By Marc Campos

Jose's Book, The Not Vince Karma, Tamales, Complete Man, 714, Secrets

Houston Astros: Armed and Dangerous is a book written by Jose de Jesus Ortiz, Jr., a Chron sports writer who covers the Astros. Ortiz was at the 2006 Houston Latino Book & Family Festival yesterday to talk about his book. Jeff Bagwell was his guest.

Baggy answered a few questions about his shoulder and his World Series experience. Baggy also read aloud the prologue that was written by 'Stros catcher Brad Ausmus. Bagwell is a class guy - he is also married to a Latina, she made this year's Chron's Best Dressed Female list.

I bought Ortiz' book - a must read for all Astros fans. I like Ortiz. He is straight forward. He respects the players, the Astros organization, and the fans. He loves baseball. He's relatively young but he knows his stuff. He is also proud of his Latino heritage - that's why he attended the Latino Book Festival - he wants young Latinos/Latinas to read books. He is also married to a Chron sports writer - she covers the Texans.

Ortiz says if America acted like the players of all skin shades act in baseball's (particularly the Astros') clubhouses, we probably wouldn't have this immigration debate we are having today. He's good. Hope he doesn't get any offers from like the LA Times or New York Times. We need a class guy like Jose de Jesus Ortiz, Jr. in Houston. Buy his book, please.

The owner of the Houston Texans got his taste of the Vince Young karma - not. You see, the owner had a horse in the Kentucky Derby this past Saturday. The horse was a favorite of sorts - ended up in 17th place out of 20 thoroughbreds. tsk, tsk, tsk.

Just to satisfy my curiosity and my commitment to Cinco De Mayo, I went to the Berryhill's World Championship Tamale Eating Contest this past weekend that was held down the street in my 'hood. The contest is part of the International Federation of Competitive Eating circuit - move over hot dogs, pizza, wings, jalapenos, ribs, cheese cake and yes mayonnaise ..arrrrgh! They actually have over 100 of these throughout the country. They had the crab cake contest in Baltimore last week.

Some of the contestants that showed up Saturday are regulars on the circuit. Some have their own groupies. There was a female contestant. There is even a book that was published about the circuit that includes food contest eating trivia. The top four eaters were referred to as the "Four Horsemen of the Esophagus."

They had 12 minutes to scarf down tamales - the big kind. You get disqualified if you have a "reversal of fortune" or barf. There were some big fellas and some small fellas. The winner was of the slim persuasion. He took home $2,500. Second place $1,000. $500 to the third placer. No doggie bags.

"Man is not complete unless he is married," was a line on "The Sopranos" last night. I don't know about that. One thing about "The Sopranos," they push a lot of envelopes. Some folks wonder why the Vito sexual thing was introduced - why not? That's why we love watching this show. That's why some folks say it is the best TV ever.

Barry Bonds is going to do it so get over it. My Buddy doesn't have a problem with Barry. He needs one dinger to tie The Babe at 714. He can tie and break the record tonight. In 2001, Barry hit #70 at Enron to tie McGwire. Guess what? Barry and the Giants play the 'Stros tonight in San Francisco.

Some GOP precinct chairs got together over the weekend to interview Congressional District 22 wannabees - behind closed doors. Why close the doors? You would probably be better off if you opened up the process and let folks watch. What do you have to hide?

May 8, 2006, 9:00AM

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