Barry Laminack's View

Can we talk about the SI Sports”person” of the Year Award?

Jose Altuve and J.J. Watt are sports people. Sports Illustrated

Also appears on Houstonsportsandstuff.com

As Disco Biscuit wrote about in her December 5th update, JJ Watt and Jose Altuve are the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson(s) of the Year for 2017. According to this post by the editors of Sports Illustrated, the purpose of the award is to showcase, “Athletes who care” – more on that in a bit.

First off all, I’m not sure why both Altuve AND Watt needed to win this. It should have been one or the other, not both, but I digress…

I’m also not sure why S.I. felt the need to change the word “sportsman” to “sportsperson.” It’s a specific word with a specific meaning – and in this case using the word sportsman – as defined by dictionary.com as, “a man who engages in sports”, would have been relevant and accurate because the winners are men.

Had S.I. chosen to give Maya Moore the award (who was also very deserving, mind you) then they could have just as well put “Sportswoman of the Year” on the cover and been just as accurate and precise in doing so.

Let’s look at it another way

Dictionary.com provides a second definition for the words sportsman, “a person who exhibits qualities especially esteemed in those who engage in sports, as fairness, courtesy, good temper, etc.”

In other words, “Athletes who care.”

Also, did you notice it said “person?”

That’s because in most cases the word sportsman, and thus the words sportsmanship, has nothing to do with gender.

If WNBA star (and female athlete) Diana Taurasi knocked down fellow WNBA star Sue Bird on a strong drive to the hoop, and then after the play reached down to help her up, the announcer wouldn’t say she displayed good sportswomanship, they would say she showed good sportsmanship.

But don’t take my word for it, I asked Google and Dictionary.com to define it for me and this is what they returned:

sportsmanship

dictionary

So while I’m all for inclusion and sensitivity in today’s world (and if you’ve ever listened to me on the radio, you know both of those to be true) there’s a point where we as human be…sorry huperson beings...can take it too far.

SEE HOW STUPID THAT SOUNDS!

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Houston dropped two of three

Astros drop series finale to Oakland, A's win series

Jose Urquidy couldn't hold Oakland back on Saturday. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

With Oakland finally ending their drought against the Astros on Friday night to split the first two games of the series, and with the Angels staying in step with them as both teams started the day 6-2, the Astros needed a win to keep momentum in their favor on Saturday.

Instead, Oakland would outslug Houston once again to take the series finale and take the series win. The loss moves Houston to 6-3 and down to second place, at least for now, until the 6-2 Angels complete their game on Saturday evening.

Final Score: A's 7, Astros 3

Astros' Record: 6-3, second in AL West

Winning Pitcher: Frankie Montas (1-1)

Losing Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (0-1)

Urquidy gives up four over six

Much like the night before, Oakland was able to bring in runs against Houston's starter, this time Jose Urquidy, Saturday afternoon in their second time through the order. Their first time through, Urquidy was cruising, allowing just one baserunner in the first three innings on a single in the top of the third.

Things shifted in the top of the fourth, with the A's getting back-to-back singles to set the stage for a two-run frame with dual RBI-singles to take a 2-0 lead. Oakland doubled that in the fifth, getting a two-out single to set up a two-run homer by Ramon Laureano to make it 4-0. Urquidy would go on to finish six innings, but with no run support to that point, would leave in line for the loss. His final line: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 7 K, 93 P.

A's pad their lead before Houston gets on the board

Meanwhile, although getting five hits, the Astros could not get anything on the board against Frankie Montas through six innings. Brandon Bielak took over out of the bullpen for Urquidy in the top of the seventh, but after loading the bases, he would allow a dagger two-RBI single to make it a 6-0 deficit for Houston.

With Montas starting the seventh looking to face a batter or two before Oakland moved to their bullpen, Kyle Tucker would finally get Houston on the board with a leadoff solo home run, cutting the lead to 6-1 and ending Montas' day. Houston would get a two-out rally going, with an RBI-double by Jose Altuve followed by an RBI-triple by Michael Brantley to make it a three-run game at 6-3.

Oakland takes the series win

Ryne Stanek tried to keep it a three-run game and give the Astros a chance to stay in it in the top of the eighth but instead would give up a two-out solo home run to push Oakland's lead back to four. That 7-3 score would go final as Houston would go scoreless in the eighth and ninth.

Up Next: Houston will have a day off on Sunday before continuing this homestand Monday night by welcoming in Detroit and former manager A.J. Hinch for three games. In the series opener, the Tigers will send young star Casey Mize (0-0, 2.25 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will get another start by Zack Greinke (1-0, 1.38 ERA).

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