Stirring it up

Texans owner causes controversy with "inmates" comment

Bob McNair used a poor choice of words and then apologized. Bob Levey/Getty Images

Houston Texans owner Bob McNair reportedly caused a stir at the recent NFL ownership meetings, referring to players kneeling during the national anthem by saying "we can't have the inmates running the prison."

The comments came during an owners-only meeting, although former player and Executive VP of football operations Troy Vincent was there and took offense to McNair's comments, reportedly setting off a heated debate.

According to the reports, McNair later apologized to Vincent.

The Texans released a statement regarding the comments on Friday:

“I regret that I used that expression. I never meant to offend anyone and I was not referring to our players,” McNair said. “I used a figure of speech that was never intended to be taken literally. I would never characterize our players or our league that way and I apologize to anyone who was offended by it.” 

While "inmates running the asylum" is a commonly used phrase, and McNair had some expectation of privacy considering where he said it, the phrase was at best a very poor choice of words considering what a hot-button topic this has been.

And McNair did apologize, but he also said he would never characterize the players or the league that way. But who else could he have been referring to? Several players were unhappy on Friday, and D'Andre Hopkins missed practice, so it instantly became an issue.

McNair is a decent man, and I believe there was no malice intended. He has been a very supportive, engaging and open owner. But considering the divisiveness of the issue, and how it has caused problems even among the players, McNair should have been much more careful in his choice of words. We will see if it blows over or if it becomes an issue that causes probems down the road, but McNair should have known better.

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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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