My father, to demonstrate the importance of fairness, honesty and self-reliance used to say this is a three-box country; the ballot box, the jury box, and the batter's box.

Today the third leg of his philosophical stool that supports all of civilized society officially gets underway Thursday for 2019 with the beginning of the major league baseball season, and our local favorites to the west are up at 3 pm.

Verlander Opens For The Eleventh Time

It will be Justin Verlander's second opening day start with the Houston Astros. Last year he went 16-9 with a 2.52 ERA. His 290 strikeouts were best in the AL and he ended up runner-up for the Cy Young Award.

103 Wins In 2018 And a Deep Bench in '19 With Heavy Wood

This 2017 World Series Champion enters the '19 campaign with perhaps the best bench ever. The Astros have not only worked the past several years in building the farm system they're now also able to pick the best of the crop.

This year Michael Brantley a lefty will hit 4th or 5th with regard to the opposing opening pitching. He's part of a modern Murderers Row with lumbermen George Springer, Alex Bregman, Jose' Altuve' and Carlos Correa.  The opening day lineup also puts Yuli Gurriel at 1st, Josh Reddick in right, Robinson Chirinos behind the plate. In the opener, Tyler White will be DH.

The Astros should be able to field a lineup on any given day this summer that will cause a sweaty sleepless night prior to for the opposing pitching no matter who they are.

On The Road Then Home Monday Night

The Astros open in Tampa with The Rays for a four-game weekend set then return for the home opener on April Fools Day to host the Arlington Mall Cops (The Texas Rangers) in Minute Maid Park, first pitch at 7:05 pm