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The hurt of Houston football as told by the ultimate expert


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Legendary Houston sports media voice John McClain talks history and his lifelong love of baseball with Nestor as the Orioles and Astros threaten some meaningful October possibilities. And even a little bit of Oilers resurrection sympathies coming to Nashville later this season. How bad will the Houston Texans be this season? Let him tell ya…


baseball, astros, texans, houston, love, game, ravens, gambling, oilers, good, football, orioles, john, nfl, people, nestor, fans, baltimore, titans, happen


John McClain, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

What about W en st Towson, Baltimore, and Baltimore positive we are positively thankfully, finally into the football season but this guy’s gonna want to talk baseball anyway, we’re gonna be fading these on the 15th of the month re resuscitating the new Maryland crabcake toward is our 25th anniversary that cupcake out front should tell you so we’re going to be now with the current state president, Dr. Anthony Jenkins as well as new basketball coach Larry Stewart, who was my old friend and a former bullet back in the day as well. That’s the 15th It’s all brought to you by the Maryland lottery in conjunction with wind donation, and Jiffy Lube. It is football season. I love this man. He knows that we’re kicking the season off not against all hours, but against the Texans. I’m sporting my Dan Passerini throwback, man the internet John McClane The Internet is can be awful, as you know about being out on Twitter and being a public figure as you’ve been for about 45 years covering Houston sports as well as football there. But man, the internet’s great when you can click a button and buy a Passerini throwback and have it be delivered smell good and be nice and fit. Yeah, so you know, under 50 bucks so life can still be good, John, how are you? I know you want to talk some football but it’s like baseball season in Houston in Baltimore right.


John McClain  01:14

Now I’d rather talk baseball and football because our baseball team is good and our football team is bad. And by the way, fans in Houston are infuriated. Fans media are infuriated that the Tennessee Titans are going to where all are throwback jerseys against the Texans and Nashville the week before Christmas. And it is just fans some flames down here. They’re doing it twice. They’re doing it against Falcons. In October when they had their annual other titan reunion in Nashville, the owner, Amy Adams Trump treats all those former Oilers like kings and they love her. And I wrote a column calling a lot of them, including Dan Passerini about what they think about their uniforms again, Warren for the first time since the ballers moved to Tennessee with a tendency or others their first two years before they became the titans in 99. And they all love it so I love it because I want to see those uniforms aganda boy in my own radio station wants to run me out of town.

Nestor Aparicio  02:21

Well, I guess it is. You know before we even get to baseball. We’re talking about throwback Oriole jerseys right. And John you know, the RC family is not popular here even 40 years later right? And and they still wear our colors our jerseys everybody Jimmer say was bragging it’s the 40th anniversary of the Mayflower is arriving right like and I get along with him and I liked it’s fine all these years later, but boy it It really pisses status Colossus cocoons Baltimore for my Baltimore people, they really carry this incredible grudge per se and it’s it’s caught up every week. And every we play the Colts in week three this year, couple of weeks from now, right? We’re gonna see them parade around with Bert Jones with Lydell Mitchell or if you’re old enough, you could still be here are Donovan and John Unitas and and Lenny Moore. We deal with that all the time. It it’s it’s really sensitive, I think for fans.

John McClain  03:14

And people here there’s I tried to tell them, the Texans have nothing to do with Oilers, the Oilers belong to the Titans, everything from the Oilers belongs to the Titans. But Adams had fought to actually be the commissioner and put in writing that nobody and nobody could ever use the letter name. Or where oil or uniforms other than the Titans and so there’s no way versus Matthews dama Yeah, we’d like to have this happen in Houston. But it’s impossible. So having it happen with the Titans is better than not having it at all. So the players are fired up about it. But the fans and media are not. And it’s great for the talk shows.

Nestor Aparicio  03:57


What’s the most beautiful Jersey there’s ever been right? I mean, do you know I mean, you’re the most Do you know of course if you don’t know nobody knows. Why was it blue? What was it but Adams was because it was so dayglow 60s, the silver helmet. Why did he have this sort of an outfit? Why were these colors popular and the lance all worth the AFL was flair right?

John McClain  04:22

Bud was big on America. He was on World War Two. He wanted red, white and blue. But everybody, not everybody but most had red, white blue, but they had your typical bright blue or navy blue. He wanted something different. So they call it Columbia blue, now later in life, but calling it Colombian blue. And one time when he got the Astrodome expanded at a news conference. And he was talking about his new sweets and he called him Colombian, Colombian blue sweets. And I said do they come with cocaine? And he didn’t know what I was talking about. And that as well we always made jokes back when he said Columbian and people were love the colors and as long the longer they go without seeing them, the more the nostalgia bag takes hold and the fans there love it. And but there was a there were a couple of years master where they didn’t give a rat’s you know, what about having anything associated with the Oilers. But when the owners became the Titans and 99 and changed their uniforms and but insisted, still having some Columbia blue in their darker blue, which I thought it made it look ugly. But it’s what bud wanted. So now it’s going to be a big deal this year. The only thing that would have been worse is that they want him here in NRG stadium, but that would never happen.

Nestor Aparicio  05:51

That’s going to happen in Nashville. John McClane is here he is the longtime scribe at the Houston Chronicle the famous general who keeps telling me he’s retired and this and that. So listen, I love you and you host radio all over the country. You do all this stuff. I know you don’t really want to talk about the Houston Texans. For hours,

John McClain  06:12

I write five columns a week on the taxes. I do 340 minute podcast on your taxes and other six radio appearances on The Texans. All on the Texans flagship station Sports Radio 610 I’m All my stuff’s on sports radio six where there’s no paywall, so I’m staying busy now retired from the Chronicle mattress Mac, called me last year worked for him for 10 months. That was great. That’s where I started writing about the Astros who had my job for a radio station. I can write whatever I want. In fact, I’m writing a baseball column right now about the red odd Astros and the best division in baseball. They are West was Seattle, Houston, and Texas competing for the top spot wildcard bars.


Nestor Aparicio  06:59

So you love saying that, don’t you? You? You were you’ve been an Astros fan for all of your life since the Colt 40 fives they’ve always sucked for the most part. They’ve been really good lately. And now you get to say best division in baseball, right? Like that’s a kick at the Yankees and a kick at the Red Sox. So I love it, John.

John McClain  07:17

It’s the best race in baseball because of the top three, you know the A’s, shouldn’t even be in baseball. They should be like the Premier League and be dropped down to the Pacific Coast League and then the angels everything they did at the trade deadline is backfired. And but the top three teams are separated by one game Texans. I mean, the Astros, the five game winning streak they have they played mostly losers the rest of the season, except when I play the Orioles when they come in here for three, and they go to Rangers for three. And then at the end of the season or last roadtrip. They play three at Seattle, which could be the determining series.

Nestor Aparicio  08:01

Well, listen, I don’t know where to go with you. We but we did the Oilers and I could stay in there for hours. Believe me. I have lots of Oilers questions as I revisit my child. And now that the Ravens have thrown me out and I don’t go to ravens games. It’s been fun wearing this. I’m not a Titans fan in any way. But But that being said, the baseball side of you and what’s happened to your city right in the time where the Texans have had all this Deshaun Watson stuff and you’re on the inside of the you know, you’re you’re the go to guy for Texans information and have been since before they were born. And then this baseball thing gets taken over your city now was in Houston recently for Springsteen. I was there back in February for a couple of days. And it’s like an Astros town like in a big way. And it’s happened relatively quickly. And I don’t know that it shocks you in any way. But the Orioles in the Astros have never played a meaningful baseball game. Right? I mean, different leagues forever different worlds forever. Maybe in 1979 8081 during that era, there could have been a World Series that would have taken us down to the Astrodome, but none of that’s ever happened. And now all of a sudden, as as I look at it in Baltimore, I mean the Orioles are really good John and this the closer situation and Batista just all of a Gibson was no good. Flaherty has been no good. The kids are pitching Well, Bradish and, and Grayson Rodriguez, I mean, on the field with the pipeline and all everything that Elias has done. The lease is clouded everything here. The kids creep like John Angelo says he is he’s the apple that hasn’t fallen far from the orange tree. You know, the guy born a third base and thinks you get a triple all of that. And the Nashville rumors of taking the baseball team, all of this going on here. And the back of our baseball team is really good. And there might be in my mind if the Orioles are getting to the World Series. It’s going through Houston, you know, at some point maybe Seattle, maybe we’ll have to get on the airplane and go places. But in October Nobody here has experienced anything like, what they’re about to experience which is this pennant race. Are we going to have a buy? Or are we not? Baseball is on the tip of everyone’s tongue here. And it’s the I own this radio station. 25 years I’ve been in there 32 years. I’ve never seen anything like it. Because baseball when it gets into the veins, it’s six months every day every night. It’s different than football. Well, the difference

John McClain  10:22


with the Orioles they of course hired Mike Elias from the Astros. He brought people with him. And they follow the Astros blueprint where they were awful. And you always worry isn’t going to come to fruition, because some others have tried it. But obviously it’s worked with Elias because he saw that blueprint in Houston Astros have been at least American League Championship Series, the last six years I’ve been to four World Series, they want to they’ve got a chance to do it again, even though no team is repeat as champions as the Yankees in 2000. So I don’t think they’re going to the World Series. But the only thing surprised me about Baltimore was all that great young talent up and down the minor leagues that they didn’t trade for some pitching. And but man, they’re fun to watch. I’ve told my wife about three years ago, because we have a place up there in West River and she comes all the time because of the weather and he plays you recommend. She goes like the boathouse and Annapolis, which she loves. Great and I told her three years ago, if everything goes according to Mike Elisa’s plan, about the time I retire, the Orioles should be good and fun to watch. I still think Camden Yards is my best favorite baseball park even over Minute Maid Park, all of them patterned after Camden retro parks downtown I love to go there I look at the attendance I read every box score every night and look at the attendance I’m stunned as good as the Orioles are that they don’t draw more fans you might consider it good compared to where they used to be but that ball to that ballclub is so much fun to watch and watch and all that great talent grow. The Astros play three games against the Orioles here. That should be a lot and along with Seattle in Texas. They’re three toughest series as we get into the dog days of September. And I can’t wait love baseball pennant races. Adding the extra wildcard team has been a great move and helped the Phillies get to the World Series where they lost to the Astros and Nestor I love the new rules. I think baseball is finally awakened and realize that the NFL and NBA were way ahead of it but right now, baseball’s as exciting as I can remember it.

Nestor Aparicio  12:51

Well, John McClane here longtime used to crowd can now find him at 610 and he used to find them anywhere. McClain on NFL that offer baseball and I promise I’ll come back to it because I’m going to do a media thing about covering sports and all the years are you covering sports and me, quite frankly, getting thrown about thrown out and writing about it this week. So anybody wants to read I’m tired of people asking me about it. I’m going to write a letter to Steve Ashati a letter to Eric the constant letter to John Harbaugh, a letter to Sashi brown eventually letter to Chad steel outlining what my life has been like the last year, but the football side of this. I mean, you think of me as an insider, I vote you and I’ve exchanged what’s going on here? What’s going on there? What’s I haven’t been around the team I’ve been thrown out by force for you know, a year and a half for the most part. I watch it from the outside now and I see Odell Beckham coming here. I sees a flowers get drafted. I see what the cost that does on the defensive side and row Quan Smith and attaining him maybe overpaying him a little bit. Now Humphries hurt Ronnie Stanley is always a little bit of a question mark because of his health. But the Ravens from your seat from McLean on NFL Sirius, all the things that you do around the country. The Ravens look kind of loaded from the outside, don’t they?

John McClain  14:03

They do is McClain underscore on underscore. You come close. I’m the best day playing the best division in football. I cannot pick the Steelers last but I’m thinking I’m gonna be different other people. I’m picking a Ravens to win it over the Bengals. Everybody else is picking the Bengals. I don’t really know why. Other than John Arbaaz. Great coach. They got a great organization. And Lamar Jackson to me. He’s got a lot to prove. He’s got a great regular season record. He’s crushed the Texans up there twice when the Texans were winning the vision. And I think the Ravens will pulverize clobber the Texans in his first game why this brand isn’t only nine and a half points. It amazes me because of our gambling type. I would take the Ravens but I think Baltimore is good. I think division is great. The best record may not come from that division they may beat up on each other. I don’t think the AFC West is anything special. And I think Kansas City probably will get home field advantage while the AFC north and AFC E’s beat each other up top to bottom. And of course the AFC South is going to be terrible again like the NFC South. And but those divisions, the AFC north and AFC East are going to be so much fun to watch weekend and week out because every team is capable of beating anybody in that division.

Nestor Aparicio  15:37

John McClane is our guest he is in Houston in the old days, John, I will just call you and we were doing 18 minutes of Texans this and CJ Straub that and how we’re doing and like all of that. I think everybody knows they’re sort of beaten up if we if you were to give me a two minute preview on what Ravens fans can expect from the Texans other than they better beat the Texans this week.


John McClain  15:58

The air people here loved Miko rhymes, you know, he, besides being a great player here he is wide from here he got married him and his kids air, built a home for wayward kids during the pandemic and was building his dream home not knowing where he was ever going to be a head coach. So people here love to meet Oh, he wanted to come and but they’re still in the process of rebuilding for a third year in a row. You know, fans in Baltimore could certainly understand that because the Orioles and as what they’re going through here as Agent CJ Stroud has been really good. And he’s been really bad like any rookie quarterback, and he’s got an offensive line missing three starters. And they’re signing and trading for people to plug in that offensive line, which is always an issue is going to be ugly. They got a really good running game led by Damian Pierce, their defense led by Willie Anderson Jr. who could be the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. It’s better, but it’s been he’s more playmakers. They don’t have a lot of playmakers, no chance of beating the Ravens no chance what so ever.

Nestor Aparicio  17:06

There you go. All right, so we can just get on. Let me ask you this. And I don’t mean it flippantly because I follow you on Twitter. You rush the Texans when they stink, and they have stunk a whole lot more than the Ravens have ever stunk in recent years to be getting lottery picks. The the situation here with Ray Rice as hideous as it was as bad as it was the Deshaun Watson thing there. I mean, Ray Rice was on the m&t bank, credit cards, his face, he was on the billboards here. But Shawn Watson was the face of the franchise and everything that’s happened there. Why don’t the Texans throw you out when you call them garbage on their garbage? Because there’s been a lot of trash for you to take out in Houston. In the last five years for that franchise literally, right.

John McClain  17:53

Last year when I when I retired from the Houston Chronicle. My plan was to retire stay on my radio shows for one more year and in Madras, Matt call me made me a great offer to start a website called gallery sports and it was fun for 10 months until he pulled the plug because he was losing money. But so I kept writing columns got to write about the Astros, not just football rockets, anything I wanted. So I was honored. I was stunned. But I got honored a lot. And one of the honors was that Texans have if you get off the elevator here you see this big wall the John McClane Wall of Honor. And I’m the first person on it and during when I was when they were the owners and the president and when they when they unveiled it. For me in the media. They made a lot of cracks about my coverage and my negativity but you know, their class people, they would never do anything like that. There’s been a lot of people here that were just negative, but they they know when they’re bad. They know when they’re good. It amazes me. An organization has been as successful as the Ravens have been under Brian bellick and John Harbaugh that that there’s anything negative surrounding the organization in the Orioles for that matter too. Because baseball fans should be so fired up about the Orioles there should be no negativity and then you make a brain dead decisions is quote unquote suspender radio guy because he didn’t like him reading some stats and it’s just amazing. Sometimes people can’t get out of their own way and enjoy the positivity and all their hard work paying off and winning. And I feel bad for people that can’t enjoy it. And people have to suffer.

Nestor Aparicio  19:48


John your your press. It’s in the press box up the elevator when you get off there. First thing you say? Yeah, see if the game were in Houston this week. And this is amazing if the game were in huge Send this week, I wouldn’t be allowed to take that elevator up or I’ve done it for two Super Bowls for 10 games in Houston over the years to even see your area. Jadzia would email the Houston Texans PR person and tell him to not let me in. Because he did that last year in Cincinnati. He didn’t do it. The National Football League took my press credential, I was not allowed to come the radio row. But if Luke were to fly to Houston, Luke would be allowed in but not me. So I don’t know how to process that. You’ll say why and then I’ll say why. And I’m going to ask the organization why, but that that’s heartbreaking to me that I’m never going to see your wall in Houston. The last time I saw you on that wall, there was you and me and about eight people there masked and 38 people in the whole building on the top of that building in the middle of a hurricane watching and I flew home that morning, and I saw it I love the NFL. I love football, but I hope to never watch a game alone like that. That was the most morbid game of my of 39 years of doing sports was covering the plague game in Houston that day.

John McClain  21:08

Yeah, that was depressing. Tell you what I’ll do Nestor. I’ll take a picture of it. Yeah, we’re next time I were there for practice now saying that I’ll superimpose myself in front. It’s a very cool thing. Let me tell you,

Nestor Aparicio  21:19

John, you said something sort of flippantly about if you were a guy that gambled on games. I can’t think of anything that would have had them take my press pass more quickly than if I started shaving points and asking Joe Flacco how his shoulder felt to figure out whether I was going to take the three or give the three this week against, you know, the Steelers back in 2013. How quickly the gambling part of this on the baseball and the football side. My son was here and I you know, I I pitched the lottery. I talked about sports wagering, I’ll be up in Hollywood casino on my friends at Greenmount station have a license up in Carroll County. Like I’m not against gambling or sports, gambling, but it was the most verboten like it would have been like Pete Rose for you and I to be shaping points in the locker room, it would have been the end of our careers at any point during our career.

John McClain  22:05

Absolutely. It would have if you even asked about gambling in a locker room. And they told the NFL the NFL would investigate you. But now their estimations, the NFL is going to make $100 billion over the next 10 years from gambling that stories and they’re playing a games in Europe going to Germany because Europe is way ahead of us on gambling and sports. And so the idea is to play as many games over there as possible to get Europeans fired up about gambling on our football instead of their football. And so it’s all about the money as always,


Nestor Aparicio  22:41

well it’s a lot more fun to gamble on our football than gambling on a soccer game with a score of two to one right like the proposition betting on baseball my son came the other day my son I don’t know my son bets on machine you know play well blackjack or whatever he’s now like, well, I want to watch the games dad and it’s you know, just and had a friend hit a parlay on a home run with mountcastle and Henderson are both going to home run the same hit and they want 800 bucks is sort of like I I’ve never met anyone that gambled on baseball ever in my life. I’ve been on the radio 32 years in a baseball city. I’ve never met anybody with a gambling problem with baseball.

John McClain  23:18

As Bill I still do a video once a week with Masters Mac and we talk about Houston sports and put it on our social media platforms of course he’s the country’s most renowned gambler. And you know he won 70 million on the Astros last year and he bats he primarily football because he said that’s what Dan was all about his football but some baseball too. And of course he has always promotions a Gallery Furniture about this year if the Astros win a World Series and you spent four four grand you get back triple your money. Well Astros I don’t think you’re gonna win a World Series so everything people spend was pure profit.

Nestor Aparicio  24:00

I need a mattress right now maybe I need to talk to you but a mattress back you might left my pillow in Ocean City John McClane here Maclean underscore on sports. Find them out on Twitter find him at 610 The Houston legend and last thing for you just back to baseball because baseball is like your Are you in the locker room? Do you uh, do you report on it in that way? Are you watching it? But by the way, I am outside the locker room,

John McClain  24:22


I watch every game on TV. I don’t want to be in a press box. I’ll be talking to people. When I don’t cover Texans games on the road anymore. I do not want to travel. I don’t have to. And I’ve learned sitting in front of my TV where it’s quiet. And I listen and I take notes. I do. I can do so much better than I add a game and uncover the home games and I got people talking to them and all that. At the end I may amazed at how much better I can do like that. I went to Astros spring training, had a blast over there writing about him. I’ve always wanted to do that as a member of the media but right now I just write columns seldom use quotes, especially on baseball because baseball so much about statistics and they change daily and I’m having a blast. And by the way it’s McClain underscore on underscore NFL Nestor Thank you very much as always,

Nestor Aparicio  25:19

they’re gonna find you if I can. Nora has won the World Series with this,

John McClain  25:23

where that young talent you don’t know how they’re going to do and the pressure of a pennant race with players who’ve never been in it. That’s why a lot of fans here are counting on the Astros that when they get down to it, that they’ve been through this so much it’ll be just second nature but boy, a young UPS guard team like that is going to be so much fun to watch for the first time in the playoffs.

Nestor Aparicio  25:47

Let’s see you take care of yourself and get yourself up here to Maryland for some playoff baseball at some point, John McLean, the man the myth, the legend, Houston, Tennessee and at some point, Southern Maryland. I am Nestor we are wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore. We never stopped talking baseball, football, and Baltimore positive. Stay with us.

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