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Welcome To SB Nation Houston!

As you've no doubt already discovered, SB Nation now has a regional site for Houston. Yes, this is it.

Welcome to SB Nation Houston, one of twenty regional sites set to launch across the SB Nation network over the next few weeks. Each one of our soon-to-be-launched regional hubs can be found on the SBNation.com home page - they range from Minnesota to Tampa Bay and from New York to Los Angeles. You can see what CEO Jim Bankoff has to say about this exciting initiative over at SB Nation, and read more about it herehere and here.

Now that we've gotten past the basics, let's focus more on this place, your new home for anything and everything Houston sports.

What exactly does SB Nation Houston do?

Take a look at SBNation.com for a moment. Essentially, SB Nation Houston will run the same way, albeit for a local audience. We'll provide local and national news as it pertains to Houston and will present it to you in a variety of different ways, all stemming from the perspective of a true, passionate fan. To put it bluntly, we're incredibly biased in one way or another and will use such bias whenever the opportunity arises. We'll save our objectivity for breaking news or stories, but for the most part, SB Nation Houston will offer you commentary, intelligent analysis, opinion and a no-holds-barred look at Houston sports in the most professional way possible.

All of these different features and boxes - the "Starting Lineup" and "Around The Loop." What is all of that?

Let me break it down for you.

Story Streams -- Your typical news story, but all in one place. The great thing about the Story Stream is that it can be updated to offer the latest information pertaining to an already-broken story. No need to clutter the place - why not store relevant information in a nice, neat timeline for you to check on whenever necessary?

Around the Loop -- SB Nation Houston's blog, the place for smaller stories to be covered in small bites. These stories may not qualify as standard news, but that doesn't mean that they won't be interesting, or funny or completely off the wall. Consider this your quick-hits live-blog for anything in Houston that doesn't make the official headlines, but might deserve a look from an interested fan. Example: would we cover the release of the Madden '11 ratings? Uh, absolutely

Starting Lineup -- Remember when you used to wake up early in the morning, pour yourself a bowl of cereal and check the paper for an interesting read to start your day? That's what the Starting Lineup is for: five morning doses of Houston sports information (whether it's an outstanding article or simply a bit of news that you need to know) that we think deserve your attention. You may still read your morning paper, but this could be a good habit to pick up.

Features -- Treat this as "Around the Loop: Extended Version." Feature articles are to be published each weekday, and will offer commentary and insight on a particular subject, most likely a major event. However, in other cases, a feature will present a unique, in-depth look at a topic or issue that has yet to be illuminated around the Houston sports scene.

Top Five -- As noted in the inaugural Top Five post, you are to treat it as a "power rankings" post, but with a twist: every Wednesday, we'll take a look at a different topic concerning Houston sports. To keep things simple, we've adopted the "High Fidelity" approach, in which we rank our top five... somethings. Top five teams in city history? Sure. Top five most exciting finishes? Absolutely. Top five bars to watch a game with the wife bros? Yes, you've come to the right place.

Who are you, and why should I trust you?

The SB Nation staff is made up of a collection of Houston-based sports bloggers with a passion for Houston sports. You can trust us because we care - we follow these teams religiously, as any true fan might. There's no reason for us to hold back or get lazy. We want to make this place special.

Check out the staff box on the lower left-hand side of the front page - there, you can learn more about our staff. That said, I'll speak for myself while I have your attention.

My name is Tom Martin. I'm a Houston native and have been following each Houston team ever since I could turn on a television or walk along the ramp to my upper-deck seats in the Astrodome. For the hardcore 'Stros fans out there, I know what you're thinking: wasn't there a Tom Martin that played for the Astros way back when? Are you that guy? Sadly, I am not. Rather, I'm a journalism major at the University of Missouri - sorry to disappoint you. I've written for The Dream Shake for the past two years, and have contributed to Ball Don't Lie and SBNation.com in some form or another. I've also been featured on Sports Radio 1560 AM with Ken Hoffman and David Nuño and on the Rockets.com podcast with Jason Friedman. In addition, I have interviewed media folks ranging from ESPN's David Thorpe to the Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen.

I am also an avid supporter of the spaceman stripes uniforms that the Rockets wore in the late 90s. Don't hold me to it, please. I'm not crazy. Only slightly.

How is this any different from the individual team blogs?

For any fans of The Dream Shake, The Crawfish Boxes or Battle Red Blog, you might be wondering exactly how we fit in with these established communities. To save (my) time, here's what I wrote over at TDS to explain what this means for everyone involved.

Let's clarify something first. SB Nation Houston is by absolutely no means a replacement for the individual team blogs. In fact, one of the goals of this exciting project is to bring MORE traffic to the team blogs and to emphasize their content as much as possible. We'll be acting as more of a general Houston news site, with reaction and opinion pertaining to news from the fan perspective.

In other words, we're your basic local news and commentary fix. Now, if you're a big time fan of a team and want more in-depth analysis, THAT is where the team blogs come into play. They are still our bread and butter, and we want to promote them as much as possible.

Did I miss the big launch party at Champps Uptown that everyone has been talking about?

Nope, unless you're reading this past 8 p.m. on Thursday, June 10. If you've still got time, come by Champps Uptown from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m to see former Rocket Robert Reid, Texans tight end James Casey and all of your friends at SB Nation Houston to celebrate!

How do I complain when you screw up?

E-mail us at houston@sbnation.com. Oh, and if you've actually got complaints, do us a favor and channel your inner Lester Bangs. Be honest and unmerciful.

Now what?

Join the site in order to comment along with fellow Houston sports fans. Check up on us every day. Use us as your primary Houston news source, or at least consider it. We'll do our best to have everything covered in the most accessible way possible.

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy!

Images by eflon used in background images under a Creative Commons license. Thank you.