JOHN GRANATO

The ever changing world of sports

Odell Beckham Jr. is giving his team a headache. Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The world is changing at a pace that even kids can’t keep up with. The phone you just bought last week is obsolete. A robot is two months away from taking your job. I just saw an ad for a flying car.

Sports may be one of the last frontiers that remains unchanged. If you hit a grounder to short with a man on first it’s probably a double play, a hundred yards rushing is still the standard for a good game and no one has ever come back from a 1-0 deficit in soccer.

But there are some alarming trends that are changing sports. Let’s start with fashion. The guys are dressing differently these days. Seen Russell Westbrook lately? How about Chandler Parsons? Cam Newton? James Harden had an interesting layout in GQ. You can see that here.

Very colorful. Not something I would try to pull off but no one wants to see me in yellow leather pants, myself included.

They’re certainly not hurting anyone with their style. That’s not the case though with today’s NFL wide receiver. For some reason that position has drawn sport’s biggest divas and nut jobs. From T.O. to Dez to Odell these guys are revolutionizing the game with their antics. If they aren’t catching enough passes somebody’s going to pay and it’s usually their quarterback, but not always.

Dez Bryant called Cowboys owner Jerry Jones clueless and LB Sean Lee a snake. He turned down nice money in Baltimore and wouldn’t sign with Cleveland but says he still wants to play. Oooookay.

Terrell Owens set the standard for not only burning bridges but blowing them to smithereens. In a 2004 article for Playboy Magazine T.O. was asked if his former 49er quarterback Jeff Garcia was gay. T.O. answered “Like my boy tells me: If it looks like a rat and smells like a rat, by golly, it’s a rat.”

On Donovan McNabb: “He’s a funny guy, not funny ‘ha ha.’ Me, personally, I don’t do well with two-faced people.”

At least with Dez and T.O. they went after their QB’s after they had left the team. Saying those things while in the locker room could create some serious problems. Case in point, Odell Beckham Jr.

Last month Odell made headlines with his interview on ESPN with Josina Anderson. When asked what was holding him back in the Giants offense he said “everything.” When asked if Eli Manning was the problem he said “I don’t know.” When asked if he was happy with the organization that just gave him a $95 million contract he said “It’s a tough question.”

This week Giants owner John Mara wished Beckham would get back to making headlines on the field instead of off it. “I think he needs to do a little more playing and a little less talking.”

No chance John. Odell is the same guy who lost a fight with the kicking net, got fined for peeing like a dog in his touchdown celebration and has conversations with sideline air conditioners.

The Giants are a complete mess (other than when they play the Texans) and the Raiders notwithstanding, the worst team in the league.

Maybe I’m old fashioned but you’d never hear a guy criticizing his coaches, quarterback and organization while he was still playing there but thanks to guaranteed money it might be something we’ll see plenty of in the future.

What can the Giants do? Fine him? They did. And? Anything more than a slap on the wrist would draw the ire of the players’ association. They can’t cut him. The salary cap wouldn’t allow it.

What can the Steelers do with Leveon Bell? His teammates broke the unwritten rules by calling him out for holding out. Is a man’s money no longer sacred? Apparently not.

James Harrison is telling him to fake a headache or hamstring all year and cash paychecks. Earl Thomas decided not to practice a few days then flipped off his sideline as he was being carted off the field. His own sideline? I don’t remember that ever being done before. What happened to the good old days when you flipped off the other team when you were hurt?

The line of what you do and don’t do has been moving for a while now. Authority had never been questioned before Latrell Sprewell choked his coach P.J. Carlisimo. We haven’t had that extreme in some time but it’s nothing now to criticize the coach if things are going badly.

In recent years we’ve seen high school football players taking out the referee with intentional hits and catchers ducking on a fastball that catches the ump in the chest. I wouldn’t mind if that happened to Joe West but it wasn’t him so I feel like you shouldn’t do that.

I’ve ceased to be amazed by anything that happens on or off the field anymore.

What’s next? A player retiring at halftime of a game? Wait...



 

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After the Mariners came alive late in Monday's series opener to hand the Houston the loss and keep their playoff picture hanging in the balance, the Astros returned to T-Mobile Park on Tuesday to try and decrease their magic number. Here's how the middle game went:

Final Score: Astros 6, Mariners 1.

Record: 28-27, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Framber Valdez (5-3, 3.57 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Casey Sadler (1-2, 5.40 ERA).

Both teams trade first-inning runs

The Astros struck first in Tuesday's game, not waiting around until the ninth inning to get on the board. Instead, they jumped out to an immediate 1-0 lead after a two-out RBI-single by Kyle Tucker in the top of the first. The Mariners responded quickly, though, getting a leadoff single in the bottom of the inning before a two-out RBI-double of their own to tie it 1-1.

Astros score five in the sixth

The 1-1 score held all the way until the top of the sixth when the Astros would flip the script from the night prior, taking advantage of some mistakes by Seattle to put up a big inning. First, Michael Brantley started the inning with a solo go-ahead homer to make it 2-1. Then, Kyle Tucker would get his third hit of the night with one out before eventually scoring after a walk and two wild pitches, making it 3-2. With two walks to keep the inning alive and put some insurance runs on base, Martin Maldonado took advantage with a big three-run home run to extend the lead to 6-1.

Valdez finishes seven strong, Astros even series

After allowing the one run in the bottom of the first, Framber Valdez recovered and put together a solid outing on the mound. He allowed just five hits total, two of which came in the first, then back-to-back singles in the fourth and a single in the fifth, while otherwise keeping the Mariners at bay. He would end up completing seven innings of one-run baseball while striking out eight. His final line: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 0 HR, 108 P.

After Valdez, Enoli Paredes would take over in the bottom of the eighth, working around a leadoff single to get a scoreless inning to keep it 6-1. In the non-save situation, Josh James would come in for the bottom of the ninth and finish off the win for Houston.

Up Next: The finale and rubber game of this three-game set will start a bit earlier on Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 5:40 PM Central. The pitching matchup will be Nick Margevicius (1-3, 5.35 ERA) for the Mariners going against Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.90 ERA) for the Astros.

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