Every-Thing Sports

Returning to play: different opinions and the tension it may cause

Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

As we await for things to return to normal, we must also adjust to a new normal. Gone are the days of going out and socializing in crowds. Instead, we practice social distancing and wear masks. Some sports have returned to play, but they're all playing in front of empty stands. Even pro wrestling has staged fellow wrestlers around the ring as a pseudo-audience. Some government officials are pushing for reopening in order to stimulate the economy, while others are seeing a spike in positive COVID-19 cases and want things to flatten out with more restrictions. That being said, we still have several major sports that aren't back yet.

The NBA and NHL cut their seasons short when Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19. MLB stopped during Spring Training. The NFL and college football were both lucky enough to be in their offseasons, so they haven't been impacted yet. Talks have started as to when, where, and how some of these season will either resume or begin and how this will all look. Couple all of this with the recent protests on police brutality and how athletes have been taking a stand, there's a real powder keg brewing. Some players are ready to get back to work, while others are against it. So how could this play out when it comes to team chemistry?

It could hurt

Pessimism prevails in the minds of those who naturally feel the worst case scenario is unavoidable. Whenever there is a difference of opinion (especially strong ones), it can always turn out bad. For example: Texans wide receiver Kenny Stills has some concerns about returning to sports that aren't necessarily COVID related, which he expressed on Twitter.

He undoubtedly has teammates who don't feel the same way. Imagine the conversations J.J. Watt and Stills could have. You think they'll agree on things? What happens if their opinions collide, and they're unable to find common ground? This could bring about some division.

It could help

Optimism is the outlook of the eternal positive thinker. When optimists are able to attract others closer to their point of view, it can lead to some productivity. Not necessarily saying they're convincing people to agree with them, but healthy conversations and finding some common ground can open the door to better days ahead. Austin Rivers of the Rockets was outspoken about coming back to play in response to Kyrie Irving's opinion of not coming back. What if Rivers and Irving were teammates with these differing opinions? Opposites attract. In those cases, this could be a catalyst for positive change. Guys with a chemistry and relationship could easily work things out and help create a more communicative environment to promote impactful change.


Not only could something like this help or hurt, but what if it made matters worse? What if these discussions were so disagreeable that it caused teammates to truly question whether or not guys had their backs? What if they were so agreeable, it caused guys to switch stances on key issues, and they're now seen as the enemy? I highly doubt any of this happens, but there's always the possibility. My hope and prayer is that this leads to healthy and productive discussions, regardless of which side of the argument people fall on. That is the only way we'll ever get through our differences as a society.

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Houston's offense once again obliterated Baltimore in Wednesday's finale. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Owners of a nine-game winning streak, the Astros tried to keep the train rolling to make it double digits and complete the three-game sweep of the Orioles in Baltimore. Not only would they get the win, but they also did it by dominating on both sides of the ball again in a one-sided shutout.

Final Score: Astros 13, Orioles 0

Astros' Record: 46-28, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (6-3)

Losing Pitcher: Thomas Eshelman (0-1)

Houston keeps mashing

Unlike Tuesday's game which ended 3-1 in a much closer affair, the finale on Wednesday was once again a lopsided affair like Monda's opener, favoring the Astros. Houston once again put up double-digit runs in an offensive explosion. It started right off the bat, with three runs scoring in the top of the first on a two-RBI double by Carlos Correa and an RBI single by Kyle Tucker to grab a 3-0 lead.

Yuli Gurriel extended it to 4-0 with a two-out RBI single in the second, then Jose Altuve made it a six-run game with a two-run blast in the top of the fourth. Michael Brantley joined in with an RBI single in the top of the sixth, then Yordan Alvarez led off a four-run seventh with a solo bomb before a three-run homer by Abraham Toro made it 11-0.

Urquidy cruises through seven scoreless

Jose Urquidy was cruising all the while, allowing just three baserunners over that span, a double to start his night, which he erased, then a one-out walk in the second and leadoff single in the sixth. He returned at the bottom of the seventh with a manageable pitch count, where he'd erase a one-out single to keep Baltimore scoreless. With the insurmountable lead, he'd be given the rest of the night off. His final line: 7.0 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, 84 P.

Astros complete the sweep and grab tenth straight win

Chas McCormick, who came off the bench defensively in the bottom of the seventh, made it a twelve-run lead with a one-out solo homer in the top of the eighth, then later Abraham Toro notched his fourth RBI with a run-scoring single to make it 13-0. Brandon Bielak took over for Urquidy in the bottom of the eighth, and after loading the bases with no outs, was able to escape with a strikeout and double play.

Ralph Garza Jr. was Houston's third pitcher, wrapping things up at the bottom of the ninth. He erased a one-out walk and a single with a double play to end the game, giving Houston the three-game sweep and extending their winning streak to ten games as they continue to look like baseball's best team.

Up Next: The next stop on this road trip for Houston is Detroit, where they will kick off a four-game set with the Tigers on Thursday at 6:10 PM Central. The pitching matchup for the opener will be Luis Garcia (5-4, 2.82 ERA) for Houston and Jose Urena (2-7, 5.79 ERA) for Detroit.

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