AROUND THE SPORTS WORLD

The catch that wasn't, index cards and a mess in Miami

Jesse James of the Steelers did not "survive the ground." Larrybrownsports.com

The say you’re never too old to learn something new. This week has been an education to say the least.

Surviving the ground

Once again the New England Patriots are in the middle of a firestorm. Why do these things keep happening to them by the way? 

Anyway.. .the Steelers appeared to take the lead in the closing moments of their battle for the right to host the AFC Championship Game next month. But tight end Jesse James could not maintain control of the football after reaching for the goal line. 

Look.. it’s a poop rule. The actual term used by the NFL was that James completed the catch but by not surviving the ground, the catch and more importantly the touchdown did not count. There is so much gray here. It seems no one can with certainty tell what is a catch and what is not a catch. That’s a problem. The rule doesn’t apply to a player running the ball.. only to a player making a reception. Why? And no. the league isn’t playing favorites or trying to create ‘buzz.” It’s straight up incompetence. It makes the league seem like they’re literally making stuff up as they go along. 

Speaking of making stuff up as they go along..

Index card first down

Yes, that was referee Gene Steratore using an index card to measure a first down during the Raiders/Cowboys game. For real for real. 

The ball was so close to the marker that Steratore used the index card to measure if there was any space between the two. No space to slide the card=first down. Really? Really? 

Steratore later said that the index card really wasn’t really used to make the call. He made the first pronouncement “visually.” Then why the index card? And did you check the smirk on Steratore’s face? 

Alberto Riveron, the head of officiating for the NFLsaid it was cool to use the index card.. but to never do that crap again! ( paraphrasing of course).

Once again, here is the league looking like a bunch of amateurs making it up as they go along. Paging Roger Goodell.. this might be something you should be taking a close look at my man. 

Because, Miami

On the same night Lane KIffin’s Florida Atlantic University rolled up 50 points on Akron in their Boca Raton Bowl win.. the hapless Miami Marlins were having a “Town Hall” for season ticket holders. 

That thing was beyond surreal.  

Super fan and long time season ticket holder, Laurence Leavy -- a.k.a. Marlins Man -- asked The Big Fish -- a.k.a. Derek Jeter -- “do you know who I am?” Classic. 

And away we go!

Fans yelled. Fans cried. Literally cried. One fan said he emailed Jeter his concerns and never heard back. Jeter smoothly fired back “ you don’t have my email address.” 

I’ll give Jeter credit for actually showing up to this thing and pretending to care. The fish stink in Miami and Jeter is the guy walking behind the elephant during the parade.

And think about this: What kind of world are we living in where Lane Kiffin is the cool, hip guy now and Derek Jeter is the bumbling PR mess? Shoot, next thing you’ll tell me is that Alex Rodriguez is a smooth playa.. um.. what?

Ah Miami, still a sunny place for shady people..  

You can hear my show, The Sports Bosses, weekdays at 10am ET on SB Nation Radio. Follow me on Twitter @mediarodriguez

 

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Houston's offense had another strong day at the plate in Seattle against the Mariners on Wednesday. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

After striking a deal with the Mariners before Tuesday's game, along with a reported deal with the Marlins on Wednesday before the finale, the Astros continued to try and bolster their bullpen with fresh arms while also focusing on this series against Seattle. Having won the night prior to even it up, it came down to the rubber game on Wednesday afternoon to decide the series.

Final Score: Astros 11, Mariners 4

Astros' Record: 63-40, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jake Odorizzi (4-5)

Losing Pitcher: Yusei Kikuchi (6-6)

Astros continue to score runs in Seattle

Just like in the earlier games in this series, the Astros had no problems offensively. They strung together four consecutive one-run innings, starting in the top of the second when they loaded the bases, then got an RBI groundout by Myles Straw to go up 1-0. In the top of the third, Yuli Gurriel drove one in on a two-out RBI double, bringing in Jose Altuve, who led the inning off with a double of his own. Chas McCormick led off with a single in the fourth, then later scored on an RBI single by Aledmys Diaz.

The fourth run in as many innings came in the top of the fifth, as Gurriel would notch his second RBI with a solo homer to start that inning, pushing the lead to 4-0. They didn't stop there, and neither did Gurriel, as he would get RBI number three on the day as part of a four-run top of the sixth, with RBI hits him, Altuve, Diaz, and Carlos Correa, doubling the lead to 8-0.

Odorizzi gets to the sixth before allowing two homers

The run support gave Jake Odorizzi plenty of leeway, which he didn't need until the bottom of the sixth. He held Seattle scoreless over the first five frames, allowing just four baserunners on a hit by pitch, a walk, and two singles, all peppered over that span and erased in each inning. Kyle Seager would get the Mariners on the board in the bottom of the sixth, blasting a one-out solo homer to cut the lead to seven runs at 8-1. After a single in the next at-bat, recently traded Abraham Toro made it four games in a row with a homer, this one a two-run shot to cut the lead to 8-3 and end Odorizzi's day. His final line: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, 2 HR, 95 P.

Houston wins the series

Houston brought in Brooks Raley to finish the sixth, issuing two walks but stranding them to keep it a five-run lead. Myles Straw helped push that back to six in the top of the seventh, reaching on a single to start the innings, then stealing both second and third to get in position for Diaz's third RBI of the day, a groundout to make it 9-3. Cristian Javier was the next reliever out for the Astros, but he would not make it through the bottom of the seventh, allowing a single and three walks, the third with the bases loaded to bring in a run.

Bryan Abreu was brought in to get out of the jam, getting a strikeout to end the seventh. Then, in the top of the eighth, Kyle Tucker would put two more runs on the board with a two-run homer making the lead seven runs at 11-4. Abreu remained in for the bottom of the eighth, erasing two one-out singles to get through the frame. Brandon Bielak took over in the bottom of the ninth to close things out, posting a 1-2-3 inning to wrap up the win and give Houston the series victory.

Up Next: Houston will travel down the coast to San Fransisco before getting a day off on Thursday. They'll pick up an exciting three-game series with the Giants on Friday, with the opener slated to start at 8:45 PM Central. Framber Valdez (6-2, 2.97 ERA) will take the mound for the Astros, while San Fransisco's starter is TBD.

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