Every-Thing Sports

How playing games in the bubble could work for the Texans

Photo by Cody Stoots.

The NFL sent a memo to all teams about the process to reopening their facilities. Part of this hinges upon all teams being able to do so at the same time. Meaning: every city and state each team is in all have orders in place allowing them to reopen. This was done to create a fair and balanced way to level the playing field. Only certain employees are allowed inside. Each team must have a dedicated employee for cleaning and sanitizing the facility.

So could this lead to something more? Of course it will. This is the initial phase of what will undoubtedly take many phases, with tons of successes along the way. The league also constructed the schedule in a manner that will allow for flexibility if the start of the season has to be pushed back. But what about the games being played and how will that look? I propose playing in the practice facilities. Here are my reasons why:

More easily controlled environment

Giant stadiums require giant staffs to run them. If practice facilities are open, they could be the perfect place since there's a staff in place already. Visitors would have a hard time with locker accommodations I'm assuming, but that can be fixed. Having fewer people involved in the gameday operation ensures less people around to potentially infect teams and their staffs.

TV ready

As most of you have seen, practice facilities have cameras around all the time filming practices. They also have camera stands in place for getting the coach's film of practices as well. These places can easily accommodate a gameday camera crew. The way the games would be shot wouldn't require as many cameras as they'd usually have, so this would be another feasible aspect.

Cleaned and sanitized already

In order for teams to begin to start their seasons, they'll need practice time and/or training camp. If the facilities are being used for practice anyway, they'd be good to go for actual games. Teams will already have a dedicated employee for this specific purpose regarding team offices. Why couldn't this person double in the same capacity for the practice facility.

Not every team has an indoor facility like the Texans. Most do, however, have an indoor facility. Instead of playing in cavernous empty, or nearly empty, stadiums, play in the practice fields to start off. Of course tons of testing will be required for all those participating. The UFC has put on several events with success. So has the WWE. I'm not saying the NFL is willing to do things like those other organizations did, but they could learn something from them. This may be the way it starts, but I don't envision this being the way the whole season will play out. Besides, once the loss of income gets too great, they'll figure out something.

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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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