into the fray, making Moses the first middle school player UT has ever offered. Meanwhile, the Longhorns, according to the Dallas Morning News, already have 14 commitments for the Class of 2014 and are ranked No. 1. Sounds like old Mack is fighting back . . . Wonder how astronomical the odds are that a school which spends as much on athletics as Texas does, and has facilities other schools can only dream of, would be so across-the-board feeble in football, basketball and baseball in the same year? Whatever those odds are, the parlay has hit. Following a season in which football again got routed by Oklahoma and settled for the Alamo Bowl, and basketball finished near the bottom of the Big 12 and didn’t get any post-season invites, Longhorn baseball has finished last in the Big 12. Collectively, that has to be close to historical ineptness.

    Cleveland Indians’ Hall of Famer Bob Feller was supposedly the first pitcher to throw a baseball over 100 miles per hour. But, without radar guns, how did anybody really know? According to AARP magazine, here’s how the guy known as “Rapid Robert” was first clocked in Chicago’s Lincoln Park in 1940. With Feller into his windup, a Chicago police officer roared by at 86 mph on his Harley Davidson. Feller’s fast ball beat the cop to home plate, 60-feet, 6 inches away, by three feet. Assembled mathematicians then estimated the pitch traveled between 98.6 and 104 mph. Here’s a trivia question to go with that piece of information. What Southeast Texas sportswriter once belted a Feller pitch to the right field wall at Vincent Beck Stadium in 1983 ? ? ? Sounds like Lumberton ex Clay Buchholz may be in line to get rewarded with a commercial from the manufacturer of Bullfrog Sunscreen. Coming off a so-so year with the Red Sox in 2012, Buchholz has been virtually unhittable while posting a 6-0 record and a 1.60 ERA in the first five weeks of 2013. He’s been so tough to hit, in fact, it’s led to charges that he’s doctoring the baseball by applying Bullfrog to his arm, then mixing it with powered rosin while on the mound.  In theory, the mixture allows him to get a better grip on the baseball. Whether it gives him an edge or not, Buchholz certainly has a leg up when it comes to getting into the head of hitters.

    Everybody who knows anything about baseball expected the Astros to be terrible and they haven’t disappointed. But what about the Los Angeles Angels team that narrowly missed the numbing embarrassment of getting swept in a three-game series in Houston this past week? Angels’ management in the last two off-seasons committed to $365 million long term in risky free-agent deals with Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton. This year alone, the Angels are paying Hamilton $17.4 million, Pujols $16.2 million and pitcher Jered Weaver $16.2 million. Their payroll is a whopping $141,896,250. Yet if they hadn’t come from behind in the eighth inning Thursday night, they’d have left Houston with a 10-21 record, only a half game ahead of the last-place Astros  . . .   Some really sad and tragic things have happened to those attending sporting events — a man falling to his death at a Texas Rangers game in 2011 trying to catch a ball for his son, a fan tumbling to his death from a fifth-level escalator at a Texans game last season and, of course, the spectator deaths at the Boston Marathon, just to name a few. Add what happened at a Chicago Cubs game Tuesday to the list of hard-to-fathom fan deaths. A 28-year-old Chicago middle school teacher, who was such a big Cubs fan she often had team dress-up days for her students, choked to death on a hotdog shortly before the national anthem at the Cubs-Cardinals game she was attending with her brother. In tragedy, however, there was life. Maureen Oleskiewicz was kept alive long enough for organs to be taken. Her heart went to a 14-year-old girl who was near death.

    Kevin Costner, who has been terrific in the four sports movies he’s done — Bull Durham, Field of Dreams, For the Love of the Game and Tin Cup — is branching out to the NFL. In Draft Day, due out next year, he plays the general manager of a struggling team — the Cleveland Browns — who is dealing with the chaos surrounding the overall No. 1 pick. To add reality, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell shot a scene for the movie at last month’s draft. Among Costner’s supporting cast are Chadwick Boseman, the guy who played Jackie Robinson so well in “42”, Texans running back Arian Foster, Jennifer Garner and Ellen Burstyn . . . Lest Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o delude himself into thinking the fake girlfriend stuff is about to die out, Maxim magazine nailed him pretty good in the current issue built around its world 100 hottest women list. Manti’s imaginary girlfriend came in at No. 69 on the list, with a pictorial featuring an empty black bikini hovering over the ocean . . . Not so funny was the Internet hoax about the Texans J.J. Watt. A false report Thursday night that was picked up by a Houston media outlet had Watt being severely injured in an automobile accident in Miami.  Among other things, he was said to have suffered two broken legs. “I’m perfectly fine, relaxing after morning training session and headed to an event for Houston Children’s Charities,” Watt tweeted on Friday.

    Sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at  



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  • Bassmaster Elites are coming back

    The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
    The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
    I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
    It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
    • Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
    Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
    Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
    • East to West Runs-The Elite anglers fished far and wide but I expect even more running next go-round. After launching from the Simmons Drive Boat Ramp in Orange angler Bill Lowen ran down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay and fished in the Clear Lake area and placed in the top 12. The more adventurous anglers will try super long runs, in my opinion, even longer than last time to try and score on big fish. The Intracoastal Canal system makes that possible.
    • Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
    • Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
     It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
    The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
    We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
    It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on

    July 23, 2014

  • Mid County knocked out of tournament

    The Mid County 16-18 Babe Ruth squad’s run to the World Series is over.

    July 22, 2014

  • West golf notepad: West duo claims title in Texas Father-Son

    July 22, 2014

  • Mid County sets up championship series with Tri County

    The Southwest Regional Babe Ruth championship series is set and yes the hometown Mid County squad will be there to play.

    July 21, 2014

  • MC Babe Ruth goes 2-0

    First things first, give Clint Landry and the rest of the officials credit for making the Southwest Regional Babe Ruth tournament possible this weekend at Nederland High School.

    July 19, 2014

  • Up the odds for solid bank fishing

    There are certain limitations to fishing without a boat.

    July 19, 2014

  • Derek Williams, Summer Money League light up the lanes at Max Bowl

    Thursday nights Summer Money League produced some very impressive scores.

    July 19, 2014

  • West column: Pacers hiring Pat Knight didn't help Lamar

    July 19, 2014

  • Babe Ruth.jpg Mid County Babe Ruth set to host Southwest Regional

    The Mid County Babe Ruth 18U team is once again knocking on the World Series door. Mid County will host the Southwest Regional at Nederland High School starting today. Mid County’s first game of the tournament is slated for 7 p.m. Friday against Pine Bluff, Ark. Thursday was a special day for Mid County Babe Ruth as two locals, Jimmy Collins (shown speaking) and Skip Hopkins (back left) were inducated intot he Southwest Regional Babe Ruth Hall of Fame. Both Hopkins and Collins have been involved in Babe Ruth for over 40 consecutive years either as player, coach or board member. There are nine teams in the tournament with the winner headed to Washington state for the World Series.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • West golf notepad: Eleven-year-old Henry scores ace in YMBL tourney

    July 15, 2014

From the Fieldhouse blog